Categories

Solid-state joystick

Posted on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 in Arduino, gadget by DP | No Comments

pics-IMG_20170818_165822-600

Paul Gardner-Stephen writes:

Early in the year, one of my colleagues, Damian, showed me one of these strain-gauge solid-state joysticks that they were using as part of the undergraduate engineering curriculum.
Their goal was to teach the students how to read strain-gauges. But I immediately saw the applicability for making a no-moving-parts super-robust joystick for the MEGA65 and all other retro computer users.

See the full post on his blog.

Microcontroller action potential generator

Posted on Monday, August 21st, 2017 in AVR, how-to by DP | 1 Comment

pics-ap-generator-running-600

Scott Harden writes:

Here I demonstrate how to use a single microcontroller pin to generate action-potential-like waveforms. The output is similar my fully analog action potential generator circuit, but the waveform here is created in an entirely different way. A microcontroller is at the core of this project and determines when to fire action potentials. Taking advantage of the pseudo-random number generator (rand() in AVR-GCC’s stdlib.h), I am able to easily produce unevenly-spaced action potentials which more accurately reflect those observed in nature. This circuit has a potentiometer to adjust the action potential frequency (probability) and another to adjust the amount of overshoot (afterhyperpolarization, AHP). I created this project because I wanted to practice designing various types of action potential measurement circuits, so creating an action potential generating circuit was an obvious perquisite.

See the full post at SWHarden.com.

Check out the video after the break.

(more…)

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

Posted on Sunday, August 20th, 2017 in Free PCBs by DP | 17 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: How RF transformers work and how they are measured

Posted on Sunday, August 20th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_minicircuits_AN20-001

Application note from Mini-Circuits about transformers, this time the RF transformers. Link here (PDF)

RF transformers are widely used in electronic circuits for
* Impedance matching to achieve maximum power transfer and to suppress undesired signal reflection.
* Voltage, current step-up or step-down.
* DC isolation between circuits while affording efficient AC transmission.
* Interfacing between balanced and unbalanced circuits; example: balanced amplifiers.

App note: Transformers

Posted on Sunday, August 20th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_minicircuits_AN20-002

App note from Mini-Circuits on transformer types and some basics of them. Link here (PDF)

The purpose of this application note is to describe the fundamentals of RF and microwave transformers and to provide guidelines to users in selecting proper transformer to suit their applications. It is limited to core-and-wire and LTCC transformers.

 

App note: USB hardware design guide

Posted on Saturday, August 19th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

1apps

An app note from Silicon Labs with design guidelines for implementing USB host and device applications using USB capable EFM32 microcontrollers. Link here. (PDF!)

This document will explain how to connect the USB pins of an EFM32 microcontroller, and will give general guidelines on PCB design for USB applications. First some quick rules-of-thumb for routing and layout are presented before a more detailed explanation follows.
The information in this document is meant to supplement the information already presented in Energy Micro application notes AN0002 Hardware Design Considerations and AN0016 Oscillator Design Considerations, and it is recommended to follow these guidelines as well.

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, August 18th, 2017 in Free PCBs by DP | 2 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…)

PRECIsion Power SUpply project

Posted on Friday, August 18th, 2017 in power supply by DP | 1 Comment

pics-block-600

PreciPSU, a high performance power supply project from Mare & Gal Electronics:

PreciPSU is an attempt to build high performance power supply. The idea started few years ago but it was never realised. Some major target performance specs are as follows:

  • three isolated channels
  • around 50W per channel
  • 24V/3A output per channel
  • lowest possible ripple at fastest response
  • small size
  • programmable via USB
  • nice housing with minimalist user interface (2 plugs per channel, knob, button and small display

Read the full post here.

Getting control over a 50 watt CO2 laser cutter from China

Posted on Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 in tools by DP | No Comments

weekend-box

Unboxing laser cutter Co2 50 watt from China:

There are people around me who think I’m crazy. And they are probably right. Who else would buy a machine from someone he does not know. I have to pay upfront. It is not clear how things will get delivered, what gets delivered, or if it gets delivered at all. Up to the point I can lose the money I have spent. Best of all: that machine is dangerous enough to potentially kill me. And it has the potential to put my home on fire too. Well, that sounds like an exciting weekend project, or not?

See the full post at MCU on Eclipse homepage.

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

Posted on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 in Free PCBs by DP | No Comments

BP

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.

Bus Pirate free PCB build

Posted on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 in builds, Free PCBs by DP | 1 Comment

FreePCBBuilds-600

Martin built these free Bus Pirate PCBs. The Bus Pirate is an open source hacker multi-tool that talks to electronic stuff.

If you build a free PCB we’ll send you another one! Blog about it, post a picture on Flicker, whatever – we’ll send you a coupon code for the free PCB drawer.

Get your own handy Bus Pirate for $30, including world-wide shipping. Also available from

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

Posted on Sunday, August 13th, 2017 in Free PCBs by DP | 20 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: Selecting a FET for use with the Si875x driver

Posted on Sunday, August 13th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_silabs_an1052

Another application note from Silicon Labs on determining the proper FET used on their Si875x driver based on its application. Link here (PDF)

The Si875x enables creating custom solid state relay (SSR) configurations. Supporting customer-selected external FETs, the Si875x combines robust isolation technology with a FET driver to form a complete, isolated, switch. Versatile inputs provide digital CMOS pin control (Si8751) or diode emulation (Si8752) to best suit the application, plus flexible outputs to support driving ac or dc load configurations. A floating secondary side dc voltage source is unnecessary as the product generates its own self contained gate drive output voltage, reducing cost, size, and complexity.

App note: Driving MOSFET and IGBT switches using the Si828x

Posted on Sunday, August 13th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_silabs_AN1009

App note from Silicon Labs on their MOSFET and IGBT driver Si828x and how to determining its external components to achieve optimized performance. Link here (PDF)

The Si828x products integrate isolation, gate drivers, fault detection protection, and operational indicators into one package to drive IGBTs and MOSFETs as well as other gated power switch devices. Most Si828x products (except the Si8286) have three separate output pins to provide independent rise and fall time settings and low impedance clamping to suppress Miller voltage spikes. This application note provides guidance for selecting the external components necessary for operation of the driver. Although this application note discusses the topic of driving IGBTs and MOSFETs, users can apply the same concepts for driving other gate-based power switches, such as SiC (Silicon Carbide).

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, August 11th, 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…)

A look inside the DS3231 real-time clock

Posted on Thursday, August 10th, 2017 in Chips, reversed by DP | No Comments

S20170727_0001-600

Pete posted an article taking a closer look at Maxim’s DS3231 real-time clock:

Fortunately, Maxim also offers the DS3231, which is advertised as an “Extremely Accurate I2C-Integrated RTC/TCXO/Crystal”. This chip has the 32kHz crystal integrated into the package itself and uses a built-in temperature sensor to periodically measure the temperature of the crystal and, by switching different internal capacitors in and out of the crystal circuit, can precisely adjust its frequency so it remains constant. It’s specified to keep time within 2ppm from 0°C to +40°C, and 3.5ppm from -40°C to +85°C, which means the clock would only drift 63 and 110 seconds per year, respectively. Very cool.

See the full post at HeyPete.com blog.

Teardown and repair of an Agilent 53152A 46GHz microwave frequency counter

Posted on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 in RF, Teardowns by DP | No Comments

53152A-e1501549692533

Agilent 53152A 46GHz frequency counter teardown and repair from The Signal Path:

In this episode Shahriar investigates a faulty Agilent 53152A 46GHz frequency counter. The instrument does not power on and shows no sign of internal voltage presence. Teardown of the instrument reveals a large PCB where all analog and digital circuity is contained. The power supply module is a module components and upon measurements shows no activity.
The power supply is a simple switching architecture with functioning input rectifier and capacitor filter. By using an oscilloscope it is clear that the power supply PWM controller attempts to start. However, the main power supply pin shows unstable voltages indicating inadequate charge retention on the rectifying capacitor. Replacing the capacitor revives the startup condition and the power supply function returns. The PWM controller and main switching transistors are also replaced with new ones. After this repair the unit powers on and passes all self-tests. The unit can successfully measure signal frequencies and power.

More details at The Signal Path.

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

App note: Gate drive characteristics and requirements for HEXFET power MOSFETs

Posted on Sunday, August 6th, 2017 in app notes by DP | 4 Comments

an_infineon_AN-937

App note from International Rectifier on driving their Power MOSFETs. Link here (PDF)

The conventional bipolar transistor is a current-driven device. A current must be applied between the base and emitter terminals to produce a flow of current in the collector. The amount of a drive required to produce a given output depends upon the gain, but invariably a current must be made to flow into the base terminal to produce a flow of current in the collector.

The HEXFET®is fundamentally different: it is a voltage-controlled power MOSFET device. A voltage must be applied between the gate and source terminals to produce a flow of current in the drain. The gate is isolated electrically from the source by a layer of silicon dioxide. Theoretically, therefore, no current flows into the gate when a DC voltage is applied to it though in practice there will be an extremely small current, in the order of nanoamperes. With no voltage applied between the gate and source electrodes, the impedance between the drain and source terminals is very high, and only the leakage current flows in the drain.

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

Posted on Sunday, August 6th, 2017 in Free PCBs by DP | 18 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: Microcontroller Clock – crystal, resonator, RC Oscillator, or silicon oscillator?

Posted on Sunday, August 6th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_maxim_an2154

App note from Maxim Integrated on clock sources of microcontrollers and their strengths and weaknesses. Link here

The majority of clock sources for microcontrollers can be grouped into two types: those based on mechanical resonant devices, such as crystals and ceramic resonators, and those based on electrical phase-shift circuits such as RC (resistor, capacitor) oscillators. Silicon oscillators are typically a fully integrated version of the RC oscillator with the added benefits of current sources, matched resistors and capacitors, and temperature-compensation circuits for increased stability.

Next Page »

Recent Comments

  • Pavel: dangerousprototypes the best!
  • Leon: Too late?
  • Drone: First of all, let me post a reference about what Action Potential is in terms of Physiology (since DP isn't adding much value these days...
  • Daniel: Isn't it funny how free Sunday PCBs is always posted on Sunday night or Monday (in most parts of the world)?
  • hli: Sunday++