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Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

Posted on Sunday, August 19th, 2018 in Free PCBs by DP | 7 Comments

BP-600x373

We go through a lot of prototype PCBs, and end up with lots of extras that we’ll never use. Every Sunday we give away a few PCBs from one of our past or future projects, or a related prototype. Our PCBs are made through Seeed Studio’s Fusion board service. This week two random commenters will get a coupon code for the free PCB drawer tomorrow morning. Pick your own PCB. You get unlimited free PCBs now – finish one and we’ll send you another! Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

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App note: AC ripple current calculations solid tantalum capacitors

Posted on Sunday, August 19th, 2018 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_vishay_tantalum_limit

Application note from Vishay on power and voltage limitations of solid tantalum capacitors for both low and high frequency applications. Link here (PDF)

Solid tantalum capacitors are preferred for filtering applications in small power supplies and DC/DC converters in a broad range of military, industrial and commercial systems including computers, telecommunications, instruments and controls and automotive equipment. Solid tantalum capacitors are preferred for their high reliability, long life, extended shelf life, exceptional stability with temperature and their small size. Their voltage range is 4 to 50 volts for the most common types. Tantalum chip capacitors for surface mount applications are manufactured in very small sizes and are compatible with standard pick-and-place equipment.

App note: Electrolytic capacitor lifetime estimation

Posted on Sunday, August 19th, 2018 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_jianghai_elcap_lifetime_est

Lifetime estimation methods for elcap app note from Jianghai. Link here (PDF)

Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors (“alu-elcaps”, “elcaps”) are essential for the function of many electronic devices. Ever increasing for enhanced efficiency, the expanding utilization of renewable energy and the continuous growth of electronic content in automotive applications have driven the usage of these components.

In many applications, the lifetime of electronic devices is directly linked to the lifetime of the elcaps inside. To ensure reliable operation of electronic devices for a defined period, a thorough knowledge of the vital properties of elcaps is mandatory.

The present article outlines the construction of elcaps and explains related terms like ESR, ripple current, self-heating, chemical stability, and lifetime. Two estimation tools for obtaining elcap lifetime approximations in an application are introduced and illustrated by an example.

Open source RISC – Eclipse with RISC-V on the SiFive HiFive1 board

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018 in open source by DP | 1 Comment

sifive-hifive1-board

Erich Styger writes:

Open Source software has been around for decades. But open source on hardware especially microcontroller is not much a reality these days. But there is something which might change this: RISC-V is a free and open RISC instruction set architecture and for me it has the potential to replace some of the proprietary architectures currently used. RISC-V is not new, but it gets more and more traction in Academia (no surprise). Not only because it is open: Think about all the recent security issues with proprietary architectures: Spectre, Meltdown, and Foreshadow just be the most recent one.
I wanted to play with RISC-V for over a year, but finally a week ago I did one of these “hey, let’s buy that board” thing again. Sometimes these boards get on a pile to wait a few weeks or longer to get used, but that one I had to try out immediately :-).

More details on MCU on Eclipse site.

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018 in Free PCBs by DP | No Comments

BP

Every Friday we give away some extra PCBs via Facebook. This post was announced on Facebook, and on Monday we’ll send coupon codes to two random commenters. The coupon code usually go to Facebook ‘Other’ Messages Folder . More PCBs via Twitter on Tuesday and the blog every Sunday. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

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Teardown of an MEDA PLM-100 AC Magnetometer

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018 in Free PCBs by DP | No Comments

PLM100

Kerry Wong did teardown of an MEDA PLM-100 AC magnetometer:

I did a teardown a while ago on a cheap eBay electromagnetic radiation detector, and if you recall the performance of that meter was mediocre at the best. This time around though, I’ve got a MEDA PLM-100 AC magnetometer. Since MEDA (Macintyre Electronic Design Associates) specializes in fluxgate and search coil magnetometers, this PLM-100 magnetometer is a piece of professional test equipment. In this blog post, you will see some teardown pictures and for those who want to see some real world actions you can take a look at the video included towards the end.

See the full post on his blog here.

Check out the video after the break. (more…)

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

Posted on Sunday, August 12th, 2018 in Free PCBs by DP | 4 Comments

BP-600x373

We go through a lot of prototype PCBs, and end up with lots of extras that we’ll never use. Every Sunday we give away a few PCBs from one of our past or future projects, or a related prototype. Our PCBs are made through Seeed Studio’s Fusion board service. This week two random commenters will get a coupon code for the free PCB drawer tomorrow morning. Pick your own PCB. You get unlimited free PCBs now – finish one and we’ll send you another! Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

(more…)

App note: Replacing mechanical potentiometers with digital potentiometers

Posted on Sunday, August 12th, 2018 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_analog_AN1121

Another application note from Analog Devices this time about the superiority of digital over mechanical potentionmenters. Link here (PDF)

Potentiometers have been widely used since the early days of electronic circuits, providing a simple way to calibrate a system, adjusting offset voltage or gain in an amplifier, tuning filters, controlling screen brightness, among other uses. Due to their physical construction, mechanical potentiometers have some limitations inherent to their nature, such as size, mechanical wear, wiper contamination, resistance drift, sensitivity to vibration, humidity, and layout inflexibility.

Digital potentiometers are designed to overcome all these problems, offering increased reliability and higher accuracy with smaller voltages glitches. The mechanical potentiometer has now been relegated to environments where the digital potentiometer cannot be a suitable replacement, such as high temperature environments or in high power applications.

Comparing both technologies is the simplest way to discern which is the optimal solution for your system.

App note: Precision signal conditioning for high resolution industrial applications

Posted on Sunday, August 12th, 2018 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_analog_AN1264

App note from Analog Devices on robust precision signal conditioning. Link here (PDF)

Industrial measurement and control systems often need to interface to sensors while operating in noisy environments. Because sensors typically generate very small electrical signals, extracting their output from the noise can be challenging. Applying signal conditioning techniques, such as amplification and filtering, can aid in the extraction of the signal because these techniques increase the sensitivity of the system. The signal can then be scaled and shifted to take full advantage of high performance ADCs.

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, August 10th, 2018 in Free PCBs by DP | 1 Comment

BP

Every Friday we give away some extra PCBs via Facebook. This post was announced on Facebook, and on Monday we’ll send coupon codes to two random commenters. The coupon code usually go to Facebook ‘Other’ Messages Folder . More PCBs via Twitter on Tuesday and the blog every Sunday. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

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6809 CPU board for the RC2014

Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2018 in DIY, PCBs by DP | No Comments

6809_small

Ben Chong posted his RC2014 6809 CPU board, that is available on github.

More details on his blog.

4pin hall sensor adapter board

Posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 in DIY by DP | No Comments

4pin_hall_sensor_comparer

Davide Gironi published a new build:

Hall Sensor are pretty common components. Most of the time one will find 3 pin Hall Sensor. But there are time that one can find a 4 pin hall sensor. Those kind of sensor is called dual-channel.

See the full post on his blog.

Check out the video after the break. (more…)

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

Posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 in Free PCBs by DP | No Comments

IRToy-600x369

Every Tuesday we give away two coupons for the free PCB drawer via Twitter. This post was announced on Twitter, and in 24 hours we’ll send coupon codes to two random retweeters. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times a every week:

  • Hate Twitter and Facebook? Free PCB Sunday is the classic PCB giveaway. Catch it every Sunday, right here on the blog
  • Tweet-a-PCB Tuesday. Follow us and get boards in 144 characters or less
  • Facebook PCB Friday. Free PCBs will be your friend for the weekend

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • Check out how we mail PCBs worldwide video.
  • We’ll contact you via Twitter with a coupon code for the PCB drawer.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.

We try to stagger free PCB posts so every time zone has a chance to participate, but the best way to see it first is to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

SI5351 signal generator test gadget

Posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 in gadget, testing by DP | No Comments

si5351 tg

DuWayne published a new build:

I have been spending way too much time playing with the new 3D printer, so have to get back to some electronics.  Since the next CWTD.ORG episode is coming up, I decided to build another ‘Test Gadget’.  This time it is a Signal Generator based on the SI5351 clock generator.  I had purchased a couple Chinese versions of the Adafruit 5351 module when I was working on the ‘Sweeperino Jr. ‘ and wanted to see how  well they worked.

See the full post on his blog.

PopCom – Identify your COM ports

Posted on Monday, August 6th, 2018 in USB by DP | 1 Comment

popcom

avishorp has written a small program that pops up a message whenever a serial port over USB device is plugged in, that is available on GitHub (code) and (installer)

PopCom is a COM port plug-in/plug-out notifier. Whenever a USB device that emulates a COM port is connected to the computer, a pop-up will be displayed, describing the device that has been plugged in and the COM number assigned to it. This pop-up helps determining the COM number assigned to each device, a number that is required for communicating with it.

More details on avishorp’s blog.

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

Posted on Sunday, August 5th, 2018 in Free PCBs by DP | 8 Comments

BP-600x373

We go through a lot of prototype PCBs, and end up with lots of extras that we’ll never use. Every Sunday we give away a few PCBs from one of our past or future projects, or a related prototype. Our PCBs are made through Seeed Studio’s Fusion board service. This week two random commenters will get a coupon code for the free PCB drawer tomorrow morning. Pick your own PCB. You get unlimited free PCBs now – finish one and we’ll send you another! Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

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App note: Modern thermocouples and a high-resolution DeltaSigma ADC enable high-precision temperature measurement

Posted on Sunday, August 5th, 2018 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_maxim_AN5032

Old app note from Maxim Integrated about high-precision temperature measurement. Link here (PDF)

Many industrial and medical applications require temperature measurements with accuracies of ±1°C or better, performed with reasonable cost over a wide range of temperatures (-270°C to +1750°C), and often with low power consumption. Properly selected, standardized, modern thermocouples paired with high-resolution ADC data acquisition systems (DASs) can cover this wide temperature range and ensure reproducible measurements, even in the harshest industrial environments.

App note: Sterilization methods and their impact on medical devices containing electronics

Posted on Sunday, August 5th, 2018 in app notes by DP | No Comments

App note from Maxim Integrated on electronic devices sterilization. Link here (PDF)

Although there is considerable literature about sterilization methods and equipment, there is very little written about the impact of sterilization on electronics. This article compares popular sterilization methods and discusses their suitability for objects containing electronics.

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, August 3rd, 2018 in Free PCBs by DP | No Comments

BP

Every Friday we give away some extra PCBs via Facebook. This post was announced on Facebook, and on Monday we’ll send coupon codes to two random commenters. The coupon code usually go to Facebook ‘Other’ Messages Folder . More PCBs via Twitter on Tuesday and the blog every Sunday. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

(more…)

Scott’s Z80SBC: Z80 single board computer

Posted on Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 in PCBs by DP | 1 Comment

Z80SBC

Dr. Scott M. Baker published a new build:

When I was first getting started with electronics, wanted a Heathkit ET-3400 Microproccessor trainer, but could never afford one at the time. Eventually both I and the world moved on, to fancier more capable computers. However, I’ve still always wished I had an iconic trainer, complete with LED displays and a hexadecimal keypad. So I decided to build something of my own.

Project info at smbaker.com and the GitHub repository here.

Check out the video after the break. (more…)

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