In this tutorial Dave explains what a PCB spark gap is and how it can be a useful zero cost addition to your PCB layout to help prevent ESD damage.
He shows how to easily design them into your board and calculate the approximate voltage rating.
And of course has some fun applying 5kV to some gaps to show how them at work.
EEVblog #678 – What is a PCB Spark Gap? - [Link]
Introducing PCBWeb Designer, our new desktop schematic capture and layout tool that’s free and easy to use. Create multi-sheet schematics, use the parts toolbar that includes the Digi-Key parts catalog, in a browsable and searchable database. The PCB view is always in sync with your schematic, and includes all the tools you need to create a design with up to 12 layers. Then you can keep your gerber files locally or send them off to one of our manufacturing partners for production from within the tool. Download at www.pcbweb.com
Introducing PCBWeb Designer - [Link]
by Lee Goldberg @ edn.com:
The CircuitMaker PCB design tool could be thought of as the electronics enthusiast’s equivalent of Picassa, the free alternative to Photoshop – except that it’s a got a much more refined interface which makes it easy use. The program’s 3D modeling capabilities (more about that later) and other advanced features will help designers deal better with the “lumpy” nature of LED lighting products, or any other design project which involves large, irregular components. But that’s only half of the story. The software’s creators have also taken an interesting approach to solving several important technical and economic issues which have arisen with the Maker Economy by borrowing a few lessons from the movement’s own playbook.
Free PCB design tool includes 3D modeling, crowd-sourced parts database - [Link]
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]
by Graham Prophet @ edn.com:
Previewed in August this year, distributor Mouser has now formally released MultiSIM BLUE, the National Instruments Multisim Component Evaluator, Mouser Edition. The free software is a multifunction package that covers schematic capture, simulation, PCB design and bill-of-materials compilation with direct links to Mouser’s site.
Available via free download on Mouser.com, MultiSIM BLUE enables engineers to design and simulate circuits before laying them out in physical prototypes. MultiSIM BLUE adds features and functionality to provide engineers with an industry-standard SPICE simulation environment of electronic circuits using Mouser’s distributed components, including the newest in analog and mixed-signal ICs, passive components, discrete semiconductors, power management ICs, connectors, and electromechanical components. Simulation is driven by the same advanced parser technology as NI Multisim software with support from BSIM and other advanced parameters.
Mouser releases free version of NI MultiSIM simulator, PCB tool - [Link]
Ioannis Kedros writes:
It’s been a long time since I’ve post a new hobby project of mine! I decided that is time to upload a new one! Like my Sensor Stick module this project will be about sensors as well.
You can find multiple modules out there with various sensing ICs that almost all of them look exactly the same! They are ugly and without properly markings on their surface.
For example, some of those don’t have the input voltage range on the PCB or the pin out names or even the sensor address (in the case of a digital I2C sensors for example). In order to find that info, you have to download files, unzip them, look the schematics of the module then the datasheet of the sensor etc. A time consuming method especially for a quick and dirty prototype!
embeddedday.com – Sensor Modules - [Link]
Free PCB Design Tool – CircuitMaker powered by Altium.
You deserve something better. You’re part of the electronics maker and hobbyist community, and you’re coming up with amazingly cool and innovative things every day. We think you deserve better design tools, made specifically for you, to turn those great ideas into reality. That’s why we’re developing CircuitMaker.
CircuitMaker will be a free PCB design tool powered by Altium. With a streamlined interface and powerful engine to boot, you’ll never have to worry about your software holding you back. This will be a free design tool unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Free PCB Design Tool – CircuitMaker powered by Altium - [Link]
by synthdood @ instructables.com:
I have been an avid electronics DIY guy for many years now, and I have spent a lot of that time struggling to learn how to make my own PCBs. I have tried every technique that I have come across on the internet, from iron-on print outs to dry photosensitive blue sheets. Sometimes I was successful in my efforts to make a passable PCB, but when it was time to reproduce those results, something would go wrong.
After a lot of attempts and frustration, I was determined to find a solution that didn’t result in me sending my files off to a PCB fab house. I use a fab house after I have tested a design on a homemade PCB. I finally found a solution where I can reproduce aesthetically pleasing PCBs by using liquid negative photo-sensitive paint. In this Instructable, I will share with you a technique that I have developed to do this.
DIY PCB using Liquid Photoresist - [Link]
Matt Mets of Blinkinlabs shared a tutorial on making solder paste stencils quickly by hand:
This is a truly quick and dirty method for making solder masks, and is nice because it only requires a few hand tools. It’s great for situations when you want to test a new design or make a single, small run of boards, but don’t want to waste time and money on a professional stencil.
Dirty DIY stencils - [Link]
By Sophi and Garrett @ element14.com
The new version of Eagle is on out! The biggest changes coming are a new design feature and an improved autorouter. We are both veterans of Eagle and PCB board design so this blog is intended as both a review and a tutorial of the new features that Eagle v7 brings. Let’s dive right in.
To make the design process more real, we decided to design a circuit from scratch. A simple circuit that Sophi has worked with is one that uses an audio signal to control a hobby servo, which could be used to control an animatronic. It’s a little early for Halloween, but Sophi had used this circuit before and planed on using it again in October. Many thanks to Scary Terry who gave us permission to use his design.
Eagle v7 Beta Review - [Link]