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App note: Choose the right power supply for your FPGA

Posted on Sunday, December 10th, 2017 in app notes by DP | 1 Comment

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Designing a power supply for FPGA includes multiple voltage, ripple management and power sequencing, here’s an app note from Maxim Integrated. Link here (PDF)

Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs) require 3 to 15, or even more, voltage rails. The logic fabric is usually at the latest process technology node that determines the core supply voltage. Configuration, housekeeping circuitry, various I/Os, serializer/deserializer (SerDes) transceivers, clock managers, and other functions all have differing requirements for voltage rails, sequencing/tracking, and voltage ripple limits. An engineer must consider all of these issues when designing a power supply for an FPGA.

App note: Current-sense amplifier doubles as a high common mode instrumentation amplifier

Posted on Sunday, December 10th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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Application note from Maxim intergrated on utilizing a boost converter and a current-sense amplifier to form a regulator that derives +5V from -48V without isolation. Link here (PDF)

Instrumentation amplifiers (IAs) are used where gain accuracy and dc precision are important, such as in measurement and test equipment. The downside of IAs is the cost. However, inexpensive current-sense amplifiers handle high common-mode voltages and share some traits with IAs. As a result, in some applications, such as a ground-referenced -48V to +5V power converter, current-sense amplifiers can replace IAs, thereby reducing cost.

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2017 in Free PCBs by DP | No Comments

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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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Bus timer project

Posted on Thursday, December 7th, 2017 in DIY by DP | No Comments

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Limpkin published a new build:

For once, this project was not for me… it was for my wife !
Every morning she takes the bus then train to go to work. If she misses her train, she has to wait for more than 30 minutes for the next one. Not missing her bus is therefore quite important.
Where we live every bus station has a display letting you know in real time when the next bus will be there. My first thought was to reverse engineer its RF signal but something easier then came to mind.
In the very same bus stations, a small QR code brings you to a web page displaying the very same “minutes before bus arrival”… HTML parsing therefore made more sense given that I was fairly busy with other projects.

See the full post on his blog.

ESP8266 voltage regulator (LiPo and Li-ion batteries)

Posted on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 in tutorials by DP | 5 Comments

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Rui Santos writes, “In this guide, you’re going to build a voltage regulator for the ESP8266 that can be used with LiPo and Li-ion batteries.”

More details at RandomNerdTutorials.com.

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

App note: Current sensing in metering applications using a pulse current sensor and ST metering devices

Posted on Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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App note from STMicroelectronics about current sensing using Rogowski coil together with STPMxx metering device. Link here (PDF)

This application note describes the benefits of a current sensing system for metering applications using STPMxx metering devices and a current sensor developed by Pulse Engineering Inc. (hereafter referred to as “Pulse current sensor”), based on the Rogowski coil principle. Following an overview of the Rogowski coil principle, the Pulse current sensor is introduced along with a comparison to other current measuring devices. This is followed by a presentation of the characteristics of the STPMxx family of metering devices, and the results of accuracy testing conducted using a demonstration board with the STPM01 and the Pulse current sensor.

App note: Watt-hour meter based on the STM32F101 microcontroller

Posted on Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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ARM Microcontroller based watt-hour meter implementation from STMicroelectronics. Link here (PDF)

This document describes, in detail, the hardware and software implementation of a watthour meter using the STM32F101 microcontroller. This cost effective watt-hour meter uses shunt with an operational amplifier as a current sensor, an embedded 12-bit ADC for current and voltage measurement, GPIO for LCD management, and a lot of other peripherals for communication, tamper detection, keyboard, and power disconnection. Powerful architecture of the STM32™ microcontroller allows sampling at 1 Msps. The high sampling rate makes it possible to use methods for ADC resolution enhancement.

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, December 1st, 2017 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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6×1 antenna switch

Posted on Thursday, November 30th, 2017 in DIY by DP | No Comments

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Mare published a new build:

This is complete project for 1×6 antenna switch. It was bult in more than 50 pieces around the world and performs really good. Even big guns use it for their systems. The project was designed with help from other OMs (S55O, S59MA, S50LD, S51CT, S51ZJ, SM2WMV/SJ2W and others).

More details at Mare & Gal Electronics.

Weather logger with Losant and Amazon Alexa

Posted on Thursday, November 30th, 2017 in Arduino, sensors, wireless by DP | 2 Comments

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Steve documented his experience experimenting with home weather logging:

Like a million other people on the Internet, I’ve been experimenting with home weather logging. I roll my eyes at the phrase “Internet of Things”, but it’s hard to deny the potential of cheap networked sensors and switches, and a weather logging system is like this field’s Hello World application. Back in June I posted about my initial experiments in ESP8266 weather logging. Since then I’ve finalized the hardware setup, installed multiple nodes around the house, organized a nice web page to analyze all the data, and integrated everything with Amazon Alexa. Time for an update.

More details at Big Mess o’ Wires homepage.

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

Transistor radio series – The 7 MHz scratch synthesizer

Posted on Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 in DIY, RF by DP | No Comments

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Vasily Ivanenko has written up documentation on his 7 MHz synthesizer project:

Above — All 4 boards were built in re-purposed Hammond boxes. A PIC-based counter sits on top of the offset mixer. I build modular gear and this allows modification and fosters experimentation. When I build a final transistor radio receiver, I plan to place the offset mixer, PLL circuitry and VXO on the same board inside the radio with some shielding. My VCOs always go in a RF tight container. A 0.0033 µF feed through capacitor connects the VCO varactors to the outside world.

See the full post on his blog, QRP HomeBuilder.

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

Posted on Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 in Free PCBs by DP | No Comments

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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.

Teardown of an ATVR-1000D AC voltage regulator

Posted on Monday, November 27th, 2017 in Teardowns by DP | No Comments

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Kerry Wong did a teardown of an ATVR-1000D automatic AC voltage regulator and discussed how different types of AC regulators work:

The ATVR-1000D utilizes a motor to drive the wiper of a autotransformer (Variac), the servo motor can be driven in either direction depending on the output from the OpAmp (LM324) based comparator. Comparing to a voltage regulator that uses relays for tap-switching, this type of servo-driven voltage regulator has several advantages. It offers continuous voltage adjustments as opposed to the limited discrete steps offered by relay-switching regulators. Also the output waveform is continuous.

See the full post on his blog.

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

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

Posted on Sunday, November 26th, 2017 in Free PCBs by DP | 18 Comments

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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: Thermal design calculations for integrated stepper motor driver solutions

Posted on Sunday, November 26th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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Another technical note from STMicroelectronics on fine tuning motor drivers for optimal thermal design. Link here (PDF)

One constant trend in the automotive world is the tendency to reduce the size of electronic components and the ECUs (Electronic Control Unit). While this development has many benefits for the car manufacturer as well as for the end customer, there are also challenges for the developers of these systems: especially for power drivers the design of robust applications requires an accurate estimation of the thermal power dissipation on a system level.

In this article a method to calculate the thermal power dissipation of a stepper motor driver is derived from a simple example to a model that includes the various configuration options and modes of a state of the art stepper driver, like that of ST Microelectronic’s L9942.

App note: Pop & click in audio amplifiers

Posted on Sunday, November 26th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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Technical note from STMicroelectronics about popping noise usually heard on audio amplifiers and how to minimize it. Link here (PDF)

Pop and click, or rather, the absence of it, is a characteristic that makes a lot of impact in the world of audio amplifiers. This is especially true for those destined for headphone-equipped applications (such as mobile phones and MP3 players).
Pop and click are the names given to the popping noise that may be heard through the headphones when you switch on or off portable audio equipment or mobile phones. The noise is generated by a voltage difference at across the output stage of the amplifier at switch-on or switch-off before it reaches its idle (or equilibrium) state.

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, November 24th, 2017 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…)

Rework and probe wires for circuit boards

Posted on Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 in how-to, techniques by DP | No Comments

Tips & tricks to add probe wires for low-voltage, low-current signals on small fine pitch circuit boards.

Via Electronupdate.

Cheap DIY USB MIDI to CV

Posted on Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 in DIY, how-to by DP | No Comments

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A how-to on making a DIY USB MIDI to CV from DIY Synthesizer:

This one is simple and does not require any expensive Teensy’s or STM32.
It runs on the ATtiny85 using V-USB.
The ATtiny is programmed with the Micronucleus bootloader and is firmware
upgradeable incircuit.

More details at DIY Synthesizer homepage.

A full review of EasyEDA: A circuit EDA online tool

Posted on Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 in site, tools by DP | No Comments

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Yahya Tawil wrote in to share his review of a web based EDA tool, the EasyEDA. He explains the general structure of this tool and some of its cool features:

EDA cloud tools which are related to electronics are emerging exponentially in almost all aspects (i.e. simulation, PCB design, footprint creation, gerber files viewing and 3D PCB viewing). Even well-known desktop programs like EAGLE CAD and Altium are trying to compete in this field by making their own services or by acquiring others.
Web-based EDA tool suites like EasyEDA and Upverter are getting rapidly famous. These online tools offer some outstanding solutions for collaboration and providing some viable features for teams with financial limits like multi-layer PCB designing, while it costs a lot to buy a licence for other EDA tool with a multi-layer feature, for example.

More details at allaboutcircuits.com.

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Recent Comments

  • Pekka Akselin: This is ridiculous!? :-) We are back at 256(!) byte EPROMs that needed multiple, a handful, of voltages to run! :-(
  • KH: Let's try a back-of-envelope calc balancing energies. From MCP1700 datasheet, there are graphs for a 200mA load step. Estimate the energy shortfall as 12uJ. Say...
  • Daniel: It's been a week and my comment is still awaiting moderation. Apparently the CIA doesn't want their involvement known?
  • KH: Agree, so okay, I guess he must have learned from somewhere. 100nF and 1000uF is so far apart, that was jarring; it's more magic incantation...
  • Max: I have a suspicion the hefty electrolytic cap might be some sort of cargo cult carry-over from other RF-based projects - for instance, I've seen...