These days I was thinking about a better PIC programmer that can work with Microchip MPLAB IDE software so that I can write my own programs or edit someone else’s programs. I found that there are numerous versions of the famous Microchip PICkit 2 on the web.
Some of them are using the original schematic published by Microchip and some are lite versions – with different parts or simplified schematics. None of them satisfied my requirements. So I got the original schematic, removed the memory chips and the input ICSP connector (which I didn’t plan to use anyway) and made a new single sided PCB. I used mostly SMD parts.
Original PICKIT-2 microcontroller programmer - [Link]
DIY enthusiasts can build their own smart car with simple kits like building blocks, controlled with Bluetooth 4.0 joystick or app.
With simple communication protocol, the car can achieve human-computer interaction.
BLE Smart Car DIY Guide - [Link]
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has published the specs for the next generation of Bluetooth devices. Bluetooth 4.2 has a few improvements that will be of particular interest to developers of IoT devices. The biggest change is support for an Internet Protocol Support Profile (IPSP) which enables IPv6 for Bluetooth. This means that wearable or IoT devices (based on Bluetooth Low Energy) will not need to be paired with a smartphone or tablet to gain access to the cloud, they will have access to the internet via a Bluetooth/WiFi enabled router.
What’s new with Bluetooth? - [Link]
Linear Technology has squeezed a 3A voltage regulator into a package measuring just 6.25mm square and 1.8 mm high. The complete LTM4623 circuit only requires one input capacitor and one output capacitor, a resistor to set Vout and a small capacitor for Vout tracking and soft-start. At just 1.8mm height the regulator can be mounted on the PCB reverse side.
LTM4623 – Ultrathin 20VIN, 3A Step-Down DC/DC μModule Regulator - [Link]
Andrew Sarangan @ edn.com:
Why make your own printed circuit boards when you can get them commercially made for low cost? For one, it can take one to four weeks to receive the boards. For prototyping, this can be a major hurdle. Each design iteration will then take a month or more, and a project may need many months to get done. The DIYer can fab the board and assemble everything in one evening. That advantage is really hard to beat.
Besides time, there are other reasons to make your own board. Commercial services charge by board size, not complexity. Larger boards will cost more even if they are completely blank. I once had to make an oversized PCB because the parts had to be spaced far apart. It was a very sparse board, but getting it made from even the cheapest commercial source would have been expensive.
Make high-quality double-sided PCBs – at home - [Link]
Amy Norcross @ edn.com:
HRL Laboratories, based in Malibu, CA, recently tested a prototype neuromorphic chip with 576 silicon neurons aboard a tiny drone measuring 6×6×1.5 inches and weighing 93 grams. The project was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The drone, custom built for the test by AeroVironment of Monrovia, CA, flew between three separate rooms. The aircraft was able to process data from its optical, ultrasound, and infrared sensors and recognize when it was in a new or familiar room.
Smart chip mimics human brain functions - [Link]
Dave dissects and then powers up the Tektronix TDS220 oscilloscope used in the Mud Run. Did it survive?
EEVblog #690 – TDS220 Oscilloscope Autopsy - [Link]
by w2aew @ youtube.com:
This tutorial back-to-basics video discusses the operating point (or quiescent point, Q-point, bias point, etc.) of a bipolar transistor (BJT) circuit, and how the choice of the circuit design can affect how sensitive the bias point will be to the value of Beta (current gain) of the transistor. Ideally, you’d want to use a circuit which is completely independent of beta, so that a wide variety of transistors could potentially be used. Three different transistor bias circuits are demonstrated with three transistors, each with a different value of Beta. The current gain of the three transistors are measured and recorded, and then the resulting voltage ACROSS the collector resistors is measured for each transistor in each configuration. In other words the voltage between VCC and the collector is what is measured and recorded (not the collector voltage with respect to ground).
Bipolar Transistor bias circuits and Beta dependence - [Link]
Francesco Truzzi published a new build, a 3-channel (RGB) LED driver:
I built another board, which is a 3-channel (RGB) LED driver based on an inexpensive chipset called PT4115 (you can find them on eBay or Aliexpress).
The circuit is very simple and looks like Sparkfun’s PicoBuck. However, I used beefier components and a different chip. You may say it’s pretty much the same thing, but I made it to learn some more about PCB design.
Datasheet here. LED current is set through a sense resistor. The output current I is equal to 0.1/Rs. I wanted ~300mA for each channel so I chose a 0.33 ohm resistor. If you want 350mA, choose a 0.27ohm resistor.
Each channel can be controlled via PWM (you can solder male/female headers on the board), for example with an Arduino.
Building a 3-channel, high power RGB LED driver - [Link]
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