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ABC of electronics terms

(To find chips for distinct functions, see the functional pages.)



Data Access Arrangement

This is a telephone line interface
Try Cermetek, TK or Xecom
Or ask Kerry Berland <>
Or see the telecom section of the latest reference quide of Compliance Engineering.


Digital to Analog Converter

DAQ board

Where Manufacturer National Instruments

Data communications

Handbook of Data Communications
John D. Lenk
Prentice-Hall, 1984

Data translation

Where Manufacturer Telebyte Technology

Datacomm IC

Where Manufacturer Metalink Transmission Products

Date calculations
book: Almanac for Computers by the Nautical Almanac Office, United States Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C. and the Royal Navy

DC-DC Convertor

Where Manufacturer (Lambda) Advanced Analog Power Trends Vicor


This is German/European system for broadcasting the time (on the long wave radio frequency band, if I remember correctly...)
Time info transmitter in Germany (Mainflingen).

local More


See Monitor and Debugger


In general a decoder decodes something that has been coded. Coding is normally done for protection but sometimes also for compression.
In case of a TV signal decoder, there are several methods to decode it. A very simple on is reversing the horizontal and/or vertical sync* signals. TV's don't like this. It's also possible to change these syncs using a quasi-random sequence. The processor in the decoder must know the right pattern to be able to restore the original signal.
Usually cable companies start with a simple decoding algorithm and check how many people will start selling illegal decoders.
Once they know how big this market is and when it's serously threatening their income, they start using a more difficult alogorithm in the decoder...
Opening up the decoder sometimes erases the processor's memory.
What I said above is based on analogue TV signals of course. With digital TV signals it can be done much more sophisticatedly.

Decompiler Frans F.J. Faase <> Martin Ward <> Tim Bull [Gone?]


Remove IC*'s from PCB again.

When you have a load of PCB's with possibly valuable chips on them, don't do the desoldering yourself. There are specialized companies that can do it much better. When you do it yourself the IC*'s will have to be checked and straightened anyway which is quite expensive. Mail me instead.

For small amounts: Tricks.

Development tools - Technical catalog of EDN



Or 'bare die'
It's the stuff IC*'s are made of and should be handled under special conditions. Don't ever open a box with bare die to look what's inside. It doesn't like this just like photopaper...

See also Chip Supply and Sierra Components and: - B.G. Micro*

Digital design Circuit examples

title order at Amazon USA price indication
Engineering Digital Design ISBN: 0126912955 $80


Deutsche Industry Norm
German industry standard.


Diode FAQ in text FAQ in HTML Tutorial Tutorial

Where Manufacturer Compensated Devices Diodes Inc DT high performance silicon photodiodes Microsemi Corp Unitrode

A Schottky diode is a metal-semiconductor junction (rather than a junction between two semiconductor materials), but you don't need to know that. It has a smaller voltage drop when forward-biased, than a regular silicon diode. About half as much, maybe less maybe more. Used when you need a diode with a very low voltage drop. Germanium diodes are another option, but they have their own limitations.

Dioden Datenbuch 1980/81

(in German)
Siemens AG, Bereich Bauelemente, Produkt-Informationen,
Balanstraße 73
8000 München 80
Bestell-Nr. B/2239

Disassembler Disassemblers from the Simtel archives

See also the IDE section.

Discrete components - FAQ about discrete components

Disk size limitations

Will the problems never stop?

BIOS limitations previously occurred at 528-Mbyte and 2.1-Gbyte capacities.
The next BIOS frontier is the 8.4-Gbyte barrier.



local Optoelectronics


Where Manufacturer Circuit Specialists Component Distributors, Inc DigiKey Electronix Express Jameco Electronics Marshall Electronics Mouser Electronics Nu Horizons Pioneer Standard-Electronics Potter Production Powell Electronics, Inc Hamilton-Hallmark



Dividing is a mathematical operation that is quite expensive in terms of hardware or software time usage, therefore dividing techniques are heavily discussed on embedded software mailing lists.

Here a couple of emails that a lot of people have enjoyed reading in the mean time...
And although you mustn't take everything in it too seriously, it contains a lot of very basic information!

Division techniques for embedded processors.


Disk Operating System
(The OS's before the DOS's were TOS's (Tape Operating Systems)
The term was in general use before it became short for MS-DOS or PC-DOS - Embedded DOS from General Software

DNA computers

Computers that will use DNA strings to do slow but very massively parallel processing.


Dynamic Random Access Memory is:
Dynamic It loses it's contents when not refreshed (SRAM* doesn't)
Random Access You don't need to read/write all the bits/bytes in succession
Memory It remembers things

DRAM needs about 4 times as much transistors as SRAM* so it's generally 4 times bigger or 4 times cheaper at any given moment. DRAM is also generally slower.

Succession of DRAM technologies:
DRAM Dynamic Random Access Memory
FPDRAM* Fast Page Mode DRAM
EDO Extended Data Output
SDRAM* Synchronous DRAM
SDRAM* II Synchronous DRAM with double data rate (by Samsung, see also DDR)
SLDRAM SyncLink DRAM (by Samsung, Hyundai)
DDR Double Data Rate SDRAM* (by Samsung)
? Advanced Rambus DRAM (by LG)


See also:

DRAM manufacturers:

Japan: US: Korean:

DRAM sellers:

(Don't be fooled by others: They often just buy it from the manufacturers above and package it themselves. It's very expensive by now to produce DRAM of the newest generations...)

--Is Japan losing the DRAM race?--
"Japan Inc." is downsizing, causing a number of embattled semiconductor manufacturers to reluctantly concede that they are losing the DRAM production race. In a series of interviews last week, most top chip executives agreed that Micron Technology Inc. and the Big Three South Korean memory-IC suppliers will dominate the commodity DRAM global market that was once Japan's sole domain.
(This message came from The EDTN Network's "Electronics Alert!", Bulldog Edition: 19981109)


A driver is a piece of software that is dedicated to handling a certain hardware device. It's a kind of interface between the OS and the hardware. It's usually provided by the hardware maker and distributed on a CD-ROM or floppy together with the piece of hardware. Because it takes a while before the product reaches you after the CD-ROM or floppy has been made, so newer versions of the drivers can often be found on the Internet.

Check the sites in this order:

  1. The site of the maker of the product.
  2. The site of the maker of the chipset on the product.
  3. General driver sites.

Also check:

See also Operating System.

Driver sites: Driver Guide (You need to register first!) Drivers headquarter Driver Updates Mister Driver For Windows95 only? Ultimate Collection Of Windows Software (where have the drivers gone?)


See here.


Dual* Tone Multi-Frequency

1 2 3 697
4 5 6 770
7 8 9 852
0 * # 941
1209 1336 1477 Hz

When you press one of the telephone set's buttons two tones are produced: One signifying the row and the other the column. The frequencies are choosen thus that they don't contain harmonical frequencies of each other. Normal human speech doesn't contain mixed frequencies that are stable for a signifant duration.
Nice DTMF coders are the PCD3311 and PCD3312 by Philips and a nice decoder is the MT8870 by Mitel and Samsung.

local DTMF and other telecom chips It's probably here somewhere MS Word format More info, introduction For the Basic Stamp by Parallax For the Basic Stamp by Parallax DTMF Theory


Digital Video Disk, a standard for putting video on new 3.7+ Gb CD-ROM's. DVD Special Interest Group (SIG)

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