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16 Jun 2014


Neven Boyanov @ open-electronics.org writes:

The Tinusaur is a small board with a ATtiny85 micro-controller on it. The board has the minimum required components for the micro-controller to work properly. It also has few headers to connect external components and connector for ISP programmer. The board could work with any of those DIP-8 chips such as ATtiny25/ATtiny45/ATtiny85, ATtiny13 as well as their variations.

The goal of the Tinusaur project is to have a simple, cheap and quick-start platform for everyone interested in learning and creating things.

The Tinusaur Project - [Link]

16 Jun 2014


By Jon Gabay:

To do something useful, a microcontroller (MCU) must be connected to other devices. This connection is made through input/output (I/O) pins. More times than not, these days pins are multifunctional and can connect to A/Ds, D/As, linear functions (such as op amps and comparators), voltage references, and more. So for the design engineer, protecting these I/Os against potentially damaging static charges and other similar threats is of high importance.

In establishing proper protection for an MCU, engineers are finding that characteristics they have depended on for years have suddenly become less effective and they are forced to revisit problems of the past. Why? Principally, as a result of market pressure to reduce the cost of their products, semiconductor manufacturers have combined a higher level of integration with continued shrinking of process geometry, making die sizes smaller. As a result, implementing the necessary transient immunity protection to prevent malfunction due to transients on power and signal lines has become increasingly difficult.

Protecting MCU I/O Lines from ESD and Other Transients - [Link]

16 Jun 2014


by brmarcum @ instructables.com:

I hate Christmas tree lights.

Well not really, I just don’t enjoy having to climb under the tree every time I want to plug in or unplug the lights. In the interest of saving my sanity, I decided to build a motion activated switch that can power the lights for me. It has an integrated adjustable timer so they will stay on for as long or as short as I want. Here’s a video showing the final test on the fish tank light.

Motion Activated AC Switch - [Link]

16 Jun 2014


A practical guide for the selection of power inductors for DC/DC converters from Würth Elektronik. [via]

App note: Power inductors 8-design tips - [Link]

15 Jun 2014


Steve Smith G0TDJ of ProjectAVR writes:

The minDUINO is designed to be easy to assemble, so it is a two layer through-hole design, not SMD. It has headers for FTDI, ISCP and port breakouts. Another project I designed was VAYU-NTX, a High Altitude Balloon Tracker. As expansion for this, I designed two small daughter boards for experimenting with. I followed a similar idea with the minDUINO and placed the breakout headers together. Later on, I may design a bespoke board but its just as easy to use stripboard/perfboard paired with the appropriate header socket.


minDUINO v1.5, a small footprint, educational Arduino clone - [Link]

15 Jun 2014

In this episode of  “The Ben Heck Show” Ben takes a look on some problems that can be solved using high end oscilloscopes. First he will try to determinate the dot clock frequency of a LED display he created, secondly he will take a look on the I2C EEPROM write Timing  and finally he will use the logic analyzer on the oscilloscope to take a look on the entire address bus of a game console and will try to capture the reset vector. To achieve all that he takes a road trip to Madison Area Technical College to visit their electronics lab and get his hands on the high end oscilloscopes they have.

The dot clock frequency he will try to measure is how fast the pixels (dots) of the Vishay LED Display Module LEE128G032B are updated. To measure that he hooks the oscilloscope probe to data clock PIN. The scope he uses is an  Agilent oscilloscope MSO7012B . This scope is a 100Mhz Mixed Signal Oscilloscope with two analog inputs and 16 digital channels and is equipped with a 12.1” XGA display. It has a very fast update rate of up to 100k waveforms per second and thus enables us to capture details and infrequent details that other scope miss. It also has Standard 8 Mpts MegaZoom III deep memory and Automatic Search and Navigate function.

On the next example he is doing a I2C EEPROM analysis (I2C is a serial bus that enables us to connect up to 128 devices using only two lines, data and clock, but it can be a little slow) by writing 4 bytes of data to the EEPROM. He captures the data being written to the EEPROM and analyzes them.

On the third and final example he uses the Agilent oscilloscope MSOX3012A logic analyzer function to analyze an ATARI address bus and capture the reset vector . A reset vector is the position in memory that a CPU starts to execute code. There can be a reset vector for the reset button and another for “cold boot”. To capture the signal the scope is set to digital mode and a logic analyzer probe is attached. The MSOX3012A is a 100 MHz, 2 Analog Plus 16 Digital Channels oscilloscope with 8.5-inch WVGA display, 1M waveforms per second and 4 Mpts memory.

If you would like to know more information about the mentioned products above or other high-end oscilloscopes visit Newark US or Newark Canada. Also you can Win a Tektronix TBS1202B-EDU Oscilloscope, plus T-Shirts! on this contest giveaway or win other great stuff here.

The Ben Heck Show – Take a Look Inside with Oscilloscopes - [Link]

15 Jun 2014

Applied Science @ youtube.com writes:

I built a microbalance based on a design by Paul Grohe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n90whRO-ypE

It is has a precision of about 5 micrograms, and I measured a single eyelash at about 35 micrograms. The balance is built from an analog panel meter that is controlled by a servo loop which optically monitors the meter’s position. Adding mass to the meter’s needle requires that the servo loop add more current to maintain the needle’s position. This additional current is read, and converted to a mass value.

Measure the mass of an eyelash with a DIY microbalance - [Link]

14 Jun 2014


by elektor.com:

Cypress Semiconductor are offering the CY8CKIT-049-41XX development board which contains a 32-bit CORTEX-M3 48 MHz ARM processor for just $4.00 (£2.62 in the UK). The board is quite basic but offers a full-speed USB to serial bridge controller chip on a snap-off portion of the PCB to allow for bootloading the target PSoC device and communication with the board via a computer’s USB port. Software tools for the kit include the PSoC Creator and EZ-USB Software Development Kit (SDK).

The kit supports either a 3.3 or 5 V supply voltage and the device can be programmed using the bootloader or the Cypress MiniProg3 programmer. Cypress Semiconductor are marketing these ready-to-run kits as an alternative to supplying device samples.

Low-cost ARM Development Platform - [Link]

14 Jun 2014


To tell the truth, probably no, but we have for you a few hints for relays which are very close to an ideal.

Signal relay is almost an „ideal component“ thanks to a practically zero distortion and a total isolation of a switched signal from a control one. That is naturally one of the main features of all electromechanical relays, but at signal relays it´s especially valued, as we usually require switching of relatively small signals. Favorite and widely used are for example relays Fujitsu series B3 and B4 (miniature SMT and THT relays) and series AxW (miniature only 5mm high relay) – all with bifurcated gold-plated contacts for a high reliability.

A novelty in our portfolio is the series Fujitsu NA representing something like a “golden middle way “. With dimensions 7,4×14,9×9,7 mm it belongs to narrow miniature relay enabling a high density of components on a PCB. Even though relay NA is somewhat bigger than for example series B4, but it´s able to withstand higher AC current – up to 0.5A/125VAC (vs. 0.3A at series B4) and it also provides an extreme mechanical lifetime up to 100×106 , what´s approximately twice that of B4 series. Sensitive coils, with a consumption of 0.1-0.3W at majority of types enable a dense mounting without problems with overheating.

From the point of view of the lowest possible consumption are naturally the best latching relays (with a permanent magnet) controlled only by pulses. Usually they´re easy to recognize by a letter „L“ behind the series marking (for example NAL, JSL). In a Fujitsu signal relays overview and the Fujitsu catalogue can be easily found a comparison among particular types as well as detailed information about them. We try to keep the most favorite types always on stock, what´s also reflected in the substantial increasing of stock.

Does a universal signal relay exist? - [Link]

13 Jun 2014


by Petre Petrov:

This simple, robust, and low-cost signal generator, based on the LM386 power amplifier IC, provides a trio of audio-band signals with three different simultaneous outputs at the same frequency: square/rectangle (SQW), triangle (TRG), and sine (SS).

Audio Function Generator Provides Three Simultaneous Square, Triangle, Sine Waveforms - [Link]






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