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5 Dec 2013


by Publitek European Editors:

Monitoring is the key to unlocking the energy production of the solar cell. It is easy to lose efficiency through the use of circuit architectures that assume constant energy production when the solar environment is constantly changing.

The change in current-voltage properties as a solar module heats up or receives more light can be an important source of efficiency losses in solar arrays. If the inverter that generates grid-compatible electricity is not tuned to the output voltage and current conditions, it will waste more of the electricity than it should. In response, electronics companies have produced ICs that perform the maximum power-point tracking (MPPT) needed to optimize energy conversion as well as bypass electronics to prevent temporarily unproductive modules from disrupting the output of active cells.

Maximizing the Output from Solar Modules - [Link]

4 Dec 2013

Tutorial on how to make your own custom LCD at home!

DIY Custom LCD - [Link]

4 Dec 2013


The LT8614 is a 4A, 42V input capable synchronous step-down switching regulator. A unique Silent Switcher architecture reduces EMI/EMC emissions by more than 20dB, well below the CISPR 25 Class 5 limit. Even with switching frequencies in excess of 2MHz, synchronous rectification delivers efficiency as high as 96% while Burst Mode operation keeps quiescent current under 2.5μA in no-load standby conditions. Its 3.4V to 42V input voltage range makes it ideal for automotive and industrial applications.

LT8614 – 42V, 4A Synchronous Step-Down Silent Switcher with 2.5μA Quiescent Current - [Link]

3 Dec 2013


New 2mm safety system Hirschmann for measuring and testing will serve even in tight spaces, on densily populated PCBs and similar. 

It´s not that far, what we introduced to you a wide portfolio of a measuring and testing equipment from SKS-Hirschmann in the article SKS – measuring and testing with pleasure. It can be said, that almost everyone, who´ll try testing probes or clamps from SKS, will quickly favor them and they differ from many „no-name“ products by a precise, sufficiently rigid construction.This time, the company SKS comes with a novelty in a form of a 2mm safety system, which despite small dimensions meets specification for CATIII – 1000V. As this system for 2mm banana plugs is significantly smaller than 4mm system, it enables a comfortable and effective measurement even in tight conditions, at smaller components, …

Naturally, this system can be convenient not only because of 1000V max. voltage but also thanks to smaller dimensions of banana plugs and a whole set of accessories. That´s why we´ll appreciate it at measurement in all applications where there´s “no space left”.

New safety system we keep as items upon order, but probably we´ll soon incorporate it to standard stock items.

In case of interest in any SKS-Hirschmann product, please contact us at info@soselectronic.com

Even a miniature testing clamp can handle 1000V - [Link]

3 Dec 2013


Andrew Rossignol has written an article detailing his YALEDD – 16×16 LED display project:

The class was instructed to choose a simple circuit such as an LED flasher or a simple sequential state machine composed of discrete logic, capture the schematic, layout the PCB and have it made by the end of the term. I decided that it would be boring to design a simple state machine. I also thought it might be pretty cool to have an electronic gizmo of my own design to show off on my desk at work.


YALEDD! 16×16 LED display - [Link]

3 Dec 2013


Calibrated differential pressure sensors will find usage in industry and also in every smart home.

Ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), or any other applications, where a pressure or a flow of air (gas) is essential, can be precisely regulated only if we know a real pressure/ flow conditions. Monitoring of fans functionality, status of filters, …, even for this purpose are very suitable differential pressure sensors from Swiss company Sensirion with an excellent accuracy and long-term stability.

As SDP sensors are differential, they have 2 nozzles. The base of these sensors is a miniature heating element and two temperature sensors. Difference of pressures will cause a small air flow through a component and it will cause a temperature difference in these built-in sensors. Temperature difference is directly depending on the amount (weight) of air flowing through a sensor and it naturally depends just on a pressure difference. A great advantage against membrane pressure sensors is a long-term high accuracy even at measuring of small pressure and maintaining of accuracy of a “zero point”.


As an air specific weight depends on temperature, measurement based only on a temperature difference of two internal sensors wouldn´t be accurate. That´s why SDP sensors have a built-in temperature compensation and linearization, thus an output of a sensor is directly a value usable for further processing. Resolution of sensors is very high and is user selectable in a range of 9-16 bits. Resulting binary value read-out through I2C interface can be divided by a constant shown in a tab. 2.1 on page 3 of the SDP6xxv1.7 datasheet and we´ll get a resulting value in desired units (Pa, bar, inch).


Universal and price-attractive series is the SDP600 (6xx) series, in which we´ll find types optimized for measurement of pressure (SDP 600/610), mass flow (SDP601/611) and types with a minimal power consumption suitable even for battery-operated devices (SDP606/616). All these types are able to measure “bidirectionally” i.e. positive and even negative values. For applications, where we know, that a pressure difference will be always positive (flow by only one direction), it´s possible to use more price-affordable types SDP 500/510 (in fact even these types measure bidirectionally, but their accuracy is not guaranteed in this range). For the most of applications no additional compensation is necessary, only it can be necessary to multiply a resulting value by a constant for an altitude compensation shown in a table 5.4 on page 6 in the datasheet.

How can be this small sensor used to measure flow of a big amount of air?

Relatively simply. All that is necessary is to make a small orifice in a pipe and this way to create a “resistance” as described in the SDPxxx_Bypass_Configuration application note. In an electronics analogy the differential pressure measurement is similar to measurement of voltage on a resistor, which depends on a current flowing through a resistor. SDP sensors can be used even for measurement of a pressure difference in a given pipe against a surrounding environment, in such a way, that one nozzle of sensor will be left “unconnected”. Naturally, such a configuration can only be used if a small leakage of a measured “gas” (air) is acceptable.

Sensirion SDP sensors measure pressure but even a flow - [Link]

2 Dec 2013


Locally broadcast your cell phone through FM band using MAX2606 from Maxim:

This design idea presents an integrated IF voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) that can retransmit the audio signal from a cell phone to the FM broadcast band. By placing the cell phone’s speaker near the microphone, the user can use the phone as a hands-free device while driving.


VCO enables a hands-free car kit for cell phones - [Link]

2 Dec 2013


Embedded Lab’s new development board for PIC12F series microcontrollers:

The 12F series of PIC microcontrollers are handy little 8-pin devices designed for small embedded applications that do not require too many I/O resources, and where small size is advantageous. These applications include a wide range of everyday products such as hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, rice cookers, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, and blenders. Despite their small size, the PIC12F series microcontrollers offer many advanced features including wide operating voltage, internal programmable oscillator, 4 channels of 10-bit ADC, on-board EEPROM memory, on-chip voltage reference, multiple communication peripherals (UART, SPI, and I2C), PWM, and more. Today we are introducing a new development board (rapidPIC-08 V1.0) for easy and rapid prototyping of standalone applications using PIC12F microcontrollers.

Rapid development board for PIC12F series microcontrollers - [Link]

2 Dec 2013


A project with only 2 parts, but is great for addressing an everyday situation that is irritating at best and dangerous at worst.  This circuit protects the bulb in flashlights from high switch-on current to make the bulb last longer.


For a standard incandescent flashlight, this is a easy little modification make your flashlight bulbs last longer.  High powered flashlights typically run their bulbs hot to get a brighter light from them.  They also have a much lower on-resistance when cold, so that when you turn them on, the bulb passes a much higher current than it was designed for.  This is why the most common time for a bulb failure is when turning it on.

The transistor and resistor limit the current while turning on the circuit and protect the bulb from an initial high current turn on.  A simple resistor in series with the bulb might be a tempting option, but there are a couple problems with that approach.  Just adding a resistor would reduce the voltage available to the bulb, and aid longevity, but that would reduce the brightness.  The resistor would also be wasting energy getting hot instead of using that energy for light.  This solution is better in that it limits current at startup and wastes very little energy when in use and when off.

In this application, it might be easier to insert the batteries in the flashlight “backwards” so the circuit connections and parts have the best fit in the body of the flashlight.  Flashlight design was stagnant for decades, but now there are many new technologies available, and in some cases, it can even be easy to bring some of them to an older one you already have.  In addition to this circuit, you could also take advantage of newer LED and battery technology to really increase the brightness, “on” time, and lamp life of your old flashlight.

Soft Start For Flashlights - [Link]

2 Dec 2013


Medical grade hearing aids are very expensive, if a person needs help hearing but not necessarily the full cost and capability of a prescribed hearing aid, this might be an option.


This is a less expensive, and DIY option for a hearing aid.  It is not a substitute for a real hearing aid that an audiologist would prescribe.  Amplification of all sounds and frequencies, or constant use in loud environments can cause additional hearing loss.  This circuit could be helpful for some types of hearing loss and occasional use, as well as fill in during the average amount of time people wait to get a hearing aid (7 years).

The condenser microphone picks up acoustic signals, that then pass through the preamplifier stage composed of Q1, a BC547 transistor and a few resistors and a capacitor.  The output from the BC547 preamplifier is then fed into the input for the amplifier circuit through the variable resistor R1 and C2.  IC1 is the amplifier, a TDA2822M which is designed for low-power portable applications, and in this case, the output is bridged to drive the single earphone.  A small LED is included to indicate power status and hopefully remind you to turn it off when you take it out.

A Low Cost Hearing Aid - [Link]





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