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27 Jan 2015


If you´re deciding whether it´s worth to use a backup battery, we bring you a few remarks why to go for it or not.

Lithium battery Xeno Energy with a lifetime of over 10 years and rules for their usage were brought to you in our article „10 years of operation for 1 battery?”. They´re usable as a “main” power source for low power consumption devices and the second main field of their usage is a power supply backup. In contrast to the smallest cells used for PC memories backup (BIOS) for example, the types, which we keep in stock feature capacity of several Ah and they´re also able to provide a relatively decent current. That enables to use such battery also for a real operation of the device (MCU) during the power supply dropout.

Probably the main reason why not to use a backup battery is a doubt about higher production costs of a given device. However, when we look at the sales price in our e-shop, we find, that common PCB types like for example XL-050F AX (LS14250CNA) or XL-060F AX (LS14500CNA) are available for the price of max. 4 Eur/pce. At the same time, using this type of batteries eliminates the need for a battery holder, charging chip, etc.

The newest contribution on the field of PCB lithium batteries in our stock is the type XL-210F/STD 5,5mm, what´s the disc with 33mm diameter and only 6.6mm height, with leads to be soldered to PCB (THT). Low profile enables usage even in slim devices and everywhere, where common cylinder types are not suitable.

Further information will provide you the Xeno short form catalogue as well as detailed datasheets of Xeno batteries. In the Xeno production portfolio can also be found special batteries with a higher pulse capacity and type for extra high temperatures -55 to +130°C.

Backup battery soldered directly to a PCB? - [Link]

21 Jan 2015


by Dave Young @ element14.com:

A ULP (User Language Program) is a feature designed into EAGLE to allow users to generate their own processes to automate tasks that would otherwise be tedious and time consuming. While most users know that this functionality exists, very few want to write their own script. A casual user would have to dump far more time learning the system and designing/testing their code than just completing the task at hand.

EAGLE ULPs Every User Should Know - [Link]

20 Jan 2015


by Michael Dunn @ edn.com:

Version 2 of the desktop Othermill milling machine is now available, and it’s accurate enough for a range of machining tasks, including double-sided PCBs.

The machine can handle a range of materials, like brass, aluminum, wood, and plastic. For PCBs, FR-1 is recommended over FR-4. With a small milling bit, footprints as fine as TSSOP & TQFP can be created. Solder paste stencils can also be cut using the mill.

For a good walkthrough of PCB creation, read this blog by Tom Simon, a user who liked the Othermill so much he joined the sales team.

Desktop milling machine creates PCBs and packaging - [Link]

15 Jan 2015


by Stephen Edward:

A Simple Breakout board for the edison. Does nothing special except breaks out the 70pin connector to 2.54mm Pins so you can start experimenting with the Edison.

Has an experimenters area so you can solder on things like a regulator or Level shifter.

It also has the bottom side through connectors so that you can daisy change multiple boards or other Edison shields

Custom DIY Intel Edison Breakout Board - [Link]

10 Jan 2015


by Mike Senese @ makezine.com:

Typically when electrical engineers wants to make a new circuitboard, they need to send their design files to a manufacturer and wait for it to be produced and mailed back. Hardware startup Voltera aims to expedite this process by putting it in on your desk with its V-One consumer circuit board printer.

Print Your Own Circuit Boards and Reflow SMD Components with the Voltera V-One - [Link]

31 Dec 2014


by pleasantsoftware.com:

This is reflow soldering controller for use with a toaster oven as reflow soldering oven.

I bought the toaster oven in a local super market for about 40 €. There was also a cheaper oven on sale, but I wasn’t sure if it did 250°C, so I bought the more expensive and prettier one.

Since I don’t want to loose the warranty and also haven’t any interest of the oven’s internals, I designed the reflow controller as an oven-external device which directly switches the oven’s mains on/off.

The relay I use is for 6V, but it seems to work just fine with the 5V supply from the ATtiny. On the mains side, the relay is rated for 230V/16A.

The whole controller is based on a ATtiny 45 µController. I use one pin as input for the 100k thermistor for temperature measurement (connected to JP3), one pin controls the mains relay (via a BC140 transistor), one pin controls a LED for feedback and one pin is connected to a switch for user input.

Reflow Soldering Controller - [Link]

24 Dec 2014


Jason over at Rip It Apart did a teardown of a Kentli PH5 1.5 V Li-Ion AA battery:

The PCB that holds the 1.5 volt regulator is inside the end cap, with the rest made up of the Li-ion cell itself. Curiously enough, the cell inside is labeled “PE13430 14F16 2.66wh” which is interesting in more than one way. First of all, the rated energy content of the cell is less than what’s on the outside label (2.66 watt-hours versus 2.8), and the cell inside is actually a Li-ion polymer (sometimes called a “Li-Po” cell) type; I was expecting a standard cylindrical cell inside. Unfortunately, my Google-fu was unable to pull up any data on the cell. I might attempt to do a chemistry identification cycle on the cell and see if TI’s battery database can bring something up.


Teardown of Kentli PH5 1.5 V Li-Ion AA battery - [Link]

10 Dec 2014


Even a simple, well-designed tool can help significantly – we´ll introduce to you some of them …

Sometimes, only a little bit is necessary to make our work more happy – a good ergonomic chair, workbench in a suitable height, good lighting … and last but not least also a good screwdriver, magnifying lens, tweezers, or „something“ what can help at extraction of a component from a PCB or at cleaning of a suspicious place with a possible shortcut.

If we´d start by the smallest one, then it could be the ZD-151 set – i.e. six various “surgery” tools serving for bending of THT components leads, extraction of components from a PCB, cleaning of a joint (brass brush) as well as interruption of unwanted connection on a PCB. Especially suitable for work with SMT components is the set of four stainless steel tweezers 816748. By the way, for a work with sensitive components it´s certainly worth to use antistatic wrist band (suitably earthed).

If you already find a place, which should be resoldered or a component should be extracted, then there will be certainly useful desoldering pumps ZD-192 or ZD-108 from an ESD plastic. For a thorough removing of all solder residues, especially at exchange of SMT components, it´s usually necessary to use a desoldering braid, for example Toolcraft – in various thicknesses (1.0-3.0mm) or a top-quality braid with a synthetic flux Soldabsorb.

Soldering tool – that should be laid off into a reliable holder – for example ZD-10 but we´re also able to supply you various original parts from Weller, Ersa and other.

At soldering and especially at a lead-free process, it often happens, that even a relatively new soldering tip gets covered by a thin oxide layer and the tip then “doesn´t catch” solder (poor wetting). If a mild cleaning on a soft-wetted sponge (ZD-937), doesn´t help, or often better – on a dry brass or stainless steel wool – AT-A900, then it might be good to use something more efficient – regenerator of tips Stannol Tippy or Weller TIP ACTIVATOR (T0051303199).

It´s known, that solder smoke and fumes are harmful and your health is surely worth much more than the ZD-153 fumes extractor.

Do you need to extract a hard-to-reach component from a PCB? - [Link]

8 Dec 2014


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]

4 Dec 2014


by Michael Dunn @ edn.com:

The first batch of test PCBs has arrived from Maker Studio, and overall, I like what I see.

Maker Studio’s basic board fab service supplies 10 PCBs for $9.99, with a basic international shipping cost of around $7. Interestingly, you get to choose shipping from several countries, including China, Singapore, and Sweden! Does this mean there are several fab sites? IIRC, I chose Sweden for my order.

Quick-Turn PCB shop review project: Maker Studio - [Link]





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