Silicon die analysis: Inside an op amp with interesting “butterfly” transistors

An excellent in-depth look at theTL084 op amp by Ken Shirriff: Some integrated circuits have very interesting dies under a microscope, like the chip below with designs that look kind of like butterflies. These patterns are special JFET input transistors that improved the chip’s performance. This chip is a Texas Instruments TL084 quad op amp and […]

Dirty terminal sample pack

Crimp Terminals for Cables Crimp terminals lock to the end of a wire and attach to an electrical connection such as a screw or terminal block. There are tons of different styles out there, but we found a handful that every Chinese cable manufacturer stocks. This is important because while reels of crimps are cheap, […]

DIRTY CABLES: Cheap custom cables available now

Dirty Cables is a drag and drop cable builder that gives you access to cheap custom cable services from China. Build a custom cable, get an instant quote, and checkout. Your custom cables should ship in 3 to 7 work days. Huaqiangbei is full of cheap custom cable vendors with a big pile of samples […]

DIRTY CABLES: What’s in that sample pile?

Massive sample piles advertise the custom cable manufacturers in Huaqiangbei market. A sketch and a few part numbers is enough to get a quote on the spot. These piles reveal which connectors are standard and readily available in the Chinese manufacturing ecosystem. To avoid sourcing problems and production delays its probably best to stick with […]

Dirt Cheap Dirty Reels: cheap component reels from China

Component reels shouldn’t be overpriced or difficult to come by. Dirty Reels connects you to cheap Chinese component suppliers in the Huaqiangbei electronics market. Add a reel of resistors to your next DEV shop order for under $4! A dirty reel of 5000 100ohm 5% 0603 resistors from a major Chinese manufacturer like Super Ohm is only $3.97. […]

Search Github projects by component, find design references

  Search Github hardware by component to find examples and references for your next project. Big schematic and PCB previews mean quick and easy browsing without opening a CAD program. TomKeddie first mentioned this idea at Hacker Camp Shenzhen, and later in the forum and on WeChat. Tom generously shared his scraping/search method. Eagle 6+ […]

ESP8266: Arduino compatible $5 MCU with WiFi

MAKE has posted Alasdair Allan’s three part series concerning the ESP8266 MCU. Alasdair highlights the capabilities and limitations of this chip, the installation and use of a supporting version of the Arduino IDE, and how to create a breadboard adapter for the ESP-01 breakout board (pictured above.) Via MAKE.

TAPR/DCC video: System on a Chip – Programming FPGAs for Mixed Signal Systems

Here is the first of a four-part video series recently posted from the 2014 TAPR/DCC conference in Austin, TX. This is from the DCC’s Sunday Seminar, “a four-hour deep dive” into a single subject, in this case FPGA programming for mixed signal systems. “The presenter is amateur radio operator Chris Testa KD2BMH who is designing […]

First impression on the ESP8266 serial-to-WiFi module

Ray Wang has been experimenting with the ESP8266 Serial-to-WiFi module, which has gained much hype recently. “The module is very compact, easy to interface with, and inexpensive. I wrote an Arduino program to show how to use the Arduino to communicate with the WiFi module and set up a very simple web server.” Check out […]

NTSC video signal generation demystified

Sagar has posted the final installment on his blog series demystifying the NTSC video standard. NTSC progressive scanning mode and simpler sync methods are not well documented and this issue is addressed here. Producing video signals by going to lowest hardware level is fun and satisfying. With the number of very capable digital controllers available […]

Op-Amp based linear regulators

Warren Young of Tangentsoft writes: Experienced audio DIYers are familiar with monolithic linear regulators like the 78xx series and the LM317. Here’s a simplified block diagram of a standard linear regulator, from National Semiconductor’s Application Note 1148 Let’s see… We have an op-amp, a couple of transistors, a voltage reference, and a few resistors. Can we […]

Defcon 21 video: Hardware hacking with MCUs

At last years Defcon conference in Las Vegas, NV, hardware hackers Joe Grand, Mark ‘Smtty’ Smith, LosT, RenderMan and FirmWarez discussed their experiences in using various microcontrollers. Interesting stuff, particularly If you’re just getting started with electronics and are trying to navigate the sea of available microcontrollers, microprocessors, and modules.