Making Your First Printed Circuit Board – Getting Started With PCBWAY [PART 1]

If you are into electronics, PCBs (Printed Circuit Board) are some of the most common things you will see. These boards make our lives easier by eliminating all those connecting wires and breadboards. If properly designed, it will reduce the size of your device and it can look very professional. Making a professional board could be a bit challenging for newbies, and that’s what this post will show, how to make one using PCBWAY services.

PCB boards
Printed Circuit Boards

PCBWay is the answer to get affordable and professional PCBs with fast delivery and free technical support. PCBWay.com is a professional quick turn PCB prototyping and low-volume production manufacturer located in Shenzhen China. PCBWay also offers PCB Assembly services if you are looking to populate your board and this will not only save you time but cost as well. You can instantly get the quotation of your PCB and PCBA on their website, you can also check the order fabrication and processing status online, all in your account panel with PCBWay. After your PCBs are sent out to your address, you can track your order’s shipping status online.

PCB is one of the most crucial parts of any electrical and electronic device. Quality of PCB determines the quality of all these devices. Modern technology makes possible the increasing miniaturization of integrated circuits, higher packing density, and smaller layout dimension, hence the higher demands on PCB arise. To get started making your first professional PCB, you first need to have a circuit design to work with.

Hobbyist level PCBs are generally designed in two different layouts. The first and most simple is a single sided layout which means that components and copper traces are only located on one side of the PCB. The second hobbyist-friendly design is the double-sided PCB. This board features a copper coating on both the top and bottom layers.

Schematic and Board Design Software

There are dozens of PCB CAD software available for you to design your first PCB with and all come with their own features. I have used several PCB CAD packages like:

Choosing a PCB CAD software to use depends on user and here is some things to consider when a CAD suite is selected:

  • Community Support – This is very important and can drive you a long way in your current and future design. Autodesk Eagle is one of those tools with a strong community, and many open source hardware projects and libraries are available for it.
  • Cost – The cost matters here. Some are available for free like CircuitMaker from Altium, UpVerter, and even Eagle has a free version.
  • Flexibility and Options
  • Easy to use

PCB design is usually done by converting your circuit’s schematic diagram into a PCB layout using your preferred PCB layout software.

[to be continued on PART 2]

ATtiny85 20MHz Internal Clock

Here is a new tutorial from technoblogy.com on how to run ATtiny85 with internal 20MHz clock.

The ATtiny85 is rated at a maximum clock speed of 20MHz at 4.5 – 5.5V. For some applications it would be nice to get the maximum speed without needing to buy a 20MHz crystal, or tie up two I/O lines driving the crystal. Here’s how to do it.

To test it I toggled an output at the clock frequency, and measured it with a frequency meter

The reading of 10MHz implies a clock frequency of 20MHz.

2ATtiny85 0MHz Internal Clock – [Link]

RELATED POSTS

ONYXX – A new wireless charger with 5000mAh capacity

NEW YORK, NY May 9th, 2018 — CheeNYC an NYC based company, are launching a new Wireless Charger/Power Bank named ONYXX. It will be the first Wireless Charger designed for outdoor use with water and dust resistant components starting at under $90.

For active lifestyle or just casual spill during your office work, ONYXX will stay safe and ready to deliver juice to your devices. We adjusted ports and buttons to be resistant to water splashing or light dust environments.

We are working with amazing vendors and we are happy with samples we developed and tested so far. We are using Qi wireless charging standard and heavy duty housing providing active lifestyle ready power bank.

Chris Johnson, founder at CheeNYC explains: “The wireless chargers today are designed for home or office and we wanted our ONYXX it to go even further “. Don’t stress when you are at the beach, fishing or at a pool side. A little splash or water will not hurt the ONYXX.

Some of ONYXX features include:

  • Induction Charging: The ONYXX can easily be charged on another wireless charger
  • 5000mAh
  • Dual Coils
  • Water and Dust resistant
  • USB Type-C ONYXX offers limited Early Bird deals at $49 for the first supporters. About: CheeNYC is a small New York-based team of entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers working on Qi technology based products. Established in 2017 by a diverse team of players from the US and UK

ONYXX offers limited Early Bird deals at $49 for the first supporters. About: CheeNYC is a small New York-based team of entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers working on Qi technology based products. Established in 2017 by a diverse team of players from the US and UK

SOURCE CheeNYC, Inc.

Zebra SBC – ARM based Single Board Computer from VersaLogic

VersaLogic has released a rugged, lasting, simple-to-use and ready-for-deployment Zebra VL-EPC-2701 board. The Zebra single board computer is a complete Arm-based embedded computer. It features several models that are available with power-efficient, single- or dual-core i.MX6 CPUs. The Arm-based Single Board computer comes in two models; which features either NXP i.MX6 Solo (single core), or the i.MX6 DualLite (dual core) processors.

Zebra SBC

With its 95 x 95 mm size, the compact board is easy to mount and perform future upgrades. Not only that, Zebra conforms to the size and mounting points of the industry standard COM Compact format. The Zebra NXP’s single-core i.MX6 Solo comes with an onboard 512MB DDR3L RAM, while the dual-core DualLite comes with a built-in 1GB RAM, both of which are expandable up to 4GB RAM. The Zebra offers an optional 8GB microSD card with Linux and supports Linux distributions and OSes that are compatible with the Cortex-A9 based i.MX6.

This embedded computer boards provide connectivity via Gigabit Ethernet, USB, and CAN bus interfaces, as well as HDMI video support. They also provide a MikroBUS socket for expandability, and additional on-board I/O including I2C, audio, SPI, and GPIO. The Zebra embedded computer board has been programmed for a ready off-the-shelf deployment into demanding industrial, defense, and aerospace applications requiring rugged, durable, power efficient, industrial temperature.

Unlike many Arm-based modules, VersaLogic’s Zebra comes uniquely in some ways. The new product is a complete board-level computer. It requires neither additional carrier board nor, companion boards nor, connector break-out boards, or other add-ons to function. Since it was built to be exceedingly efficient, rugged and lasting, Zebra is rated for full industrial temperature operation of -40° to +85°C. Even at that, it consumes less than 3W of power during operation.

Here are the specifications of the Zebra SBC:

  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo or DualLite (1x or 2x Cortex-A9 cores @ up to 800MHz);
  • Graphics – Vivante GC2000 GPU
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB (Solo) or 1GB (DualLite) DDR3L SDRAM soldered, expandable to up to 4GB
    • MicroSD slot (bootable) with an optional 8GB card containing Linux
    • eMMC (MLC) socket with up to 32GB optional bootable storage
  • Networking — 1x Gigabit Ethernet port with network boot, latching connector
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI v1.4 port
    • Audio in/out jack
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • 2x CAN 2.0B ports
    • 2x serial interfaces (1x 3.3V UART; 1x RS-232 debug)
    • 8x GPIO/DIO (3.3V)
    • 1x SPI, 2x I2C, and up to 3x PWM (reduces GPIO lanes)
    • MikroBUS expansion interface for Click boards
  • Other features —
    • 6-axis accelerometer/magnetometer
    • 10-year lifecycle support
    • optional cables
    • HW customization service available on 100+ unit orders
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C with 0.5 linear meters per the second airflow
  • Shock/vibration resistance — per MIL-STD-202G (vibration Method 204/214A; shock Method 213B)
  • Altitude resistance — to 4,570 meters
  • Power — 5 VDC input;
    • Consumption: 2.2W idle, 2.7W (Solo) or 3W (DualLite) typical
  • Dimensions — 95 x 95 x 20mm; compatible with COM Express Compact footprint and mounting holes
  • Weight — 62 g
  • Operating system – bootable Linux OS; compatible with other Linux and Android.

VersaLogic’s is offering an amazing 10+ year product life support for the board; this will ensure a long-term deployment in the field, free from expensive upgrades and migrations that come from products with a short disposable lifecycle.

The Zebra SBC is available for purchase starting at $196 for Solo with 512MB (VL-EPC-2701-EAK-005) or $239 for DualLite with 1GB (VL-EPC-2701-EBK-01), or $168 and $205 in OEM quantity. More information about the product is available on the product page.

Avalue ESM-APLC – An Apollo Lake board that gives option for the Celeron®N3350 or Pentium®N4200 SoC

The Apollo Lake SoC has already be used in several boards and modules. Avalue, a technology company that has launched several single board products and with focus on innovative embedded products has recently launched an embedded platform called the “ESM-APLC“, a Linux-ready COM that provides support for either the Intel Apollo Lake Celeron®N3350 or Pentium®N4200 SoC.

Avalue ESM-APLC

Avalue which isn’t new to the Apolo Lake board designs released the EQM-APL last fall, a Qseven module based on the Intel’s Apollo Lake. The ESM-APLC module to some extent inherit some similar attributes of the EQM-APL module, just like the EQM-APL module allows one to use between the Apollo Atom, Celeron or the Pentium SoC, the ESM-APLC does the same with the major exemption of the Atom SoC. The ESM-APLC drops the Apollo Lake Atom SoC in its build.

The EQM-APLC module measures at 95 x 95mm in a Type6 style shape COM Express Compact module. It is equipped with the Intel Apollo lake Pentium N4200 1.1GHz  or Celeron N3350 1.1GHz  SoC Processors both of which have a low 6W TDP. ESM-APLC supports one 204-pin DDR3L 1866 SO-DIMM (up to 8GB via single socket), and the module supplies up to 64GB of optional onboard eMMC 5.0. Extensive I/O support including 8 x USB 2.0, 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x SATA III, 1 x UART, 1 x 8-bit GPIO, 1 x SMBus, 1 x LPC and 1 x I2C.

ESM-APLC provides a triple display interface option; it supports several graphics interfaces including dual-channel 18/24-bit LVDS with support up to 1920 x 1200 @60Hz, VGA Support up to 1920 x 1200 @60Hz, HDMI support up to 3840×2160 @30Hz and DP support 4096×2160 @60Hz. HD Audio is not left behind in this wealth of features.

The module expansion port comes with 3x PCIe GEN2 x1 interfaces and an optional 4 PCIe x1 or 1 PCIe x4 that comes at the cost of sacrificing the Ethernet. The module is expected to work optimally in 0 to 60°C operation with a wide range of temperature input (9- 19V AT/ATX input with ACPI 3.0. TPM 2.0 is optional). ESM-APLC is ideal for customers who need optimized processing and graphics performance with low power consumption in a long product life solution, such as embedded board, MID/UMPC, Microserver/Server and Consumer Electronics.

The module supports either Linux Kernel 4.5 and Windows® 10 Enterprise (64-bit). The module is available for purchase with no publicly disclosed price but can be obtained by contacting Avalue. More information about the product is available on the product page, and the datasheet can be downloaded here.

Particle E-Series Modules – LTE Connectivity designed for IoT

Building an Internet of Things based system has always been an exciting art that usually comes with one major challenge to overcome – Connectivity. A smart system or an even intelligent system that collects data without having any network capability can’t be called an IoT system and it’s that device connectivity that gives it the IoT factor. Cellular connectivity has been one of the go-to connectivity for IoT system, and 2G networks have been the umbrella for this connectivity option mostly because it is virtually available everywhere.

Particle IoT 4G ESeries LTE

Despite the success that 2G & 3G networks have brought to the adoption of Internet of Things application, they are also slowly being phased out for the more robust, better 4G networks. Countries like Australia have stopped a nationwide use of 2G networks and some other countries already making plans to do the same. Particle, a developer of networking hardware and software for connected devices that has released several IoT focused boards in the past, like the Particle Photon and Particle Cellular Modules, has recently launched new LTE modules for 4G networks. These new devices aim those people whose devices depend on 2G and 3G networks and comes with a cloud and SIM support.

The LTE modules are part of Particle’s existing E Series suite, which comes bundled with the Particle Device Cloud, Device OS, and Particle’s collection of developer tools. The E Series modules are powered by an STM32F205 ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller running at 120MHz with features a 1MB Flash, 256KB RAM, and a wealth of GPIO. The modules integrate the industry-leading u-blox Sara cellular modems that provide support for 2G, 3G, and LTE M1/NB1 radios.

The LTE E Series modules are build on their famous Electron cellular prototyping kit, and they all come with standard wireless and cellular certifications – PTCRB Certified, FCC/CE/IC/GCF Certified, and RoHS Compliant. Also, they offer an extended operating temperature range from -20 to 85C for hostile environments. The modules come in 3 family types as listed below:

  • Electron development kit
  • E Series evaluation board
  • E Series modules

(more…)

Getting started with FPGA? Try the Arduino IDE Compatible Snō Module

Field-programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are the next generation of programmable logic devices. Although they are fantastic devices for circuit programming, finding your way around them might not be so easy. Designing with FPGAs comes with considerable difficulty, due to its elusive nature and intricacies that attend its learning.

An FPGA is a device that allows you to program real-time circuits instead of emulating them. This device has the ability to be programmed for a specific function by the end user instead of its manufacturer.

Arduino Snō Module
Snō Module

The Snō FPGA module by Alorium Technology has been built to give an easier programming experience by integrating a compatible ATMega328 controller, the same microcontroller that powers the popular Arduino Uno board, making the FPGA module work with the Arduino IDE.

The Arduino Snō Module board is powered by low-end Intel MAX 10 FPGA Chip, an FPGA chip with 1,000 logic array blocks. The board measures at 0.7 x 1.7 inches. The Snō is programmable with Arduino embedded 8-bit AVR instruction set. Also, the Snō has an intriguing workflow for programming the FPGA – Through the Arduino IDE, you can use the pre-programmed or downloadable XBs (Xcelerator Blocks) that can configure the FPGA for functions like servo control and NeoPixel operation.

A handful of people acquire FGPAs for simple pre-defined functions that could easily be handled by a micro-controller. And this explains why the Snō FPGA module also comes with a feature that allows you to program completely custom circuits to handle whatever task you want. Their OPENXLR8 workflow gives you the ability to program and upload new XBs for your own functions.

The first step in setting up your computer to program and connect with the Snō is to install the standard Arduino IDE software. The Arduino is compatible with Windows, MacOS, and Linux. On a final note, the Arduino Snō is generally configurable, boast a higher performance and is fast.

The Sno board is available for purchase at competitive $49 price tag. You can buy it online from either Mouser Electronics or Arrow. More information can be found on the product page here.

i.MX7 System-On-Module is only 55x30mm

Built around NXP/Freescale i.MX7 processor, e-con Systems’ eSOMiMX7 System on Module comes in a small form factor of 55x30mm. [via]

The eSOMiMX7 ready to use System-On-Module relies on a Solo / Dual core ARM Cortex A7 running at 1GHz along with a dedicated real time ARM Cortex- M4 MCU. It encompasses eMMC Flash whose capacity ranges from 4GB to 64GB, LPDDR3 with capacity as high as 2GB. The small form factor module consumes only 3mA current during deep sleep mode. It is available with latest Linux Kernel version v4.9.11, latest Yocto rootfs version 2.2 and Free RTOS version 8.

e-con Systems – www.e-consystems.com

APEMAN TRAWO – A 4K Action Camera with 20MP Photo that fits your budget

Life is full of adventures. The best way to preserve your memories is to capture them exactly as they are and one of the best ways to capture them is with action cameras. Action cameras can go beyond your average camera, or your high-end smartphone would dare to. With their rugged and waterproof designs they can endure the rigors and extremes of any adventure. The GoPro Cameras especially the GoPro Hero family has always been regarded as one of the best action cameras to take for your adventure, but the team at Apeman is putting up a fight in this space with the launch of their 4K action camera called TRAWO.

Apeman, a premier team of engineers, product designers, and photographers, has announced the worldwide launch of TRAWO, a pro-quality 4k action camera that sets new standards for performance, control and clarity. APEMAN has launched some action cameras already like the APEMAN A80, A77, and A60 but TRAWO will be the best APEMAN camera ever made.

Features

  • 4K video capture at 30fps
  • F1.8 Wide Aperture
  • 20 MP HD still images
  • EIS Stabilization System
  • 170° Wide Angle FOV
  • Wi-Fi Control

The TRAWO camera can achieve 4K capturing, its video resolution is boosted to 4K at 30fps, and epic still images at 20 MP that captures every moment in crisp detail and unparalleled clarity. Ultra-smooth super slow-mo opportunities are possible with a 1080p resolution at 120fps. Still images can be taken in single, burst and time-lapse modes, which can be saved in the memory for post-production editing.

 

Trawo Action Camera
Trawo Camera

The TRAWO is built around the advanced Hisilicon Hi3559 chip and sensitive Panasonic MA34120 sensor which together helps the camera to deliver high reliability and performance for its HD Video. Aside from the 4K/30fps the TRAWO is also capable of 60fps at 2K resolution. The TRAWO features a special lens array with 7 layers of glass, UV protection film, and an IR filter for incredibly accurate colors.

Action cameras are made for sports, travel, and adventure and in these situations, it is essential to capture a wide view and fast-moving subjects. TRAWO handles this with an Ultra-Wide 170° adjustable lens which creates an immersive view that puts the viewer right in action and features a patented EIS anti-shake system with built-in motion sensors that create an image buffer for smooth and steady photos and video. The Camera F1.8 aperture helps to enhance the depth of field and performs better in low light situations.

With added features such as Wi-Fi and smartphone control, the TRAWO allows easy transfer of video and images from the camera to phone so that they can be easily saved and shared from anywhere. With the introduction of next-generation action camera systems like TRAWO, fun and photography are better than ever.

Design and Accessories

  • Simplified design
  • Waterproof up to 130ft (40m)
  • Dust and Shockproof
  • Bigger battery – 1350mAh Batteries x2
  • Mounting tools

No need to worry about running out of power. TRAWO features a 1350mAh battery that ensures a solid 90 minutes of video recording in 1080P, so your camera lasts as long as you do. Even if your battery runs out, the TRAWO package comes with an extra battery to continue your adventure.

TRAWO goes anywhere the action is – even underwater. The included case gives it waterproof and dust-proof cover. The TRAWO remains waterproof to 40 meters without the need for any extra housing. One of another TRAWO’s strengths is its mounts and accessories. Think of somewhere you might want to attach this camera; there are enough mounting and strapping tools to help you achieve that. The action-ready features of TRAWO make it the perfect choice for extreme sports such as snowboarding, cycling, surfing, scuba and any activity with challenging video conditions.

The Apeman team is pushing innovation in the camera technology and shaking the table some companies are sitting comfortably. With the launch of TRAWO, the Apeman CEO said –

“Our goal was to create a true 4k action camera that could combine top performance with creative modes such as slow-motion and time-lapse so that users can effortlessly capture their incredible adventures at the push of a button. TRAWO is the culmination of that effort. It is a go-anywhere action camera with smartphone control that delivers perfect photos and video every time.”

Apeman has already launched their TRAWO campaign on IndieGoGo, and the camera is available for pre-order now. The TRAWO camera package is starting at $69 for a single TRAWO camera package and to about $195 for a double TRAWO camera package. The TRAWO gives anyone the ability to capture epic adventures and perfect pictures with intuitive controls and powerful performance.

ESP32-LyraT – An Open Source Development Board For Smart Audio Applications

Espressif systems has been working on different audio applications including smart speakers. Despite the fact that they have been developing their audio applications, as of February 2018, none of ESP32 software development kits was easily accessible and the hardware kits were not able to take on any new tasks. So, there were no chances to improve or implement new things using the hardware kits. Therefore, it was not surprising when the company released ESP32-LyraT.

ESP32-LyraT

ESP32-LyraT is an open-source development board, supporting Espressif Systems’ ADF (ESP-ADF Audio Development Framework), one-key Wi-Fi configuration, a wake-up button, voice wake-up, voice recognition, cloud platform access, and an audio player.

The goal was to improve the audio applications of the kits being produced, and this was achieved through ESP32-LyraT, the only board released by Espressif Systems with adequate documentationESP32-LyraT has different voice commands and interactive voice functions; it allows the fast development of applications relating to consumer electronics, wearables, smart speakers, smart home applications and automation. The board facilitates the quick and easy development of dual-mode (Bluetooth + Wi-Fi) audio solutions.

The block diagram below presents main components of the ESP32-LyraT and interconnections between components.

Esp32-LyraT Block Diagram

Features of ESP32-LyraT include UART, USB Power Port, a battery charger chip, an audio codec chip; a sound card which is built in the motherboard for providing sound output. There is also a PA chip, a JTAG header, and UART header. Other parts include the two keys which are the function keys and the boot keys. ESP32-LyraT has a micro SD slot available, a green and a red LED and an ESP32 WROVER Module.

Below are some of the device specifications:

  • Wireless module – ESP32-WROVER module with WiFi and Bluetooth LE
  • Audio –
    • Many audio inputs – Wi-Fi, BT-audio, DLNA, 3.5mm audio Line-in
    • 3.5mm headphone jack
    • 2x microphones
    • Speaker connectors
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Debugging – JTGA header, USB UART
  • Misc  – Touch sense buttons, function/boot/reset keys,  DIP switch for configuration
  • Power – 5V via micro USB port; battery header + charger chip

Some Key Featuers

  • SoftAP and Station mode.
  • Various mainstream, both lossy and lossless, compressed audio formats, including M4A, AAC, FLAC, OGG, OPUS, MP3, etc.
  • Two microphones for the development of near-field and far-field voice recognition applications.
  • BLE network configuration, and smart network configuration with apps, such as WeChat.

The ESP32-LyraT board is available for purchase and is being sold for just 22 Euros on Olimex. More information about the product can be found here, and the ESP32-LyraT User Guide is available for download here.