An electrical transducer is a component that is able to transform physical quantities into voltage or electric current, allowing for measurements to be made in the form of electrical signals. Electrical transducers can measure many properties, often being used for pressure, temperature, level, displacement, and much more. As the output signal is always proportional to the quantity that the device measures, transducers are quite reliable and useful for the applications that they serve.

Modern industrial applications are quite dependent upon instrumentation, that of which is used for the measurement and management and various operational variables. With instrumentation, aspects such as displacement, temperature, flow, angle, and level may all be managed with ease. For basic instrumentation systems, transducers are a crucial part that is relied upon for the conversion of energy.

Depending upon one’s needs, there are a number of transducer types that are classified by the quantities or attributes that they measure. In general, the most common types include temperature transducers, pressure transducers, displacement transducers, oscillator transducers, flow transducers, and inductive transducers. Such devices may also be categorized based on their principle of operation, common forms being photovoltaic, piezoelectric, chemical, mutual induction, electromagnetic, hall effect, and photoconductor transducers. As a final way of classifying transducers, such components may also be determined based on whether or not there is a required external power source.

If a transducer is capable of transforming quantities into measurable electrical signals without the need of an external power source, the component is known as an active transducer. With a fairly simplistic design, the self-generating device draws energy from the measurement system when it makes a measurement, and the generated output is typically small. Active transducers can come in a variety of types, the most common being the piezoelectric, photoelectric, and thermoelectric transducer.

For transducers that rely on external power sources, however, such devices are known as being passive. Generally, such variations generate their output signal in the form of variations in resistance, capacitance, or another type of electrical parameter. Then, this output is proportionately converted into a voltage signal or electrical current which can be measured. A photocell is a common example of a passive transducer, and such devices are capable of varying the resistance of the cell when exposed to light. With the assistance of a bridge circuit, the resistance change can be transformed into a proportional signal so that the photocell can accurately measure the intensity of light.

With their standard set of capabilities, transducers are often compared to sensors. While sensors are commonly employed for the means of detecting physical changes within a space, transducers serve to convert these changes or measurements into electric signals. Their similarity comes from the fact that sensors are a type of transducer, creating signals based on their detection which may then be used by a control system, information system, or a type of telemetry. Actuators are also commonly compared as well, being capable of receiving a source of energy to act upon the environment in a specific fashion.

Read more »

Microprocessor and microcontroller components are two types of integrated circuits (ICs) that are often confused for one another despite serving very different roles and uses. While a microprocessor acts as the processor of a computer with data processing logic and control, a microcontroller is implemented within an embedded system to govern a particular application. As two common components that may be present within many electronic devices and systems, it is important to understand the difference between each and the applications that both serve.

Microprocessors operate without a predefined task, typically being assigned to an operation by a user. Such components are widely implemented in a number of consumer devices, including those such as computers, video game consoles, mobile phones, televisions, and more. As a device that assists systems that have unfixed tasks, microprocessors find implementation in applications where intensive processing is required. With a computer, for example, the microprocessor can serve numerous roles as needed, facilitating operations such as document creation, media streaming, image editing, Internet browsing, and much more.

Microcontrollers, as previously discussed, are designed with a specific task in mind. Typically, the microcontroller will have a program that is embedded to the chip, meaning that any alterations may be difficult as special tools are required for reburning programs. As a result of their standard operations, microcontrollers are considered to be fixed for a particular application. With an input provided by a user or various system sensors, the microcontroller will utilize predefined settings to create an intended output. For their implementation, microcontrollers are often found within washing machines, microwave ovens, timers, and other various appliances and devices. With a microwave oven as an example, predefined inputs can be entered by a user for cooking settings, and a resulting fixed action will be carried out. Unlike a microprocessor, only predefined operations may be achieved with microcontrollers.

For the structure and composition of a microprocessor, such components will generally only have a CPU. If any I/O ports, ROM, RAM, or other peripherals are desired, they must be connected externally. Microprocessors are also known to be fairly flexible, allowing a user to determine the amount of peripheral devices and memory that may be added. With microcontrollers, on the other hand, the CPU, memory, and all other peripherals are pre-assembled to create a single unit, thus the structure is fixed and unchangeable. The clock speeds of microprocessors are often much quicker than microcontrollers, boasting a range of 1 GHz to 4 GHz. Meanwhile, microcontrollers operate on a range of 1 MHz to 300 MHz.

Due to the difference in construction and operations of each component, microprocessors tend to have a much higher cost than microcontrollers with their complexity. Microprocessors may also be larger in construction and require a higher amount of power for operations. Despite these characteristics seeming like potential drawbacks, it is important to consider that microprocessors are intended for more complex operations such as carrying out the diverse functionalities of a computer. If a simple, predefined task is to be carried out, then a microcontroller may be a good fit.

Read more »

Resistors are one of the most common components for electronic circuit assembly, and they come in many shapes and forms to provide a variety of properties and characteristics that may benefit differing applications. In their most simplistic form, resistors are passive electronic parts featuring two-terminals, and they are used to provide electrical resistance to a circuit. While seemingly simple, the variations in resistor types allow them to take on different roles such as reducing current flow, terminating transmission lines, dividing voltages, adjusting signal levels, and much more.

While different resistors will often be characterized by their ohmic value or other performance properties, the first major categories that serve to separate distinct types from one another is whether a resistor is fixed or variable. Fixed resistors are the most common types found within electronic circuits, and they feature set resistance values that are only slightly affected by conditions such as temperature or operating voltages. With variable resistors, circuit elements can be adjusted with the use of a slider.

Carbon composition resistors are an early fixed resistor type that was once one widely used, and they are often constructed by embedding a solid cylindrical resistive element with wire leads or end caps. To produce the resistive element, powdered carbon is mixed with a ceramic or another insulating material, and a resin is used to bind everything together. To protect the resistor’s body, paint or plastic is used to create a shell and color-coating may be implemented to denote the component’s value. As more advanced resistor types have been released over the years, the carbon composition resistor has become less common due to its inability to surpass the performance and cost of other types.

Carbon film resistors are those that are created by depositing carbon film onto an insulating substrate. With the resistive properties of carbon and a variety of shapes available, such resistors are capable of performing well on a wide range of resistance values. When compared to the carbon composition resistor, the carbon film type can operate with lower noise due to its optimal distribution of unbound pure graphite. With their ability to perform on a wider range of resistances, operating temperatures, and working voltages, such resistors are common to applications needing high pulse stability.

The metal oxide film resistor is a type with similar construction to the carbon composition resistor, though its materials consist of metal oxide film that has been deposited on a ceramic rod. With a superior temperature coefficient, close tolerances, and low noise levels, the metal oxide film resistor has currently established itself as the most widely used type.

Metal film resistors are those that use nickel chromium or other metal film materials for deposition. Due to its similar construction to the metal oxide film type, the metal film resistor is capable of achieving similar performance. With its properties and construction, the metal film resistor is most often used in applications requiring a leaded resistor.

When working with high power applications, the wire wound resistor is a reliable choice due to its characteristics. To produce such electronic parts, a metal wire of nichrome or another material is wound around an insulating core before having its ends soldered or welded to caps or rings. With a protective layer of baked enamel, molded plastic, or paint, the resistor is completed. Due to their materials and construction, such resistors are capable of operating in extremely high temperatures. With their winding, however, wire wound resistors suffer in applications that have higher frequencies.

Read more »

A chip detector is an electronic instrument that attracts ferromagnetic particles such as iron chips. Chip detectors are frequently used in aircraft engine oil chip detection systems, where they can offer an early warning of imminent engine failure, thus greatly reducing the cost of an engine overhaul. This blog will provide an overview of chip detectors and their functions.

Chip detectors consist of small plugs that can be installed in an engine oil filter, oil sump, or aircraft drivetrain gearbox. Over time, engine wear and tear causes small metal chips to break loose from engine parts which then circulate in the engine oil, causing damage. A detector contains magnets incorporated into an electric circuit. Magnetic forces attract ferrous particles and collection of these particles continues until the insulated air gap between the magnets (in a two magnet configuration) or between the magnet and housing (in a single magnet configuration) is bridged, thereby cutting off the circuit. The result of this is an electronic signal for remote indication which activates a warning light on the instrument panel, indicating the presence of metal chips in the oil.

In applications with a self-closing valve/adapter, chip detectors can be positioned in the application through a bayonet or threaded interface. When the chip detector disengages from the valve, the valve closes, keeping any fluid loss from the system to a minimum.The chip detectors used on aircraft are inspected in every level of check. Inspection may also be done at specified intervals such as every 30 to 40 hours for an engine unit and 100 hours for an auxiliary power unit.

            There are many advantages to using a chip detector. For one, no additional tools are needed to inspect and remove debris. Additionally, chip detectors enable BIT capability by integrating a resistor at the chip gap. Chip detectors utilize blade-type retention, which eliminates much of the wear associated with common ‘pin-in-slot’ type retention methods. Furthermore, strong magnet integrity provides high ferrous capture efficiency as well as significant retention.

To further increase capture efficiency, chip detectors are equipped with flow directional screens. In order to support resistor-based wire-fault, built-in-test functionality, chip detectors feature a circuit board integrated with the chip detector. Finally, chip detectors feature an electroless nickel plating for superior wear and corrosion protection, as well as an axial design which improves the detector’s capture efficiency and ease of chip removal.

To save weight, the chip detector assembly is primarily made from aluminum. There are five main parts of a chip detector’s construction: the flying lead, chip gap, ECD-to-valve- retention lugs, seals, and springs. The flying lead construction features three insulated conductors with an overbraid shield. The chip gap is the area where debris is held. An axial chip gap design is able to collect more debris than a radial type. Retention lugs are designed to FAA approval and are integrated in the valve body where they eliminate assembly errors and provide increased bearing area. The seals, usually o-rings, are used to seal the circuits and connections from oil. Lastly, the chip detector features stainless steel valve piston springs to assist in installation and operation.

For chip detectors and much more, look no further than Aerospace Unlimited, a trusted supplier of parts for a wide range of industries. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we are an online distributor of aircraft parts as well as parts pertaining to the aerospace, civil aviation, defense, industrial, electronics, and IT hardware markets. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, call us at 1-412-212-0606 or email us at

Read more »

A printed circuit board electronically and mechanically connects electrical components using special conductive tracks. These features are etched into copper and laminated onto or in between sheet layers of nonconductive substrates. Printed circuit board layouts are extremely important in circuit design processes because the layout determines how a circuit will work— including its reliability and performance. 

There are several computer development programs that aid with printed circuit board designs, streamlining the design process. These types of programs increase the ease of the design process not just for experts, but also for students. Previously, the design was created using tape and a master drawing sheet, a technique that is long gone. Software for printed circuit boards vary in function and must be selected based on the requirements of the circuit board.

The first step in creating a design for a printed circuit board is to capture the schematic of the circuit. This can be done by using a special tool included in your package or by purchasing an external package whose output can be expressed and formatted to match. This creates a “netlist” which allows for interconnectivity between circuit nodes, electrical pins and nets. Before a netlist is created, it is imperative to know where to place the components to confirm circuitry. Roughly knowing the placement of all components beforehand will make it easier to determine the required space between layers for future electrical placements. Once all placements are placed in the correct position, routing will take place. The connections will need to be routed to the components on all layers. Routing is the most complicated process of printed circuit board design.  This design will be used several times during the manufacturing process.

Aerospace Unlimited, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, should always be your first and only stop for all your circuit board needs.  Aerospace Unlimited is a premier supplier of printed circuit board assembly parts. Whether new, old, or hard-to-find, we can help you find all the parts you need. Aerospace Unlimited has a wide selection of parts to choose from and is fully equipped with a friendly and knowledgeable staff, and we will always help you find what you’re looking for, 24/7x365. If you’re interested in a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-412-212-0606.

Read more »

Gilat has just announced that they will be unveiling a new Electronically Steerable Antenna through a joint development project with Airbus as part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program. This fully embedded airborne antenna technology by Gilat will be on full display during an inflight demonstration on a C295 aircraft in support of the Clean Sky 2 (CS2) objective which was intended to push for a more efficient and eco-friendly transport. Due to their phased array antenna (PAA) expertise, Gilat was selected to develop a Ka band ESA inflight connectivity (IFC) terminal with the embedded antenna ray in the wing structure of the airframe which includes the radiating elements and amplification.

Airbus who is partnering with Gilat for the development of the airborne terminal which includes designing, prototyping, manufacturing, and testing both on the ground and in-flight level. Gilat believes the phased array technology will allow for high integration and embedding of the antenna into airframe structures and has scheduled for in-flight validation tests plans to be carried out in Seville, Spain. Gilat is replacing the original panels with new composite structures which will add IFC capabilities without interfering with the aircraft performance and maneuverability by reducing fuel consumption and avoiding aerodynamic drag. This will also eliminate any protruding components and will contribute to the reduction of COC2 emissions which was one of the primary objective of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program.

Here at Aerospace Unlimited, we have a dedicated and expansive array of Airbus products. We are your one-stop shop and go destination for a  simplified sourcing solution. ASAP will  ensure that our consumers’ needs are addressed in the most expeditious and transparent manner all the while offering cost-effective component solutions therefore improving our your negotiation power and profit margins. If you are interested in a quote, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly sales staff at call us at toll free at +1-412-212-0606.

Read more »

Recent Twitter Posts


ASAP Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships

address logo

2770 S Maryland Parkway, Suite 414, Las Vegas, NV 89109, United States

phone logo

Call Us:

Thank you for visiting Aerospace Unlimited!

We're Glad You Visited Aerospace Unlimited. Before You Go, Take a Look at Our NSN Parts Catalog.

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.