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Should resistors be outlawed?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by feklar, Jul 12, 2003.

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  1. feklar

    feklar Guest

    I am not the expert, so maybe this is a stupid or ignorant idea. On the
    other hand, maybe I'm right, so at the risk of flames I will either make
    sense or make an ass of myself.

    Resistors are used in circuits to step down voltages. The excess voltage is
    radiated away as heat.

    A question: Can any resistor that exists be replaced by a AC or DC
    transformer? (think miniature transformer for small value parts)?

    If am I right in presuming that, then the use of resistors must continually
    flush probably at least a Gigawatt down a toilet somewhere in the USA alone
    every day, just as waste heat. (What's the total power generation capacity
    of the USA, 13 point something gigawatts total? 13.6 gW?)

    What are the heat losses for transformers vs. for resistors?

    Can a transformer always replace a resistor, or does it create
    insurmountable circuit design problems in frequency generation and control
    circuits? Can inductors usually be used as replacements in those cases?

    I have a sneaking suspicion that if a law was passed making it illegal to
    use a resistor in a circuit as a voltage dropping device, that law would
    save at least a continuous half a Gigawatt from being wasted in the USA.
     
  2. feklar

    feklar Guest

    Forgot to mention Zener diodes... voltage regulator diodes.
     
  3. Too much time on your hands, eh?

    I would say, though, that many times a resistor runs hot due mainly to a
    poor design, and this heat sometimes causes other problems.

    Mark Z.
     
  4. Verdons

    Verdons Guest

    Maybe you should explain what you mean by DC transformer first?
    A classical transformer with primary and secondary windings only works with
    AC excitation.

    Curious
    Russell
     
  5. mike

    mike Guest


    You got that right!!
    Don't quit your day job...
     
  6. John Del

    John Del Guest

    Subject: Should resistors be outlawed?

    No no, I'm with you on this. Not only resistors, but all those transistors,
    ICs, diodes and such that also perform below super conducting effeciencies
    should be outlawed as well.

    John Del
    Wolcott, CT

    "Nothing is so opportune for tyrants as a people tired of its liberty."
    Alan Keyes

    (remove S for email reply)
     
  7. Jeroni Paul

    Jeroni Paul Guest

    No. Resistors do not always drop voltages, they sometimes are pull-up,
    pull-down, start up resistors in switching power supplies, impedance
    matching elements, etc.
    For a DC circuit, there is no simple element capable to drop a voltage
    without dissipating power. An inductor is a short circuit and a transformer
    doesn't work. Remember the voltage dropped by a linear voltage regulator,
    series zener or diode is also dissipated as heat. Your main concern is not
    solved.
    You would need to build a switching power supply for each resistor, and I
    doubt that would be possible at all without resistors. Anyway todays designs
    are good enough and they dissipate little heat.

    I would be worried by another matter: stand-by modes and wall wart
    transformers that are left plugged with no use.
    A significant part of that consumption increase is due to those elements
    left plugged in st-by or power supplies left running for no reason. See that
    most of the cheap products that have a transformer inside leave the
    transformer plugged and running even though you switch them off. Everything
    that uses a wall wart power supply leaves that supply running. I've measured
    significant amounts of wasted power from these. Since everyone does the
    same, the wasted power goes up and up... That is what should be outlawed -
    if you turn something off is because you want it completely off and not
    wasting power. Amazing is the designers spend money with a switch to turn
    off the equipment, but it only opens the output of the supply and not the
    input as it should be.
     
  8. Ray L. Volts

    Ray L. Volts Guest

    mmm.. It's more technically accurate to say that resistors limit current.
    They can provide voltage drops in circuits, but the device is designed to
    reduce current flow, heat emission being a result.
    think miniature surface-mount resistors.. I doubt the manufacturing
    technology even exists to wind a transformer that tiny for one thing.
    Well, this is why the rush is on to create the first room-temperature
    superconductor. Just imagine a superconducting world...
    zero resistance = zero heat emission = a Gigawatt amplifier the size of your
    thumbnail! That may be stretching it slightly, but at least we could get
    rid of the massive heatsinks on our CPUs!
    I have a suspicion that the electronics manufacturing industry would suffer
    an abrupt shutdown from which it would never recover.
     
  9. feklar

    feklar Guest

    Like I said, (and someone reminded me... I'm so embarrassed) I am not the
    expert on electronics, not even close, but it never hurts to attempt to be
    creative. Don't mind me, I'm just tossing thoughts around. Good things
    have sometimes been known to come from it.

    Maybe something good will come from Jeroni Paul's attack on wall warts. No
    one likes those pieces of junk, they ought to be outlawed on that basis
    alone. But for any application that can logically be expected to be large
    enough to have an internal supply, they ought to put it in the application.
    I understand that they want an easy way to go either 110/220 120/240 but I
    wouldn't think it would be that hard to just use different internal circuit
    boards. One of the things I really like about my Epson 440 Inkjet is that
    it has its power supply built in. Maybe they should pass a law at least to
    have the on / off switch on the wall wart itself and switch the input off,
    or more precisely, to require the input to be switched.

    Hard to say there, first they come up with Energy Star and plaster it all
    over computers, and then they come up with the "always on" ATX power supply
    as the new standard, when the AT supply was always turned off. I think they
    realized that they would sell more power supplies if they left them exposed
    to lightning and other spikes on the mains all the time. Perhaps that is
    also the true logic behind wall warts.

    How about this approach to replacing some resistor applications:
    Optoisolators. Combination photo emitters and receivers.

    OK, OK, I know that photo receivers, miniature solar cells, aren't very
    efficient, the best anyone has done so far is 25 percent efficiency for
    solar cells. But how about inside a highly reflective chamber with a
    reflective rather than absorbing backing material. Or by making the source
    very small while having all of the sides of the inside of the enclosure
    covered wth receiver material, again with a reflective rather than absorbing
    backing material.

    I don't think anyone has ever tried that: The only real research ever done
    that way that I know of is for solar cell development, and reflection is
    never considered in that application: if the material doesn't get the energy
    the first time, there is no possibility for a second time (a reflection) in
    that application, so the backing material / carrier material is of no
    consequence other than that it doesn't interfere with the active substrate
    material.

    And another thought: the efficiency must be a lot higher for these types of
    substrate versus solar cells, since advertised solar cell efficiency is
    rated as broadband solar radiation efficiency, where if both the photodiode
    and the substrate are germanium based, especially if a laser diode is used,
    then all the transmitted energy is concentrated in the excitation energy
    bands of the receiving substrate. This narrowband excitation level /
    excitation frequency energy conversion factor for the receiving substrate
    has to be a vast efficiency improvement versus the straight broadband
    aborption characteristics of the same material.

    Perhaps if the efficiency can be raised that way this would a viable
    solution. One could then have a bank of photoemitters of varying output
    power ratings and a matching photoreceiver for each one, all fed off the
    same votage rail with the rail voltage calculated as the total drop of all
    of the photoemitters. So if the circuit's requirements were 12V, 10V, 8.5V,
    3V, and 1.1V DC power, the power rail voltage would be the total of all
    these voltages, and there would be an optocoupler providing each voltage to
    the part of the circuit that required it. (Of course, this is simplified
    because it assumes 100 percent efficiency of the optocouplers.) The real
    question would be, would there be less loss in optocoupler inefficiency, or
    less loss in heat waste by resistors. I have a sneaking suspicion there
    would be less loss with properly designed optoisolators.

    Obviously, assuming the efficiency can be raised enough, this would only
    work for lower voltage and amperage applications. Of course, if 20 billion
    of these components get installed in new motherboards, and each is a 20
    percent efficiency improvement over using resistors, then that would be a
    very considerable total impact.

    Any technician or engineer is by definition somewhat of a scientist.
    Remember, the duty of all scientists is to attack the ideas of other
    scientists, and most of you have that down correctly, but don't forget that
    after your attack, you also have a minor resposibility as a scientist to
    consider a new idea of your own, or the right way to implement that stated
    purpose of the original idea. Although most of meeting these duties is an
    automatic natural ego trip and happens automatically (along the perceived
    personal insult lines of "as if someone else could be wiser than myself or
    than the status quo"), it doesn't hurt to remind the few who have forgotten
    this second responsibility from time to time that it exists.
     
  10. On Sat, 12 Jul 2003 08:32:13 GMT, feklar hath writ:
    This thread need go no further.
     
  11. Gee, I'd sure like to get my hands on one of those DC transformers you
    mentioned. It could change our understanding of electromagnetic theory and
    physics completely. When you figure out how to efficiently put those
    transformers in integrated circuits in place of resistors, be sure to
    pattent the process. You need to take a basic electronics class before
    trying to revolutionize the entire world of electronics.

    Your idea that wasted heat in electronics could be reduced is, however, a
    good one. Better design in many components could make them more efficient.
    The use of resistors to dissipate energy in poorly designed circuits should
    be an embarassment to any designer unless he/she is making hair dryers.

    The only thing that will effectively cause people to stop wasting energy and
    cause consumers to demand more efficient electronics will be the increase in
    cost of energy. It is coming and it will happen. We don't need to
    legislate it, it is inevitable. Note the price of natural gas right now and
    its effect on the petro-chemical industry in places like Texas and
    Louisiana. The price has trippled in recent years and it is changing the
    way the entire industry operates. It is inevitable in other industries,
    like electronics, as well. Any legislation would just be a feel-good
    temporary patch on the problem and if it had any effect at all would only
    delay the eventual.

    Leonard Caillouet
     
  12. feklar

    feklar Guest

    Like I said, I said right out front I wasn't the expert and what I had to
    say might sound stupid and ignorant.... Don't blame me so much for that
    though, I read somewhere else in another thread someone mentioned a DC
    transformer, I thought it odd at the time myself, but I figured maybe
    someone had figured out some new type using a moving voice coil or
    motor/generator or something.

    This is what I get for not keeping up :-(

    I know basic electronics (about as basic as you can get), digital logic, and
    physics, but when it comes to electronics what I don't know outnumbers what
    I do know.

    Give me some credit here, at least I knew there was a good sized chance I
    would be putting my foot in my mouth, or I wouldn't have put in the
    disclaimer... When I know something I speak right up, and when I don't, I
    raise a disclaimer.

    You are probably right about the rise of energy prices eventually forcing
    better choices.

    Its too bad it takes something like that to make people use common sense.

    If you want to see a real waste of electricity consider Seti @ Home
    sometime. Using an average of about 25 watts on each CPU, running on a
    million CPUs an average of 12 hours a day. The entire sky gets scanned for
    signals to boot, when the only places a signal could possibly emanate from
    powerful enough to be received on Earth would be the closest 250,000 or so
    stars. Or in other words, the only part of the sky that could realistically
    be expected to receive signals (assuming that someone is actually out there
    to generate signals) only gets scanned about one billionth of the time: the
    other 999,999,999 CPU cycles are wasted scanning nothing but empty sky.
     
  13. Credit given. I think the point is that your energy is misdirected.
    So we waste a few thousand watts scanning null space. The savings are
    scant, since the added power required to conduct these operations is
    negligible because these machines would likely be running anyway and wasting
    far more energy just idling unnecessarily than is wasted by the
    calculations. Can't you find something more significant to attack as waste?
    You could probably save many thousands times more energy by having a few
    hundred people carpool to work daily.

    Leonard Caillouet
     
  14. but it never hurts to attempt to be
    The same could be said of mathematics. Doing creative algebra may be
    interesting, but it won't get you a good grade.
    Not necessarily.

    Sometimes, a wall wart may be necessary in certain situations. For instance,
    it's not a very good idea to build a switching power supply into a Discman
    without bumping up the cost, increasing the weight, and possibly even
    compromise on reliability.
    That's exactly the point. It's cheaper, so they can save money, keep profits
    high, and maybe even pass those savings to the customer.
    Why?

    The resistor does exactly what it's supposed to. As mentioned many times
    before, an overheat situation is mainly due to a poor design, an internal
    and/or external problem, or both.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    Or, use photovoltaic (solar) cells in conjuction with thermal collectors with
    those desert solar power plants. - Reinhart
     
  15. feklar

    feklar Guest

    I think you underestimate [email protected]

    [email protected] beats the living crap out of your CPU, running it near 100 percent
    capacity, with the floating point processor being beaten senseless 95
    percent of that time.

    This increases (on the average) the CPU's power consumption an average of 25
    watts (it depends on the speed and the die size of the CPU). Normally the
    CPU idles most of the time and uses a lot less power. Normally the FPU is
    not even enabled when the CPU is idle. Just enabling it causes a
    respectable increase in the CPUs power consumption: it accounts for around
    half of the CPU's silicon real estate. This information is well documented
    and widely known, including the watt consumption for many differnt CPUs.
    You see, overclockers love to use [email protected] to test the stability of their
    overclocked CPU. If anything will crash a system that is even slightly
    unstable, the demands of [email protected] will do it. Check the overclocker sites
    for the CPU temperature information, and you'll be amazed how much running
    [email protected] will heat up your silicon.

    In other words, it wastes 25 million watts continuously 12 hours a day.

    25 megawatts is no small matter, rolling brownouts and blackouts in
    California depend on less excess power than that being used.

    At 10 cents a kilowatt hour, that means it costs $30,000.00 a day worth of
    electricity to run [email protected] Thirty thousand dollars a day to search for a
    one in 500 quadrillion chance of receiving transmissions from space
    aliens... if space aliens found out we were doing that they would never
    contact our retarded carcasses in the first place since no one wants to hang
    out with fools.

    The only insignificant effect of [email protected], power wise, is the small amount
    of electricity it takes to manufacture the couple of hundred replacement
    CPUs required every day to replace the ones that get fried by running
    [email protected] and being melted down from the heat in the process. Most people
    use common sense and run Rain or Waterfall to cool their CPU, but ignorance
    is almost as common, and the ignorant like to run [email protected]
     
  16. feklar

    feklar Guest

    Trust me on this, this one of the things where I actually do know exactly
    what I am talking about :)

    One of the standard overclocker's favorite benchmarks in speed rating and
    bragging about their newly overclocked CPU is how fast it can complete a
    [email protected] work unit.

    Most distributed processing apps are like this, the RSA code cracker DPA,
    the genetic analysis DPA, and the rest, almost all of them use very
    instensive floating point calculations almost continuously, and even those
    few that don't will still run the processing unti at near 100 percent
    capacity.

    Waterfall running on my slightly overclocked AMD K6 2-500 shows 97 percent
    CPU idle time during periods of inactivity. The average idle time for any
    CPU is about 80 to 95 percent of the time even for a heavily used internet
    server CPU, or even a heavily used CAD workstation.
     
  17. Grumpy OM

    Grumpy OM Guest

    stuff deleted

    Yes, outlaw resistors. I'm for using conductances, but resistors do
    help to heat the house during the winter.

    Grumpy OM
     
  18. Bill Janssen

    Bill Janssen Guest

    Anyone that has to ask that question should not be repairing anything.

    Bill K7NOM
     
  19. I have a sneaking suspicion that if a law was passed making it illegal to
    Heheheh.

    "The AMAZING resistor-less television set! This incredible television has no
    resistors and will save you electricity! Plug it in and watch the action
    literally EXPLODE right in front of you in your own living room, besting even
    the finest filmed motion picture effects because it will be REAL, RIGHT THERE
    in your living room. See additional pyrotechnics when nearby furniture and
    curtains respond by burning to the INCREDIBLE and EXPLOSIVE image from your TV.
    If resistors were used in this TV, it would use more electricity, but would
    actually be safe. But why concern yourself with safety when you can save
    electricity AND see an amazing fire show LIVE in your living room? Disclaimer:
    Not responsible for property damage or loss of life from electrocution or fire.
    These sets are sold as-is with no warranty coverage."

    - Reinhart
     
  20. feklar

    feklar Guest

    Actually, it was the vast but not immediately apparent energy waste of
    [email protected] that made me wonder if there aren't other ways power can be saved
    in cicuits.

    After being invited here, I wonder what the Energy Star and Department of
    energy think of these "forums"? Its too bad really, the decline of USENET
    from its beginnings as a military and higher education meeting places, with
    constructive criticism and productive debates. At least some assistance
    still goes to people trying to get electronics repair information.
    sci.engr.metallurgy and sci.physics are in really bad shape.

    Oh well, maybe Energy Star will get on the TV news one of these days and
    point out [email protected] for the energy waste that it is, and maybe propose
    legislation regarding wall wart power switching, if nothing else.

    Date: 7/12/2003 4:06:34 AM
    To: <>
    CC:
    From: "" <>
    Subject: Contact ENERGY STAR

    Thank you for contacting ENERGY STAR. Your information has been received. If
    there are any questions concerning your submission you may be contacted.
    Please call 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937) with any questions or concerns.

    You completed the on-line form at
    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=contact.showContact and
    entered the following information:

    NAME
    feklar

    EMAIL


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    YOUR ORGANIZATION NAME
    where the dishonored go when they die

    QUESTION/COMMENT
    General Comments

    MESSAGE
    I posted this to sci.electronics.repair on USENET. If you wish to follow
    the thread, go to google.com, search for feklar, and then choose sort by
    date when the results are displayed. The title of the thread is "Should
    resistors be outlawed?"

    begin thread:
    -------------------------------
    I am not the expert, so maybe this is a stupid or ignorant idea. On the
    other hand, maybe I'm right, so at the risk of flames I will either make
    sense or make an ass of myself.

    Resistors are used in circuits to step down voltages. The excess voltage is
    radiated away as heat.

    A question: Can any resistor that exists be replaced by a AC or DC
    transformer? (think miniature transformer for small value parts)?

    If am I right in presuming that, then the use of resistors must continually
    flush probably at least a Gigawatt down a toilet somewhere in the USA alone
    every day, just as waste heat. (What's the total power generation capacity
    of the USA, 13 point something gigawatts total? 13.6 gW?)

    What are the heat losses for transformers vs. for resistors?

    Can a transformer always replace a resistor, or does it create
    insurmountable circuit design problems in frequency generation and control
    circuits? Can inductors usually be used as replacements in those cases?

    I have a sneaking suspicion that if a law was passed making it illegal to
    use a resistor in a circuit as a voltage dropping device, that law would
    save at least a continuous half a Gigawatt from being wasted in the USA.

    ---------------------------------
    there are enough experts in there (sci.electronic.repair) to answer the
    question correctly.

    My e-mail address is valid, should you know the total USA generation
    capacity and wish to forward it.


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