by mlerman @ instructables.com:
This is the second version of my E260 modification. It uses an ATtiny13 MCU to control the timing of the printer and make it possible to print double sided PCBs at home.
As an electronic hobbyist and inventor I often need to make printed circuit boards (PCBs) in single or small quantities. Usually these are relatively simple circuits, an MCU, some input conditioning circuitry, some output circuitry, and usually they are single sided or perhaps double sided, with just a few vias. And usually I want them right now!
Toner Transfer (TT) has become the method of choice for most hobbyists. A laser printer is used to print an image of the PCB on special “transfer paper” which is then placed on the bare copperclad board and either ironed on or run through a modified laminator to transfer the image to the copper. When the PCB is etched, the toner acts as a resist, preserving the copper below it while the rest of the copper surface is etched away.
Modification of the Lexmark E260 for Direct Laser Printing of Printed Circuit Boards - [Link]
A Flexible Oven Controller controlled via touch screen or through USB. Draw and download your own profiles using free Profile Creator.
Zallus Oven Controller - [Link]
Arduino WebRadio player is an inexpensive WebRadio player that can plays internet audio streams up to 64-kbps and is based on mp3, aac and wma audio formats.
The main components are:
- Arduino Pro mini board
- ENC28J60 ethernet module
- VS1053B mp3, aac, wma decoder
- 84×48 dot matrix LCD module (Nokia 5110)
Arduino WebRadio player - [Link]
You are planning to use Arduino in your project but you need some kind of remote control functionality. A standalone Arduino won’t provide what you need but this DIY shield may be a good solution for you. It includes a 433.92Mhz RF receiver which lets you send commands to Arduino wirelessly and four SPDT relays which can be used for switching purposes.
Each relay is capable of switching up to 10A @ 250VAC so they can be used to control mains powered devices. There are four LEDS indicating the status of the relays. The terminal blocks on the shield lets you easily connect the devices you will control.
The RF receiver is a module that can be found in the market easily. It is directly soldered to the shield and runs at 4800bps. The board has an antenna input which lets you solder your custom antenna to increase the wireless range.
DIY 433MHz RF Receiver and 4 x SPDT Relay Shield - [Link]
RFID keyboard emulators are able to significantly simplify tracking of goods.
“Replacement” of a keyboard in a form of an RFID module connected to a USB port works very simply – UID of every tag, which will appear in its range will send to a computer – the same way as if we typed it in by a keyboard. SL040A also enables to choose, whether we want the reader to send only data, or also a „CR“ character after every UID (as if an Enter key was hit). It means, that if we already have a software to type in open (for example Excel), the reader itself will fill the cell with data and move the cursor to another cell. SL040A is even able to read data (not only UID) from Mifare tags.
SL040A is also interesting by one feature – on a request from our company SOS electronic, the producer started to produce also the black version SL040A black. Thanks to the above-standard close relationship with the producers, we´re able to supply you even various special customized versions.
Detailed information will provide you the SL040A user manual.
SL040A will load it to you directly into a table sheet - [Link]
Transformer soldering tool Toolcraft SP200 is a useful complement even if you already have a quality soldering station.
In praxis, it´s possible to heard various opinions on “transformer soldering tools”. Usually this is the first type of a soldering tool with which a young electro-technician begins. It´s small, a tip heats up quickly, doesn´t take a lot of space, it´s easily transportable and last but not least it´s also price – affordable.
From the point of view of a professional working with SMT components it can be reproached, that it´s not suitable for SMT components of 0603/ 0402 and similar, it creates a pulse at switching on (weak ESD safety) and it has no soldering tip temperature control.
Despite this, many of us are glad to return to it sometimes, because it´s simply “handy” :-). It provides a magic of an easy application of a solder and a colophony in a single step by a classic way, when we take a bit of a solder on a hot tip and after switching off (during cooling down) we immerse a tip into a colophony. This way we get prepared one “soldering dose” on a tip, suitable for soldering of poorly solderable joints (depending on features of a solder and colophony). At the same time, it´s very convenient in case we need to have one hand free for holding a soldered component, wire, …
Even a small stability of a tip temperature can be bypassed by experience (not too long heating) and the risk of sensitive components damage can be considerably decreased if we always switch on a soldering tool before touching a given component, and similarly – switch off after taking away a tip from a component.
It can be said, that a quality soldering station is irreplaceable for a serious work, but there are many cases, where a classic pistol-type soldering tool alike. In respect to an extraordinary affordable price level of the Toolcraft SP200 and also other in our offer (10-20 Eur), this tool is a suitable complementary tool for every electro workshop and for a work in places, where a transport of a bulky soldering station might be quite impractical.
Toolcraft SP200 has a more robust tip, suitable also for bigger joints. On the opposite side, soldering tools of the series ETP use classic relatively thin tips usable even for small soldering tools.
Think about a soldering tool for every occasion - [Link]
by Robert Kollman @ edn.com:
Aluminum electrolytic capacitors remain a popular choice in power supplies due to their low cost. However, they have limited life and are sensitive to both hot and cold temperature extremes.
Aluminum electrolytic capacitors are constructed with foils placed on opposite sides of paper saturated with an electrolyte. This electrolyte evaporates over the capacitor’s lifetime, altering its electrical properties. If the capacitor fails, it can be spectacular as pressure builds up in the capacitor, forcing it to vent a combustible and corrosive gas.
Avoid these common aluminum electrolytic capacitor pitfalls - [Link]
Microchip Technology have announced a computer peripheral 6” touchpad which it claims is the first able to resolve 2D multi-touch and free-space 3D gestures. To detect gestures up to a distance of 70 mm from the pad surface Microchip have used their MGC3130 single-chip gesture recognition and motion tracking controller released in 2012. It works on the principle of electrical near-field sensing. The 2D touch functionality is handled by a PIC32-based PCAP controller type MTCH63104. It handles 12 Rx and 16 Tx nodes, which are located in the centre, on the top layer of the TouchPad PCB between the 3D GestIC Rx electrodes. Microchip’s MTCH652 line driver is used to provide the necessary Tx drive signal up to 18V. The 2D touch pad allows tracking of up to ten simultaneous contacts. Besides the 2D multi-finger tracking functionality, a variety of surface gestures are implemented. These surface gestures can be used, for example, for two-finger scrolling.
3D TouchPad from Microchip - [Link]
by TheSignalPathBlog @ youtube.com:
In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at an HP/Agilent 5347A 20GHz Frequency Counter and Power Meter. This defective unit does not provide any frequency information from Input 2 which is rated to operate up to 20GHz. Before the teardown and repair attempts, the principle operation of the instrument is reviewed.
The properties of a Step Recovery Diode (SRD) is presented along with the theory and practical aspects of generating a frequency comb. The heterodyne architecture of the frequency counter is explained in detail with the mechanism of detection and calculation of the input frequency.
During the teardown of the unit the synthesizer board, motherboard, power meter reference board and the main RF assembly are shown. The schematic of the synthesizer board and the RF board are also described. The defective component is identified and examined under the microscope. The slides for this episode can be found at The Signal Path website.
Teardown, Analysis and Repair of an HP/Agilent 5347A 20GHz Frequency Counter & Power Meter - [Link]
by Warren Miller @ digikey.com:
MCUs offer a very wide range of Ethernet connectivity choices. With most applications demanding Internet connectivity, it’s more likely than not that your next MCU-based design will need some type of network connection. Whether your next design is a sensor that needs to consolidate and communicate data over an Ethernet link, a network-connected security camera that needs to have periodic code updates sent via the network connection, or an industrial controller that needs to use a robust industrial Ethernet connection, your choice of Ethernet-enabled MCU will be critical in delivering the capabilities required for a successful design.
Understanding and Using Ethernet-enabled MCUs for Your Next Application – [Link]