REFLO – Compact, open, and smart PCB reflow oven

REFLO is a stylish, portable reflow oven for creators and makers to easily, quickly, and professionally prototype their IoT device, wearable, small robot, etc.

REFLO’s features:

  • Portable at only 6” x 6” x 2” – it’s the worlds smallest reflow oven
  • Efficient as it requires only 300 W
  • Operable from a mobile device
  • Open source hardware & software
  • Compatible with the Arduino IDE
  • Low cost

REFLO – Compact, open, and smart PCB reflow oven – [Link]

sKan – Low cost and non-invasive melanoma detection device

A team of medical and bioengineering undergraduates from McMaster University, Canada have designed a cancer detection device able to detect melanoma. Their design solution, the sKan, is a low cost and non-invasive detection device.

Annually, skin cancer accounts for 1 in every 3 cancer diagnoses1. The estimated 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is approximately 98 percent2. Current melanoma detection methods either rely on a visual inspection, or need a specialist’s opinion which is time consuming and costly. With high numbers of patients needing a rapid diagnosis to begin treatment, the health services are at maximum capacity. The sKan poses a viable solution.

2 X AA Battery To 6V Boost Converter For Arduino Nano

This project is simple solution to power Arduino Nano from two 1.5V batteries. Circuit converts 2 X AA alkaline battery power into 6V 100mA using boost topology. Circuit uses SOT223-6 pin TLV61046A boost converter IC. The TLV61046A is a highly integrated boost converter designed for applications such as PMOLED panel, LCD bias supply and sensor module. The TLV61046A integrates a 30-V power switch, an input to output isolation switch, and a rectifier diode. It can output up to 28 V from input of a Li+ battery or two alkaline batteries in series. The TLV61046A operates with a switching frequency at 1.0 MHz. This allows the use of small external components. The TLV61046A has typical 980-mA switch current limit. It has 7-ms built-in soft start time to reduce the inrush current. The TLV61046A also implements output short circuit protection, output over-voltage protection and thermal shutdown. R1 and R2 connected to FB pin to set the output voltage 6V. R1 and R2 can be altered to set higher output voltage, refer data sheet for calculation. The board can be used as Arduino Nano shield or as stand-alone boost converter. It directly fits on top of the Arduino Nano and output is connected to VIN and GND pins of Nano.

2 X AA Battery To 6V Boost Converter For Arduino Nano – [Link]

Programming the ATtiny10 using Arduino IDE

David Johnson-Davies @ technoblogy.com has a nice guide on how to program ATtiny10 6-pin mcu using the arduino IDE. Programming is done using the widely available USBasp programmer from Thomas Fischl. Examples are also included on the guide.

Unlike the SPI protocol used to program the larger AVR chips, such as the ATmega328 in the Arduino Uno, the ATtiny10 uses a programming protocol called TPI (Tiny Programming Interface) which needs only five wires. Fortunately Thomas Fischl’s excellent USBasp programmer supports this protocol [3]; you can build your own, order one from his site, or they are widely available on eBay [4], Banggood [5], etc.

The top 10 humidity sensors

Elizabeth Bustamante @ snapeda.com compiled a list the top 10 humidity sensors available today. Most of the sensors on the lists are from Honeywell, but surprisingly the top sensor comes from Sensirion. She writes:

Air humidity is an important factor to consider when designing an electronic device. Having too much humidity in the environment can cause condensation and corrosion, which can lead to anomalies in performance or even failures.

To prevent this, engineers use humidity sensors. These devices are used in systems deployed in humid environments, such as industrial control, instrumentation, climatology, and agriculture applications.

Ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontrollers

Developers can implement simple sensing functions with TI’s lowest-cost microcontroller family

Texas Instruments (TI) on November 10, unveiled its lowest-cost ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontrollers (MCUs) for sensing applications. Developers can now implement simple sensing solutions through a variety of integrated mixed-signal features in this family of MSP430 value line sensing MCUs, available for as low as US$0.25 in high volumes. Additions to the family include two new entry-level devices and a new TI LaunchPad development kit for quick and easy evaluation.

Features and benefits of TI’s MSP430 value line sensing MCUs

  • Developers now have the flexibility to customize 25 common system-level functions including timers, input/output expanders, system reset controllers, electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) and more, using a library of code examples.
  • A common core architecture, a tools and software ecosystem, and extensive documentation including migration guides make it easy for developers to choose the best MSP430 value line sensing MCU for each of their designs.
  • Designers can scale from the 0.5-KB MSP430FR2000 MCU to the rest of the MSP430 sensing and measurement MCU portfolio for applications that require up to 256 KB of memory, higher performance or more analog peripherals.

The new MSP430FR2000 and MSP430FR2100 MCUs (with 0.5 KB and 1 KB of memory, respectively) and the new development kit join the MSP430 value line sensing family which includes the MSP430FR2111, MSP430FR2311, MSP430FR2033, MSP430FR2433 and MSP430FR4133 microcontroller families and their related development tools and software.

Pricing and availability

Developers can purchase the value line sensing portfolio through the TI store, priced as low as US$0.29 in 1,000-unit quantities and US$0.25 in higher volumes. Additionally, the new MSP430FR2433 LaunchPad development kit (MSP-EXP430FR2433) is available from the TI store and authorized distributors for US$9.99. Today through Dec. 31, 2017, the TI store is offering the LaunchPad kit for a promotional price of US$4.30.

For more information visit: www.ti.com/ValueLine-pr

Open-Source NB-IoT Shield for Arduino

This completely open-source LTE shield uses the latest and greatest CAT-M NB-IoT technology optimized for low-power IoT devices!.

With the emergence of low-power IoT devices with cellular connectivity and the phase-out of 2G (with only T-mobile supporting 2G/GSM until 202), everything is moving toward LTE and this has left many people scrambling to find better solutions. However, this has also left many hobbyists facepalming with legacy 2G technology like the SIM800-series modules from SIMCOM. Although these 2G and 3G modules are a great starting point, it’s time to move forward and SIMCOM recently announced their new SIM7000A LTE CAT-M module at a developer’s conference. How exciting! 🙂

Open-Source NB-IoT Shield for Arduino – [Link]

ESP32 Web Server Tutorial with a BME280 Sensor

Our friends at educ8s.tv uploaded a new tutorial on their youtube channel. It’s about an ESP32 web server along with MBE280 sensor.

Welcome to another ESP32 video tutorial! In this video, we are going to build a simple HTTP Web Server on an ESP32 board with a BME280 sensor. We are also going to learn how to make some requests to it using a web browser. There is a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

ESP32 Web Server Tutorial with a BME280 Sensor – [Link]

Details of Waveshare e-paper displays

Erich Styger has a nice write-up on Waveshare e-paper displays:

I have used E-Ink displays in projects three years ago, but from that time the technology has greatly evolved. That time displays were hard to get, expensive and difficult to use. Now things seem to change with e-ink displays available to the maker market :-). I’m able to get a 128×296 pixel e-paper display for $10! And for little more money I can have displays with black/white/red colors!

Details of Waveshare e-paper displays – [Link]

Design of a Korg Nutube Amplifier

Karlwoodward @ www.rs-online.com/designspark is in the process of designing a “guitar pedal” for amplification and distortion using the Korg Nutube we featured earlier. The Part 1 of a series of articles goes through the basic aspects of tubes and valves, the pros and cons on using a Nutube valve as well as discussing about low gain and high source impedance. In Part 2 of the series he goes deeper by building a working prototype and making some measurements.