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Building a USB bootloader for an STM32

Posted on Friday, July 6th, 2018 in ARM, programmers by DP | 1 Comment

BootloaderEntryandExit

Kevin Cuzner writes:

As my final installment for the posts about my LED Wristwatch project I wanted to write about the self-programming bootloader I made for an STM32L052 and describe how it works. So far it has shown itself to be fairly robust and I haven’t had to get out my STLink to reprogram the watch for quite some time.
The main object of this bootloader is to facilitate reprogramming of the device without requiring a external programmer.

More details on Projects & Libraries’ homepage.

Building a DIY SMT pick & place machine with OpenPnP

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2018 in DIY by DP | No Comments

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Erich Styger has a nice write-up about building a DIY pick & place machine based on OpenPnP:

This article is about a project I have started back in January 2018. As for many of my projects, it took longer than anticipated.But now it is working, and the result is looking very good: a DIY automated pick and place machine to place parts on circuit boards. In the age of cheap PCBs, that machine closes the gap for small series of boards which have to be populated in a time consuming way otherwise.

See the full post on MCU on Eclipse blog.

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

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

Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018 in Chips, components by DP | No Comments

die-600

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 the symmetry of the four op amps is visible in the photo. (You can also see four big irregular rectangular regions; these are capacitors to stabilize the op amps.) In this article, I describe these components and the other circuitry in the chip and explain how it works. This article also includes an interactive chip explorer that shows each schematic component on the die and explains what it does.

See the full post on Ken Shirriff’s blog.

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018 in Free PCBs by DP | 1 Comment

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.

DIY Arduino FM radio

Posted on Monday, July 2nd, 2018 in Arduino, DIY, how-to by DP | 1 Comment

ArtDecoFMRadio-600

Nick over at educ8s.tv shared detailed instructions of how to build this DIY Art Deco style FM Radio project using Arduino:

Let’s see what we are going to build today! As you can see, we are going to build an Art Deco style FM radio receiver. The design of this radio is based on this spectacular 1935 AWA radio. I discovered this old radio while searching online and also in this book about the most beautiful radios ever made. I loved the design of this radio so much that I wanted to have a similar one. So I devoted a month of my time to build my own.

Full details at educ8s.tv.

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

Hard disk drive head assembly teardown

Posted on Monday, July 2nd, 2018 in Teardowns by DP | No Comments

DSCN3105-600

A look at a head assembly for a hard disk drive. See the full post on Electronupdate blog.

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

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

Posted on Sunday, July 1st, 2018 in Free PCBs by DP | 9 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: Capacitive sensing: Direct vs remote liquid-level sensing performance analysis

Posted on Sunday, July 1st, 2018 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_ti_snoa935a

Capacitive liquid level sensing method comparison discussed in this app note from Texas Instruments. Link here (PDF)

Capacitive-based liquid level sensing is making its way into the consumer, industrial, and automotive markets due to its system sensitivity, flexibility, and low cost. With using TI’s capacitive sensing technology, the system flexibility allows designers to have the choice of placing the sensors directly on the container (direct sensing) or in close proximity to the container (remote sensing). Each configuration has its own advantages and disadvantages. This application note highlights the system differences and performance of direct and remote sensing to provide guidance in how capacitive-based liquid-level sensing is affected.

App note: Measuring liquid levels using hall effect sensors

Posted on Sunday, July 1st, 2018 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_infineon_liquid_lvl_measurement

App note from Infineon on methods used in liquid level measurement and how contactless hall effect sensors are the right choice for the job. Link here (PDF)

This application note is dedicated to liquid level sensing using non-contacting magnetic sensor technology. First, an overview of some liquid level sensor application requirements are given. Next, we will introduce some of the solutions that are employed today and are researched for future systems, including both contacting techniques as well as non-contacting methods. Magnetic sensing turns out to be a comparably easy and robust solution to tackle the problem and Infineon’s linear Hall sensor portfolio is presented. Different design aspects of a magnetic liquid level sensor, including magnetic circuit designs, are discussed. The last section introduces some of Infineon’s Hall effect sensors that are suitable for use in fuel level sensing.

3D printed stirling engine gas burner and flywheel

Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2018 in 3D Model, DIY by DP | No Comments

Stirling Engine

The 3D printed Stirling Engine with its new gas burner and heavier flywheel from Do It Yourself Gadgets:

Take a look at my upgraded Stirling Engine with its new gas burner and flywheel!
If you take a look at my previous post you’ll see how I built a 3D printed holder for my Stirling Engine kit. Since I needed a constant heat source I added a small gas burner salvaged from an old BBQ lighter and attached it to the engine.

See the full post on Do It Yourself Gadgets blog.

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

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, June 29th, 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…)

LoraDunchy Arduino Nano pin-compatibile LoRa module with power management

Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2018 in Arduino by DP | No Comments

board

Mare writes:

Lora board with Arduino nano compatibile pinout and simple battery management
Small board with arduino nano compatibile pinout with power management and Murata ABZ LoRa module with STM32L0 microcontroller
Features:
-LoRa module: Murata ABZ
-Single cell LiPo cell charger on-board with charging signal internally connected to PA11 (via jumper)
-Buck/Boost switching power supply for delivering stable 3,3V regardless of the batterz voltage
-Battery fuel gauge on-board to control the real status of the battery

See the full post on Mare & Gal Electronics blog and the GitHub repository here.

A touch numeric keyboard for Arduino or Teensy

Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2018 in Arduino by DP | No Comments

Teensykeyb

Giovanni Carrera blogged about his touch numeric keyboard for Arduino or Teensy:

Very often, for our programs, we need a system to set parameters, usually of a numerical type. A 4×4 keyboard requires some space and then we also need a display. Here is the idea of using a touchscreen display to do both. I have then written the GetNum function that allows you to print a prompt message and to type an integer number. To test this function I wrote a simple analog data logger program that required two parameters, the first is the sampling period and the second the number of samples. In this example the number of channels to be scanned is set to three, but the program can be modified to request a third parameter with the number of channels.

See the full post on ArduPicLab blog.

Ethernet Relay board

Posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 in open source by DP | 1 Comment

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Boris Landoni from Open Electronics writes about a new open source project Ethernet Relay board:

The project we are introducing in this article wants on to take on that task by creating, through dedicated connections, the possibility to remotely control your entrance gate, your fish tank, the garden lights, the watering system and so on, using numerous examples. It is an ethernet-controlled relay board, which can be used as an actuator to directly control 220 V loads, to command 0V ÷ 5V digital signals or to read the status of digital or analog inputs; everything can be done remotely by using an Internet capable LAN.

Full details at open-electronics.org.

EEPROM rotation for ESP8266 and ESP32

Posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 in code, tutorials by DP | 4 Comments

naked-esp12-624x416

Xose Pérez over at Tinkerman writes:

The Arduino Core for ESP8266 and ESP32 uses one SPI flash memory sector to emulate an EEPROM. When you initialize the EEPROM object (calling begin) it reads the contents of the sector into a memory buffer. Reading a writing is done over that in-memory buffer. Whenever you call commit it write the contents back to the flash sector.
Due to the nature of this flash memory (NOR) a full sector erase must be done prior to write any new data. If a power failure (intended or not) happens during this process the sector data is lost.
Also, writing data to a NOR memory can be done byte by byte but only to change a 1 to a 0. The only way to turn 0s to 1s is to perform a sector erase which turns all memory positions in that sector to 1. But sector erasing must be done in full sectors, thus wearing out the flash memory faster.

How can we overcome these problems?

Full details at tinkerman.cat.

TRL measurements with homemade VNA and open source software

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 in DIY, measurement by DP | No Comments

trl_board_labels

Henrik Forstén writes:

I have been using the OSH Park’s 4 layer process a lot on my own projects. It has FR408 substrate that has better controlled permittivity and lower losses than ordinary FR-4 that other low cost PCB manufacturers use. In my opinion currently it is the best low cost process for making RF PCBs. My previous boards have worked pretty well, but I decided to make a test board that I can use to characterize the process better.
In the above picture is the test board that I made. It has two 50 ohm microstrip lines of different length, one open microstrip line, one microstrip line terminated with 50 ohm resistor and line with 0402 footprint that I populated with a 1 nF capacitor. I’m using this same type of capacitor as a general DC blocking capacitor in my VNA so I’m interested in finding out how it performs at high frequencies.

See the full post on Henrik’s blog.

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 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.

Amiga 500 power supply build

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 in power supply, tutorials by DP | No Comments

PowerSupplyBuild

A how-to on building an Amiga 500 power supply from Inkoo Vintage Computing:

The power supply of my Amiga 500 is a bit unreliable. I’ve had some issues with the machine where the PSU could be the culprit, so I thought that it would be better to get a new power supply. There are used Amiga 500 power supplies occasionally available on online auctions, and there are also unused (but probably quite old) power supplies available on some online retailers. The issue with these 20-30 year old power supplies is that the capacitors are starting to dry. This can be a fire hazard, as old capacitors may even explode (this has happened to the PSU of my old IBM XT, it was not a pleasant experience). So in order to get safe and reliable operation from an old PSU, the capacitors should be replaced.

More details on Inkoo Vintage Computing homepage.

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

Posted on Sunday, June 24th, 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:

(more…)

App note: Aluminum electrolytic capacitors design for long operational life

Posted on Sunday, June 24th, 2018 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_KEMET_long_life_electrolytic

App note from KEMET on long life electrolytic capacitors. Link here (PDF)

The service life for high quality power supplies and automotive power electronics is often limited by electrolytic capacitors’ operational life (Lop). Very long life (> 20 years at temperature up to 75C) is possible to be achieved by choosing capacitors with optimized design. Type of electrolyte, capacitors lid design, sealing method and rubber material quality, are important factors which determine the Lop.

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