How to select the right thyristor (SCR) for your application

SCR fundamentals discussed in this app note from STMicroelectronics. For an Introduction to Thyristors check here.

This document provides some guidelines about how to select the right thyristor, also referred to as “SCR”, according to the different applications. Some very specific cases could require a higher level of expertise to ensure reliable and efficient operation.

How to select the right thyristor (SCR) for your application – [Link]

Make Smart WiFi Router Using Raspberry Pi 3

Here’s how to make a smart WiFi router using the Raspberry Pi 3. by Mehedi Shakeel:

In this video, I will show you how to make a smart WiFi router using the Raspberry Pi 3. This tutorial provides a step by step guide on how to set up the Raspberry Pi as a hotspot and make it function as a smart WiFi router. Now you’ll be able to use your Raspberry Pi 3 like any router for WiFi connection.

Make Smart WiFi Router Using Raspberry Pi 3 – [Link]

Michigan Micro Mote – The World’s Smallest Computer

The battle of the world smallest computer is something the researchers at the University of Michigan don’t attempt to give up anytime soon with the introduction of the Michigan Micro Mote, a computer smaller than a grain of rice.

The Michigan Micro Mote has helped researchers at the University of Michigan remain top in the competition of the creation of the world’s smallest computer. IBM took the title in March 2018 with the release of their 1mm x 1mm computer that measured smaller than a grain of fancy salt at its Think 2018 conference; however, the Michigan Micro Mote has put the University of Michigan back at the top.

One major talk about the new computer built and even the previous one by IBM is if the so-called computer can be called a Computer. Reason being, it is hard to decide if the micro mote is a computer or not since they don’t satisfy some computer requirements like the ability to keep data when power runs out.

According to David Blaauw, a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan,

We are not sure if they should be called computers or not. It’s more of a matter of opinion whether they have the minimum functionality required.

Be low are the features and capabilities of the Micro Mote:

  • It cannot retain programming and data once there is a power loss
  • This super tiny computer uses photovoltaics: a way of converting light to electricity to enable an exchange of data.
  • It has a base station which provides light for power and programming. It also receives data. Light from the base station and the transmission LED (Light Emitting Diode) creates currents in the tiny circuits.
  • There are wireless transmitters for transmitting data with visible light.
  • Presence of precision sensor to convert temperature into time intervals that come with electronic pulses.
  • The Michigan Micro Mote has a LED, system memory and a processor.
  • Dimensions of the computer are 0.3 by 0.3 by 0.3mm. It is shorter than a grain of rice.
  • Can measure temperature in super tiny regions such as a cluster of cells, with an accuracy of 0.1 degree Celsius.

Despite the very tiny size, the Micro mote might find applications in the following areas:

  • It can be used for advanced cancer studies.
  • Useful during pressure sensing inside the eye for glaucoma diagnosis.
  • Can be used for oil reservoir monitoring.
  • Biochemical process monitoring.
  • It comes in handy when studying tiny snails.
  • Can be used for Audio and visual surveillance.

David Blaauw, Dennis Sylvester created the Michigan Micro Mote; both are professors of Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) at the University, and Jamie Phillips, an Arthur F. Thurnau professors of ECE. A study on the microcomputer was presented at the 2018 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits on June 21.

LTM4678 – Dual 25 A or Single 50 A μModule® Regulator with Digital Power System Management

LTM4678  – Dual 25A or Single 50A µModule Regulator with Digital Power System Management from www.analog.com

  • Dual, digitally adjustable analog loops with digital interface for control and monitoring
  • Wide input voltage range: 4.5 V to 16 V
  • Output voltage range: 0.5 V to 3.3 V
  • ±0.5% maximum dc output error over temperature
  • ±5% current readback accuracy

LTM4678  – Dual 25 A or Single 50 A μModule® Regulator with Digital Power System Management – [Link]

I2C – Everything you need to know

I2C – Everything you need to know article from www.mikroe.com

There is no need for a wordy introduction to I2C protocol. We all know it’s main parts – 2 wires, multiple slaves, sometimes multiple masters, up to 5MHz of speed. Often so have we all implemented an I2C connection. Still, every now and then, there’s that module that just won’t work. This time, we will do an in-depth research about the I2C protocol, and try to cover as much ground as possible.

I2C – Everything you need to know – [Link]

Dual Channel SiC MOSFET Gate Driver Reference Design

This reference design is an automotive qualified isolated gate driver solution for driving Silicon Carbide (SiC) MOSFETs in half bridge configuration. The design includes two push pull bias supplies for the dual channel isolated gate driver respectively and each supply provides +15V and -4V output voltage and 1W output power. The gate driver is capable of delivering 4A source and 6A sink peak current. It implements reinforced isolation and can withstand 8kV Peak and 5.7kV RMS isolation voltage and >100V/ns common mode transient immunity (CMTI). The reference design contains the two-level turn-off circuit which protects the MOSFET from voltage overshoot during the short circuit scenario. The DESAT detection threshold and the delay time for second stage turn-off are configurable. The ISO7721-Q1 digital isolator is implemented for interfacing the signals of fault and reset. All designed on a two layer PCB board with a compact form factor of 40mm × 40mm.

[source: http://www.ti.com]

Wavecatcher – Acoustic cryptanalysis

Anfractuosity published a new project:

“Acoustic cryptanalysis is a type of side channel attack that exploits sounds emitted by computers or other devices”

Wavecatcher is a simple PCB that makes use of a MEMS ultrasound microphone, in order to capture audio to around 80kHz, with the goal
of finding interesting ultrasound sources and playing with exfiltrating data from SMPSs etc. via ultrasound.

Wavecatcher – Acoustic cryptanalysis – [Link]

Piksey – A Newcomer in the Battle of World’s Smallest Arduino Compatible Board

The World’s Smallest Arduino has been one of such title that is heavily contested by so many Arduino compatible boards. We have seen several boards that have claimed the title in one way or the other such as boards like pico, µduino, beetlenerdonic or even digispark. µduino seems to be the world smallest Arduino compatible board among all measuring at only 0.5″ by 0.5″.

So if µduino is the smallest, what is Piksey? Piksey is most likely the World’s Smallest Arduino 328 Clone measuring about 0.8 inches by 0.8 inches. Even though the Piksey board is slightly larger than the µduino version, it is still the true smallest Arduino clone. The Atmega 328P processor powers the Arduino Uno board and the same processor is what runs on Piksey, unlike µduino which is based around Atmega32U4 processor.

Piksey Arduino Clone

Just like the Arduino Uno, the Piksey extends all the 13 digital IO pins and all 5 analogue pins out; this will make the board fully working with all existing Arduino Uno based codes, libraries, and even shields. So yeah, the Piksey is the World Smallest Arduino 328 Clone.

The Piksey is a new Arduino compatible development board that is developed by BitsNBlobs and currently running a kickstart campaign. The new board is a tiny board as compared to the real Arduino Uno board and still pack similar features. The board is as small as a crown cap and yet powerful.

At the heart of the Piksey board is the all famous Atmega328P running at 16MHz, 32KB of Flash, 1KB of EEPROM, and 2KB of SRAM. Just like the Arduino Uno board, the Piksey board is also a 5V rated board. It is breadboard friendly and provides up to 16 pins for digital and analogue purposes.

The board is powered via a micoUSB port and can take in a max of 18V through the inbuilt voltage regulator. The board comes with an inbuilt USB-serial converter for programming the device.

Below are summarized the features of the board:

  • Size:  At 20x20mm, the Piksey core is smaller than a crown cap!
  • Processor: ATmega328P @ 16MHz, 32KB Flash, 1KB EEPROM, 2KB SRAM
  • Voltage Regulator:  18V DC wide range input voltage
  • Breadboard Compatible – 16 breadboard compatible pins, rest available on 1.27mm header
  • Connectivity: micro USB for programming and power
  • Others: Contains power and general purpose LED
  • Reset Switch: A Tactile switch for module reset
The Piksey board will find use in applications that need to work with tight spaces, and it even comes without any headers. The Piksey crowdfunding campaign is now active on Kickstarter with pledges starting from £8 to £20.

A nRF52840-MDK IoT Development Kit For Bluetooth 5 Applications

Bluetooth Low Energy and the Internet of things is believed to be the perfect matchmaking. Even though Bluetooth doesn’t necessary gives devices the ability to connect to the Internet they still have so much capacity. The Bluetooth Low Energy enabled solutions will increase the functionality of IoT Systems, by creating a reliable framework and efficient connectivity for the devices. Devices can use BLE to connect to each other thereby improving reliability, increasing range, mitigate security risk, reduce cost, and most importantly improve battery life.

The launch of the Bluetooth 5, which promise so much more are beginning to see some adoption in the open hardware industry, and a good example is the Particle Xenon using the Nordic nRF52840 SOC. The Nordic nRF52840 SoC is designed around an ARM Cortex-M4 CPU and comes with a 1 MB flash with cache and a 256kB of RAM.

The Makediary nRF52840 board
The Makediary nRF52840 MDK IoT Development Board

Nordic recently announced that the nRF52840 now supports concurrent Thread and Bluetooth 5 wireless connectivity eliminating the previous requirement of disconnecting from one of the networks before connecting to the other. So, the potential from this announcement is enormous.

Recognising the possibility of Bluetooth 5 in addition to Thread connectivity, the teams at Makerdiary has launched a new development kit for the nRF52840 SoC called the nRF52840-MDK IoT Development Kit

The Makediary nRF52840 MDK IoT Development Kit is a kit that will allow developers to explore Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth MeshThreadIEEE 802.15.4ANT and 2.4GHz proprietary wireless applications using the nRF52840 SoC. The kit comes integrated with the DAPLink debugger which provides a USB drag-and-drop programming, USB Virtual COM port and CMSIS-DAP interface.

The kit supports quite some software frameworks such as the  nRF5 SDK, nRF5 SDK for Mesh, OpenThread, ZigBee 3.0, Mbed OS 5, Zephyr, Mynewt, Web Bluetooth, iBeacon, Eddystone, and others. It works with the standard Nordic Software Development Tool-chain using GCC, Keil and IAR.

One significant take note of the board is the USB type C port available, a rare port used for hardware boards. The development board put up a ton of features like an ultra-low power 64-Mb QSPI FLASH memory, programmable user button, RGB LED, up to 24 GPIOs, antenna selection for custom applications.

Below are some of the device specifications:

  • SoC – Nordic nRF52840 Arm Cortex-M4F WiSoC with 1 MB FLASH and 256 kB RAM, Arm TrustZone Cryptocell 310 security subsystem
  • External Storage – 64-Mbit QSPI flash
  • Wireless Connectivity (on-chip)
    • Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth Mesh
    • Thread, IEEE 802.15.4
    • ANT, 2.4GHz proprietary
    • On-chip NFC-A tag
    • An on-board 2.4G chip antenna
    • u.FL connector selectable for an external antenna
  • Programming / Debugging with DAPLink
    • MSC – drag-n-drop programming flash memory
    • CDC – virtual com port for log, trace and terminal emulation
    • HID – CMSIS-DAP compliant debug channel
    • WEBUSB HID – CMSIS-DAP compliant debug channel
  • USB – 1x USB type C port for power and programming
  • Expansion – 2x 18-pin breadboard-friendly headers with 24 GPIOs,   I2C, QSPI, UART, 6x analog input pins, SWD/JTAG, and power signals (VIN, GND, 3.3V, 5V)
  • Misc – Boot/Reset Button, User button and user RGB LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB type C connector; 3.3V regulator with 1A peak current output; VBUS & VIN Power-Path Management
  • Dimensions – 50mm x 23mm x 13mm with headers

Although the development board is an open source board and the design files are already available on Github, it is advisable you purchase the board to support them. Makerdiary nRF52840-MDK can be purchased for $42.90 on Seeed Studio, or directly on Makerdiary’s online store.

Beelink KT03 Industrial MiniPC with Apollo lake SoC goes for $150

The Chinese based company, Beelink is known for its set of consumer-oriented mini PC, and Android TV Boxes has now launched a new brand of mini PC that slightly differs from its traditional domestic-focused mini-PC but with the of hope of targeting industrial and commercial uses called the Beelink KT03.

Beelink KT03 Mini PC
Beelink KT03

The Beelink KT03 is meant to find applications in industrial, commercial and research applications. It comes with a staggering connectivity option and support for connecting up to 3 screens at once,  something you won’t find in their other products. The instant three screen connectivity is possible due to the availability of two HDMI ports and one extra VGA port. The HDMI version is HDMI 1.4 which supports 4000 resolutions at only 24 or 30 frames per second, which work fine for movies, but is not so useful for higher-end gaming, which requires 50 or 60 frames per seconds (FPS).

Beelink is usually accustomed to releasing a mini PC with a pre-installed operating system of either Linus or a Windows OS, but the KT03 variant doesn’t come with any pre-installed operating system giving users the full power of customization to their taste. Just like other miniPCs, the Beelink KT03 is compatible with both Linux and Windows 10 operating system. Also, it doesn’t come with any installed RAM but supports up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM.

The mini PC is powered by a Quad Core Intel Apollo Lake Celeron J3455 processor which is suitable for general computational tasks and can reach a maximum speed of 2.3 GHz. An Intel HD Graphics 500 GPU accompanies it. The device includes 2 COM Ports, 4 USB 3.0 Ports, a dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, two audio input and output jacks, and a mini PCIe for attaching the likes of a WiFi, 4G module or Bluetooth module. It comes with a socket for two 3G SIM cards.

It is evident that the mini PC is more for industrial use with the inclusion of 2 RS-232 ports. Storage options are possible through a SATA3 Port available and an optional mSATA. Power is through a DC jack and consumption is rated at about 12V/3A.

Below are the specifications of the Beelink KT03

  • SoC – Intel Celeron J3455 quad-core Apollo Lake (1.5GHz to 2.3GHz clock speed)
  • GPU – Intel HD Graphics 500 GPU
  • Connectivity Options – 2 mini PCIe cards for optional WiFi or 2 GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) ports and Sim card slot
    • USB – 4 USB 3.0 ports for high-speed USB data transfers
    • 2 RS-232 ports
  • Memory- 8GB DDR3
  • Storage – SATA3 port and mSATA.
  • Temperature Range – 15°C to 85°C
  • Display – 2 HDMI Ports, VGA Port
  • Video Support – AVI,DAT,ISO,MKV,MP4,MPEG,RM,WMV
  • Audio Support – AAC,APE,FLAC,MP3,OGG,RM,WMA
  • Power – 12V/3A DC Jack and Power brick
  • Others –
    • 3.5mm speaker jack
    • 3.5mm microphone jack
  • Measurements – 144mm by 130mm by 35m
  • Weight – 0.4188kg

The Beelink KT03 is available for purchase at $150 on Gearbest without RAM, OS, or storage or wireless options.