FidoCadJ is an easy to use graphical editor, with a library of electrical symbols and footprints (traditional and SMD). It aims to be an agile and effective small EDA tool for hobbyists. FidoCadJ stores its drawings in a compact text format, practical for the copy and paste in newsgroups and forums: this has determined its success on the Usenet and in numerous communities. FidoCadJ is multi-platform and runs on MacOSX, Linux and Windows
A multiplatform vector drawing program with a complete library of electronic symbols. Schematics and drawings are stored in a very compact text format. There is no netlist concept behind the drawings (so no simulation here, sorry!) but this allows a great graphical flexibility and ease of use, making FidoCadJ the perfect tool for exchange sketches in forum and newsgroup discussions with a few clicks. Drawings can be exported in several graphic formats, such as pdf.
FidoCadJ – Simple and intuitive 2D vector drawing for electronics and not only - [Link]
SMD solder paste stencils are used to accurately “print” a thin layer of solder paste onto a PCB on which the components are placed before reflow soldering. The “printing” is done in a method similar to screen printing, where the solder paste is squeegeed through a 4 mil thick, stainless steel stencil onto the PCB.
This is all well and good, but commercial stencils are expensive, and are massive overkill for prototype boards. Here is a method for producing a “good-enough” stencil using aluminium sheet via a method similar to PCB production via the UV photosensitive film method.
Home-made solder paste stencil - [Link]
New aluminium profiles in our portfolio will help you to apply LED strips or other linear LED light sources.
LED strips or PCBs with LEDs are in fact only a semi/product, which should be in the most of cases mounted into an appropriate profile. Two new aluminium profiles are excellently suitable for this purpose, with the possibility to buy a transparent or semi/transparent plastic cover.
Advantages / Features:
- ideal for LED srips and mid-power LEDs
- suitable for panels and for furniture
- usage without or with embedding
- 1m long
- aesthetic and safe solution
● Profile ZH-9099/1000 is suitable to be embedded into panels, furniture and similar.
● Profile ZH-9460/1000 is ideal for installation without embedding – on a surface. That´s why it features somewhat higher cooling properties.
Both types are anodized (natural elox) and they can be equipped with termination profiles and transparent plastic covers. Transparent cover transmits almost 100% of light, thus almost not affecting the luminous flux from LEDs. Semi-transparent cover transmits 75% of light and provides a soft diffused light. In case of interest in these heatsinks, high-power LEDs or LED strips, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comfortable and safe installation of LED strips with new profiles – [Link]
Many users often request if there are any tools that can simplify library part creation. Make-symbol-device-package-bsdl.ulp is one of those tools, it can parse a BSDL file and automatically create a part for you, device, symbol, package everything in just a few clicks. It’s one of the more sophisticated ULPs that ship with EAGLE and can be used to speed up part creation especially with high-pin count components such as FPGA and large microcontrollers. Most manufacturers such as TI and Microchip provide BSDL files for their parts. This is also one of two ULPs that come with a manual you can find it in the doc folder of your EAGLE installation. [via]
Eagle Quick Tip: Simplify library part creation - [Link]
Our dear friend Vassilis notes an easy way to trim ground fills on EAGLE PCBs. This tip is really helpful if you would like to prevent ground to be filled on small areas without having to add a new polygon.
Normally, if we like to add a ground plane on a PCB we use a polygon named GND and then empty space is filled with copper attached to GND net (keepout distance from traces, pads etc can be adjusted). In most cases you will notice that copper is filled in areas that we would not like to be filled. A solution to this is to add a polygon on tRestrict layer to prevent copper to be added on that area. This solution works nice for relative large areas of board.
Another way to prevent ground to fill a small area is to use a wire on tRestrict layer placed in such a way to “cut” the ground filling path. Using such wires on the above PCB give us better results as you can see on the screen below.
Jianyi Liu wrote a tutorial on PCB fabrication at home. He states: [via]
A few years ago, I started experimenting with homemade prototype PCBs as an alternative to professionally fabricated PCBs from board manufacturing company. My company was flexible enough to give me some resources and time to explore the subject matter. What I discovered was that with a small initial investment, you can make reasonably high quality two sided boards. In addition, all the equipment needed was easily accessible. I’ve decided to put my findings into this guide. Hopefully some of my fellow hobbyists will find the information useful
DIY PCB tutorial - [Link]
This project is “NanoUtils Xtal” – a crystal oscillator breakout board. The board is designed to be interfaced with microcontrollers that have their oscillator pins next to a ground pin. [via]
This board is a breakout containing a SMD crystal, two caps and a resistor meant to be used in breadboards when building something with an Atmel ATmega or a Microchip PIC that have the two crystal pins next to a GND pin. For instance the atmega328 or pic18f2550.
Crystal oscillator breakout - [Link]
Plastic housings Tek-Berry series provide a professional look and a mechanical protection to your applications with well-known Raspberry-Pi microcomputers.
Company Teko launched on the market several versions of housings directly designed for Raspberry-Pi. It is unusual to have a possibility to buy a housing directly designed for a given PCB.
Tek-Berry housings represent such an optimized solution for a concrete type of a product, thus providing an ideal solution with minimal dimensions. Probably the biggest advantage is that all openings are already made. There is no need of laborious drilling or milling. TekBerry housings even contain a light-guide for better visibility of light from indication LEDs.
Tek-Berry housings can be found in our store in a transparent, grey and black version. Upon order, we´re able to provide you other versions too. Detailed information can be found in the Tek-Berry datasheet and the Tek-Berry press release. In case of interest, please contact us at email@example.com.
Tek-Berry will make a coat for your Rasberry-Pi - [Link]
I decided to order a prototype PCB for my latest project in a professional fabrication company but i could’ t decide if i should order it in a company in Europe or Asia. I am located in Europe and I wanted fast and quality service so it seemed that ordering from Europe will be the best choice. But i also was curious about the quality of the cheaper Asia manufacturers. So i concluded ordering the same PCB on both an Europian and an Asian PCB manufacturer. I choose the following PCB manufactures :
Eurocircuits.com – offers a great user experience when ordering a PCB. You place your PCB in shopping basket, you choose PCB details and you get an instant quote for your order (including shipping, excluding VAT). After placing your PCB in shopping cart you are able to review you PCB in PCB Visualizer. PCB Visualizer is a great tool to test you PCB for manufacturability online. My PCB prototype (2 layers, 1.55mm FR4, 1oz copper, green soldermask, white silkscreen, Lead free HASL, 100% E-test, .. more details here) costs calculated at 85 EUR for 2 pieces including UPS shipping.
Iteadstudio.com - offers a pretty simple billing scheme, you choose from 5 sub-categories based on your max PCB dimensions. Quantity offered for each category is 5-10 pieces and prices are reasonable. I choose the 10x10cm batch offering 10 pieces (2 layers, 1.6mm FR4, 1oz copper, green soldermask, white silkscreen, Lead free HASL, 100% E-test, .. more details here) for a price of 24.90 USD + 25 DHL shipping = 49.90 USD final value.
Order on both manufactures done the same day. Both PCBs come to our door in 10 days. What we got:
- Eurocircuits – we received 3 PCBs in 10 days for 85 EUR. PCB quality is great, plating is more thick on bottom than top layer, pcb cut-offs from panel are visible, soldermask has a faded green color, there are marks from E-testing. Packaged on plastic bag (vacuum). Cost per PCB = 28,3 EUR
- Iteadstudio – we received 10 PCBs in 10 days for 49.90 USD. PCB quality is great, plating is more thick on bottom than top layer, pcb cut-offs from panel aren’t visible, soldermask is shiny vivid green color, there are marks of E-testing. Packaged on plastic bag (vacuum) + silica gel. Cost per PCB = 4,99 USD
I can’ t figure out any significant quality details between the two PBCs. To me IteadStudio PCBs seems more beautiful and worth the money. So i give +1 to IteadStudio for quality, quantity and processing time!