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23 Jan 2015


A USB DAC designed using a TI PCM2707:

it was a very fun project and very fulfilling to make something that I actually use everyday. Overall the audio specs aren’t anything amazing, but it definitely is an improvement on the built in audio of my computer.

DIY USB DAC - [Link]

23 Jan 2015



This minimalistic board is packed with features and comes with an extensive ecosystem of documentation and firmware.

For the student (we are never too old) that wants to fast track his career as a professional firmware developer there is:

  • a detailed getting started guide
  • an Atmel AVR quick start guide, with tutorials and examples
  • Recommend best practices

For the developer that wants to improve his game there is:

  • A header to quickly connect different kinds of peripherals (GPIO, A/D, UART, SPI & I2C). Notice that each interface has it’s own +3V3 and GND pins to make wiring easier and also improves EMC.
  • A full-featured CLI application to experiment with the connected device and verify that it works, before committing to a single line of C code.
  • A firmware framework that lays the foundation so that you can quickly develop a new application.
  • A Temp&Pressure Logger and Analog voltage Logger application that demonstrates how you can quickly develop your own custom logging application using the onboard AT45D DataFlash.

Atmel ATmega328P Scorpion Board - [Link]

22 Jan 2015


With a focus on the 2.4 GHz RF application area, Holtek is delighted to announce its new I/O Type Full Speed USB Flash MCU, the BC68FB540. This device forms one of a series of new generation 8-bit Flash USB RF MCUs. The 2.4 GHz RF Transceiver includes the features of low power consumption, high performance and high noise immunity characteristics and has a data rate of up to 2 MBPS.

The BC68FB540 is compatible with the USB 2.0 specification and has an operating voltage of 2.2 V to 5.5 V, and with an operating temperature of –40 °C to +85 °C it meets with industrial specifications. The RF circuitry derives its system clock from an externally connected 16 MHz crystal while the MCU system clock is derived from a fully internal 12 MHz HIRC oscillator.

Holtek New BC68FB540 2.4GHz Full Speed USB Flash Type RF TRX MCU - [Link]

22 Jan 2015


by elektor.com:

TOREX Semiconductor Ltd. has developed the XC6190 series of push button Reboot Controllers, designed to provide a system reboot signal to the controller used in small wearable devices. The chip itself measures just 1.3 mm square (USPN-6 outline) and is available in four variants. The A variant only requires one external resistor to define the reboot delay timing between 1 s and 20 s while the B variant uses no resistor but can only generate a reboot delay of 7.5 s or 12.5 s depending on the state of the TS input.

Torex Reboot Controller - [Link]

22 Jan 2015
photo by ascatron.com

photo by ascatron.com

Alex Lidow @ edn.com:

For the first time in 60 years, a new higher-performance semiconductor technology is less expensive to produce than the silicon counterpart. Gallium nitride (GaN), has demonstrated both a dramatic improvement in transistor performance and the ability to be produced at a lower cost than silicon. GaN transistors have unleashed new applications as a result of their ability to switch higher voltages and higher currents faster than any transistor before. These extraordinary characteristics have ushered in new applications capable of transforming the future. But this is just the beginning.

GaN field effect transistors (FETs) are now available as discrete transistors and as monolithic half-bridges, with performance 10 times better than the best commercial silicon MOSFET. But what happens when many devices are integrated to create a system on a single chip? What happens when the performance of that chip is 100 times better than silicon?

GaN technology will transform the future - [Link]

22 Jan 2015


by PeterHaban @ makechronicles.com:

I made a water level sensor a little while a go to measure the water level in my underground rainwater harvesting tank. Thanks to the Jubilee I found time to finally setup the first part of my Arduino/Xbee wireless sensor network and the first sensor node was also meant to read from this water level sensor. I was somewhat surprised when it only returned 0s so I went and had a closer look. How the slug got into the enclosure is still a mystery to me… but looking at the bright side (after the uncontrolled swearing) I now had a reason to build a much better water level sensor

Measuring a water tank level - [Link]

22 Jan 2015


Jason Bowling writes:

Over the last year I’ve been working towards an underwater sonar system for ROVs and surface boats. In order to learn the basic signal processing required to detect the echoes, I initially got a simple sonar working in air with a desktop conferencing USB speaker/mic running on Windows. A writeup, including source, is here. That article describes the algorithms used in detail and would be a good read if you want the details of how this works.
The next logical step seemed to be to get it working on a microcontroller. There are plenty of low cost ultrasonic sonar modules available that work really well in air, but the idea was to work towards getting a sonar that worked in water. There are currently no low cost sonar modules for hobby use in water.

Audible Frequency Chirp Sonar with the Stellaris Launchpad - [Link]

21 Jan 2015

ON Semi AR1335

by Susan Nordyk @ edn.com:

Based on 1.1-µm pixel technology, the AR1335 CMOS image sensor from ON Semiconductor provides 18% better sensitivity than previous-generation devices, along with increased quantum efficiency and linear well capacity to enable near-digital still-camera quality and low-light imaging on smart-phone cameras. The sensor’s pixel and color filter processing increase sensitivity, allowing more light to be captured to improve image quality, especially in low light.

The AR1335 offers crisp 13-Mpixel resolution with high-quality zoom and sharp reproduction of scene details. Professional video quality is supported through 4K ultra-high definition and cinema formats at 30 fps and full HD 1080P at 60 fps. On-chip camera functions include windowing, mirroring, column and row skip modes, and snapshot mode. In addition, a 32° chief ray angle makes the sensor suitable for low z-height applications.

The AR1335 is now in mass production in die format. It has been designed into several smart phone models, with availability in leading phones expected by the second quarter of 2015.

Sensor enables low-light imaging for smart-phone cameras - [Link]

21 Jan 2015


Joe @ hobbyelectronics.net:

Here you will find complete construction details including circuit diagrams, PCB layouts and PIC firmware (and the source code). The code was written in Proton PIC BASIC but the good news is that there is now a free version of this compiler available for download; AMICUS18.

PIC Digital Thermometer & Clock - [Link]

21 Jan 2015


by Dave Young @ element14.com:

A ULP (User Language Program) is a feature designed into EAGLE to allow users to generate their own processes to automate tasks that would otherwise be tedious and time consuming. While most users know that this functionality exists, very few want to write their own script. A casual user would have to dump far more time learning the system and designing/testing their code than just completing the task at hand.

EAGLE ULPs Every User Should Know - [Link]





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