NEC and a researcher from Japan’s Tohoku University, Professor Hideo Ohno, are working on a power chip that solves a pretty big problem: completely eliminating electricity consumption of electronic devices that are in standby mode. The key piece of technology here is CAM, the world’s first content addressable memory.
This non-volatile memory will be built into the control circuits of TVs, computers and other devices and stores data even when the power is turned off. In other words, constant standby power to maintain data will not be needed anymore (the English press release goes into more technical detail). The picture above shows a prototype power chip.
NEC Develops Zero Standby Power Semiconductor Tech – [Link]
In Los Angeles, we have the “Time-of-Use Program” option from the power company. From their FAQ:
The prices are based on the time of day when the electricity is actually used, unlike the standard rate when the price for electricity is always the same.
A higher price is charged during “high peak” hours, which are between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The price for electricity during these hours is about twice the cost of the standard rate price.
Surrounding these “high peak” hours, are the “low peak” hours. “Low peak” hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and again from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The price for electricity during these hours is slightly higher than the price charged on the standard rate.
During all of the remaining hours, Monday through Friday, and all weekend long, the price for the electricity you use is about one-half of the price for electricity on the standard rate. These hours are called “base” hours.
I was lucky in that my house came with a mechanical timer (as part of some Frankenstein solar system). It was easy to set it to turn off the hot water heater from 1 to 5pm. Don’t forget about daylight saving time, oh how I hate daylight saving time.
This worked fine except for the most weekends we would forget to reach into the box and turn on the hot water before during laundry or grabbing that all important weekend noon shower. Even the ridiculous note didn’t help.
Smarter Water Heater Timer – [Link]
I’ve been working on a rather large project for some time now and while my new h20 shield is just one piece of the larger project, I thought it deserved it’s own post and documentation. I can see this shield being quite useful for lots of folks wishing to control water using one of the fairly inexpensive Orbit 62035 garden hose valves.
A new way to control water – [Link]
I recently built a custom central heating / hot water control system. It has a web based scheduling / control interface (along with a physical interface), and features such as temporary/permanent override, schedule support for any combination of weekdays, or just a specific date for a one off event, and control support for Cisco 7960 phones (via Cisco XML browser).
Building A Web Accessible Heating / Hot Water Programmer – [Link]
It’s a new Mini GSM localizer without GPS using a low cost GSM module:
This system allows for localization without directly using GPS technology; we are able to locate the desired object fairly precisely by using database availability together with the geographic position of the cells themselves.
In some country the cell coordinates are not publicly known (i.e. in Italy).
If so, where do we find such data? Through Google Maps… Google has been able to store billions of data regarding the location of its clients’ cell phones.
Compared to traditional localizers based on GPS, this device presents many advantages, primarily because it is lighter and less bulky, has a cost lesser and greater autonomy to exercise.
This means that about one battery lithium ion, such as 1 Ah, our tracker can be in operation for several days (it all depends on the number of SMS that have to do).
A locator based on cellular network may answare more immediately.
Mini GSM localizer without GPS – [Link]
Greg (@SiliconFarmer) did this great little write-up about solder fluxes. He offers:
The purpose of flux used in soldering is to remove oxidation from the copper and the devices being soldered. The ability of flux to react with and remove oxidation is called its “activity”. Highly active flux does a good job removing oxidation, but it can also corrode metal, such as the iron coating on soldering iron tips.
Water soluble fluxes have a high activity. They are even more corrosive when in contact with the high temperatures of a soldering tip, where it can damage the tip’s iron coating by corrosion. Water soluble flux is not recommended for hand soldering as it can significantly shorten the life of your soldering iron tip.
Water soluble flux is often used in wave soldering systems that are followed by an automated cleaning step.
No-clean fluxes have low activity. They are designed to boil away during soldering, leaving very little residue. Because it rapidly boils off of a hot soldering iron tip, no-clean flux may not have time to clean off a buildup of oxidation. Using no-clean solder requires using good soldering and cleaning techniques to prevent oxidation build up on the tip. If the tip becomes oxidized and won’t wet with no-clean solder, rosin flux can be used to clean the tip, then you can tin the tip with no-clean solder.
Solder Flux Choices for Hand Soldering – [Link]
41 Perfectly Sphere Water Droplets Aligned to a Grid… [via]
achine that adds drops of water onto a special textured surface. Each drop forms into an almost perfect sphere through the surface tension of the water and the omniphopic Material. The electronically controlled pipette wanders through a square grid of 21 x 21 drops to form a micro-matrix and returns to the beginning. After approximately 300 minutes, and when the water drops have evaporated, the same process starts again.
41 Perfectly Sphere Water Droplets Aligned to a Grid - [Link]
This looks great! [via]
Just finished putting this together. Still too busy messing with the engineering to polish up the site, but thought I’d hook you guys up with an advance eyeball. This is the final proto. The production model will have all kinds of bright colors, and the case might have more detail.
WTPA2 Sneak Peek – [Link]
A logic analyzer is a device that lets you watch digital signals in your electronics project. You can watch them real-time or log the data for later perusal. Unlike an oscilloscope, its not good for measuring analog signals – but also unlike an oscilloscope, you can track 8 signals at time! So its a good complementary tool. This logic analyzer plugs into a computer and has easy to use, cross-platform software. This makes it small, portable and inexpensive.
If you ever have to to debug SPI, i2c, serial, CAN, 1-wire, Manchester, biphase or other digital protocols, this tool is essential!
- Speedy 24MHz
Logic samples each channel at up to 24M times per second. A large fraction of practical, real world applications run at less than 10MHz, and Logic is ideal for these.
- 8 Channels
Logic has 8 inputs — it can monitor 8 different digital signals at once. For many modern microcontroller-based designs, this is plenty.
- 10 billion samples
Logic can save as many as 10B samples, letting you capture even the most elusive events. No more dealing with frustratingly small sample buffers.
- Comes complete
Start debugging within 5 minutes of opening your new Logic; everything is included: An ultra-flexible 22AWG 64/40 wire harness, 9 high-quality micro-hook probes, a USB cable (2 meter mini-B to A), and a nice carrying case. Download the software from our site (see software)
We love well made tools. That’s why we make Logic’s case out of custom CNC machined aluminum and make sure its anodized surface is finished to perfection.
Logic’s inputs are protected against overvoltage conditions via current-limiting resistors and ultra-low-capacitance diode clamps. A resettable fuse protects the USB ground return line to augment the USB host’s existing protection.
Saleae Logic – 8-Channel USB Logic Analyzer - [Link]
From MITNews: [via]
This week, the Isle of Man was buzzing — not just with anticipation for its yearly Isle of Man TT Race, one of the most treacherous in motorcycle racing, but also with the decidedly subtler sound of electric bikes cruising through the racecourse.
A group of MIT students led by PhD student Lennon Rodgers was among 32 teams who entered this year’s all-electric race, bringing their custom-designed eSuperbike to the famous competition on the small island located between Ireland and Great Britain. Several practice and qualifying rounds whittled the field down throughout the two weeks leading up to the race; on Thursday afternoon (June 9) the team’s motorcycle hummed across the finish line, coming in fourth with an average speed of 79 miles per hour.
“It was a great experience,” Rodgers says. “I think the teams with the most reliable motorcycles were able to finish … we focused on reliability, and that’s what saved us in the end.”
The brains of the bike are housed in an Arduino circuit board, which monitors data including the amount of energy used and the temperatures of each motor and battery. A screen on the dashboard continuously displays readings, allowing the rider to adjust the speed to conserve energy if needed. As a backup, the team made the system wireless, streaming data from the bike to their laptops — a modification the team’s rider, veteran Isle of Man racer and resident Allan Brew, appreciated.
“If anything, we had to limit the amount of information we give the rider, because he’s got so much to think about,” Rodgers says. “In fact, he said he didn’t even want a speedometer, he didn’t want to know, he just wanted to go full throttle.”
Arduino-Controlled Electric Motorcycle on the Manx TT Circuit – [Link]