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14 Apr 2015


Peter Scargill writes:

If you’ve read my early blogs you’ll know I do a lot of work with a pal of mine, Aidan Ruff. We had an R&D company for years and one of our products was a home control system which was plastered all over the UK tech press at the time and loads of people loved it but it involved spouse-unfriendly WIRES – bad mistake. Well, this DOESN’T.

The two of us have been working on home control for several years and regular readers will know that in the past few months, the ESP8266 boards have turned everything around. I’ve scrapped various radio designs and gone “hell for leather” into using these boards, this original plan was with an Arduino Mega as a “master controller”. That too went out of the window when the Raspberry Pi 2 came out, dirt cheap but with more than enough power to control a house. Armed with a WIFI USB dongle, the basics of a completely wireless home control setup are now in place. Personally it could not be better timed as we’re moving house shortly and so this is an ideal opportunity to do the job properly before inflicting this on other people.

Home Control 2015 - [Link]

9 Apr 2015


by jojo @ circuitstoday.com

Recently we have learned how to interface GSM Module with Arduino and send/receive SMS using GSM module. Interfacing any device with a micro controller is the first step to building a useful system or project with that particular device. In this tutorial, we are going to build a very interesting project – a Fire Alarm System which will send SMS to a set of Mobile Numbers when fire occurs in a particular location. We have seen many typical Fire Alarm projects which will alert with a siren or an automatic shutdown mechanism. This fire alarm project make use of modern communication technologies to deal with emergencies.

GSM based SMS Alert Fire Alarm System using Arduino - [Link]

9 Apr 2015


by elektor.com:

The wonder material with so many extraordinary properties has found its way out of the research lab and into a commercial product. This new product will surely posses super powers and allow us to do things we thought impossible and probably change our lives for ever. Well, actually no. In this case Graphene has been used in the reinvention of what was arguably the first commercial electrical device patented back in 1879. It is perilously close to April 1st but the National Graphene Institute has announced they will be producing a light bulb based on graphene.

The light bulb has an LED shaped like a filament coated in graphene. It is thought the new lamp will use 10 % less energy compared to conventional light bulbs. Manufacturing costs are also lower and it will be made using more sustainable components. The company behind this new light bulb is Graphene Lighting. Professor Colin Bailey is a director of the company and also deputy vice-chancellor at Manchester University. According to Prof Bailey the light bulb should be available later this year and will be priced around $22.

The future looks bright for graphene - [Link]

9 Apr 2015


by R. Colin Johnson @ eetimes.com:

PORTLAND, Ore.– Researchers sponsored by the Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC, Research Triangle Park, N.C.) claim they have extended Moore’s Law by finding a way to cut serial link power by as much as 80 percent. The innovation at the University of Illinois (Urbana) is a new on/off transceiver to be used on chips, between chips, between boards and between servers at data centers.

The team estimates the technique can reduce power up to whopping 44 times for communications, extending Moore’s Law by increasing computational capacity without increasing power. “While this technique isn’t designed to push processors to go faster, it does, in the context of a datacenter, allow for power saved in the link budget to be used elsewhere,” David Yeh, SRC director of Integrated Circuits and Systems Sciences told EETimes.

Researchers Claim 44x Power Cuts - [Link]

9 Apr 2015


by Dario Borghino @ gizmag.com:

Flash storage technology will soon see a three-fold improvement in data density thanks to a joint development at Intel and Micron that will allow the production of 3.5 TB flash sticks and 10 TB standard-sized SSDs. Meanwhile, a new 48-layer cell technology development by Toshiba could pave the way for higher write speeds, more reliability and lower costs in solid state drives.

3D flash technology moves forward with 10 TB SSDs and the first 48-layer memory cells - [Link]

9 Apr 2015


by Richard Moss @ gizmag.com:

As if smartphones can’t already do enough, soon they may be able to scan three-dimensional objects and send the resultant high-resolution 3D images to a 3D printer that produces hyper-accurate replicas. This comes thanks to a small and inexpensive device called a nanophotonic coherent imager (NCI), which was developed by scientists at Caltech. The NCI could add 3D imaging to a variety of other devices and applications such as improving motion sensitivity in human machine interfaces and driverless cars.

New chip could turn phone cameras into high-res 3D scanners - [Link]

8 Apr 2015


by Mach_5 @ instructables.com:

This tutorial brings you from start to finish in constructing your very own smartphone. You will start by 3D printing a case, then soldering printed circuit boards together, assembly, and finally installing a mobile OS onto your phone and using Python to make it yours. You can learn more about this project at hackaday.io/project/5083

Build Your Own Smartphone using Raspberry Pi - [Link]

8 Apr 2015


by kkingsbury @ instructables.com:

Back in late February I saw this post on the Raspberry Pi site.


They had created Raspberry Pi Weather Stations for Schools. I totally wanted one! But at that time (and I believe still as of writing this) they are not publicly available (you need to be in a select group of testers). Well, I wanted on and I didn’t feel like shelling out hundreds of dollars for an existing 3rd party system.

So, like a good Instructable user, I decided to make my own!!!

Complete DIY Raspberry Pi Weather Station with Software - [Link]

8 Apr 2015


With thermal fuses you´ll make a big step towards a higher safety of your device.

It´s surely not necessary to remind that any device can fail. Failure of a component, overload of a component (underestimated sizing), external influence and many other reasons are daily causing failures of devices. If the result of a malfunction is only an intermediate shutdown, it´s let´s say a better case. But if a device malfunction could cause further damage or even fire, it´s surely worth to make everything possible to prevent it.

A typical component used as a complementary – independent protection from overheating is a thermal fuse. It is a cheap but very useful component, which opens (disconnects) a circuit after exceeding certain temperature. It is a “one shot” component, i.e. after its activation it remains open and the fused circuit is disconnected (the fuse must be exchanged). It´s suitable to choose such fusing temperature of the fuse, as we consider to be really faulty, which otherwise can´t occur in an ordinary operation. Production processes enable to produce thermal fuses in a wide range of temperatures and so fuses Microtemp from company Thermodisc, which we keep in stock, are available in a range of 72-257°C (opening temperature). It´s a really wide range enabling to use a fuse for example for fusing of other component (for example a thermal fuse thermally joined with a transistor heatsink) but also for guarding an air temperature inside a device. These fuses operate on a principle of melting a small plastic pellet inside a fuse, what will cause release of a spring and a consequent disconnection of contacts.

A substantial advantage of thermal fuses Thermodisc is a maximum current up to 10-25A/250VAC depending on a type. On stock we keep the G4 series with a max. current of 10A/250VAC. Small dimensions enable to use a component similarly like any ordinary component. It´s only necessary to be careful at assembling (overheating) especially at low-temperature types.
Details regarding a correct assembly as well as an overview and tips for a correct use of thermal fuses can be find in the Thermodisc application guide. Teplotné poistky sú dostupné aj v iných púzdrach, prípadne aj s nožovými kontaktmi (Fast-on). Thermal fuses are also available in other packages, or also with tabs (Fast-in). Finally, we can mention, that to reach the highest protection level in critical application, it´s ideal to incorporate several types with a slightly different fusing temperature in series.

They act only ones – right then, when it´s really necessary - [Link]

8 Apr 2015


by Juan J. Martínez:

This is my first serious attempt to learn electronics. DAN64 is my first project and it has been a discovery process during 3 months of my free time. I had to learn a lot of things I didn’t know much about, from basic electronics to the details of the AVRs -and specifically the ATmega328-, and a whole world of things in between such as signalling, protocols, interfaces, modulation and demodulation, SDKs, EDA software, prototyping, PCB fabrication, etc.

I’m certain that in this project I’m doing many stupid things and I’m sure my approach to solving some of the problems is not the best, but in my discharge I can only say: it works! (to some extent at least).

I got lots of gotcha! moments, ups and downs where I though I couldn’t finish the project because perhaps what I was trying to achieve was just impossible.

So this is not about perfection but about good enough for me and about the learning process and having fun.

DAN64 – an AVR based 8-bit microcomputer - [Link]





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