snapVCC – A snap-on regulated 3.3 V/5 V power supply

by Mahesh Venkitachalam @ hackaday.io:

I use 9 V batteries for a prototyping a lot of my electronics projects. I was inspired by the Sparkfun breadboard power supply board, and wanted to create something similar, but with a more convenient form factor for use with a 9V battery. The design I came up with, is a tiny snap-on PCB with the regulator components on one side, and 9V battery contacts on the other. The idea is that the power supply will become part of the battery.

snapVCC – A snap-on regulated 3.3 V/5 V power supply – [Link]

Zero W, New €10 Raspberry Pi with WLAN and Bluetooth

Five years ago (on 29 February 2012, to be exact) the original Raspberry Pi was unveiled – on this celebrated first day the available stock was sold out within a few minutes, more than 100,000 boards were ordered and the Farnell and RS Components web stores where down for while because of the high demand…
To celebrate this fifth anniversary the Raspberry Pi Foundation introduces a new product: the Raspberry Pi Zero W, that is, the Raspberry Pi Zero complete with WLAN and Bluetooth. The bad new is that this version costs twice as much as the original Zero, but the good news is that it is nevertheless available for only $10 (without accessories).


The Zero was launched in November of 2015 and has since then acquired a camera connector; these days you could hardly imagine anything or contains a Zero – from miniature fruit machines tot electric skate boards.
A disadvantage of the original Zero was the limited connectivity: the only USB port was often used for a wireless dongle; for connecting peripherals such as a keyboard, mouse and network adapter a USB hub was required, which often cost more than the Zero itself.
By integrating the Cypress CYW43438 on the board this problem is solved for the Zero W: this is the same chip that on the RPi 3 model B provides the 820.11n WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. Listing all the features of the Zero W:

  • 1 GHz single-core CPU
  • 512 MB RAM
  • mini HDMI port
  • micro-USB On-The-Go port
  • micro USB power
  • HAT-compatibele 40-pin header
  • headers for composite video and reset
  • CSI camera connector
  • 802.11n WLAN
  • Bluetooth 4.0

The Zero W is accompanied by an ‘official’ enclosure.
This has three interchangeable lids: a closed lid, a lid with openings for the GPIOs, and a lid with opening and attachment facility for a camera.

Source: Elektor

PCB-Investigator Now Supports Browser-Based PCB Design Review

PCB-Investigator is a CAD software developed by EasyLogix for circuit board design and PCB quality assurance. Its latest version came earlier in February with a new browser interface that enables electronics assemblers to do PCB review processes without the need for local installation.

By using the ODB++ data format, PCB-Investigator creates a common database, which documents every change, and is accessible to everyone involved in the development, quality assurance and production process. With the software’s comprehensive visualization, export and import capabilities, all layout reviews are easier. Errors can be fixed earlier and prototypes can be reduced. Further improvements in version 8.0 are an improved component library with editor capability as well as clearance and creepage distance measurement.

(more…)

LTM9100 – Anyside™ High Voltage Isolated Switch Controller with I²C

The LTM9100 μModule is an all-in-one solution for controlling, protecting, and monitoring high voltage power supplies up to 1000VDC. A 5kVRMS galvanic isolation barrier separates the digital interface from the switch controller, driving an external N-channel MOSFET or IGBT switch. Isolated digital measurements of load current, bus voltage, and temperature are accessed via the I2C/SMBus interface, enabling power and energy monitoring of the high voltage bus. The LTM9100 saves design time, certification effort, and board area by wrapping all the needed functionality, including digital telemetry and isolated power, in a compact BGA package.

LTM9100 – Anyside™ High Voltage Isolated Switch Controller with I²C – [Link]

YouTube Subscriber Counter With ESP8266

by @ instructables.com:

I was inspired by the Play Button awards YouTube sends out for subscriber milestones and whipped up a simple circuit using an ESP8266 wifi board and seven segment display to show off my realtime subscriber count. This is a great IoT beginner project, with just a little soldering and a code personalization required to make it work for your own account.

YouTube Subscriber Counter With ESP8266 – [Link]

Anyone Can Build A Robot Arm With MeArm Pi

Mime Industries launches Kickstarter campaign to fund their Raspberry Pi powered robot arm kit that’s simple enough for kids to build.

Mime Industries launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund the production of the world’s first robot arm kit for the Raspberry Pi. Designed to be easy to assemble and not requiring extensive knowledge of electronics, the MeArm Pi STEM kit helps kids and adults learn robotics and teaches them how to code.

Created by Ben Pirt of Mirobot and Ben Gray of MeArm, this is their fourth overfunded technology campaign and is based on the original MeArm, launched back in 2014. “We believe in helping children to have fun whilst learning about technology and the MeArm Pi is completely designed around that goal” said Ben Pirt. “Our products are simple to build and can be easily understood. Meaning you can use them to learn whilst playing, adding your own imagination to make something great”.

The MeArm Pi integrates smoothly with the Raspberry Pi, the ubiquitous educational computing platform. The kit uses a Pi HAT (a plug-on board that fits on the computer) with on-board joysticks for control. MeArm Pi is made from plastic parts for the structure, screws and 4 metal gear servos in addition to the Pi HAT. It can be programmed in Python, Scratch, Java and many other programming languages.

The MeArm Pi campaign launched on the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter on February 7 2017 and runs until March 9 2017 with a goal of £10,000 (Approx $12,400 USD). All early birds are sold out, rewards include the standard MeArm Pi Kit of £60 (Approx $75 USD) which includes a robotic arm. All kits deliver free worldwide.

Check out the campaign video:

 

The New Light-responsive Nano LEDs

A team of researchers from the US and South Korea reported a unique type of NanoLEDs with unprecedented brightness levels, that excess 80,000 cd/m2, and also can operate both as light emitters and light detectors.

These new LEDs are about 50nm long and 6nm in diameter. As described in the paper, they included quantum dots of two different types, one of which can enhance radiative re-combinations (useful for LEDs) while the other type leads to efficient separation of photo-generated carriers.

Low- and high magnification scanning transmission electron microscopy images of DHNRs (right) magnified image of the region within the white dotted box on the left.

The research of this invention had been published in a paper titled “Double-heterojunction nanorod light-responsive LEDs for display applications“. The researchers consider the dual-mode LEDs will pave the way to new types of interactive displays.

As we head toward the “Internet of things” in which everything is integrated and connected, we need to develop the multi-functional technology that will make this happen. Oh et al. developed a quantum dot-based device that can harvest and generate light and process information. Their design is based on a double-hetero-junction nano-rod structure that, when appropriately biased, can function as a light-emitting diode or a photodetector. Such a dual-function device should contribute to the development of intelligent displays for networks of autonomous sensors.

The device can reach a maximum brightness in excess of 80,000 cd/m2 with a low turn-on voltage (around 1.7 V). It also exhibits low bias and high efficiencies at display-relevant brightness. The research team reports an external quantum efficiency of 8.0% at 1000 cd/m2 under 2.5 V bias.

Energy band diagram of DHNR-LED along with directions of charge flow for light emission (orange arrows) and detection (blue arrows) and a schematic of a DHNR.

One of the experiments was operating a 10×10 pixel DNHR-LED array under reverse bias as a live photodetectors, combined with a circuit board that supplied a forward bias to any pixel detecting incident light. And by alternating forward and reverse bias at a sub-millisecond time scale, light-detecting pixels could be “read out” as they illuminated the array.

Future applications of the DNHR LEDs include:

  • Translate any detected signal into brightness adjustments;
  • Automatic brightness adjustment in response to external light–intensity change;
  • Direct imaging or scanning at screen level;
  • Display-to-display data communication.
  • Displays can harvest or scavenge energy from ambient light sources without the need for integrating separate solar cells.

Sources: elektor, EETimes

Low profile target connectors, 2.21mm above the board

Bluetooth chip is only 4x4mm

by Julien Happich @ edn-europe.com:

Part of the Swatch group, EM Microelectronic announced what the company believes to be the world’s smallest Bluetooth chip. Offered in a 4x4mm QFN-28 package, in a WLCSP-21 or as a bare-die, the EM9304 is optimized for Bluetooth v4.2 low energy enabled products.

Super cheap ‘lab-on-a-chip’

by Eric Bogers @ elektormagazine.com:

Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, using a combination of microfluidics, electronics and a standard inkjet printer, have succeeded in producing a biochip that can be used for research or diagnostic purposes. The remarkable feature of this new ‘lab-on-a-chip’ is the cost: less than one cent each.

Super cheap ‘lab-on-a-chip’ – [Link]