App note: Thermocouple measurement

Last week we wrote about a Maxim app note about high precision temperature measurement with thermocouples. At Jim’s request we found a more in-depth intro to thermocouples. This app note from Linear Technology covers everything you ever needed to know about thermocouples. Learn how thermocouples were discovered, and how to build very elaborate and highly […]

App note: DMX512 isolated receivers using digital capacitive-isolation technology

Here is an app note from Texas Instruments describing in depth how DMX512 protocol functions, and how to build isolated DMX512 receivers. Their new isolated transceivers use digital capacitive-isolation technology, which has proven to be more reliable, and resilient,  then the opto-isolation that was common in DMX512 devices. This type of isolation has been tested […]

App note: Comprehensive manual for SMD components

Here is a comprehensive manual for SMD components. It covers most common SMD components used in the electronics industry today. Package dimensions as well as markings are covered. This brochure brings a help and clearance for a newcomer and moreover should help a service technician to start a repair of the instruments made with the […]

App note: Understanding ADC specifications and attributes

Here is an app note from Microchip explaining how to interpret various analog to digital converter specifications. This article covers how attributes of ADCs are calculated and how they apply to it’s performance and precision. The purpose of this application note is to describe the specifications used to quantify the performance of A/D converters and […]

App note: Logic-level translation

Here is an app note from Maxim describing how to implement level translation when faced with two systems that operate at different voltages. The article describes methods for accomplishing logic-level translation varying from very simple circuits using only a few discrete components, to circuits using a single dedicated IC. Electronic design has changed considerably since […]

App note: Opto-isolating the I2C bus

Isolation is important if you need to separate two circuits completely, leaving no possibility of an electrical problem in one causing an problem in the other. The most challenging digital circuits to isolate are bidirectional data lines like the I2C bus. In this EETimes editorial the opto-isolation of the I2C bus is covered in detail. […]

App note: Electrically isolating a USB device from the host

The Analog Devices ADUM4160 isolates and protects a computer from shorts, high voltage, or high currents in a USB device. The isolator chip sits on the D+ and D- data lines between the USB jack and the microcontroller on the USB peripheral. Unfortunately it doesn’t come cheap at more than $5, but it could save […]

App note: Guidelines for soldering QFN lead-less packages

This app note from Texas Instruments covers the basic guidelines on how to solder QFN and SON lead-less package. It includes some PCB design, solder paste screen printing, assembly, and reflow guidelines. Quad flatpack no leads (QFNs) and small-outline no leads (SONs) are leadless packages with electrical connections made via lands on the bottom side […]

App note: dsPIC33E simultaneous analog sampling

Some new PIC 33E and 24E microcontrollers can take simultaneous samples from multiple analog to digital converters. Most chips measure analog values sequentially, but this ADC can sample 4 signals at once. Samples are still converted one after the other, but they’re collected at the same moment. More in the reference manual for dsPic33E and […]

4-Wire and 8-Wire resistive touch-screen controller using the MSP430

Resistive touch-screen films add more interface options to your projects. Here’s an app note from Texas Instruments on how to interface resistive touch-screens with MSP430 microcontrollers, but it’s good info for any chip: This application report describes how to use an MSP4309 microcontroller to drive and read a resistive touch screen. The hardware and software […]

App note: Op-amp/comparator module for dsPIC

Some dsPIC33E and PIC24E microcontrollers have an comparator module that can function as an op-amp [PDF]. The module can be used as a simple non-inverting amplifier by adding two external resistors, no external op-amp chip needed. The output can be read internally by the ADC module, or routed externally to use in your circuit.

App note: Understanding and preventing LED Failure

When using LEDs in projects it’s good to know what could cause their failure, and design your device to prevent it: LEDs have a well-deserved reputation for high-efficiency operation, not to mention high reliability. Properly specified and implemented, LEDs should and do satisfy virtually every lighting application. Still, there are times when actual device lifetimes […]

App note: Enhancing ADC resolution by oversampling

Better ADC resolution can be accomplished by oversampling two or more ADC readings and then averaging them. If you’re not satisfied with a microcontroller’s 10 bit ADC and need more resolution, check out this application note from Atmel. Increasing the ADC resolution by one bit requires 4 ADC measurements.  Four 10 bit readings are needed […]

App note: Interfacing 4/5/8 wire resisitve touch screens

Resistive touch screens are pretty cheap, and make it easy to interface with device without placing a lot of buttons. This app note describes how to interface with 4, 5, and 8 wire resistive touch screens on your next project. All analog touch screens consist of a ridged layer and a flexible layer with a […]

App note: Advanced 1-Wire Network Driver

This reference design shows how to drive long 1-Wire networks. 1-Wire is a communications protocol used by some Dallas/Maxim parts. The protocol uses only one wire for power, transmission, addressing, and synchronization. This document describes a microcontroller-based 1-Wire master interface for reliable operation of small, medium size and large 1-Wire networks. This is accomplished using […]

App note: File IO function reference for Microchip’s Memory Disk Drive File System Library

Here is a function reference for Microchip’s memory disk drive file system library. This library interfaces a PIC microcontroller with FAT16 or FAT32 file systems. It allows you to interface with storage mediums like USB flash drives or microSD cards in the same way a PC would. Save data on a storage device, and later […]

App note: HV boost power supply for Nixie tubes

Here is a app note from Microchip describing how to implement a high-voltage boost DC-DC converter intended for Nixie tube designs. The basic principle of Nixie tubes is that they require more than 170V to function properly. This design uses the internal PWM generator of a PIC16 microcontroller to drive the DC-DC converter. A comparator […]

App note: Buck-boost converter

Here is an article from Texas Instruments featured on EETimes describing how to design a buck-boost converter. These converters are used when the input voltage can be both above and below the output voltage. One example are 3.3V systems powered by lithium-ion batteries which swing from ~3V to ~4V. This design is in effect a […]

App Note: Optimizing visibility and battery life of portable displays

Here is an app note from Maxim describing how to implement light intensity sensing in the visible spectrum. This is used to adjust the brightness of displays in portable devices. Human eyes only perceive a limited light spectrum. Sensors used to detect light intensity require complex conversions of their spectrum to emulate human eyes. Another […]