Elektor GREEN Membership @ 50% OFF – exclusive for Elab visitors

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Elektor is more than a magazine, it is a community of active electronic engineers eager to learn, make, design and share surprising electronics. If you would like to join this community by purchasing a yearly membership you may consider this exclusive offer. Elektor, offers 50% discount on yearly membership on all electronics-lab.com visitors. To benefit from the offer just enter E-LAB16 code on this form. The offer is valid for Elektor GREEN Membership and costs US $37.50 (€34.00 / £24.48) for a year.

What you get: 

  • 6 Editions of Elektor Magazine (132 pages each) in PDF format
  • Free access to all PDF editions of Elektor Business Magazine (approx. 6 per year)
  • Unrestricted access to the Elektor 2000 – present day archive (thousands of articles!)
  • Full access to over 750 Elektor Labs projects
  • A minimum of 10% discount on all products at Elektor.com

Benefit now!
Enter coupon code E-LAB16 on this page and join the Elektor Community at a special low price!

Intro to Printed Circuit Boards

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This is an intriduconary article about PCBs and their uses.

In this instructable, I’ll go over what a printed circuit board is, where they are used, and the basics of how to make one yourself. So sit back, strap in, and enjoy learning about this very important and interesting method of making electronics!

Intro to Printed Circuit Boards – [Link]

DIY 1GHz Active Probe For Under 20$

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thirschbuechler @ instructables.com shows us how to build a 1GHz active probe using BF998 dual-gate MOSFET and some other RF components.

This Instructable will show you how to build a 1GHz* Fet-based Active Probe, the Fetprobe, for about 10$*, provided you have access to an electronics lab. It is based on an Elektor-magazine article (see the pdf’s addendum, section literature in my thesis) beside some other designs. However, as topic of my bachelor-thesis I wanted to find out how good these designs really are and how far one can push them.

DIY 1GHz Active Probe For Under 20$ – [Link]

LTC3895 – Step-down controller handles 150 V

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Linear Technology Corporation announces the LTC3895 , a high voltage non-isolated synchronous step-down switching regulator controller that drives an all N-channel MOSFET power stage. Its 4V to 140V (150V abs max) input voltage range is designed to operate from a high input voltage source or from an input that has high voltage surges, eliminating the need for external surge suppression devices. The LTC3895 continues to operate at up to 100% duty cycle during input voltage dips down to 4V, making it well suited for transportation, industrial control, robotic and datacom applications.
The output voltage can be set from 0.8V to 60V at output currents up to 20amps with efficiencies as high as 96%. This part draws only 40μA in sleep mode with the output voltage in regulation, ideal for always-on systems. An internal charge pump allows for 100% duty cycle operation in dropout, a useful feature when powered from a battery during discharge. The
LTC3895’s powerful 1Ω N-channel MOSFET gate drivers can be adjusted from 5V to 10V to enable the use of logic- or standard-level MOSFETs to maximize efficiency. To prevent high on-
chip power dissipation in high input voltage applications, the LTC3895 includes an NDRV pin which drives the gate of an optional external N-channel MOSFET acting as a low dropout linear
regulator to supply IC power. The EXT VCC pin permits the LTC3895 to be powered from the output of the switching regulator or other available source, reducing power dissipation and improving efficiency.
LTC3895 – Step-down controller handles 150 V – [Link]

Pressure, temperature and humidity sensor board with RS485

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Mare shares his sensor board based on MS5637 HDC108. He writes:

This is another small module to measure air pressure, temperature and humidity. Two sensors are on-board: MS5637 and HDC1080. Microcontroller is small cortex M0 in TSSOP-20 housing from STM: STM32F070CxP. The SN65HVD72DGKR provides RS485 interface functionality with half duplex mode. Voltage regulator, reverse polarity protection and some LED indicators are provided on-board. Complete module is 10x55mm, produced on single-sided PCB, easily producible in every home lab with proto-PCB capability.

Pressure, temperature and humidity sensor board with RS485 – [Link]

Project curve tracer – progress update

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Jason Jones has been working on a curve tracer project and shows us his June progress:

As the hardware is at the point of initial release, but the firmware and GUI aren’t quite there yet, I decided that it would be prudent to split off the firmware and GUI components into their own GIT repositories. Tracking all files in the same repository was convenient through the initial stages of project development, but splitting them allows for more targeted releases and will likely make contributions easier. For instance, if someone wished to write a Java client, then they could simply fork the GUI repository and not worry about the hardware and firmware repositories.

Project curve tracer – progress update – [Link]

Designing a mains frequency monitor

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Dan Watson writes:

This is the second in a series of posts about designing a mains frequency monitor using the Microchip PIC 16F1619 microcontroller. In this post we will take a look at the first revision of the board that I designed for the project and some of the features that it adds. Be sure to read Part 1 of the project write-up if you haven’t done so already.

Designing a mains frequency monitor – [Link]

How to Build a Control Circuit with Adjustable Working Time via Wi-Fi

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In this article, you’ll learn how to build a system that can turn DC loads on and off using a mobile application. You’ll also learn how to perform this task via immediate actions or via timers set in advance for switching loads on and off. by Yahya Tawil

You can implement this system in environments where you need to set your DC load for a specific time. This will allow you to use our Android application without any need for a hardware interface, keypad, and LCD screen.

How to Build a Control Circuit with Adjustable Working Time via Wi-Fi – [Link]

Arduino Uno Menu Template

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PaulSS @ instructables.com shows us  how to build a menu for a LCD/button shield:

While working on a new Instructable (coming soon) I had decided to use an Arduino Uno with an LCD/button shield I purchased off of AliExpress. It’s a knockoff of the DFRobot Shield. I knew that I needed a menu for my project but was becoming so disillusioned with the terrible menu template programs available for the Arduino Uno. Many of which were not designed to work with this shield. I decided to make my own.

Arduino Uno Menu Template – [Link]

Arduino Tutorial: Serial Plotter the new impressive tool of the Arduino IDE

A few months ago, with version 1.6.6, the Arduino IDE introduced a great new feature. It is called Serial Plotter and you can find it in your Arduino IDE under the tools menu. Using the Serial Plotter we can graph the output of our Arduino project in real time.

The Serial Plotter is a software utility that takes incoming serial values over the USB and graphs them against an X/Y axis. The vertical Y axis auto adjusts as the value of the output increases or decreases. The X axis is not time, but each tick on it is equal to an executed serial println command. In simpler words, each time a Serial.println command is executed a new point is added in the graph. Unfortunately we cannot have a graph with more than 500 points but I hope that in a future version of the Arduino IDE, we will be able to have more points.

Arduino Tutorial: Serial Plotter the new impressive tool of the Arduino IDE – [Link]