Using 0603 surface mount components for prototyping

Kenneth Finnegan shared a tip on using 0603 SMDs on the .1″ perf board: As a quick little tip, when I’m prototyping circuits on 0.1″ perf board, I like using 0603 surface mount components for all of my passives and LEDs, since they nicely fit between the pads. This way I don’t need to bother with any […]

Bit-bang FTDI USB-to-serial converters to drive SPI devices

Scott W Harden writes , “The FT232 USB-to-serial converter is one of the most commonly-used methods of adding USB functionality to small projects, but recently I found that these chips are capable of sending more than just serial signals. With some creative programming, individual output pins can be big-banged to emulate a clock, data, and […]

An easy way to mount DS18B20 temperature sensors

Matt wrote an article describing a technique he used to mount DS18B20 temperature sensors: One of the biggest advantage of these sensors over I2C sensors, is that you can mount them almost anywhere. That having been said, I’ve never quite managed to come up with an elegant solution, particularly when attaching to a heatsink (for […]

Using DC motors to power computers

Electric generator experiment from HomoFaciens: The generators I am using are in fact geared DC motors, left over from a project with my sponsor RS Components. The modern abacuses being powered during my experiments are a Raspberry Pi Model, a SIMATIC IOT2020 and an Arduino Uno. A 2×16 characters LCD is used to display results. […]

StyloCard

Stylophone business card project from mitxela.com Printed Circuit Boards as a business card are a great gimmick. I’d seen ones with USB ports etched into them, which enumerate as a keyboard and then type a person’s name or load up their website. It’s just about possible to build them cheap enough to hand out as a […]

Troubleshooting tips: Failed debugging with GDB

Erich Styger writes: Three years ago I published “Debugging Failure: Check List and Hints” and unfortunately this article is one of the most popular ones: obviously debugging problems are very common. Debugging with GDB works usually fine, but if things are failing, then it can be hard to find the cause for it. Recently I […]

Yield function, printable class and mapping arrays: Useful but unknown features from Arduino core

Yahya Tawil over at Atadiat wrote a new tip for Arduino developers about three hidden and useful features in Arduino core: Arduino core, the source code of Arduino API functions and classes, has three useful features that can be used effectively. As the Arduino core documentation doesn’t mention them (at least until the time of publishing […]

Pimp your PCB businesscard full color

Here is a nice PCB businesscard @ smdprutser.nl As a good electronic hobbiest tradition I started to design a businesscard from PCB material. Downside of all the businesscards (and PCBs in general) is the limited number of colors you can use: FR4, soldermask (with or without copper behind it), silkscreen or bare copper. Since the […]

Using Python to store data from many BLE devices

Erich Styger has written an article describing a technique he used to collect and store data from several BLE devices with Raspberry Pi and Python scripting: BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) sensor devices like the Hexiwear are great, but they cannot store a large amount of data. For a research project I have to collect data […]

Modifying the Teensy 3.5 and 3.6 for ARM SWD debugging

Erich Styger @ mcuoneclipse.com writes: Looking for a small, inexpensive ($25-30) ARM development board (say 120-180 MHz ARM Cortex-M4 with FPU, 512kB-1MB of FLASH and 256 KByte of RAM? Then have a look at the Teensy 3.5 and Teensy 3.6 by PJRC/Paul Stoffregen The only problem? it is not possible to debug it :-(. At […]

Enhancing Arduino ADC resolution with dithering & oversampling

From the comments on our previous post Improving ADC resolution by oversampling and averaging application note, Edward Mallon writes: I managed to get oversampling working well on cheap Arduino promini clones. Turns out all you have to do is toggle a digital pin connected to ground with the right size resistor to generate enough noise […]

Inverter crystal oscillator

Vasily Ivanenko writes: In numerous RF synthesizer chips lies an inverter with input and output pins for making a reference crystal oscillator clock. I built some discrete chip inverter xtal oscillators with 74HC series logic gates to better examine them. You’ll quickly recognize the oft-used Pierce oscillator topology with 1 trimmer capacitor to tweak the […]

RC snubber calculator spreadsheet

Paulo has developed a free RC snubber calculator, an Excel-based calculator eases the design of RC snubbers in power switching applications: In power switching applications, a designer often has to contend with spurious oscillations. These are the result of parasitic capacitances and inductance on the board and behave like the step response of an RLC […]

Using Altium for a DirtyPCBs order

Jarrett  has written an article describing a technique of using Altium for a DirtyPCBs order: This is a pretty rare combo: using a premium PCB package with the budget board house. Kinda funny. Generally these small run PCB houses provide DRU and CAM files for EAGLE design rule checking and Gerber outputs, respectively. Because I’m […]