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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]

2 Dec 2013

RIGOL DS-4054 Oscilloscope is a member of RIGOL’s DS400 Series of Digital Oscilloscopes, a series of versatile and high performance oscilloscopes that integrates today’s most advanced features and technologies. The DS-4054 model features a 9 Inch wide display with 500 MHz bandwidth. The important buttons are easy to find like the control and functional buttons. Channel and measurement settings are located in an easy to find menu that makes adding measurements to the display a quick and easy process. Custom measurements can also be done through manual option allowing users to adjust the cursor freely.

At a market price of $5,899, the DS-4054 boosts some special features unique to its price range. One feature highlighted is that the device can be used in various triggering modes. Through triggering menu featured in this device, users can go to different triggering functionalities like the conventional Edge type triggers, communication type triggers and even custom triggers that can be set-up. Another plus for the DS-4054 is its recording capability. The device is equipped with waveform recording and display functionality allowing users to have a closer look of signals that appear unusual making it more convenient to examine the waveforms. The device uses ultravision technology that insures numerous options of waveform recording and analysis due to its large memory and high acquisition rate.

RIGOL DS-4054 Oscilloscope being part of the DS400 Series is likely to become more successful than other market leaders. Compared to its closest competitor the Tektronix DP0300 with a sampling rate of 2.5 GSa/s, memory of 5 Mpts and an acquisition rate of 50,000 wfms/s, the DS-4054 already boosts a 4 GSa/a sampling rate, 140 Mpts memory and an acquisition rate of 50,000 wfms/s. For connectivity, the device also comprises a USB, Ethernet and a VGA output port. The RIGOL DS-4054 in total provides users easy measurement access, exceptional display and is definitely worth the price you pay for the device.

RIGOL DS-4054 Digital Oscilloscope – Product Overview - [Link]

1 Dec 2013


Marking of cables and terminal blocks has never been easier – we´ll do it for you! First 5 customers with a 50% discount.

In line with broadening of our services and support to our products, we offer you a possibility to get off of troubles with printing of labels and other markers for devices, cables, terminal blocks,… We offer you a service of a preparation for print and printing of labels and terminal blocks itself according to your demands.
How does it work? Below mentioned items can be found in our store two times – with a standard description and also with a „PRINT“ suffix.

1) If you intend to buy only the bare – unprinted material, you can do it on items without the „PRINT“ suffix.

2) If you wish to get a material printed according to your demands, choose a desired item with the „PRINT“ suffix and enter a number of pieces of cards (it´s possible to buy only whole cards). Don´t get confused by an amount “zero” on stock. It is intentionally. After placing an order we´ll contact you regarding sending files in an appropriate form (picture, table, …) and we´ll agree details regarding printing. The price at a given “PRINT” item represents a price for printing (preparation to print, editing, printing) as well as the price for material thus being an end price for you.

Material, which can be used at the moment is:

US-EML(20X8)PRINT – white self-adhesive labels (Polyester, -40…+150°C) with the size of 20x8mm (64 pcs/card) suitable for marking of devices and goods with a flat surface.

US-WML6(13X13)PRINT – self-adhesive labels (PVC, -50…+110°C) suitable for direct marking of cables by sticking/winding around a cable. There are 32 labels on one card with a white field for printing of the 13x13mm size. Transparent self-adhesive part (longer than a part dedicated for printing) protects marking from contamination and abrasion. Suitable for wires up to 6mm diameter.

US-WMT(15X4)PRINT- universal easily applicable cable markers (PVC, -30…+80°C, UL94-V0) for insertion into PATO and PATG carriers. PATG carriers are transparent extra reliable marker carriers, which have to be pushed onto a conductor before it is connected into a terminal block PATO carriers are clip-on type, i.e. it´s possible to clip them to a cable, which is already inserted into a terminal block. From both series of carriers we keep in stock two types covering 2.8 to 7 mm diameters.

UCT2-TM5/6PRINT – plastic markers of the UniCard series (PC, -40…+120°C, UL94-V0) characteristic by a simple application and an easy separation. This concrete type is suitable for Wago terminal blocks of the 2002…2006, 280, 281, 290, 780, 781 and other.

If you´re interested in other material, let us know and upon order we´re able to provide you with any material for printing (card, sheets, roles). Gradually we´ll also add other materials to standard stock items, depending on your interest.

New service for you – comfortable labeling of cables, terminal blocks and devices - [Link]

29 Nov 2013


a cool project by Mats the OSUS Master board. Files available on Github :

A long while ago I wrote about that I might make a series of boards for easier testing of the open USB stacks. Testing all different version of mcu’s and crystal speeds to make the right #defines and linker maps for the firmwares can be a bit tedious.

OSUS will make life a bit easier by removing most of the parts required on the boards to be tested down to a master board. The test-boards basically only need a decoupling cap two and a 14 pin 0.1″ pin header – that’s it.


OSUS – Open source USB Stack test board - [Link]

29 Nov 2013


By Steven Keeping:

Power management in portable devices is one of the toughest challenges faced by electronic engineers. The consumer demands instant response from their device, lots of functionality, and a large, bright and colorful touchscreen. Moreover, many of these portable devices now incorporate wireless connectivity that places further demand on the cell. And yet, the user expects the battery, a sensitive lithium ion (Li-ion) cell that requires careful recharging from a number of sources including USB sockets, to last for at least a day and then refresh quickly.

Designing a power management system to meet these conflicting problems is tough. However, there are some proven design techniques that help extend battery life. Moreover, the key semiconductor vendors have made life a little easier by offering power management units (PMUs) that integrate some, or even all, of the functionality needed for the efficient power supply of portable devices.

Design Techniques for Extending Li-Ion Battery Life - [Link]

29 Nov 2013


Gert van Loo, the Broadcom employee responsible for the RPi alpha build has now come up with the Gertduino. He also gave us the GertBoard GPIO Expansion board some time ago which provides general purpose I/Os, LEDs and motor driver capabilities for the Rpi. Gert’s latest creation, the Gertduino board, plugs onto the RPi and connects it to virtually any existing Arduino Shield. The board itself basically offers the same functionality as the Arduino-Uno but with some added features thrown in.

As well as an ATmega328 and ATmega48 (both of which can be programmed from the Raspberry Pi using the Arduino GUI or the GCC Atmel compiler), the Gertduino packs a real time clock, 16MHz oscillator, IRDA interface, RS232 level converter and a battery back-up power supply for the ATmega48.

Gertduino: The Raspberry Pi /Arduino Missing Link - [Link]

29 Nov 2013


A team of Columbia Engineering researchers, led by Mechanical Engineering Professor James Hone and Electrical Engineering Professor Kenneth Shepard, exploring the properties of graphene have demonstrated a new electro-mechanical resonant component.

The resonator’s structure consists of a 2-4 micrometer long strip of graphene suspended over a metal gate electrode. The strip of graphene has a natural resonance governed by its physical dimension and is used in the demonstration as the frequency determining element in an RF feedback oscillator circuit. Applying a voltage to the gate electrode stresses and deflects the graphene strip changing its resonant frequency. The team applied baseband audio and tones to the gate electrode to produce a 100 MHz FM signal.[via]

Tiny FM Transmitter uses Voltage Controlled Graphene Resonator - [Link]

28 Nov 2013


Davide Gironi writes:

This library is an update of the software PWM driver you can find here.
This update implements also progressive start / stop features. So, with this one, you can drive up to 4 motors independently controlling: speed, direction, slow start / stop


Driving a DC motor using software PWM with AVR ATmega - [Link]





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