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24 Feb 2012

Component packages explained – [via]

Personally, I’ve found all the little acronyms when looking for components to be a little confusing and I’m sure that I’m not the only one that’s been through that. Whats a TSSOP? Whats the difference between SIP and DIP? It can get very frustrating, so this will explain everything for you!

Well there are many different components out there and with that, there have to be different packages to fit different needs such as space availability, prototyping, and different circuit board layouts. The entire list of the more well-known packages, others may be lurking in R&D that we don’t know about, goes something like this : CDIP , PDIP , SPDIP, SIP, SDIP, SOIC, TSOP, SSOP, TSSOP, PLCC, QSOP, VSOP, LQFP, PQFP, CQFP, TQFP, CGBA, and QFN. Its mostly all about space on the board, which kind of package utilizes the precious space on the circuit board the best. So lets start with the descriptions!

Component packages explained – [Link]

24 Feb 2012

SMD Packages explained!. The Funkiester writes – [via]

Hello! Well as a result of all the great feedback from the component packages, I’m doing another post about SMD packages! I may be using some of the terminology from the last post in here as well, so just in case, here is the last post.

First off, SMD means Surface Mount Device; There is another acronym used that means pretty much the same thing which is SMT, and that means Surface Mount Technology. This’ll be describing the various packages that an LED can come in, as well as resistor and the more common capacitor packages as well as many other surface mount devices. The big rule about SMD is that many packages are represented by a 4 digit code. The first two digits indicate its length and the second two digits indicate its width. So an 0603 package would be .06″ x .03″ . Although if it isn’t represented by a 4 digit code, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an SMD component, all that means is that you’ll have to do a little more searching to find the dimensions of your specific component.

The most common packages are the: 0603 , 0805 , 1206, 2512, and the SOT. although we will be discussing the 0606, 1204, 1210, SOD, PLCC, Chimney-Type, 3528, 5050, A, C, D, E. The space on the board where the SMD will sit is called the footprint, and the footprint is like a little diagram as to where the component is to be soldered on the board and how much space it takes up.

SMD Packages explained! – [Link]

24 Feb 2012

8 Oscilloscopes under €400 – Nut & Bolt – [via]

An oscilloscope is an essential tool when trying to understand what is going on inside your electronics. It is an expensive piece of kit: even a simple model costs several hundreds of euros/dollars. While it is possible to buy great second-hand analog oscilloscopes for a lot less, they are very bulky and don’t have the digital storage capabilities of modern oscilloscopes. In this post I’ll list the sub-€400 digital storage oscilloscopes I evaluated before purchasing one for Nut & Bolt.

8 Oscilloscopes under €400 reviewed – [Link]

24 Feb 2012

Sergei Bezrukov writes:

A device for detecting toxic gases is a must in every household. This particularly concerns carbon monoxide (CO), as most private houses are equipped with furnaces burning natural gas for heat. Any blocking of the exhaust pipes (e.g. a squirrel in a pipe, or heavy snowfall in winter) might lead to poisoning with lethal outcome.

Commercial devices for detecting CO are priced about $30 – $100 and are generally much more expensive than the ones for detecting CO2. Most of them just detect some presence of CO and launch an alarm without indicating the CO level. Building a CO-meter by yourself is not much less expensive than the cheapest commercial devices of that kind if we consider just the cost of components and their shipping. This is not that bad if you are doing electronics and already have many of them, but the sensor itself costs about $14. However, you can completely control your own device, program the alarm threshold, and adjust it for your needs. It is also worth mentioning that building your own device is at least a $100 fun :)

Digital carbon monoxide (CO) meter – [Link]

24 Feb 2012

Sergei Bezrukov writes:

Controlling big LED displays that use several LEDs for lighting each segment is a certain challenge. The problem is that the voltage drop on display segments is well above the maximum voltage of microcontrollers. This project describes an approach to this problem based on source and sink drivers TLC59210 and TLC59213 manufactured by Texas Instruments.

Big LED clock with automatic brightness control – [Link]

24 Feb 2012

Sergei Bezrukov writes:

A digital clock with a LED display should be designed for being powered from a wall power supply, as the display draws a lot of current. However, such clock needs a reset after every power outage if no backup battery is provided. Usually commercial clocks use a 9V backup battery. Such batteries take a lot of space and are relatively expensive. If the clock electronics works from 3-5V, a lot of battery energy is dissipating for nothing.

This clock uses a cheaper and much smaller CR2032 battery as a backup. It is based on a Texas Instruments MSP430F2101 16-bit microcontroller, which can be purchased just for $1.50. If the display is off, the microcontroller itself draws about 14 μA in average due to being kept in sleep mode for most of the time. The input voltage in the range 5 – 15V is converted into a 3.6V by a linear voltage regulator MIC5209-3.6. The average current drawn from an external power supply is about 35 mA, depending on the digits shown on the display.

Digital clock with backup battery – [Link]

24 Feb 2012

High luminous intensity and a low height of Kingbright LED KA-3529 series will enable you to use them for displays backlighting and production of various indication panels.

Nowadays, for a backlight of displays or various panels, there are very often used white LEDs. However there are still a lot of reasons why to use a color backlight. In many applications a color backlight can increase contrast ratio or visibility of a display in a given environment, or it is simply more aesthetic.

Advantages / Features:

  • high luminous flux 4.2-22 lm/ 150mA, according to a type
  • small, only 1.3 mm high PLCC2 package
  • low power consumption
  • 120° large radiation angle

LEDs Kingbright KA-3529 with a high luminous intensity, maximum current up to 150 mA and small dimensions are very suitable for these purposes. In only 1.3mm high PLCC2 SMT package they require only a minimum of space. KA-3529 are available in blue, green, orange and red version.

LED in a PLCC package not only for a display backlight – [Link]

24 Feb 2012

The μLCD43(GFX) is an intelligent graphics display that harnesses the power to deliver a diverse range of features in a single, compact cost effective unit. Embedded at the heart of the design is the PICASO-GFX2 processor, which is driven by a highly optimized virtual core engine; EVE (Extensible Virtual Engine).

An extensive range of hardware and software peripherals have been integrated into the design, to give the user freedom to adapt the module to suit almost any application. Features include; a 4.3” TFT 480×272 touch screen display, audio, micro-SD card connector, an expansion port along with a series of GPIO, I2C pins and serial comms. The μLCD43(GFX) serves as the perfect solution to be deployed at the forefront of any product design, requiring a brilliance of colour, animation or images on a 4.3’’ widescreen display.


Purchase μLCD43(GFX) and get 10% off when you enter the code “ELAB2012” during checkout. To buy visit 4DSystems e-shop


Read the rest of this entry »

24 Feb 2012

chris @ pyroelectro.com writes:

If you dabble at all with building your own circuits with CPLD or FPGA devices then you have likely used a JTAG programmer made by Altera or Xilinx. While these programmers are essential for getting your FPGA designs onto the chip, they are horribly expensive and not practical for any electronics hobbyist. But don’t despair, we can actually make one DIY style for less than $10!

This article will show you how to use standard electronics parts easily purchased at any electronics store to build your very own Altera FPGA and CPLD device programmer. The programmer will work flawlessly with Altera’s Quartus II software and take less than an hour to build.

ByteBlasterMV FPGA Programmer – [Link]

21 Feb 2012

Steven Keeping writes:

LEDs for mainstream lighting are much brighter and are capable of being driven at higher drive currents than the devices of just a few years ago. That means fewer chips are needed for lighting fixtures (luminaires) taking the pressure off designers who previously had to come up with complex power units (“drivers”) to supply long strings of dim LEDs.

This article demonstrates how power requirements have changed and then investigates a new generation of integrated, efficient, and compact LED drivers that are perfectly suited to powering modern luminaires.

High Current, High Brightness LEDs Simplify Power Supply Solutions – [Link]





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