The first approximation is based on a modification of an expression developed by Wheeler; the second is derived from electromagnetic principles by approximating the sides of the spirals as current-sheets; and the third is a monomial expression derived from fitting to a large database of inductors (and the exact inductance values).
Single layer Planar spiral coil inductor calculator - [Link]
by Michael Dunn @ edn.com:
When we first encountered the offspring of this Digi-Key/Mentor CAD collaboration, it was still in beta, and the pricing model was unclear. Now that it’s here for real, let’s take a quick look.
Mentor meets Digi-Key, low-cost CAD results - [Link]
by Kathy Yang @ elecfreaks.com:
We could often feel frustrated when programming using the Arduino IDE. Why? Not because of how many errors we encounter in the program, but it is so difficult to find out the errors in source code, which is really something freaking out. For example Arduino IDE does not seem to display the number of rows, the prompt window can show us in which line the error occurs, but we just have no ideas where the line it is. If you can double click to find exact position of that line, then we will not care about which line it is: line 1 or line 10. But that just hasn’t happened.
Use Sublime Text 2 to Replace Arduino IDE - [Link]
Kaspar of Monostable shared this helpful purchasing tool the 1clickBOM, a browser extension to quickly add electronic components to shopping carts:
1clickBOM is purchasing tool that let’s you keep one bill of materials (BOM) for items from multiple retailers. It’s a browser extension that fills your online shopping carts for you. To add items to 1clickBOM you simply paste from a spreadsheet or visit an online .tsv file.
Currently supported retailers are:
1clickBOM, a browser extension to quickly add components to shopping carts - [Link]
Raj writes with this technique for installing open source drivers on Windows.
I came across a surprisingly simple approach to installing USBasp and USBtiny drivers for all versions of Windows — XP, 7, 8, 8.1, whether 32-bit or 64-bit, all inclusive! As you may know, installing open-source drivers such as USBasp and USBtiny have been a great pain on some of the recent Windows OS, due to the enforcement of signed drivers. The typical solution involves rebooting Windows into a mode that disables driver signature enforcement. This can be a huge source of frustration.
While searching for ‘fully signed USBasp driver’, I came across this tool called Zadig, which can be used to install libusb drivers on all versions of Windows, and it’s digitally signed. Since USBasp and USBtiny are both based on libusb, it worked really well — I was able to install both drivers on Windows XP, 7 (32-bit and 64-bit), 8, and 8.1 instantly, without messing with driver signature enforcement at all. I was mostly surprised such a great solution wasn’t documented more widely online.
How-to install open source USBasp and USBtiny drivers on Windows - [Link]
WinHeist is an electronics component organizer that was developed by a programmer with an electronic habit. It has developed over the years from a personal application used by the author into the full blown application that it is today.
To get a look at WinHeist and get an idea of what it is and what it can do go to the online help.
WinHeist – An Electronic Components Organizer for Every Hobbyist - [Link]
by Lee Goldberg @ edn.com:
The CircuitMaker PCB design tool could be thought of as the electronics enthusiast’s equivalent of Picassa, the free alternative to Photoshop – except that it’s a got a much more refined interface which makes it easy use. The program’s 3D modeling capabilities (more about that later) and other advanced features will help designers deal better with the “lumpy” nature of LED lighting products, or any other design project which involves large, irregular components. But that’s only half of the story. The software’s creators have also taken an interesting approach to solving several important technical and economic issues which have arisen with the Maker Economy by borrowing a few lessons from the movement’s own playbook.
Free PCB design tool includes 3D modeling, crowd-sourced parts database - [Link]
by Graham Prophet @ edn.com:
Previewed in August this year, distributor Mouser has now formally released MultiSIM BLUE, the National Instruments Multisim Component Evaluator, Mouser Edition. The free software is a multifunction package that covers schematic capture, simulation, PCB design and bill-of-materials compilation with direct links to Mouser’s site.
Available via free download on Mouser.com, MultiSIM BLUE enables engineers to design and simulate circuits before laying them out in physical prototypes. MultiSIM BLUE adds features and functionality to provide engineers with an industry-standard SPICE simulation environment of electronic circuits using Mouser’s distributed components, including the newest in analog and mixed-signal ICs, passive components, discrete semiconductors, power management ICs, connectors, and electromechanical components. Simulation is driven by the same advanced parser technology as NI Multisim software with support from BSIM and other advanced parameters.
Mouser releases free version of NI MultiSIM simulator, PCB tool - [Link]
by Michael Dunn @ edn.com:
We’re living in a golden age of software, where many useful programs are available – for free!
Let’s survey some of what’s out there that just might interest an engineering crowd like the EDN community.
I can’t offer personal opinions on most of these packages, but I expect to hear back from you after you’ve test driven a few.
Mostly free engineering software - [Link]
Free PCB Design Tool – CircuitMaker powered by Altium.
You deserve something better. You’re part of the electronics maker and hobbyist community, and you’re coming up with amazingly cool and innovative things every day. We think you deserve better design tools, made specifically for you, to turn those great ideas into reality. That’s why we’re developing CircuitMaker.
CircuitMaker will be a free PCB design tool powered by Altium. With a streamlined interface and powerful engine to boot, you’ll never have to worry about your software holding you back. This will be a free design tool unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Free PCB Design Tool – CircuitMaker powered by Altium - [Link]