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16 Jan 2012

With multimeters VA 503 and VA 505B you don´t have to catch the SMT components on the table anymore! Speed and comfort of measurment with these multimeters will probably amaze you. 

Measuring of resistance, capacity, diode and conductivity test – those are the tasks, which SMT tweezers handle with easiness. Naturally, all this can be measured also with a usual multimeter, but with one condition – usually you´ll need both hands for it and even so small SMT components have a tendency to jump out of measuring tips. At this process there is also an increased risk of damage to their sensitive soldering pads.

VA 503 and VA 505B SMT measuring tweezers eliminate all these nuisances. You only need one hand for measuring and measuring tips are fixed against side shift, thus a measured component practically cannot slip out of tweezers. From the principle of tweezers also one pleasant feature results – you can use the measuring tweezers also like a “usual tweezers”, i.e. you can use it to relocate a measured component to various organizers, right after the measurement. Measuring tips are made of quality non-magnetic material.

From a user point of view, the main difference between VA 503 and VA 505B is, that the VA 505B can measure also in an automatic mode, when the device automatically chooses not only a measuring range but even recognizes a measured component type (R,C or Diode). VA 505B is also able to measure even very high capacitancies – up to 60mF (60 000uF). VA 503 has a maximum display value of 3999 and VA 505B – 5999. A relatively high resolution of both devices makes them suitable also for sorting of components – for example when selecting more capacitors or resistors with the same value. In this case, when we don´t need an absolute accuracy, but mainly a comparison of components values, we can relatively very accurately select components with the same values – for example for usage in various filters or resistive dividers. Measuring of diodes is at 1mA and a 2.8V open circuit voltage, what enables to measure also all kinds of usual LED diodes. Devices also feature an auto power-off function. Detailed information will provide you the VA503_505 datasheet.

Measure SMT components by only one hand - [Link]

12 Jan 2012

embedded-lab.com writes:

Measurement and control of temperature and relative humidity finds applications in numerous areas. These days devices are available which have both temperature and humidity sensors with signal conditioning, ADC, calibration and communication interface all built inside them. The use of such smart sensors greatly simplify the design and reduces the overall cost. We discussed in past about Humidity and temperature measurements with Sensirion’s SHT1x/SHT7x sensors. These sensors are capable of measuring both temperature and relative humidity and provide fully calibrated digital outputs. While  SHT1x/SHT7x are very accurate sensors, they are still expensive for hobbyists use. This articles discusses the DHT11 sensor which also provides calibrated digital outputs for temperature and humidity but is relatively lot cheaper than the Sensirion sensors. The DHT11 sensor uses a proprietary 1-wire protocol which we will be exploring here and implementing with the PIC16F628A microcontroller that will receive the temperature and humidity values from the sensor and display them on a 16×2 character LCD.

Measure temperature and humidity using DHT11 sensor and PIC - [Link]

26 Dec 2011


vpapanik writes:

A simple device for testing and/or healing Nixie tubes of IN-18 type. An 11-pole switch is connected in series with a 50 KΩ pot (+ 470 Ω resistor for safety), powering from an 180V DC source. Normal operation at 2 mA is shown. For healing tubes, one can double the current (4 mA), baking the tube for several hours in order to remove cathode poisoning. Enjoy !

Nixie Tube IN-18 Tester / Healer - [Link]

20 Dec 2011


Gabotronics’ Xminilab is a mixed signal oscilloscope with an arbitrary waveform generator in a DIP module. It measures only 3.3 x 1.75 inches, and can be mounted directly on a breadboard. The Xminilab can also be used as a development board for the AVR XMEGA microcontroller. [via]

This remarkable new product features a mixed signal oscilloscope for simultaneous sampling of analog and digital signals. Some tech features:

  • Advanced Trigger: Normal / Single / Auto, with rising or falling edge and adjustable trigger level.
  • Meter Mode: Average, Peak to peak and Frequency readout.
  • XY Mode (Plot Lissajous patterns or see the phase difference between two waveforms).
  • Spectrum Analyzer with different windowing options and selectable vertical log.
  • Horizontal and Vertical Cursors with automatic waveform measurements.
  • Arbitrary Waveform Generator with Frequency Sweep.
  • Display options: Persistence, Different grid options, and more.

An oscilloscope for 64 dollars - [Link]

14 Dec 2011

dangerousprototypes.com writes:

After our recent post about the commercial semi-conductor tester we started a discussion about building a similar open source project. What came up is this AVR based transistor tester (machine translation) by Markus.

It’s built around an ATmega8 IC that interfaces with a standard HD44780 16×2 character LCD. The circuit that does the testing is simplicity itself. Three pairs of resistors are connected to 6 pins of the microcontroller, and each pair is connected on the other end to one of the transistor pins.

The theory of operation is also relatively simple. The microcontroller cycles through different patterns on its output pins until a recognizable pattern is read on its input pins. It supports a very large range of devices:

Arup and Fcobcn have already built one for themselves. Join the discussion and add your input to our development of an open source part tester.

AVR-based transitor tester - [Link]

12 Dec 2011

scienceprog.com writes:

When building AVR DDS2 signal generator there were lots of discussions about signal conditioning in analog part of device. First argument was that LM358 wasn’t the best choice for this purpose. Another one pointed to sine wave that weren’t smooth enough.

As you can see there are some dents on it. Other waveforms also are distorted especially when higher voltages are selected. This definitely asks for better analog part. Some people suggested to replace LM358 with OPA2134, but it seems to be quite expensive choice. In my opinion low noise general purpose op-amp can be great too. I’m gonna give a try to Texas Instruments TL074 low noise op-amp. It is low power, high slew rate (13V/us) IC – almost five times faster than LM358 and for same reasonable price.

Modeling of analog part for DDS3 signal generator - [Link]

8 Dec 2011

grieg.gotdns.com writes:

A couple of weeks ago I spent some time examining a fairly complex circuit board from my old, but still functional, clock radio/CD player. I was using the probe of my handheld multimeter to measure voltages at various IC pins and circuit traces. At one point during the process I thought, “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if I had someone here to read the voltmeter to me as I test various points? That way I could focus on my probe and not accidentally short neighboring pins.” But then I realized that I did have someone to do just that: Microsoft Sam. I present to you the NI LabVIEW talking voltmeter:

LabVIEW: The Simple Talking Voltmeter - [Link]

6 Dec 2011

Pittsford, NY, USA:  Saelig Company, Inc. has introduced WiPry-Combo – the worldʼs first dynamic power meter and spectrum analyzer accessory for the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone – offering a modern touch interface not available on PC-based instruments. WiPry-Combo turns an iOS device into an ultraportable spectrum analyzer and dynamic power meter.  WiPry-Combo brings RF power measurements to a graphical interface to show RF waveforms like an oscilloscope – instead of showing voltage, RF amplitude is displayed on an iOS portable device.  Actual power output can be triggered, captured, and recorded for protocol verification or for troubleshooting wireless devices. Data is collected at up to 12 MSa/s, allowing analysis and verification of the smallest protocol level on/off times. WiPry-Combo offers data logging in csv format, while screenshot results can be instantly emailed via the iOS host phone. 

In its Spectrum Analyzer mode, WiPry-Combo offers a practical solution for identifying interference or open channels in the 2.4GHz ISM band, or for identifying unauthorized WiFi access points.  Operating in the frequency range: 2.400 to 2.495 GHz, it measures signals from -40dBm to +20dBm with an amplitude resolution of 2.0dBm and a bandwidth resolution of 1MHz.  The band sweep time is 200ms. Read the rest of this entry »

3 Dec 2011

dangerousprototypes.com writes:

Luca made an Amp-meter using the ACS712 current sensor, and the Arduino.

The ACS712 is a fully integrated, hall effect based, linear current sensor. It converts the current that passes through its input pins to a proportional voltage on an output pin. He connected the output pin to an analog pin of his Arduino, and made a simple logging software that reads 1000 samples.

Current sensing with the Arduino - [Link]

27 Nov 2011


Designing a simple and cheap temperature logger @ Pick and Place blog… Some time ago, I was looking for a temperature logger. After checking what was available on the market and the prices, I decided to make one myself.

Designing a simple and cheap temperature logger – [Link]





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