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 […]

Elektor 500ppm LCR meter case tips

NopHead wrote a blog post review of Elektor 500ppm LCR meter: I recently bought a 500ppm LCR meter from Elektor because I didn’t have anything for measuring inductors or the ESR (equivalent series resistance) of capacitors, both of which are important for modern electronics, particularly switch mode regulators that have become ubiquitous. It is also more accurate […]

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 […]

Creating high resolution integrated circuit die photos with Hugin or ICE

Ken Shirriff has written an article describing a technique he used for making high resolution integrated circuit die photos: Have you ever wanted to take a bunch of photos of an integrated circuit die and combine them into a high-res image? The stitching software can be difficult, so I’ve written a guide to the process […]

Systematic PCB verification approach

From the comments on our previous PCB Checklist post, George Hadley shared this helpful checklist for submitting a PCB to a fab house: Systematic PCB Verification Approach (PDF!): 1. Parts completion check: 1. All major components included? Microcontroller/FPGA/SoC/Microprocessor/CPLD? Power supply/regulation? Sensors? User interface elements? (LCDs, buttons, switches, etc.) Actuator drivers and control? (Motor control? LED constant current drivers? […]

PCB Checklist – What to check before you submit

Baldengineer’s checklist for submitting a PCB to a fab house: Recently I’ve been expanding my retro game collection to include game cartridges imported from Japan. The problem is that I don’t have Japanese game systems (yet). So I’m creating an open source adapter to convert Famicom carts to the NES. Before I submit the PCB to […]

Tips & tricks to sort and rework surface mount devices (SMD)

Tips & tricks to sort and rework surface mount devices (SMD): I’m a member of the Superstition Amateur Radio Club (SARC) and each month we have a presentation on a ham radio related subject. I volunteered to record and upload the club’s monthly presentations. There were two presentations at the March 2013 club meeting: Tips […]

Tips and tricks on how to tidy up your bench

If you’re like us then your desk is always a total mess of microcontroller programmers, prototype PCBs, wires, tools, etc… This article covers a few tips and tricks on how to tidy up your workspace. While the article is written for heavier tools and equipment than what we use, there are some cool universal tips […]

Why right angle bends on a PCB are not so bad

We’ve heard it numerous times: avoid using right angle bends in PCB routing. Here’s an article from EDN magazine explaining why it’s not as bad as most people think. The article explains that the “bad” effects like increased capacitance and circuit noise only start to be a pain for designers where signal speeds are above […]

Drag soldering tips for Hakko 900M series and compatibles

A few weeks ago we wrote about hollowed-out chisel tips, and how good they are for drag soldering. Unfortunately they are either hard to find, or made only for expensive soldering irons. There also seem to be some patent disputes that keep them out of the US market for most major brands. Recently we were […]

App note: Murphy’s Law and the risks of Designing “Off Data Sheet”

Murphy’s law is a undisputed fact of life, and this app note by Maxim explains how it impacts electronics design. This application note considers off-data-sheet operation of integrated circuits (ICs). It discusses the pitfalls awaiting engineers who have not experienced Murphy’s Law, which is anything that can go wrong, will go wrong at the worst […]

Datasheet tips for newbies (and everyone else)

Circuitguy has published this guide entitled Datasheets (Don’t) Lie on his website. Its intended to show newbies how easy it is to mistake a component’s capabilities when you fail to consider all relevant information on the datasheet. Something those new, and not so new to the hobby, have to keep in mind.