Electrolytic capacitors in an SMT package are not as often used as leaded radial or axial capacitors are. However they offer many advantages, which make the assembly easier and save a PCB space.
Electrolytic capacitors in an SMT package offer the same properties as their leaded familes (THT version), but they are much easier to assemble on a PCB. If you have a device, where most of components are in an SMT version, you probably proceed the way that SMT components are machine-assembled to PCB with a following reflow soldering. Leaded THT components (through hole technology) are then soldered in the 2-nd technological step – by a solder wave or manually. In a device containing many various THT components this 2-nd technological step is inavoidable. But in devices where only few THT components are, it is often possible to minimize their count or totally eliminate. This makes a production of the device significantly cheaper and quicker. Moreover in comparison to manual soldering, reflow soldering is much more consistent, ensuring a stable quality of soldering in various production batches.
Saving of a space is the second essential advantage. SMT electrolytic capacitors are available even with a very low profile. Thanks to the fact, that pads of SMT capacitors don´t require holes drilling into a PCB, like it is at THT technology, in many applications they can significantly simplify design of multilayer PCBs. Another advantage at HF circuits can be the fact, that integrity of the ground layer on the PCB won´t be corrupted by their usage. Read the rest of this entry »
For the growing interest about miniature SMT inductors, we bring you series of Fastron SMT inductors 0805AS and 0805F. These are quality wire-wound components, suitable even for very high frequencies.
It isn´t very long ago, when the best high frequency inductor was a relatively big coil with the air core, created only by few turns of the copper wire. Partially it is still true, as the laws of the physics don´t change, but in respect to nowadays miniaturisation requirements, the usage of SMT coils is in many applications more convenient. Moreover, miniature coils feature much smaller mutual influence caused by their own magnetic field, what enables to further miniaturize dimensions of a device. Last but not least, an inductor is a very effective, almost lossless filter, on the places we need to eliminate interference, or to prevent its penetration into other parts of a device. That´s why is their usage as an LC filter actual in almost every device with processors, logic gates and similar components.
Fastron 0805AS are coils with the ceramic core, which has properties – from a magnetic aspect, very near to the air, that´s why this series has a relatively high Q factor, high self resonant frequency and a high linearity. They are available in inductances from few nH up to 10 uH. Thanks to their very good HF properties, they are also suitable into various HF parts of receivers, transmitters, circuits for signal processing, input stages of AD converters, HF filters etc., up to frequencies of few GHz. Read the rest of this entry »
How the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover) will land
Giant Mars rover set for Saturday launch – [via]
NASA’s biggest and most advanced Mars rover is scheduled for launch Saturday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Curiosity is packed with 10 science experiments to determine whether Mars has ever been suitable for life and to find clues about past life forms that may have been preserved in rocks. NASA says Curiosity won’t answer the age-old questions about life on Mars, but it will provide important information that will guide future missions.
The launch was originally scheduled for Friday, but the mission team will take an extra day to remove and replace a flight termination system battery, NASA said.
Curiosity is expected to spend about two years roaming Mars, hunting things researchers say are essential for life to grow: liquid water, key chemicals used by living organisms and an energy source.
The rover will blast off Saturday atop an Atlas V rocket and is scheduled to land in August 2012 in the Gale Crater. The first opportunity for launch is 10:02 a.m. EST; the window lasts an hour and 43 minutes.
If the launch is postponed, NASA has until December 18 to get the spacecraft off the ground.
Giant Mars rover set for Saturday launch – [Link]
The $25 Computer @ WSJ… [via]
“Our dream is that the Raspberry Pi gets to a large number of schoolchildren and that a fraction of them learn how to program. They will become the next generation of innovators who will stimulate the economy,” he said.
Although only the size of a credit card, Raspberry Pi has a 700Mhz Arm processor, up to 256MB of flash memory. It will run a version of the popular Linux operating system, although Mr. Mullins said the final software package has yet to be finalized.
Development on the Raspberry Pi started three years ago, he said, and they hoped to have a product for sale by mid 2012.
There is currently a waiting list of more than 10,000 people.
The $25 Computer – [Link]
Mini RGB LED video wall using a Netduino and an Adafruit LED strips… [via]
16×10 RGB LED display built with an Adafruit LPD8806 LED strip and a Netduino mini as the controller. The display is capable of showing over 2 million colors. What’s not to like about RGB LEDs? With their bright, mesmerizing glow, often capable of displaying millions of colors, they’re a great to way to catch the attention of the viewer. Now, what if you had a 5 meter long RGB LED strip, loaded with 160 RGB LEDs to play with? Oh, the possibilities… It so happens that Adafruit, in their infinite wisdom, carries a very nice RGB LED strip, powered by a LPD8806 driver and encased in a waterproof sleeve. What about turning it into a mini video wall for instance? Think ‘Times Square’, just smaller
Mini RGB LED video wall using a Netduino – [Link]
While Arduino gets the lions share of attention in the hobby community there are some limitations to 8-bit microcontrollers which have been recognized by the Arduino project with their recent announcement of plans to make ARM based development boards, as well at the Maple project (STM32 based). ARM microprocessors often offer significantly more RAM/Flash and peripherals at similar prices to traditional 8-bit microcontrollers, however they have a reputation for being harder to use.
In the maker community LPC and STM32 ARM based boards seem the norm, however in my experience LM3S (LM = Luminary Micro which is now owned by Ti) chips are far easier to work with. This is largely due to StellarisWare, which makes peripheral configuration uniform across devices. (See my comparison of UART configuration on many platforms here).
When I realized there were no inexpensive LM3S based boards available (now there are few on eBay as well) I decided to make some. I made a simple breakout style board called Cygni that was as inexpensive as possible so that people could try out ARM and find out that it wasn’t scary after all. And I made two more advanced boards one that could be a USB host (called Eridani) and one that was suitable for tasks requiring a lot of memory, internet access, USB hosting or all of the above (called Procyon).
teho Labs – inexpensive LM3S based boards – [Link]
It’s a “programmable disco ball,” a “cat toy for humans,” and a “personal laser light show,” all rolled into one. That’s how one Matt Leone describes his latest creation, aptly known as the Laser Ball. To realize his dream, Leone drilled a set of holes into a garden variety tennis ball, and inserted about 14 laser diodes, each with an attached strip of diffraction grating. Said diodes were then synced up with an Arduino-equipped Teensy microcontroller nestled within the ball, alongside a rechargeable battery – http://leonelabs.blogspot.com
Make a laser ball… -[Link]
Ahh, the electronics workbench – shrine to the electron, the diode, the transistor, the soldering pencil and flux pen.
You can learn a lot about someone by looking at their workspace. Note the way that they store components (in pullout drawers or plastic organizers?), hang test leads (on hooks or wire racks, or on a nail?), and keep spools of wire at the ready for repairs and new projects.
A look at someone’e electronics workbench gives you a small glimpse into what is usually a fairly personal space – a space where visions become reality and electronics projects are brought to life.
While there are quite a few electronics workbenches on flickr, I determined after a quick search that there had been no attempt to bring all of these glimpses into a hobbyist or engineer’s soul together into one place.
It’s open to everyone, so if you’ve got photos of your own bench, add it to the group!
Electronics Workbench – [Link]