CADLAB.io – A True Version Control For Managing Hardware Projects

Version control is a system that records changes of a file or set of files over time so that you can recall specific versions later. Version control was developed to help teams work on tasks together in a more collaborative way. In the last few years, version control platform has often been focused on software-based projects. Git is the preferred version control tool for most developers since it has multiple advantages over the other systems available and it’s the backbone of the famous GitHub.

CADLAB.io Version Control

So, version control tools are great for software tasks, but what about Hardware? Unlike open software, which has popular collaborative tools like Git (and websites built on it, like GitHub), Subversion, and Mercurial, hardware has no system for version control. Github has been used in the past for hardware project sharing and even offer some level of version control (very limited, hardware design are displayed as an image). For software, version control is pretty straightforward, since you can just show the “diffs” between two files as highlighted text. But how do you do that for hardware, where the files tend to be in binary formats, which could be proprietary sometimes? Cadlab.io from DevEngineering brings a change in this space.

CADLAB.io is a cloud-based hardware development platform which provides engineers and makers with a version control system and collaboration tools for hardware design. Based on Git, it allows you to keep native PCB design files in a repository and view, compare and comment on any part of a PCB in a browser. Cadlab is designed for hardware designs and not just comparing design images, but truly compare PCB and schematics designs.

Just like Github, CADLAB.io supports public and private projects. CADLAB allows users to create an unlimited number of public projects for various hardware project and even upgrade those project to private mode only, but this comes at a cost. CADLAB currently supports only Autodesk EAGLE PCB designs with promises of adding more support to other PCB design software like KiCAD, Altium, OrCAD, and others. CADLAB can render all your Autodesk Eagle PCB schematics and layouts from version 6 upwards. You can compare design iterations, find the necessary ones quickly, download it and continue working on it in the CAD application.

CADLAB provides support for adding comments and even annotations to a design file. Annotations can be added to pad or a block of wires, and this will profoundly foster good collaboration between teams and also make hardware project to be easily scalable. Github users are not left behind, CADLAB integrates with GitHub. Existing GitHub design can be viewed with CADLAB and users are allowed to even upload their files directly from Github. With a CADLAB Chrome plugin, users can see their design files live while working on Github.

Despite the robust features with CADLAB, it doesn’t yet support merge request and forks, a primary functionality of version control and open source project. Merge requests and forks will allow people to contribute to a public project. CADLAB.io is currently available in a three subscription package. A free plan for public only projects, an Individual plan that costs $6 per month, and a Company plan that costs $15 per month. You can find more information about the pricing here.

STM32CubeProgrammer all- in-one software tool

STM32CubeProgrammer (STM32CUBEPROG) is an all-in-one multi-OS software tool for programming STM32 microcontrollers. It provides an easy-to-use and efficient environment for reading, writing and verifying device memory through both the debug interface (JTAG and SWD) and the bootloader interface (UART and USB). STM32CubeProgrammer offers a wide range of features to program STM32 microcontroller internal memories (such as Flash, RAM, and OTP) as well as external memories. STM32CubeProgrammer also allows option programming and upload, programming content verification, and microcontroller programming automation through scripting. STM32CubeProgrammer is delivered in GUI (graphical user interface) and CLI (command-line interface) versions.

Isolated Power Supply for RS485, RS422, RS232, SPI, I2C and Power LAN

Mini Isolated Power Supply is designed for CAN, RS-485, RS-422, RS-232, SPI, I2C, Low-Power LAN applications. The power supply provides +/- 5.50 V DC symmetrical outputs with load current 500mA from 5V DC input. The project is built using SN6505A IC from Texas instruments. The SN6505A is a low-noise, low-EMI push-pull transformer driver, specifically designed for small form factor, isolated power supplies. It drives low profile, center-tapped transformers 5 V DC power supply. Ultra-low noise and EMI are achieved by slew rate control of the output switch voltage and through Spread Spectrum Clocking (SSC). The SN6505 consists of an oscillator followed by a gate drive circuit that provides the complementary output signals to drive ground referenced N-channel power switches. The device includes two 1-A Power-MOSFET switches to ensure start-up under heavy loads. The internal protection features include a 1.7A current limiting, under-voltage lockout, thermal shutdown, and break-before-make circuitry. SN6505 includes a soft-start feature that prevents high inrush current during power up with large load capacitors.

Isolated Power Supply for RS485, RS422, RS232, SPI, I2C and Power LAN – [Link]

18 Most Helpful Raspberry Pi Tutorials

The Raspberry Pi

After having grazed the maker’s ecosystem in the year 2012, the Raspberry Pi has attracted a huge number of hobbyists and tinkerers all over the world. It has been the world’s most popular single board computer and a close competitor to the Arduino since then. If you have never heard of the Raspberry Pi, then look at wikipedia article.

Despite the huge fame that has followed the Raspberry Pi and some amazing projects created with it, some questions are still being asked like; What can you do with it and why would you want to? I remember when I first got my own Raspberry Pi back in 2013, I never touched it for about a year because this sort of questions was ramping on my head and couldn’t find any convincing answer then.

The Raspberry Pi is a great single-board computer that has grazed the surface of the earth with some amazing power and capabilities that are often underestimated. There is hardly anything you can not build with the Raspberry Pi, and yes, you can even build a Raspberry Pi Artificial Intelligence Cluster (build your own Jarvis, my favorite project). If you’re new to the life of Pi or mid-level into the into Pi then this post will provide some helpful Raspberry Pi tutorials and resources to help you fully utilize the Pi.

Getting Started with Raspberry Pi

This is a must tutorial for newbies and it basically sums up the bits of getting the Raspberry Pi out of the box and making your first Hello World program. It covers the general discussion about the Raspberry Pi, installing the Raspberry OS, OS choices, applications of the Raspberry Pi, and several others.

Installing Raspbian OS

Despite the fact that the Raspberry Pi can be used with some other operating system, the Raspbian OS has been the most commonly used on the Pi. These guides will focus mainly on installing the Raspbian OS on the Raspberry Pi.  It works in a way similar to what you see on windows, when the Pi boots, it will look for a specific boot file on the SD card, and once that file has been found, it will begin to execute the code inside and the OS loads.

Python for the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi can be programmed with different programming languages, including Java, C, C++, and Python. Despite the fact that all these languages work quite well on the Raspberry Pi, Python is the most used of all mostly due to its flexible and easy language. Learning different languages is the best thing that any maker can do, but as a first language, Python is a good language to start with. There are many tutorials on Python online (even a few on Maker.io), so here are a whole bunch of them

IoT

Internet of Things is now becoming the mainstream buzz and learning how to build your own IoT-enabled projects for the Pi can allow the Pi to be accessed over the internet, control external devices using a mobile device, and take sensor readings and print them to a website is going to be a good idea.

Others

The above tutorials and resources could be the life-saving guide you might need to start creating with the Raspberry Pi. Some of the projects demonstrated have shown how capable the single board computer can be.

Trill – an open-source 3G mobile phone

This is a complete GSM/3G mobile phone, based on the ioNode.

Features

128 x 64 OLED display
* 16 buttons + 5-way mini-joystick
* Microphone & earpiece
* MicroSD card slot
* MicroSIM card slot
* MP3 decoder, headphone amplifier and 3.5mm stereo jack
* Vibrator

Trill – an open-source 3G mobile phone – [Link]

SMARC module for Industrial Ethernet

eCOUNT embedded’s ES-1XXX is the company’s first Computer-on-Module family to support the SMARC 2.0 standard from the SGET.

The modules are equipped with ARM Cortex-A9 based Intel Cyclone V SoCs (formerly Altera), which integrate a configurable FPGA. By integrating the Intel Cyclone V SoCs on SMARC Computer-on-Modules customers benefit from an application-ready ultra-low-power platform for extremely cost-efficient custom IIoT designs. Compared to full-custom designs, the development and certification effort is significantly reduced by up to 50 to 90 percent thanks to the provision of complete BSPs, carrier boards, accessories and FPGA IP as well as comprehensive documentation. Thanks to the configurable FPGA, the SMARC modules can be used in very different configurations. Core FPGA IP, for example for standard industrial Ethernet protocols such as Profinet and EtherCAT, is available off-the-shelf. Many other possible configurations are available including as I/O controllers, big data loggers for data acquisition, network controllers or extremely energy-efficient HMIs with solar power supply as well as generic configurations.

The ES-1XXX modules operate in the extended temperature range of -40 to +85°C and offer a life cycle of at least 10 years. They are available in dual and single-core Intel Cyclone V SoC configurations (SE and SX) with up to 110KLE and 925 MHz and up to 2 GB of DDR3 RAM. [via]

eCOUNT embedded –  www.ecount-embedded.de

Press Release PDF

Arduino controlled Dual Mono AK4490 DAC (part 3)

Here’s the part 3 of Dimitris’ Arduino controlled Dual Mono AK4490 DAC project. If you missed part 1 and part 2, check them out.

Following up on Part 2, it’s time to talk about the output stage. This output stage is the brainchild of my friend Kostas, all I did was lay out the PCB. It is a fully discreet single-ended class-A output stage, outputting ~2.4V RMS.

Arduino controlled Dual Mono AK4490 DAC (part 3) – [Link]

Firefly – an annoying little thing

Here’s a tiny pcb that produces an annoying sound using a piezo buzzer and a ATtiny13 microcontroller.

It uses an LED, piezo buzzer, ATTINY13 Atmel microcontroller, a very small amount of Arduino code, and a coin cell battery that should last about a week.

Battery life could be improved, with longer sleep times. The device has but one function: sleep, then wake up periodically and blink and chirp, then go back to sleep.

Firefly – an annoying little thing – [Link]

EAGLE 8.7 – Parametric 2D & 3D model generation, library.io, more!

Today we’re proud to announce the release of EAGLE 8.7 and what is quite possibly one of the biggest releases we’ve had to-date, this time focused (largely) on libraries and library development (and what that means for 3D modeling of your finished PCB)!  But before we get into it, let me share a thought —

As some of you know, most of us on the EAGLE team use the SW (imagine that!).  In fact, it’s the overwhelming majority in development, mktg, leadership, support, etc. who not only use it, but we’ve run workshops, taught university courses with it, etc.  And it’s from the experience of talking with you and having to explain many of the more idiosyncratic things either in EAGLE or in ECAD in general, that we’d decided we needed to take a shot at addressing the component creation process.  Our goal being to reduce or eliminate one of the slowest, most non-value added processes in your workflow. (This is the stuff that really slows you down and only gets harder as the parts get more sophisticated.)

That being said, this is only part of our ongoing efforts to make library development and the problems with quick, quality component creation faced by so many users (whether professionals or hobbyists or students) a thing of the past.  It’s also the first step in treating ECAD parts and their MCAD equivalents as a single component creation process which shouldn’t be decoupled (after all, it’s the same datasheet whether you’re making parts in EAGLE or in Fusion360).

EAGLE 8.7 – Parametric 2D & 3D model generation, library.io, more! – [Link]

InnoComm NXP i.MX8M System on Module – An Advanced Video Processing SoM with Connectivity

Last year (2017), NXP announced its new applications processors, the i.MX 8 series. The i.MX 8M family of applications processors based on Arm® Cortex®-A53 and Cortex-M4 cores provide industry-leading audio, voice and video processing for applications that scale from consumer home audio to industrial building automation and mobile computers. NXP announced a select group of partners that have been engaged in the development of an ecosystem for the i.MX 8M family processor. Taiwan based Innocomm Mobile Technology was one of those selected partners among others and have announced their NXP i.MX 8M quad-core system-on-module – called WB10 with wireless and wired connectivity options.

Innocomm WB10

Innocomm WB10 is a next generation Wireless System-on-Module powered by the NXP i.MX 8M SoC. It offered advanced video processing capabilities and designed for application in the areas of internet audio, home entertainment, smart speakers among many others. With inbuilt Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ethernet connectivity options, the WB10 can quickly find applications in the trending areas of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial applications.

The WB10 is a small module and measured at just 50 x 50 mm. The WB10 module comes with only 2GB LPDDR4 RAM and an 8GB eMMC flash memory. It provides onboard support for WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Ethernet controller with MIMO 2 x 2 and Bluetooth 4.2. Apart from impressive connectivity options, you also get a host of other interfaces like – USB 3.0 host, USB 2.0 device, 2x I2C, 3x UART, GPIO, PWM, SPI, and PCIe interfaces.

WB10 Block Diagram

The WB10 has an impressive audio and video interfaces with is Media I/O expressed via three 80-pin connectors that include an HDMI 2.0a supporting 4K and HDR, as well as MIPI-DSI, 2x MIPI-CSI, SPDIF Rx/Tx, 4x SAI, and the high-end DSD512 audio interface.

The following are some of the SoM specifications:

  • Processor – NXP i.MX8M Quad, Cortex-A53 x 4 + M4
  • Display  –
    • 4K + HDR
    • HDMI 2.0a
    • MPI DSI
  • RAM – 2GB LPDDR4
  • Flash Memory – 8GB eMMC Flash
  • Connectivity –
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
    • MIMO 2×2 / BT 4.2
    • Ethernet 10/100M/1Gbps
  • Audio –
    • SAI
    • SPDiF Rx/Tx
    • DSD512
  • Dimension – 50 x 50 mm
  • Others –
    • USB 3.0/2.0 Host
    • USB 2.0 Device
    • i2C
    • SPI
    • UART
    • GPIO
    • CSI
    • PWM
    • PCIe
    • 80 pins x 3, board to board connectors
Carrier Board

Although no official software support has been provided, it is expected the SoM should support the usual Android and Linux BSPs as seen in most modules. A development carrier board is made available by the company to extend the SoM interfaces and will surely make development easier. The module connects to the carrier board through three 80-pin board-to-board connectors exposing many of the I/Os provided by the latest NXP processor.

At this point, no pricing or availability information is provided for the WB10. More information about the module can be found on the product page.