FTDI USB-to-serial converters to drive SPI devices

Scott W Harden writes:

The FT232 USB-to-serial converter is one of the most commonly-used methods of adding USB functionality to small projects, but recently I found that these chips are capable of sending more than just serial signals. With some creative programming, individual output pins can be big-banged to emulate a clock, data, and chip select line to control SPI devices.
This post shares some of the techniques I use to bit-bang SPI with FTDI devices, and some of perks (and quirks) of using FTDI chips to bit-bang data from a USB port.

FTDI USB-to-serial converters to drive SPI devices – [Link]

Humidity Sensor for Battery-Driven Applications

Sensirion, the expert in environmental sensing, presents the new ultra-low power humidity sensor SHTC3 for mobile and battery-driven applications. The SHTC3 is a digital humidity and temperature sensor optimized for battery-driven applications and high-volume consumer electronics. The sensor has been designed to overcome conventional limits in size and power consumption in order to fulfill current and future requirements, and offers an unmatched performance-price ratio. The SHTC3 improves the performance and flexibility of the SHTC1, while maintaining its proven reliability.

Sensirion’s CMOSens® Technology offers a complete sensor system on a single chip, consisting of a capacitive humidity sensor, a bandgap temperature sensor, analog and digital signal processing, A/D converter, calibration data memory, and a digital communication interface supporting I2C fast mode. The small 2 x 2 x 0.75 mm3 DFN package enables applications in even the most limited space. The sensor covers a humidity measurement range of 0 to 100% RH and a temperature measurement range of -40°C to 125°C with a typical accuracy of ±2% RH and ±0.2°C. The broad supply voltage of 1.62 V to 3.6 V and an energy budget below 1 μJ per measurement make the SHTC3 perfectly suited to mobile or wireless applications powered by battery.

With the industry-proven quality and reliability of Sensirion’s humidity and temperature sensors providing constant accuracy over a large measurement range, the SHTC3 offers the best performance-price ratio. Tape and reel packaging combined with suitability for standard SMD assembly processes make the SHTC3 ideal for high-volume applications.

Bode Analyzer using STM32F407 Discovery board

Debraj shares his project details of a Bode Analyzer using STM32F407. He writes:

Frequency domain analysis is very important to know more about any system/ circuit or transfer function that we deal with. And the first thought comes to our mind about frequency domain analysis is “Bode plot“. Bode plot is a combination plot of magnitude and phase difference of output vs. input of a cosine wave of single frequency, when it is applied to a circuit.

Each of these cosine wave (signal) are applied once at a time and the frequency (in Hz or rad/sec) is increased in linear order (called chirp). All the while the amplitude of sine wave is kept constant (at say 1V_peak). While the frequency can be increased in small steps (1Hz/ sec), the time required to complete the entire frequency range can be quite big. Hence, it is preferred to choose 20 frequencies/ decade. For example, I had chosen 05Hz, 1Hz, 1.5Hz, 2Hz, 2.5Hz… 10Hz.

Bode Analyzer using STM32F407 Discovery board – [Link]

ESP8266 (ESP-03) Based Ultra Low Power Weather Logger

Yet another ESP8266 (ESP-03) based ultra low power weather logger with 4 sensors.


  • Working with two AA battery
  • Ultra low power consumption
  • 4 sensors and 6 measurements:
  • HDC1080 – Temperature & Humidity
  • LPS25HB – Pressure
  • VEML6070 – Ultraviolet Index
  • TSL2561 – Ambient & Infrared
  • Built-in 3.3v Boost Converter
  • TPL5111 System Timer (20 mins update interval, can be customized via resistors)
  • Battery voltage monitor
  • UART port for programming & debugging

ESP8266 (ESP-03) Based Ultra Low Power Weather Logger – [Link]

Step-down micro DC/DC converters have integrated coil

Step-down micro DC/DC converters make up the XCL225/XCL226 series from Torex Semiconductor.

The 18V coil-integrated converters contribute to space-saving on the board and a shorter development time because a circuit can be configured by simply adding two external ceramic capacitors, explains Torex. An internal coil lowers EMI and also simplifies the board layout and makes it possible to minimise radiation noise and circuit operation issues.

The package is a small DFN3030-10B, measuring 3.0 x 3.0 x 1.7mm. The maximum input voltage of 18V allows the XCL225/XCL226 to be used for a range of industrial equipment and IoT devices, including refrigerators and air conditioners. Other target applications are electronic devices, point of sale terminals, industrial equipment, and IoT devices that use two or three lithium-ion batteries or four or more dry-cell batteries.

The operating voltage range is 3.0 to 18V, and the maximum output current is 0.5A. The switching frequency is 1.2MHz. The XCL225 uses PWM control to provide minimum output ripple voltage by fixing the operating frequency. The XCL226 uses PWM/PFM auto switching control to lower the operating frequency at light loads which reduces power dissipation and realises high efficiency from light loads to heavy loads. The output voltage can be set within a range of one to 15V using external resistors, adds Torex.

Envision a New Future for Factory Automation with AAEON’s NanoCOM-APL

(Taipei, Taiwan – June 12, 2018) – AAEON, a world-leading developer of embedded controllers and industrial solutions, launches the NanoCOM-APL, a machine vision and factory automation-focused Type 10 COM express module with onboard support for dual MIPI CSI interfaces.

The NanoCOM-APL is built around a 6th Generation Intel® Atom™, Celeron®, or Pentium® processor and features onboard LPDDR4 memory with a capacity of up to 8GB. The 7W module’s low power-consumption architecture means it can be used at the heart of hand-held, battery-powered devices and fully enclosed IP67 applications.

“Combined with an FPGA controller and an AI chip, the NanoCOM-APL is being used as the centerpiece of advanced machine vision systems that scan products to create 3D images that can be checked for faults,” noted David Hung, AAEON embedded computing division product specialist. “Because of its size and industrial operating temperature range, these systems can be used on a production line or even on a robotic arm.”

The module also features 1GbE LAN connections, optional onboard eMMC storage of up to 64Gb, a PCIe [x4] expansion slot, an LVDS, DDI, or eDP connections, and support for up to eight USB3.0 and two USB2.0 ports.

Siglent SDG6000X Series Arbitrary waveform generator review, teardown and experiments

In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at the newly released Siglent SDG6000X Series Pulse / Arbitrary Waveform Generator. SDG6000X is a series of dual-channel Pulse/ Arbitrary Waveform Generators that feature up to 500MHz output frequency, a maximum sample rate of 2.4GSa/s and 16-bit vertical resolution when used as a function generator. The particular reviewed model is the SDG6052X which is the top-end model. The full teardown of the unit reveals the internal architecture of the instrument, DAC / FPGA interconnect as well as the output amplifier structure. Although the limitations of the FPGA prevents the instrument to operate at full 2.5GSa/s in arb-mode, the instrument is capable of providing complex modulation up to the full 500MHz signal bandwidth.

Siglent SDG6000X Series Arbitrary waveform generator review, teardown and experiments – [Link]

Run any Windows Software on your Android Mobile Devices

The definitive guide on how to transfer your entire Desktop Work or Entertainment to any Android Smartphone or Tablet

Windows applications are very common for our everyday work and life, so why should we leave them home (or office) on our Windows desktop PCs? What if we could use them on the go, right on our smartphones or tablets? Well, with the modern IT development level this is not the question anymore.

ExaGear Windows Emulator app can solve this issue. This is a virtual machine that allows you to natively run any PC application on any Android mobile device by creating the environment inside the Android operating system and launching the app within this environment. In fact, the overall usability, performance and speed of windows applications stay the same. You literally feel like you are working on your PC.

Run any Windows Software on your Android Mobile Devices – [Link]

Using the 3.2″ HX8357B Color TFT Display with Arduino

3.2″ Color TFT Display

Hi guys, welcome to another Arduino tutorial. Today, I will be showing you how to use the 3.2″color TFT display with Arduino.

The display demand for every project is unique, a project may require just a simple, single color OLED display, while another project may require something bigger, all based on the function the display is to perform. For this reason, as a maker or electronics hobbyist, anyone needs to know how to work with as many displays as possible, that’s why today, we will take a look at how to use the super cheap, 3.2″ color TFT display with Arduino.

Using the 3.2″ HX8357B Color TFT Display with Arduino – [Link]

High-resolution motor-driver board targets open-source 3D-printer

STMicroelectronics’ EVALSP820-XS motor-driver board brings ST’s industrial-control expertise to the RAMPS (RepRap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield) open-source 3D-printer platform, enabling 3D printer makers to unleash the full potential of their machines for faster printing and smoother surface finish.

The RAMPS modular platform is making Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing accessible to makers, small businesses, and home users, for fast prototyping, making replacement parts, or education. The Arduino Mega 2560, or Arduino DUE, baseboard provides basic control, ready for users to plug-in their own choice of motor driver, extruder controller, and any other desired functions using Mega-compatible expansion shields. As a plug-and-play expansion board, ST’s EVALSP820-XS can drive RAMPS printers at an unprecedented speed for greatly increased throughput ensuring superior smoothness with microstepping resolution from ½-step to 1/256-step per microstep. Key to this giant leap in 3D-printing performance is ST’s STSPIN820 stepper-driver IC which embeds high-speed motor-control input circuitry and algorithms developed for industrial applications. The 4x4mm QFN package also integrates a 1.5Arms output stage.

STmicroelectronics – www.st.com

By Julien Happich @ eenewseurope.com