Categories

16 x 2 LCD controlled via power line

Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019 in LCD by DP | No Comments

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Vinod blogged about a 16×2 LCD with data over power line:

Then I just thought why even 1 wire for data? Because we can easily multiplex the 1 wire data line with the Vcc line by keeping a diode + capacitor combination towards the LCD power supply pin. I am using an arduino board to do the serial to parallel conversion + some packet parsing and lcd backlight brightness control. I am not a huge fan of Arduino but for this simple proof of concept, I don’t want to bring out a Makefile folder with muliple files. I picked the Arduino UART RX as the serial receiver. RX pin is connected directly to the input Vcc, but before the schottky diode.

See the full post in his blog.

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

App note: Crystal oscillator troubleshooting guide

Posted on Sunday, April 28th, 2019 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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App note from NXP Semiconductors dealing with oscillators in microcontrollers. Link here (PDF)

Most microcontrollers can use a crystal oscillator as their clock source. Other options include external canned oscillators, resonators, RC oscillators, and internal clocks. The main advantages of a crystal oscillator are frequency accuracy, stability, and low power consumption. However, high reliability is needed to fully benefit from these advantages.

App note: Active cell balancing in battery packs

Posted on Sunday, April 28th, 2019 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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Cell balancing implementation from NXP Semiconductors. Link here (PDF)

Batteries made of multiple cells connected in series are often used as a power source for common electronic devices. In multicell battery chains, small differences between the cells (due to production tolerances or operating conditions) tend to be magnified with each charge or discharge cycle. In these situations, weaker cells are overstressed during charging, causing them to become even weaker, until they eventually fail and cause a premature failure of the whole battery. Cell balancing is a way of compensating for these weaker cells by equalizing the charge on all the cells in the chain, thus extending the battery life.

Aweigh: the open-source alternative to GPS

Posted on Friday, April 26th, 2019 in open source by DP | No Comments

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A team of student designers and engineers from the RCA and Imperial College have developed a substitute for GPS that does not rely on satellites, called Aweigh:

Aweigh is an open navigation system that does not rely on satellites: it is inspired by the mapping of celestial bodies and the polarized vision of insects. Ancient seafarers and desert ants alike use universally accessible skylight to organize, orient, and place themselves in the world. Aweigh is a project that learns from the past and from the microscopic to re-position individuals in the contemporary technological landscape.

Via Open Electronics.

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

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 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.

Building a Jones Push-Pull Oscillator

Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 in DIY by DP | No Comments

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Steve (VE7SL) has built a Jones Power-Oscillator using a pair of 6L6s and wrote a post on his blog detailing its assembly.

Homebrew DMX-controlled RGB LED light

Posted on Monday, April 22nd, 2019 in DIY, LEDs by DP | No Comments

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Glen has written an article detailing his homebrew DMX-controlled RGB LED light:

This project is a small DMX-512 controlled, color-changing RGB LED light. The light can be controlled via the DMX512 protocol or it can run a number of built-in programs depending on how the software is configured. The light incorporates an advanced 16-bit PIC24 microcontroller with PWM capabilities, a 3D printed enclosure, a laser cut acrylic lid, a custom switching power supply, and a MEMS oscillator. The light measures roughly 2.25″ square by 1.25″ high. This light is the evolution of my RGB LED light designs that span back over a decade.

Project info on Photons, Electrons, and Dirt blog.

Arduino Shield for CAT M1 and NB-IoT modems

Posted on Monday, April 22nd, 2019 in Arduino by DP | No Comments

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Michael Krumpus designed and built an Arduino shield for Nimbelink Skywire CAT M1 and NB-IoT modems, that is available on Github:

Nimbelink has a development kit for use by product developers, but it’s rather expensive. I wanted to try out a Nimbelink CAT M1 modem without the dev kit, and since there are so many hobbyists using Arduinos out there, I wanted to provide a nice Arduino library for the modem. I chose the Nimbelink module based on the Sequans Monarch CAT M1 modem and got to work designing an Arduino shield to hold it.

More details on Nootropic design Project Lab site.

App note: Reduced power dissipation of relay loads

Posted on Sunday, April 21st, 2019 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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Another app note from ON Semiconductors on using PWM technique to reduce power consumed when latching mechanical relays. Link here (PDF)

Integrated circuit driver circuits often use relay loads in their application. Output drivers are a source of power dissipation on the IC. Latching relays can be used to keep sustaining load current at a minimum by engaging and removing drive current, but a PWM system can also preserve reduced power conditions by engaging and reducing duty cycle using standard type relays.

By considering the Maximum Turn−On Voltage and Minimum Turn−Off Voltage specifications typically quoted in the relay electrical specification, your system design can utilize a signal to pull−in and activate the relay followed by a reduced power PWM sustaining signal.

App note: The load switch – Selection and use of ecoSWITCH(TM) products

Posted on Sunday, April 21st, 2019 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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ecoSWITCH(TM) from ON Semiconductors offers space saving solution on power distribution system. Link here (PDF)

Load switches play an important part in the management of supply domains and the protection of the loads they supply. Loads switches are often used for power sequencing, standby load leakage reduction, and inrush current control. Integrated ecoSWITCH products deliver an area reducing solution, offering over current protection, load soft start, and extremely low on series resistances of sub − 20 milliohm. This article discusses the primary benefits of load switches, application considerations, and how ecoSWITCH differs from other types of integrated switch offerings. A generic cloud system application and USB power delivery example are presented to demonstrate how the addition of ecoSWITCH solves design challenges such as achieving low quiescent current, local load protection, and startup sequencing.

PIC16F1459 USB stack light controller

Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 in PIC by DP | No Comments

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Glen Akins published a new build:

After using the PIC16F1459 to build numerous USB HID input devices including a giant keyboard, a tiny keyboard, and a big red button, it was time to see if the PIC16F1459 could be used to control outputs too. Sticking with the industrial theme, I chose to build a USB controller for a, um, stack of industrial stack lights.

See the full post on Photons, Electrons, and Dirt blog.

Crystal oscillator teardown

Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 in Teardowns by DP | No Comments

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Here’s a tear down of a crystal oscillator and a look at the silicon controller from Electronupdate:

 Inside is a ceramic circuit board.  Ceramic has a low coefficient of thermal expansion which is probably very desirable here. It will also not absorb moisture.  All of this would affect the frequency.

More details on Electronupdate blog.

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

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 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.

WiFiChron alarm clock

Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 in clock, wireless by DP | No Comments

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Here’s a cool WiFiChron clock with 8-character alphanumeric LED display by Florinc:

For WiFiChron, two cascaded modules make an 8-character display functionally similar to HDSP-2534, but bigger and more visible. With the “Display Abstraction Layer” already in place, software support should be easy to integrate, since controlling it with the HT16K33 breakout allows the re-use of the above mentioned Adafruit LED backpack library. For maximum compatibility, I followed the same wiring, then connected the two extra segments, A2 and D2, to pin 10 (not connected for the 14-segment backpack) and pin 11 (connected to the DP), respectively.

More details on Wise time with Arduino blog.

App note: The behavior of electro-magnetic radiation of power inductors in power management

Posted on Sunday, April 14th, 2019 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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Würth Elektronik app note on EM radiation emission from power inductors. Link here (PDF)

DC-DC converters are widely used in power management applications and the inductor is one of the key components. The usual focus is on electrical performance characteristics such as RDC, RAC and core losses. But, the electro-magnetic radiation characteristics can often be overlooked.

Due to the switching action in SMPS, AC voltage/current is produced over the inductor. Since, an inductor can, in effect, operate as a transmitting loop antenna, the electromagnetic radiation depends on a number of factors. These include the source properties such as core material, shielding material and the orientation of the start of the winding amongst others.

Electromagnetic radiation of an inductor in the low frequency spectrum range (100 kHz to 30 MHz), which is caused by the switching frequency and harmonics, is dependent on whether the inductor is shielded and the winding properties. Whereas, in the high frequency spectrum range (30 MHz to 1 GHz), where emissions are caused by ringing frequencies and their harmonics, the electromagnetic radiation is more dependent on the shielding characteristics of the core material, switching frequency and transitions of the switching converter.

App note: How to use power inductors

Posted on Sunday, April 14th, 2019 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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A great guide from TDK about power inductors used in DC-DC converters. Link here

As electronic devices become more advanced, the power supply voltage of LSIs used in them is lowered, so their power consumption can be reduced and their speed increased. However, a decrease in the power supply voltage also causes the requirements regarding voltage fluctuations to become more severe, creating a need for high-performance DC-DC converters to fulfill these characteristic requirements, and power inductors are important components that greatly affect their performance.

DIY 3D printer project

Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019 in 3D fabrication by DP | No Comments

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Frank documented a 3D printer build, called Hephaestus:

I finally did it, I designed and built my own 3D printer. This is in no way “the best 3D printer”. Instead, this was an epic and nightmare project that exercised my ability to engineer and build my own CNC machine. Along the way, I figured out what I did well and what I did badly, mistakes were made and sometimes fixed, even ignored.

You can find the build log on Eleccelerator project page.

RetroZero (retropie handheld)

Posted on Monday, April 8th, 2019 in R-Pi by DP | No Comments

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Facelesstech published a new build:

I’ve been on a quest for while now trying to build a retropie handheld that was functional but didn’t break the bank. So far I’ve made ZeroBoy – A poor man’s retropie “portable” and a follow-up ZeroBoy rev C – An improved poor mans retropie portable. These were great but I think I have made a much better system with all the features included.

More details  on Facelesstech blog.

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

App note: Operating voltage ratings for inductors

Posted on Sunday, April 7th, 2019 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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Coilcraft’s app note on why inductor’s voltage ratings are uncommonly mentioned in most applications. Link here (PDF)

Voltage ratings are often specified for many electronic components, including capacitors, resistors and integrated circuits, but traditionally this has been rare for inductors. Recent trends, particularly the introduction of higher voltage rated semiconductor devices, have created a new emphasis on operating voltage as part of the inductor selection process. Inductors once considered optimized for high current, low voltage applications are finding homes in new designs that apply higher voltage stress to the inductor.

App note: Power supply topologies – Forward of Flyback? Which is Better? Both!

Posted on Sunday, April 7th, 2019 in app notes by DP | No Comments

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App note from Coilcraft camparing two recognized power supply topologies. Link here (PDF)

Beatles or Stones? Michael or LeBron? Deep dish or thin crust? Forward or flyback? These are just a few of the age-old questions that have been hotly debated over the years, people arguing their opinions with great vigor. But, the truth is, most of the time the answer is both, due to the merits of each.

In this article, we will focus on forward or flyback. We’ll discuss the characteristics of active clamp forward and continuous conduction flyback isolated power supply topologies and demonstrate the design and performance trade-offs of each using two telecom-oriented power supplies as examples.

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