Electrolytic capacitors in an SMT package are not as often used as leaded radial or axial capacitors are. However they offer many advantages, which make the assembly easier and save a PCB space.
Electrolytic capacitors in an SMT package offer the same properties as their leaded familes (THT version), but they are much easier to assemble on a PCB. If you have a device, where most of components are in an SMT version, you probably proceed the way that SMT components are machine-assembled to PCB with a following reflow soldering. Leaded THT components (through hole technology) are then soldered in the 2-nd technological step – by a solder wave or manually. In a device containing many various THT components this 2-nd technological step is inavoidable. But in devices where only few THT components are, it is often possible to minimize their count or totally eliminate. This makes a production of the device significantly cheaper and quicker. Moreover in comparison to manual soldering, reflow soldering is much more consistent, ensuring a stable quality of soldering in various production batches.
Saving of a space is the second essential advantage. SMT electrolytic capacitors are available even with a very low profile. Thanks to the fact, that pads of SMT capacitors don´t require holes drilling into a PCB, like it is at THT technology, in many applications they can significantly simplify design of multilayer PCBs. Another advantage at HF circuits can be the fact, that integrity of the ground layer on the PCB won´t be corrupted by their usage. Read the rest of this entry »
While Arduino gets the lions share of attention in the hobby community there are some limitations to 8-bit microcontrollers which have been recognized by the Arduino project with their recent announcement of plans to make ARM based development boards, as well at the Maple project (STM32 based). ARM microprocessors often offer significantly more RAM/Flash and peripherals at similar prices to traditional 8-bit microcontrollers, however they have a reputation for being harder to use.
In the maker community LPC and STM32 ARM based boards seem the norm, however in my experience LM3S (LM = Luminary Micro which is now owned by Ti) chips are far easier to work with. This is largely due to StellarisWare, which makes peripheral configuration uniform across devices. (See my comparison of UART configuration on many platforms here).
When I realized there were no inexpensive LM3S based boards available (now there are few on eBay as well) I decided to make some. I made a simple breakout style board called Cygni that was as inexpensive as possible so that people could try out ARM and find out that it wasn’t scary after all. And I made two more advanced boards one that could be a USB host (called Eridani) and one that was suitable for tasks requiring a lot of memory, internet access, USB hosting or all of the above (called Procyon).
teho Labs – inexpensive LM3S based boards - [Link]
Build a Laser 3D Printer – Stereolithography at Home. RobHopeless writes - [via]
Here is how to make a Stereolithography 3D Printer. It is still a bit of a work in progress but so far it is working pretty well. This is mainly an experiment which started as a Delta Robot Stereolithography Printer but ended as a more traditional Cartesian Stereolithography Printer.
Build a Laser 3D Printer – Stereolithography at Home - [Link]
If you have a micro-controller based application and you face the problem with insufficient memory space, the micro-drive uSD-G1 may be an ideal solution for you.
The micro-DRIVE uSD-G1 is an extremely compact high performance “Embedded Disk Drive” module that can be easily added to anymicro-controller design that requires a DOS-compatible file and data storage system.
Most micro-controllers have small and limited on-chip memory. For those applications that require large volumes of data, the uSD-G1 with the GOLDELOX-DOS chip is a simple solution in a form of a tiny ‘drop-in- module’. A simple serial interface is all that is required to take away the burden of low level design that would otherwise be required for the host controller. The micro-DRIVE module utilises common microSD memory cards of up to 2GB of capacity as its medium. A handful of straightforward commands provide direct access to the onboard memory card or storing and retrieving any size or type of data. Access to the card can be at (FAT based)
Don´t be limited by a memory space! - [Link]
OpenSCAD – The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeller – [via]
OpenSCAD is a software for creating solid 3D CAD objects. It is free software and available for Linux/UNIX, MS Windows and Mac OS X.
Unlike most free software for creating 3D models (such as the famous application Blender) it does not focus on the artistic aspects of 3D modelling but instead on the CAD aspects. Thus it might be the application you are looking for when you are planning to create 3D models of machine parts but pretty sure is not what you are looking for when you are more interested in creating computer-animated movies.
OpenSCAD is not an interactive modeller. Instead it is something like a 3D-compiler that reads in a script file that describes the object and renders the 3D model from this script file (see examples below). This gives you (the designer) full control over the modelling process and enables you to easily change any step in the modelling process or make designes that are defined by configurable parameters.
OpenSCAD provides two main modelling techniques: First there is constructive solid geometry (aka CSG) and second there is extrusion of 2D outlines. As data exchange format format for this 2D outlines Autocad DXF files are used. In addition to 2D paths for extrusion it is also possible to read design parametes from DXF files. Besides DXF files OpenSCAD can read and create 3D models in the STL and OFF file formats.
OpenSCAD – The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeller - [Link]
Panoramic photography creates fascinating images. Very wide angle images are closer to the human field of view than conventional pictures. If seen through a panoramic viewer they let you experience a location as if you were there.
Panoramic image stitching can create panoramas from pictures taken one after another. Unfortunately, acquiring the images takes a lot of time and moving objects may cause ghosting. It is also difficult to obtain a full spherical panorama, because the downward picture cannot be captured while the camera is mounted on the tripod.
A throwable panoramic camera solves these problems. The camera is thrown into the air and captures an image at the highest point of flight — when it is hardly moving. The camera takes full spherical panoramas, requires no preparation and images are taken instantaneously. It can capture scenes with many moving objects without producing ghosting artifacts and creates unique images. [via]
Panoramic photo? Throw your camera in the air - [Link]
Professor Mark Csele writes:
Presented is a simple temperature alarm which uses a PIC16C84 microcontroller and a 2-line LCD display. The alarm displays current temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit degrees and features a 3-key keypad which allows the user to set independent high and low temperature alarm points. The alarm also records the minimum and maximum temperatures encountered.
A PIC-Based Temperature Alarm - [Link]
Up, not North – Nuit Blanche Chiptunes. Jon writes – [via]
Last night I had the pleasure of co-curating an all-night concert of Chiptunes music at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. (Clearly, I’m not too great at this whole “promotion” thing: note that this happened last night.) Nonetheless, it was an amazing event, and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to participate. Thanks to all our amazing artists, TIFF staff, and volunteers!
My main role was in designing, manufacturing, and building small noisemakers to give out to the crowd. There were four different colour-coded notes, and during one performance the audience was prompted with coloured cards to play along.
Nuit Blanche Chiptunes - [Link]
From UC Santa Cruz: [via]
The Bolshoi simulation is the most accurate cosmological simulation of the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe yet made (“bolshoi” is the Russian word for “great” or “grand”). The first two of a series of research papers describing Bolshoi and its implications have been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. The first data release of Bolshoi outputs, including output from Bolshoi and also the BigBolshoi or MultiDark simulation of a volume 64 times bigger than Bolshoi, has just been made publicly available to the world’s astronomers and astrophysicists.
The starting point for Bolshoi was the best ground- and space-based observations, including NASA’s long-running and highly successful WMAP Explorer mission that has been mapping the light of the Big Bang in the entire sky. One of the world’s fastest supercomputers then calculated the evolution of a typical region of the universe a billion light years across. The Bolshoi simulation took 6 million cpu hours to run on the Pleiades supercomputer—recently ranked as seventh fastest of the world’s top 500 supercomputers—at NASA Ames Research Center.
The Bolshoi Simulation – Vizualizing the Universe - [Link]