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9 Jan 2014

Get a free development board from NXP and enter a fun little contest for EEs, with actual prizes running right now.  EEWeb.com is running the “NXP/AXP Low Power Design Contest”  and it has some interesting (consumer style) prizes.  You don’t often see contests like this with quality general interest prizes, and a good chance of winning.

The contest centers around using the the AXP1G57 low-power configurable multifunction gate in your project; the project can be a solution to a real problem or something novel.  They’ll send you a free development board, just include it as part of your design project and enter.  The board consists of four identical sections, and each section is an independently configurable device.

This contest is very easy to enter, and you can choose your level of commitment, from just answering a 10 question form, a short 1-page (250 word) essay, a reference design project, or creating a schematic/circuit diagram. You can even blog about your project and use that as part of your entry.  The contest runs through the end of May.

Enter the 2014 AXP Logic Design Contest! – [Link]

12 Dec 2013


Lightning detector that flashes when lightning strikes nearby.


This circuit picks up and amplifies signals in the 300 kHz range, where lightning makes a lot of noise that can be picked up with a radio.  The antenna and receiver are tuned to 300 kHz, with the receiver’s output connected to an amplifier that drives the lamp flashing circuit, alerting you to lightning in the area.

Use the potentiometer to reduce the sensitivity to noise and still be able to detect lightning strikes.  In addition to lightning, this circuit will also respond to noise from motors inside appliances like refrigerators, washers, and air-conditioners.  Another easy way to affect the sensitivity is to take off the antenna, or lengthen it depending on the conditions.  To get some confirmation while tuning the detector, you can tune an AM radio to the bottom the of the dial as well.

You can use this circuit to track weather, and be prepared for it. The circuit is small enough and can be placed in a project box or waterproof container to use, on a boat for instance.  The lamp can be replaced or even used alongside a buzzer in this circuit to give an audible alert as well, so that constant monitoring of the circuit is not necessary.

Simple Lightning Detector - [Link]

8 Dec 2013


An IR detector that sounds a buzzer when an IR beam is broken, meaning the IR signal is lost.  A pulsed IR signal generator is necessary, but not included in this post.  This project would be ideal for doorwaLM311ys or hallways to alert when someone enters or exits an area.


The IR sensor responds to pulsed IR, not ambient or continuous IR.  This means that another transmitter project is necessary in order to complete this one!  Note though that some forms of lighting like fluorescent lighting may interfere with the sensor.  For convenience,  the the buzzer is internally driven so that a only Vdc is needed to make a sound.  In this case, the IR sensor senses 38kHz pulsed infrared light.

Pin 3 of the IR sensor is actually low (0V) while receiving a signal.  When the sensor is blocked from receiving the IR signal, the sensor outputs a high signal to the comparator, which then allows current through the LED/Buzzer circuit, and alerting you that the beam is broken. In the Scheme-It drawing the LM311 IC is a grouping of three components, in a functional block diagram style, to show how it functions in the circuit beyond what the pinouts would show normally.

IR Beam Breaker Alarm Circuit - [Link]

18 Nov 2013


Oscar writes:

The compact FPV system I have built is only about 20g, now even my mini quadcopter and micro hexacopter can carry this FPV camera and video transmitter. In this post I will share with you what are the parts you will need and how I made it.

Super light weight RC FPV quadcopter DIY solution - [Link]

14 Nov 2013

active_filter_designBy Bonnie Baker

Active analog filters can be found in almost every electronic circuit. Audio systems use filters for frequency-band limiting and equalization. Designers of communication systems use filters for tuning specific frequencies and eliminating others. To attenuate high-frequency signals, every data acquisition system has either an anti-aliasing (low-pass) filter before the analog-to-digital converter (ADC) or an anti-imaging (low-pass) filter after the digital-to-analog converter (DAC). This analog filtering can also remove higher-frequency noise superimposed on the signal before it reaches the ADC or after it leaves the DAC. If an input signal to an ADC is beyond half of the converter’s sampling frequency, the magnitude of that signal is converted reliably; but the frequency is modified as it aliases back into the digital output.

Designing active analog filters in minutes - [Link]

7 Oct 2013


Bertho shared his NoLoop galvanic isolator:

I had a problem some time ago with a nasty ground-loop and that cost me the USB port on my old laptop. It took me a while to realize what had happened and it was a generic problem we all run into more often than we think. Time to solve this particular problem once and for all and make generic isolation for Serial and SPI ports.


NoLoop galvanic isolator - [Link]

9 Sep 2013

Stephen Ong  released this video demonstrating the use of RTL-SDR dongle with the BeagleBone dev board to function as a spectrum analyzer. [via]

RTL-SDR spectrum analyzer for BeagleBone Black using ViewRF software - [Link]

2 Sep 2013


Clemens Valens, Editor-in-Chief of Elektor Online and head of Elektor Labs, caught up with Peter Lomas, hardware designer for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer, earlier this year at the Embedded World 2013 trade show in Nuremberg, Germany. This is a longer version of an interview with Lomas published in Elektor’s May 2013 issue. The Lomas interview provided a one-year update on the rapid growth of interest in the Raspberry Pi since Elektor’s April 2012 interview with Eben Upton, one of the founders and trustees of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The UK-based charitable foundation developed the inexpensive, credit card-sized computer to encourage the study of basic computer science in schools. In early 2012, the Raspberry Pi’s first production batches were arriving. Since then, more than 1 million boards have been sold.

Raspberry Pi: One Year Later, 1 Million Sold - [Link]

30 Aug 2013


Boris Landoni present us an overview of todays microcomputer boards able to run Linux. He writes:

Today we present an overview of today’s market offering regarding ARM RISC microcomputer able to run a GNU/Linux distribution. And once again, this is just the beginning.While the growth of such a device segment was predictable, it wasn’t easy to predict such an explosion. In fact we now have an heterogeneous set of options, with different characteristics, requiring a different approaches to for the optimization of the GNU / Linux operating system. In this post we’ll try to present, on the one hand, the unifying elements of different devices and, secondly, to classify each device based on its best use cases.Let’s begin to point out a first list of devices to analyze, new ones appear every day but we’ll deal with them later.The ones we feature on this post are the following:

  • RaspberryPi
  • PcDuino
  • BeagleboneBlack
  • CubieBoard
  • MK802III
  • MK802IIIS

A Comprehensive Comparison of Linux Development Boards - [Link]

27 Aug 2013


With DVR becoming increasingly common over the last few years, DirecTV has sought to distinguish its offerings on that front with multiple levels of service. At the top of the DirecTV DVR receiver options, the Genie offers a huge array of features on a powerful piece of hardware. You can get the newest Genie by signing up for DirecTV using www.SaveonTVDirect.com.  For the average user, this means a better viewing experience; for the advanced user, this means the opportunity for interesting hacks; for the enterprising salvager, this means useful parts to collect from an unused or broken unit.

So let’s talk about all the uses you can get out of a Genie, whatever your experience level or goals. Read the rest of this entry »





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