Suzanne Deffree writes:
Apple this week is celebrating the five year anniversary of its Apps Store. If you go to the store, you’ll notice Apple is giving away five games and five apps to celebrate the anniversary.
When it opened its virtual doors, the Apps Store did so with a mere 500 apps. Now, it showcases more than 900,000, with more than 800 apps being downloaded each second.
In total more than 50 billion downloads have taken place since the Apple App Store’s 2008 launch, with more than $10 billion being paid out to developers.
Mixed in among the whopping number of available apps are a few that engineers, specifically, might enjoy. We’ve created the following list of our own favorites as well as some contributed by engineers in the field.
20 Apple apps for engineers - [Link]
Here is a list of useful software used in electronics development. Check it out..
- Ngspice - Spice simulator for personal use
- Toped - good open-source layout editor - view and edit layouts of ICs
- KiCAD - open-source software for board level circuit design
- Maxima - evaluate and solve large design equations
- TiddlyWiki – an excellent self-contained wiki to use
- Scilab - free, open source tool math package to process numbers
- Dia – an excellent open source software alternative to Visio
- Inkscape - fancy drawings or artwork
AT command tester is a free online software tool that is used to test AT commands and other functionalities of GSM modems. The friendly user interface allows developers to,
- Configure and connect to modem ports
- Send single or batch of AT commands
- Perform modem diagnostics
- Establish 3G or GPRS call
- Collect and save modem logs
AT Command Tester uses Java-based serial drivers to interface to the modem. The ‘Find Ports’ button will automatically find all ports available in the system. The user can connect the appropriate modem port with the desired port speed.
After connecting successfully to the modem, users can send single AT commands under ‘Command Mode’ tab. The drop down provides list provide list of AT commands with description and examples. The users can modify or enter their own AT command in the text box. Read the rest of this entry »
Javier Serrano of CERN’s BE-CO-HT section has sent this message to the Developers list to help enhance Kicad: Introducing CERN BE-CO-HT
As you know, the BE-CO-HT section at CERN has been contributing to Kicad for some time now. We see this involvement as a key part of our activities regarding Open Source Hardware. We are also contributing to the adoption of VHDL and SystemVerilog in the Icarus Verilog simulator, so as to enable cross-language simulation. Other related activities include the operation on the Open Hardware Repository and the development of the CERN Open Hardware Licence
CERN supports KiCad development - [Link]
Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) released a new version of its popular ADIsimRF design tool:
The free design tool is the software accompaniment to ADI’s complete portfolio of RF-to-digital functional blocks, allowing engineers to model RF signal chains using devices from across ADI’s RF IC and data converter portfolio. ADIsimRF Version 1.7 adds a number of new device models along with enhanced support for inter-stage mismatch calculations. The design tool provides calculations for the most important parameters within an RF signal chain, including cascaded gain, noise figure, IP3, P1dB, and total power consumption. The ADIsimRF design tool contains embedded data from many of ADI’s RF ICs and data converters, which designers can easily access using pull-down menus to assist in component selection.
Analog Devices releases free version of RF design tool - [Link]
A new PCB design web application was released this last week called PCBWeb. The website states that PCBWeb is a free browser-based CAD application for designing and manufacturing electronics hardware. The tool is currently released in BETA and allows you to create a schematic, full circuit board layout, and then export to gerber format for manufacturing. The application is supported on Windows and Mac using Silverlight.
- Multi-sheet schematics
- Custom Ports
- Digi-Key Part Library (+100K components with symbol and footprints)
- Cut/Copy/Past and full undo/redo
- Multi-layer board
- Support for all units (mm/inch)
- copper pour
- DRC (design rule checking)
- Gerber Export
Bill of Material Manager
- View real-time pricing
- Order Links
PCBWeb – Free Online PCB Design Software - [Link]
Author: James Connors
Description: This ULP is quite creative and simple to use. Draw a 0 with wire on the milling layer. Run the ULP, the dialog box selection will provide options to either draw an array of holes or vias. Parameters such as Diameter, signal name amount of holes and distance can be defined.
Eagle UPL: Create Drill Line Array - [Link]
Some key features:
- Supports all programmers and MCUs that AVRDUDE supports
- Supports presets, allowing you to change between devices and configurations quickly and easily
- Drag and drop files for easy uploading
- Automatically lists available COM ports
AVRDUDESS – A gui for AVRdude - [Link]
Christian Aurich developed a script to import Eagle boards into FreeCAD. This way he is able to design custom enclosures.
The common solution until now is to export your board with eagleUp and assemble it with a case in Sketchup. This also gives you some drawbacks. The most important to me was that the Sketchup files are mesh based like the data used for 3D printing usually, but for further use in CAD systems this is not really usable. You also will not be able to get a STEP model that you can give to your costumers out of this data.
Script lets you import Eagle boards for use in FreeCAD - [Link]