Researchers Develop New Hybrid Solar Panel That Can Generate Power From Rain Too

The researchers at Soochow University in China, have published a paper on the hybrid device that is able to harness the power of sun and rain using a hybrid panel. By attaching a transparent nanogenerator to a silicon solar cell, researchers have designed a device that harvests solar energy in sunny conditions and the mechanical energy of falling raindrops in rainy conditions. The dual functionality of this hybrid panel may provide a way to collect energy with greater efficiency in the midst of constantly changing weather conditions.

Hybrid solar panel can generate power fro rain too
The hybrid solar panel can generate power fro rain too

The hybrid device consists of a conventional silicon solar cell and a Triboelectric Nanogenerator (TENG), which turns the mechanical energy of falling raindrops into electricity. Although previous research has shown that these two types of devices can be connected with an extra wire, in the new design the solar cell and TENG are integrated by sharing a mutual electrode.

The biggest breakthrough in this work is that an integrated generator composed of a solar cell and a TENG was demonstrated through sharing a mutual electrode,

Zhen Wen at Soochow University said,

Compared to previous work, the simple design of the mutual electrode reduces the number of functional layers, which greatly improves the output efficiency.

The mutual electrode not only results in a more compact design, but it also offers advantages to both the solar cell and TENG. In particular, the TENG protects the solar cell by acting as a waterproof barrier and prevents water from penetrating the silicon. The textured electrode surface also greatly overcomes unwanted reflection of light, enhancing light harvesting of the solar panel. The textured surface results in a greater contact area between the TENG and falling raindrops, which improves the overall performance of the nanogenerator.

Due to the unique design, it has advantages of being lightweight and having a high efficiency, The team is now designing a fiber-shaped device and expect to weave them together as a fabric. In near future, it is possible to fabricate such clothing that can generate electricity from sunshine and raindrops, and then use this electricity to power wearable electronic devices.

Using a Hall Effect Sensor with Arduino

Hall Effect Sensor

Hi guys, welcome to today’s tutorial. Today we will look at how to use a hall effect sensor with Arduino.

A hall effect sensor is a sensor that varies its output based on the presence or absence of a magnetic field. This means that the output signal produced by a Hall effect sensor is a function of magnetic field density around it. When the magnetic flux density around it exceeds a certain pre-set threshold value, the sensor detects it and generates an output voltage sometimes called the hall voltage to indicate the presence of the magnetic field.

Hall sensors are becoming very popular due to their versatility and they are used in many different applications. One of the popular applications of hall effect sensors is in automotive systems where they are used to detect position, measure distance and speed. They are also used in modern devices like smartphones and computers and also used in different type of switches where the presence of a magnetic field is used to either activate or deactivate a circuit.

Using a Hall Effect Sensor with Arduino – [Link]

Epiq Solutions Develops Wideband RF Transceiver SDR Module Running Linux On Zynq SoC

Epiq Solutions, a company from the USA, has included a new member of its Sidekiq line of Software-defined radio (SDR) add-on cards called the Sidekiq Z2. Dimensions of this card are only 51 x 30 x 5mm, the size of a full-size mini-PCIe card, the Sidekiq Z2 computer-on-module is advertised as “the world’s smallest wideband RF transceiver + Linux computer in a product-ready module”. The module is most suitable for handheld RF testing and measurement, remote RF sensing, wireless security applications, and CubeSat/UAS datalinks. A carrier board is also available with this module.

Sidekiq Z2 SDR Module
Sidekiq Z2 SDR Module

Unlike previous Sidekiq cards, the Sidekiq Z2 can act as a standalone computer, running Linux on a Xilinx Zynq-7000 series Arm/FPGA SoC. Like the original Sidekiq, which is available in mini-PCIe or M.2 form factors, the Sidekiq Z2 operates at 70MHz to 6GHz. There’s also a Sidekiq X2, which uses the VITA57.1 FMC form factor, which supports 1MHz to 6GHz frequencies.

Epiq claims, the new Sidekiq Z2 can boot Linux in under two seconds, with a typical system power consumption under 2 Watts. The Zynq comes with 512MB DDR3L RAM and 32MB QSPI flash. The SoC drives USB 2.0 OTG, serial UART, JTAG, and GPIO signals to a carrier board.

The shielded AD9634 1Rx + 1Tx transceiver has a 4-band Rx pre-select filter bank and an up to 61.44 Msamples/sec sample rate. The 40MHz TCVCXO ref clock features +/- 1 PPM stability. The 3.3V, 8-gram module supports -40 to 85°C temperatures. The module also offers many U.FL antenna connectors.

The company offers a Sidekiq Z2 Evaluation Kit (EVK) that includes two Sidekiq Z2 cards pre-loaded and supported by Analog Devices’ open source IIO reference design, along with two simple carrier cards. An optional Platform Development Kit (PDK) offers enhanced support and an optimized FPGA reference design to maximize processing capability of the FPGA. Epiq Solutions also presents applications for embedded RF spectrum analysis as well as 2G/3G/4G cellular network survey.

The Sidekiq Z2 is available now at a price of $649 for 1,000+ unit orders. The Sidekiq Z2 EVK and PDK also appear to be available, with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found in the Epiq Solutions Sidekiq Z2 announcement and product page.

Arduino board based on ATmega644p

A DIY Arduino type hardware board based on ATmega644p Atmega1284p

This project is free and based on @MCUDude’s MightyCore which has awesome well designed kits for serious development with AVR’s.

Mightyduino is an Arduino with more memory than an Arduino Pro mini. It can use 644p (64k) or 1284p (128k) chips. Its voltage can be configured by U1 and the frequecy can be configured by the Murata’s ressonator (crystal). It has a power led and another one connected to pin D0. The push button performs reset. DTR pin can be used to external reset. The RAW pin is the input voltage <16v. The VCC pin is the regulator output and IC voltage, it can be loaded up to peak of 500mA.

Arduino board based on ATmega644p – [Link]

Ten USB ports and 12 COM ports mean there are no constraints on the slim type GENE-APL7

(Taipei, Taiwan – April 19, 2018) – AAEON, a leading developer of advanced industrial computing platforms, announces the launch of the GENE-APL7, a subcompact motherboard with an extensive I/O interface for use in the retail and fintech sectors.

The feature-rich GENE-APL7 features support for an enviable 10 USB ports and up to 12 COM ports. The single board computer also boasts one VGA and two LVDS connectors, and customers can change this configuration to incorporate eDP technology. MiniCard and mSATA expansion slots, an 8-bit DIO, and a speaker amplifier are also built into the board. Despite offering such a comprehensive list of features, the GENE-APL7 remains an extremely cost-effective solution.

The board is powered by an Intel® Pentium® N4200 or Celeron® N3350 Processor and has up to 8GB DDR3L memory. Thanks to the low power consumption properties of its CPU and the motherboard’s innovative design layout, the GENE-APL7 is a slim, fanless solution that can be used in applications with severe space constraints.

“With the GENE-APL7, we’ve focused on giving users what they need and removing any unnecessary features,” said Julie Huang, AAEON embedded computing division product manager. “The result is a subcompact board that’s powerful, expandable, competitively priced, and perfect for the target retail and fintech markets.”

Features

  • Intel® Pentium® N4200/ Celeron® N3350 Processor SoC
  • DDR3L 1866 MHz SODIMM x 1, up to 8 GB
  • VGA/LVDS1/LVDS2 (LVDS1 Co-design with eDP, VGA with Internal and Rear Design)
  • SATA 6.0 Gb/s x 1, GPIO x 8
  • USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 8, COM up to 12 ports (COM2-5 with 5V/12V/ RI Design)
  • mSATA x 1 (Full size), Mini Card x 1 (Full size) with uIM
  • DC 12V Only, AT/ATX Mode
  • Optional: SPK Amplifier, I2S Design

Banana Pi BPI-W2 SBC – A Multimedia Router And NAS Board That Runs Android Or Linux

SinoVoip has released Banana Pi BPI-W2 multimedia network and smart NAS router SBC. The BPI-W2 has a faster processor and more advanced features than last year’s Banana Pi BPI-R2. However, the new model has only two Gigabit Ethernet ports instead of four.

This SBC is designed for applications such as high wireless performance, home entertainment, home automation, and many more. The BPI-W2 runs on a Realtek RTD1296 SoC with 4x Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.5GHz with a high-end Mali-T820 MP3 GPU. By comparison, previous year’s BPI-R2 used a quad-core, Cortex-A7 MediaTek MT7623 with a Mali-450 MP4. SinoVoip confirms full support for Android 6.0CentOSDebian 9Raspbian, and Ubuntu 15.04, and the board is also said to support OpenWrt.

Banana Pi BPI-W2
Banana Pi BPI-W2

The updated I/O support is shown in the BPI-W2’s dual SATA III ports, compared to only one on the single SATA interface found on the MT7623-based BPI-R2 and RTD1295-based devices. The BPI-W2 also has 8-64GB eMMC, a microSD slot, and 2GB of DDR4.

Although limited to dual GbE ports, the board also has a GbE WAN port for router applications. Unlike the R2, there is an HDMI input in addition to the HDMI output, and a mini-DisplayPort has replaced the earlier MIPI-DSI connection. In either case, the output resolution is still limited to HD (1080p) only.

Four USB ports are available, including single USB 3.0 and Type-C ports. There is a 40-pin header that is claimed to support Raspberry Pi 3 add-on boards. Other features involve RTC, IR, debug, audio I/O, and a 12V input.

Like other Banana Pi boards, the BPI-W2 is open source, shipping with schematics and other documentation. The AliExpress and wiki pages list and show PCIe 2.0 and 1.1/SDIO slots on the front as well as a single M.2 slot on the back. Yet the PCIe slots are also tagged as M.2 slots (E-Key), and it’s unclear which slots are capable of what. The PCIe slots are capable to support up to 802.11ac WiFi, and there’s also a SIM card slot.

The Banana Pi BPI-W2 is available now for $93 plus shipping on AliExpress. More information may be found on the BPI-W2 wiki page.

TinyPi – World Smallest Raspberry Pi Game Boy-Style Retro Console

After the release of Raspberry Pi Zero in 2015 many projects have been built with it. Another exciting project built around the Raspberry Pi Zero is this full-fledged gaming device called the Pocket TinyPi.

RaspberryPi Retro Gaming device
Pocket TinyPi

If you ever wanted to get your hands on some gaming on the go, the Pocket TinyPi maybe your best bet. Based on the Raspberry Pi, you have instant access to a retro gaming system such as RetroPie and Pico-8. The TinyPi is not only good for gaming, it is also tiny and can comfortably fit into your pocket without much of a notice.

Peter Barker is the creator of Pocket TinyPi, and he got inspired by the launch of the Pi Zero where several makers came up with very inspiring projects especially the ones hacking an old Game Boy. Unlike other makers, Barker didn’t tear apart a working Game Boy but instead built a standalone Pi Zero-based gaming device using a cheap 2.2-inch SPI screen flanked by two button arrays. Things progressed from there, and Barker was able to build it using a 1.44-inch display as compared to the earlier 2.2-inch screen to finally make the Pocket TinyPi gaming device.

The Pocket TinyPi comes in an unassembled kit that will have to be fully assembled to get it to work. Aside from the possibility of playing an amazing and classic game with the TinyPi, the kit gives a user the opportunity to put their soldering skills into real test and even some eyesight testing since you will need to solder small parts on a small piece of board. One can also order an entirely built and tested kit, but of course there is no fun in that.

The kit consists of the following parts,

  • 1.44”color screen with a resolution of 128×128 pixels
  • 5-way joystick (4 directions plus a center click)
  • 2 action buttons
  • 3-way nav switch (gives two more buttons and a center click)
  • Stereo sound
  • Raspberry Pi for brains (1GHz CPU, 512MB ram, WiFi, and Bluetooth)
  • 300mah battery giving an hour of play time (in the full kit and full build)

On the front of the PCB are a five-way joystick (with push-in function) and two push buttons. There’s also a three-way navigation switch at the top, which can be mapped to extra functions. The device is powered by a slimline LiPo battery, strapped to the Pi Zero along with a TP4056 charger. Stereo sound is supplied by two piezo transducers situated behind the screen.

TinyPi Rear

The Pocket TinyPi is expected to come in 3 options :

  • The Base Kit – It includes the PCB, Screen, and components to let you build a working TinyPi. This kit doesn’t come with any battery and a case, so you will need to supply your own power to it. A basic Li-Po battery will work here and you can easily 3D print your own custom case for it as well.
  • The Full Kit – This includes everything the basic kit does, plus a 3D printed case, battery, and supporting PCB.
  • Fully Assembled – This is a fully assembled kit. It will be prebuilt and tested.

They were on sale for a while on Tindie, but demand was too high, so they will be available on CrowdSupply soon. Of course, TinyPi is not just limited to gaming, the flexibility of the Raspberry Pi means your imagination the only limits!

ADXL356/357 MEMS accelerometers feature low noise, low power solution for Wireless Condition Monitoring nodes via @OEMsecrets @arrowglobal

These accelerometers are built to be intrinsically stable over time and temperature with no calibration required.

ADXL356/357 Accelerometers 

The ADXL356/357 MEMS accelerometers feature low noise, low power and offer an excellent solution for Wireless Condition Monitoring nodes.

ADXL372/375 Accelerometer

Ultralow power, 3-axis, ±200g MEMS accelerometer features deep, multimode output FIFO, several activity modes and comes in a small, thin package.

Get your parts sooner with free 1-day shipping when you spend $50 or more with Arrow.com

Researchers From NREL Discovered New Method To Develop Rechargeable Magnesium-metal Battery

A team of researchers from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has discovered a new method for developing a rechargeable non-aqueous magnesium-metal battery. A proof-of-concept paper published in Nature Chemistry. It described how the scientists pioneered a method to enable the reversible chemistry of magnesium metal in the noncorrosive carbonate-based electrolytes and tested the concept in a prototype cell. The technology possesses many high potential advantages over conventional lithium-ion batteries. Some upgrades over Li-ion battery with this new kind of battery will be, higher energy density, greater stability, and lower cost.

magnesium-metal batteries
magnesium-metal batteries

NREL researchers Seoung-Bum Son, Steve Harvey, Andrew Norman, and Chunmei Ban are co-authors of the Nature Chemistry white paper, “An Artificial Interphase Enables Reversible Magnesium Chemistry in Carbonate Electrolytes” working with a Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. The device enables them to investigate material degradation and failure mechanisms at the micro- to nano-scale.

Chunmei Ban, a scientist in NREL’s Materials Science department and corresponding author of the paper, said,

Being scientists, we’re always thinking: what’s next? The dominant lithium-ion battery technology is approaching the maximum amount of energy that can be stored per volume, so there is an urgent need to explore new battery chemistries that can provide more energy at a lower cost.

Seoung-Bum Son, a former NREL postdoc and scientist at NREL and first author of the paper, thinks this finding will provide a new avenue for magnesium battery design.

An electrochemical reaction powers a battery as ions flow through a liquid (electrolyte) from the negative electrode (cathode) to the positive electrode (anode). For batteries using Lithium, the electrolyte is a salt solution containing lithium ions. It’s also important to make the chemical reaction reversible for the battery to recharge again.

Magnesium (Mg) batteries theoretically contain almost twice as much energy per volume as of lithium-ion batteries. But previous research confronted an obstacle. The chemical reactions of the conventional carbonate electrolyte created a layer on the surface of magnesium that prevented the battery from recharging. The magnesium ions could flow in a reverse direction through a highly corrosive liquid electrolyte, but that blocked the possibility of a successful high-voltage magnesium battery.

The researchers developed an artificial solid-electrolyte interphase from polyacrylonitrile and magnesium-ion salt that protected the surface of the magnesium anode. This protected anode and significantly improved performance of the cell.

In addition to being more readily available than lithium, magnesium has other advantages over the more established battery technology. Firstly, magnesium releases two electrons which is higher lithium’s one, thus giving it the potential to deliver nearly twice as much energy as lithium. And second, magnesium-metal batteries do not experience the growth of crystals that can cause short circuits and consequently dangerous overheating and even fire, making magnesium batteries much safer than lithium-ion batteries.

Micro Soldering Station for 10$

Transform a cheap USB soldering iron in a powerfull Active tip Soldering Station.

With almost no thermal capacity this station regulates the tip’s temperature instantaneously. Solder larger thermal mass with ease, it’s magic.

Micro Soldering Station for 10$ – [Link]