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Seeking a Career in Electronics

July 24th, 2021

People who like tinkering with malfunctioning electronic gadgets or have a knack for fixing broken televisions can become great employees within the electronics career field. Today, there are plenty of job opportunities and career choices within the electronics industry that allow individuals to explore technical aspects, creativity, and sales. With appropriate education and experience, one can make a decent living in the electronics field by pursuing a variety of exciting and challenging career opportunities.

Common Electronics Careers and Jobs

Electronics engineers are responsible for an array of technologies that span portable music players to global positioning systems (GPS). Many electronics engineers also work closely with computers and other electronic equipment. A variety of skills are associated with this type of job position, which deals with communications, control systems, and signal processing. Usually, a specialty is attached to the title of electronics engineer. An example of this is seen in the aviation electronics engineer that works for the military. There are also analysts in this field, such as the Airborne Electronics Analyst in charge of controlling airborne electronic systems that identify ships and submarines. They also help with vital search and rescue operations.

As a Level I Electronics Assembler, one puts together electronics to match product specifications. A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for this type of job, where 0 to 3 years of experience in the field is a plus. An Electronics Assembler should possess knowledge on commonly-used concepts, practices, and procedures pertaining to their assigned product, as well as possess the ability to follow instructions and pre-set guidelines. Immediate supervision generally watches over worker progress. Usually, reports are made to supervisors or managers. The average salary for an Electronics Assembler is between $22,493 and $29,738.

As a Level I Electric/Electronics Technician, workers construct, maintain, and test electrical systems and their components. A high school diploma or its equivalent is needed for this type of job, where the completion of an apprenticeship and/or formal specialty training will elevate salaries and lead to more job opportunities. An electronic technician may tackle numerous jobs, such as the service and repair of both household and business electronic equipment. This may include radios, televisions and computers. Sometimes, employees are situated within a specific field, such as serving the medical, manufacturing, military, or telecommunications sector. An Electric/Electronics Technician I usually makes between $33,097 and $40,342, while an Electric/Electronics Technician III may earn between $49,269 and $61,874.

Home electronics repairers showcase their talents as installers and repairers of televisions, stereos, video cameras, as well as DVD and CD players. Those who work in shops are called bench technicians, while the repairer that visits the home is referred to as a field technician. Common duties include installing and tuning equipment to achieve the best sound or visual output; replacing faulty parts; and making service calls.

Educational Requirements: Electronics Career

The preparation for a career in electronics begins in high school, as a strong foundation in science and mathematics helps individuals pursue this type of job. Students in high school should focus on taking courses, such a physics and chemistry. Some positions also require advanced written and oral skills. Higher education paths associated with entering the electronics field include receiving a Bachelor of Science or an associates degree. Some of the college courses you may encounter include information on circuits, linear systems, electromagnetic fields, and computing.

Working in Electronics: United States & Canada

When it comes to working in the electronics industry, there are many different companies with a reputation for providing satisfying compensation and benefits throughout the United States and Canada. For starters, Microsoft is known for providing some of the best compensation and benefits for their employees, who work in a variety of positions, such as electronics engineers and electronic design engineers. Texas Instruments also pays their employees well, as an electrical design engineer stands to make an annual average salary of $109,223.

Panasonic is the international brand name representing Japanese electric products manufactured by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. This company employs workers who create and improve their plasma display panels, digital cameras, DVD players, and laptop computers. At Philips Electronics Canada, competitive salaries are offered for their positions, including a place as a Consumer Electronics Regional Sales Manager. Additional companies offering worthy job opportunities in the electronics field include IBM, Siemens, and Toshiba.

How to Protect Your Electronics From Heat

March 11th, 2021

In our modern society, we have become very dependent upon our electronic gadgets and appliances. Most households (in the U.S) have Personal Computers with an Internet Connection. If we solely looked at the Personal Computer, we do a lot of thing with this product.

We communicate with our friends, family members and business associates.
We conduct financial transactions (e.g., buy or sell products on line)
We create all kinds of documents (which are very important to our personal and business finances/operations)
We store and play music (in the form of *.mp3 files)
We (increasingly) store pictures that have sentimental value (and could be tough to replace if lost).
For many people, anytime their “computer dies”, it becomes a major inconvenience in their lives. If you were to look at some other electronic systems that we typically have in our homes, such as

DVD Players
Gaming Systems (e.g., Playstation, X-Box, Nintendo, Wii, etc.)
Audio Entertainment Equipment
Video Recording Equipment (for you people that like to post videos on YouTube.
Appliances (such as Central Air Conditioning Systems, Heat Pumps, Microwave Ovens, etc.)
HDTVs (e.g., LCD or Plasma)
All of these items entertain us, enlighten us and provide us with comfort. These products each require a considerable amount of money to purchase. Further, repairing and/or replacing these products is also quite expensive. Hence, I am quite amazed that people do not do more to protect their investment (in these electronic systems) and do whatever they can to extend the operating life time of these products.

In general, there are three (3) different destructive mechanisms that will either destroy or greatly reduce the operational life-time of your electronics. These three destructive mechanisms are

Electrical Surge/Spike Events, and
Electrical Noise
In this article, we are going to talk about HEAT. As we discuss Heat, we will cover the following topics.

How is Heat destructive to your electronics?
What can we do about heat – How to Protect Your Electronics from Heat and Extend the Operating Life of our Electronics?
Heat is an artifact of electronics. All electronic systems generate heat. Electronic systems accept electrical power (current and voltage) from the power line (via the electrical outlet). The electronic system uses a portion of this electrical power to perform work (e.g., the function that you want it to perform, e.g., play a DVD, cook a bag of popcorn, etc). The remaining portion of this electrical power is converted into heat.

However, heat is also an enemy of electronic systems. Few things are more effective in reducing the operating life-time of an electronic system, than raising the operating temperature of the electronic circuitry within your electronic system. If you were to speak with an Electronics Device Reliability expert, he/she would tell you that for every 10 degrees (Celsius) that you raise the operating temperature of an electrical device; you reduce the operating lifetime of that device by 50%. The impact of heat (in shortening the operating life) of your electronics is “huge”.

As I mentioned earlier, all electronics generates heat. There is no way to prevent electronics from generating the very thing that can destroy it. However, there are a couple of things that you can do to prevent this heat from doing so much damage.

1. You can work to remove this heat from the electronics (as quickly as it generates it), or
2. You can do things to try to help the electronics to not generate so much heat in the first place.

I will address each of these approaches below.

Many consumer electronic systems were designed with “Heat Removal” in mind. Some of these electronic systems (like desktop computers) contain “internal fans”. These fans were designed into these systems so that they could blow air through the area in which the system electronics resides. The intent behind having these fans to is blow the heat away from these electronics and to help keep them cool.

Other electronic systems contain “vents” (in their outer case) to provide an “escape path” for heat. Many of these vents are located at the top or in the “back-end” of the electrical system. On this basis, I have the following recommendations to permit the removal of heat from your electronics.

Make sure and keep papers, books, dust and other items from “blocking” the vents of these systems.
Leaving these items on top of your (DVD Player for example) will block the vents, and will not allow for heat to escape from your DVD Player. This will cause the temperature (surrounding the electronics) within your DVD player to rise; which will (in-turn) reduce the operating lifetime of your DVD player.

Make sure that the “back-end” of the electronic system is not “butt-up” against the wall or an entertainment cabinet.
It is important to make sure that there is sufficient air/ventilation space between the vents (in the back end) and the wall/cabinet to allow for Heat Removal.

Make sure and have your appliances (like your Central Air Conditioning system or Heat Pump) serviced.
Whenever these appliances are serviced, the service professional will do various things (like clean out dust and debris from ventilation path), therefore maintaining an unobstructed path for heat to escape from these systems.

Make sure that the fan (inside some of your systems) is working.
If this fan stops working, then you need to get it repaired quickly. Failure to do this will result in your electronic system having an early meeting with the “grim reaper” or an electronic waste disposal site.

Another approach to protecting your electronics from heat is to take steps to try to prevent your electronics from generating excessive heat in the first place. The amount of heat that is generated within an electronic system is often referred to as being related to the following expression for resistive loss: I^2XR, where:

I represents the amount of current flowing through an electronic system and

R represents the load impedance (or resistance) within this electronic system; and

I^2 denotes ” I being raised to the 2nd Power, or “I-squared”
From this mathematical expression, you can see that if we were able to reduce the amount of current flowing through an electrical system, this would certainly help to reduce the amount of heat generated within this electrical system.

QUESTION: How can you reduce the current that an electrical system uses? Doesn’t it require a certain amount of current to do its job? The answer to this question is “Yes”, an electrical system does require a certain amount of current and voltage (electrical power) to do its job. However, it doesn’t need to use anymore current than that. Hence, we recommend that you use TVSS (Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors) components in order to reduce the current level (flowing into your electrical system).

Now, I know that some of you may be “scratching your heads” and wondering, “How in the world will this reduce the amount of current flowing into my electronic system” and (in turn reduce the amount of heat that it generates)? The answer is this: Anytime there is a large amount of electrical noise or spikes, or other forms of distortion in the electrical voltage and current in the power line, this also results in the flow of additional current into your electrical system. By using the TVSS components, you are eliminating this excessive current (due to noise, glitches, etc.) from the “power line” current, flowing into your electronic system.

In this case, you have now accomplished the following:

1. You have decreased the amount of current flowing into your electronic system, (which is the “I” in the expression “I^2 X R”) – which helps a lot to reduce the amount of heat that the system generates.
2. By reducing the heat that the electrical system generates, you are now lowering the ambient (or surrounding) temperature in which your electronics operates.
3. Lowering the ambient temperature will often times also reduce the load impedance/resistance in your electronic system (e.g., the “R” in this expression) as well.

QUESTION: How can you reduce the load impedance/resistance in an electronic system? Isn’t that a design feature of the electronic system? The answer to this question is “Yes it is”. You cannot change the load impedance/resistance by very much. But, the reason why lowering the ambient temperature will also reduce the load impedance/resistance is that many resistors have (what is called) a positive temperature coefficient. This means that as the ambient temperature goes up, does the resistor value of this particular resistor.

However, the converse is also true. If you were to lower the ambient (or surrounding) temperature, then you would also lower the resistor value as well.


Using TVSS components lower the amount of current flowing through your electronic system.
Lowering this current reduces the amount of heat that the electronic system generates.
This lowers the ambient temperature for the system electronics.
Lowering the ambient temperature also lowers the load impedance/resistance (R) within the electronic system.
Both the reduction of current (and the resulting reduction of the load impedance) would serve to significantly reduce the amount of heat that the electronics system will generates.

Other articles in this series are listed below.

How to Protect Your Electronics from Electrical Surge/Spike Events
How to Protect Your Electronics from Electrical Noise
In this article, we spoke about “heat” and how effective it is in reducing the operating life-time of your electronics. Heat is one of the three (3) destructive mechanisms that will either destroy or shorten the operational life-time of your electronics. The remaining two mechanisms are

Electrical Surge/Spike Events, and
Electrical Noise
We have also described some guidelines on how to protect your electronics from heat, and to extend the operating life-time of your electronics. In particular, we mentioned the following approaches:

1. Use (and do not thwart) the “Heat Removal” features of your electronic systems

Make sure that Internal Fans are working and
Make sure that vents are not blocks and that there is plenty of air space around the Electronic system to allow for the escape of heat.
2. Use TVSS (Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor) components to regulate the amount of voltage (and in turn) current that is flowing into your electronic systems: Minimizes heat generation due to resistive loss.
Do you wish to learn more about approaches to protect your electronics from the affects of heat, electrical surge events and electrical noise?