Mats continues his challenge of designing one PCB every week. In week 17 he came up with USB Spypow, it displays the actual charge rates of a USB device:
Yesterday I saw the “The Practical Meter” on Kickstarter – a small unit that is placed inline with the USB when charging your phone and shows the actual charging power (in watts) on a row of LEDs. I wanted to have a go at it as well so I did the following last evening.
USB Spypow – [Link]
Steve Taranovich writes:
This is a first in a series of stories called “EEvolution of an idea” showing how a good idea got its start and evolved into a viable product in the electronics industry. I would ask our faithful EDN readers to comment on this series idea and if there is a good positive response which views this as something useful and educational to our readers, then I would like to continue with more interesting and innovative stories like this.
I was recently alerted to an innovative new product called the PortPilot in a comment to an article on EDN.
PortPilot Pro is an inline USB power analyzer, designed by J. Loren Passmore. Passmore describes himself as “an entrepreneur who consults with companies in a variety of industries to envision innovative products and speed their path to market.
Innovative inline USB power analyzer – [Link]
Florin @ youritronics.com writes:
This is a little project I made recently, I call it USB A to micro USB bridge and it does what the name says: it’s just a bridge between the USB A female connector and the female micro USB. In the middle there is a DIL pin header that allows you to connect or disconnected individually the USB signals. I needed this because recently I started working on a USB project and I wanted to have an easy way to hook up a multimeter for measuring things like voltages or current passing through.
USB A to micro USB bridge – [Link]
FTDI chip provides really excellent USB chips, that will handle all the USB communication for you with really excellent bandwidth performance. FTDI provide an exhaustive documentation for their cross platform driver. In contrast with the VCP (Virtual Com Port) mode, the D2XX driver allows direct access to the USB device ports in a completely transparent fashion. The Windows drivers are already certified by Windows, so you can just pick your favorite chip from FTDI, and use it in your product without having to worry about time consuming driver development and certification.
All those arguments make FTDI a very good choice if you are willing to launch a cross platform USB based product as we did for ScanaPLUS. However, be warned, there is One Big Problem you will face on Linux platforms. This short post is all about this problem, and the solution we found to overcome it in a nice, transparent and beautiful way.
FTDI, D2XX and Linux: Overcoming the big problem! – [Link]
Babuino is a device as small as a flash drive, and is designed to control any electronic device through your smartphone. We have developed a software package that allows the user to take advantage of babuino without having any background knowledge of programming or electronics.
Babuino intends to interconnect the devices we use in our everyday lives.
Babuino can be connected to a USB port to allow your smartphone to behave as a keyboard or a mouse to control your computer. It’s ideal for wireless presentations, surfing the internet or watching movies from your couch, etc.
Connected to the USB OTG port of your mobile, it allows you to control your phone from your PC which makes it possible to chat on the smartphone as you work without having to touch it, with the convenience of a regular keyboard and mouse.
There is no need to configure anything or install any additional software.
Babuino is an Open Source and Open Hardware project and the device is an arduino compatible board with integrated bluetooth, meaning that enthusiasts can use it as the basis for their own projects involving the control of electronic devices from their smartphones.
The use of Babuino is not restricted to being a keyboard or a mouse, babuino can be used as a webcam, a sound card or any other USB device that receives the data from a smartphone.
Babuino: Connecting smartphones to digital devices – [Link]
High-quality enclosures from company New Age Enclosures can be assembled by one click.
If we´ll carefully design a device in a way to be as small as possible, it´s natural, that we don´t want to make it bigger by a uselessly bulky enclosure. For this purpose we keep in offer enclosures for small USB or other miniature devices. Despite their small dimensions, they´re constructed with a goal to maximize inner space.
For example type P3A-220705U can be assembled by means of 4 lugs – by a simple pressing of both parts to each other. This solution has an advantage in an absence of visible screws, nuts or similar and at the same time it speeds up assembly of devices at production. It is worth mentioning, that the enclosure holds relatively very firmly and it´s better to close it after we´re sure we really want to close it. Enclosure P3A-220705 is available without or with an opening for a USB-A connector. To this model it is possible to buy a reset button suitable for wireless devices and similar.
Detailed information will provide you the P-220705 datasheet with a 3D view and on the New Age Enclosures website also CAM models are available.
In case of interest, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small USB device? – No problem – [Link]
Cheap low-speed dual channel PC/USB oscilloscope with STM32F3 microcontroller.
Miniscope v2d is based on STM32F303CBT6 microcontroller – LQFP48 device from STM32F3 family featuring:
- 32 kB RAM on data bus
- 8 kB RAM on instruction bus
- 128 kB FLASH memory
- USB device (full speed)
- 4 fast and flexible ADCs
- 12-bit DAC with two output channels
- 4 opamps that can work in PGA mode
- ROM bootloader with USB DFU option available
STM32F303-based low-speed PC/USB oscilloscope project – miniscope v2d – [Link]
Integrated circuit FT232R is becoming legendary and we bring you another example of FTDI USB chips usage.
In praxis we often face a requirement to communicate with devices, which have serial ports RS232, RS422 and RS485. As many devices – mainly notebooks, already usually don´t have these ports, it is necessary to use a converter to convert serial port to USB.
Company ComErgon, s.r.o. is long-term dedicated to development and production of such converters. ComErgon has in its offer models for RS232, RS422 a RS485 interfaces. USB to RS422 and RS485 converters are produced with a 1kV galvanic isolation, as lines on the RS422 and RS485 side can be lead even on long distances and an eventual overvoltage could be able to damage end devices. Version RS232-USB is available with galvanic isolation but also without isolation.
More detailed information and technical specification of these converters can be found at website of company ComErgon.
Company ComErgon focuses on development and production of converters for RS232, RS422, RS485, RS422/RS485 repeaters, serial to Ethernet interface modules, GPRS, Fiber Optic, 433MHz, current loop and other.
Customer solution: Trouble-free RS232, RS422, RS485 to USB conversion – [Link]
New USB chip from FTDI supports the Android open accessory mode, what enables a straightforward connectivity of USB devices and saves a battery of an Android device.
To connect a device to a smartphone (tablet,…) or other Android OS device via a USB is at the time possible in 2 ways – by means of a USB OTG (On The Go) or via a so called „Android open Accessory“ mode. USB OTG was introduced to you in the article – USB OTG – rather to be a master than a slave. USB OTG functions very well with many external devices but this method has one substantial requirement – your smartphone must recognize a given external device – it must have a suitable driver installed (similarly like at PC). The problem is, that for many USB devices you mast a driver to your Android device, what can be problematic from various reasons – absence of a suitable driver, “locked” system (limited access rights) loss of warranty on an Android device, ….
As a solution of these problems the Android Open Accessory Mode arised, when the role changes upside down and an Android device communicates in the USB device (Slave) slave. It means that the Host role takes an external device, while eliminating a need to develop drivers and guarantees a trouble-free communication. It means that this mode is very suitable for development of new devices intended for operation with Android devices. At the same time, the USB bus is powered from a Host device at this mode, what saves the battery of an Android device. Usually an application in a given OS uses drivers to communicate with a USB device. However in this case no drivers are required – an Android device reads a set of strings describing a given device (producer, model, URL address …) what is able to automatically start an application after connection of a given device. USB communication itself uses 2 endpoints for input and output (Bulk IN and Bulk OUT). That´s why an Open Accessory mode is suitable for all kinds of devices – data producing (sensors, probes,…) but also for data receiving (printers, robots, …).
FT311D brings this solution into reality and functions as a bridge between an Android device and various serial interfaces. It is possible to choose from up to 6 interfaces what suits to perhaps all nowadays devices – UART, PWM, SPI Master, SPI Slave, GPIOS, I2C Master. A great advantage of FT311D is, that the producer – company FTDI provides an extensive development support, including the UMFT311EV development board, code examples and demo applications.
Detailed information will provide you the FT311 datasheet, FT311 WP_001 and FT311D Android programmer guide. Further files can be found on the http://www.ftdichip.com/Android.htm
In case of interest, please contact us at email@example.com.
FT311 – USB communication with Android devices without drivers – [Link]
by Publitek European Editors:
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) has become the connection scheme of choice for interconnecting different devices, many of them providing human interface support. Support for many different types of peripheral, which can be self- or bus-powered, calls for stringent protection for not just the target device, but also the bus itself.
For example, overcurrent protection for USB-powered devices is needed, both by standards such as UL60950, as well as by the USB specification itself. Also required is good electrostatic discharge (ESD) support to ensure that devices and the host are not adversely affected by the spikes caused by plugging in devices, or the user brushing against exposed pins in the USB connector. This article looks at the requirements for protecting the power and data lines in USB and covers devices such as the TE Circuit Protection Polyswitch, the STMicroelectronics USBLC6, the Texas Instruments TPDD4EUSB30, the NXP Semiconductors IP4234CZ6, the Littelfuse 1206L family and the Bourns MF families, among others.
Protecting USB From Power Surges – [Link]