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Adjustable gain LNA

Posted on Friday, June 9th, 2017 in DIY by DP | No Comments

pics-final-600

Mare published a new build:

Low noise amplifiers are very useful. I built one with single BFG425W transistor with adjustable bias current.

Project info at Mare & Gal Electronics homepage.

Using Python to store data from many BLE devices

Posted on Thursday, June 8th, 2017 in ARM, techniques by DP | No Comments

raspberry-pi-with-python-controlling-a-set-of-hexiwear-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 from many BLE devices for later processing. What I’m using is a Python script running on the Raspberry Pi which collects the data and stores it on a file

More details at mcuoneclipse.com.

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

Posted on Tuesday, June 6th, 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.

SmallyMouse2 – Universal USB to quadrature mouse adapter

Posted on Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 in AVR, USB by DP | No Comments

SmallyMouse2-complete-PCB-600

Designed and built by Simon Inns, a universal USB to quadrature mouse adapter project – SmallyMouse2:

SmallyMouse2 is a universal USB to quadrature mouse adapter for many 8-bit and 16-bit retro computers and allows the use of modern USB mice on machines such as the Acorn BBC Micro, Acorn Master, Acorn Archimedes, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and many more.  Unlike most existing mouse adapters, SmallyMouse2 implements a fully USB compatible interface (most current adaptors are PS/2 based) this allows the use of any modern mouse including those that use wireless communications.

More details at waitingforfriday.com.

Project files are available at GitHub.

Switching off SD cards for low power data logging

Posted on Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 in Arduino by DP | 7 Comments

SwitchingOffSDcardsForLowPowerDataLogging

Edward Mallon writes:

I saved SD power control to the end of my quest for low power logging, because of all the potential weirdness that could arise with the Arduino libraries. But after a reasonably thorough round of testing it all seems to be working OK with a BJT switching the ground line.

More details at Edward Mallon’s blog.

Via the Arduino forum.

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

Posted on Sunday, June 4th, 2017 in Free PCBs by DP | 22 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: Ceramic multilayer capacitors in HF SMPS applications

Posted on Sunday, June 4th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_avx_mlchf

Development and improvement of ceramic multilayer capacitors in high frequency power supply filtering, a technical note from AVX. Link here (PDF)

There has been an explosion of interest in the use of ceramic capacitors for high frequency power conversion applications. This interest is compounded with new designs striving for higher frequencies, smaller sizes and greater efficiencies. This application is an ongoing and mutual development of ceramic values, processes and sizes that were never realized prior to this application. In more and more cases, the ceramic capacitor is dictated by performance requirements never attainable in the previous styles of electrolytic and tantalum.

App note: Output filter caps for mission critical applications

Posted on Sunday, June 4th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_avx_output_filters

A great guide from AVX on output capacitor types and their specific uses based on ESR, ESL and temperature properties. Link here (PDF)

This document discusses the effect of capacitors on output power quality. It evaluates and provides a comparison of different capacitor technologies, their high reliability qualification availability from COTS+ to space level, and their impact on the output filtering capabilities in switching power supplies primarily used for mission critical applications.

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, June 2nd, 2017 in Free PCBs by DP | 1 Comment

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…)

Tutorial, experiments and teardown of a 77GHz automotive FMCW radar module

Posted on Friday, June 2nd, 2017 in RF, Teardowns by DP | No Comments

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Tutorial, experiments and teardown of a 77GHz automotive FMCW radar module from The Signal Path:

In this episode Shahriar explores the principle operation of automotive FMCW radars. Thanks to a donated automotive radar module, various components of the system can be examined and explored. The PCB reveals three die-on-PCB ASICs responsible for generating and receiving 77GHz FMCW signals coupled to a 2D array of antennas. Several microwave components such as rat-race couplers and branchline couplers can also be observed. PCB rulers from SV1AFN Design Lab also show these microwave components at much lower frequencies. Two other ICs are used for ramp generation and PLL as well as a multi-input LNA/PGA/AAF with 12-bit ADC for IF processing. All components are examined under the microscope and the frequency of operation is calculated by measuring the branchline coupler’s dimensions.
Finally a simple Doppler effect radar is constructed by using a doubler, power divider, mixer and a pair of Vivaldi horn antennas. The Doppler effect can be observed by moving an object in front of the antenna pair.

More details at thesignalpath.com.

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

Electronic film clapper

Posted on Friday, June 2nd, 2017 in AVR by DP | No Comments

IMG_4560_50

Steve Smith from ProjectAVR has published a new build:

On the board, I included several options to tailor the design to the builders taste. Provision for both a digispark board or bare ATTiny85 chip, small or large tact switches and a jumper to defeat the LEDs supply resistor for extra brightness.
I chose to build the Digispark version first. It went together easily (bar a hole size issue, more of that later) and I programmed the digispark via it’s own USB socket. And… the board completely failed to start up. It took me some time to realise that I’d got the USB power connections inverted! Lucky I’d added a reverse polarity diode! I de-soldered the USB ‘A’ type plug and re-soldered it on the back side of the board flipping the connections. I don’t have the correct type of USB plugs anyway, so it’s a bit of a kludge at the moment. However, once this was done, the board sprung to life. When powered up, the Digispark’s micronucleus bootloader kicks in for a few seconds and then the Clapper code starts.

Project info at projectavr.com

Piezoelectric buzzer teardown

Posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2017 in Teardowns by DP | No Comments

pics-TOP_VIEW1 - Copy

A teardown of piezoelectric buzzer from  Electronupdate:

An assembly commonly used on fire, burglar and similar alarm systems.
Based around a piezoelectric disk coupled to a plastic cylinder with a hole on the end (used to amplify the sound).
The controller appears to use a rom-based look up table to generate the sounds
The pattern right below the array almost looks like a series of digital wave forms. I think this is strong evidence of an address decoder.. I presume there is a decoder below each of the columns which actives if the pattern matchs.

More details at Electronupdate blog.

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

Panelization – using GerberPanelizer on Windows (Linux possible)

Posted on Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 in PCBs, tutorials by DP | No Comments

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Arsenijs over at Hackaday.io writes:

This tutorial was done on Windows. Authors claim it could also be used on Linux by using Mono, but I haven’t tried and don’t understand a lot about Mono to see what could be done. I am switching to Linux nowadays, so I’d be very grateful to anybody that’d make instructions on how to launch it, however – and I’m sure other fellow Linux-wielding engineers will be grateful, too =)
This is the GitHub issue describing steps to launch it on Linux, half-successfully (thanks to @jlbrian7 for figuring this out

More details at Hackaday.io project page.

Thanks Scrubis! Via the contact form.

App note: Application of leaded resistors in energy meters

Posted on Sunday, May 28th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_vishay_leaded_resistors_on_energy_meters

App note from Vishay about energy meter circuits and the use of leaded resistors on them. Link here (PDF)

An electric meter or energy meter is a device that measures the amount of electrical energy supplied to a residence or business. It is also known as (k)Wh meter. The main unit of measurement in the electricity meter is the kilowatt-hour which is equal to the amount of energy used by a load of one kW over a period of one hour.

App note: Overcurrent protection with Thin Film resistors technology

Posted on Sunday, May 28th, 2017 in app notes by DP | No Comments

an_vishay_thin_film_fuse

A technical note about Thin Film fuses from Vishay. Link here (PDF)

Thin film technology is an established technology for high-grade passive components, which has been proved and refined over decades. Its advantages in terms of accuracy, repeatability and stability are appreciated in mass production for billions of thin film resistors every year. Chip fuses produced in thin film technology now deliver similarly predictable properties in terms of the stability and repeatability of the fusing characteristic. With this proven technology embodied in next-generation safety devices for overcurrent protection, power electronics designers can achieve higher levels of safety and performance in new product designs.

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

Posted on Friday, May 26th, 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…)

DIY NAS

Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2017 in DIY by DP | No Comments

NAS-BOX

A DIY NAS project from Peter Scargill:

So I’ve had a fair experience of these systems. Well, this blog entry isn’t about expensive NAS systems. It’s about a cheap one… really cheap that is – and DIY.
How cheap? Well, about £12 depending on what you have handy. For this price you need a handy 2.5” hard drive, a FriendlyArm NEO or NEO2 and of course the 1-Bay NAS Kit for NanoPi. Beware that the front panels for NEO and NEO2 are SLIGHTLY different – i.e. the Ethernet connection position varies slightly so these are not cross-compatible without a spot of filing which is why I’m showing you the stock photo!
Anyway… so I plugged my trusty 100GB 2.5” hard drive into the board (well, it was free and was sitting doing nothing), plugged the NEO2 into the board, downloaded the ROM and.. well, that was it really – turned on the power (you need a 12v power supply) and waited. Sure enough the unit appears on my network.

More details at Scargill’s Tech blog.

ATM90E36 Dev-kit for 3-phase AC metering

Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2017 in measurement by DP | No Comments

IMG_20170116_115148

Tisham Dhar blogged about his ATM90E36 3-phase energy monitor project:

After successfully building the single-phase energy monitor with the ATM90E26 there has been lots of interest in the 3-phase version. Being an open-hardware project, many people have created remixed and derived versions as well. After a while I started receiving requests to assist with the code for ATM90E36, the 3-phase version of the Energy Monitor chip. However I did not have the hardware to test the code, so I put together this basic devkit to access the SPI bus and easily inject voltage and CT signals to take the ATM90E36 through its paces. This is the first board I have designed based purely on user demand rather than to scratch my own itch, since I don’t have 3-phase supply at home.

Project info at Tisham Dhar’s blog.

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

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

Posted on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 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.

8-bit assembler compiler project

Posted on Monday, May 22nd, 2017 in open source, software by DP | 2 Comments

8-bit assembler compiler

Dilshan Jayakody writes, “8-bit Assembler compiler is NASM compatible assembler compiler to generate binaries for 8-bit x86 like CPUs. The binaries produced with this compiler can execute on Marco Schweighauser’s 8-bit virtual Javascript CPU.
This native compiler can build using Lazarus / FPC. During the implementation we build and test this compiler successfully on Linux and Windows operating systems.”

More details at Dilshan Jayakody’s blog.

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Recent Comments

  • Louis Beaudoin: This is great work guys! Placing an order for a sample pack and hope to use the service to make a custom cable soon.
  • Parkview: Another great idea! Be handy to be able to purchase the corresponding SMD and TH sockets as well.
  • Ryan White: Second that. I'd love the option to extend this already awesome tool to RF cables, hoping it's already in the works because I know the...
  • Tom Keddie: Hi Ian, Congrats on the launch. Suggest you name all the CHRO connectors you have as female. It's not done often but you can insert...
  • Craig Hollabaugh: Excellent post! Thanks