TSG4106A RF signal generator unboxing and mini feature review

Always an exciting day when a new piece of equipment arrives at the lab! The basic features of the lab’s new Tektronix TSG4106A RF Signal Generator are reviewed, including a peek at some of the auxiliary signals available on the rear panel.

TSG4106A RF signal generator unboxing and mini feature review – [Link]

ESP8266 touchscreen WiFi light controller and clock


Spiros Papadimitriou has build a WiFi light controller and clock based on ESP8266:

A couple of months ago I picked up cheap WiFi-controlled LED bulbs (one among dozens of very similar devices), after seeing them at a friend’s place. This turned out to be an excuse to play with the ESP8266, which has inspired several hacks. I was overall very happy with these bulbs: decent Android and iOS apps and, compared to fancier solutions (e.g., Philips Hue or Belkin WeMo), they do not require any proprietary base stations, and you can’t beat the price! However, switching off the lights before falling asleep involved hunting for the phone, opening the app, and waiting for it to scan the network; not an ideal user experience. I was actually missing our old X10 alarm clock controller (remember those?), so I decided to make one from scratch, because… why not?

ESP8266 touchscreen WiFi light controller and clock – [Link]

Resistor Scanner Android App


Resistor Scanner is an Android app that uses OpenCV to scan resistor colour bands and determines their values.Uses OpenCV to scan resistor colour bands and determines resistor values.

Source available here: https://github.com/thegouger/ResistorScanner/

Resistor Scanner Android App – [Link]

Raspberry PI answers, “Is the internet up?”


whiskeytangohotel.com has build a internet monitoring device based on Raspberry Pi:

It is a pretty commonly uttered question (sometimes loudly) around the home or office; “Is the internet up?” As the goto IT Support Manager around the house this can get a little tiresome. Most of the time the internet is up and it’s a user or personal device problem that can be solved with a re-boot, re-load, re-etc. Sometimes the internet is really down requiring a router and cable modem reboot or a call to the ISP. Wouldn’t a simple visual check that anyone could quickly understand be helpful? Plus, as a bonus, provide some general network health statistics with a screen print and an hourly update to a Google Drive spreadsheet.

Raspberry PI answers, “Is the internet up?” – [Link]

Voltage indicator transitions between colours


by Einar Abell @ edn.com:

This Design Idea gives two versions of an indicator light that changes from green to red as a battery discharges. There are many circuits that do this sort of thing, but all the ones I have seen are too complex and costly for my taste. This DI shows a method that uses an absolute minimum of low cost parts: a dual-color LED and four other parts.

Voltage indicator transitions between colours – [Link]

LTC3335 – Nanopower Buck-Boost DC/DC with Integrated Coulomb Counter


The LTC®3335 is a high efficiency, low quiescent current (680nA) buck-boost DC/DC converter with an integrated precision coulomb counter which monitors accumulated battery discharge in long life battery powered applications. The buck-boost can operate down to 1.8V on its input and provides eight pin-selectable output voltages with up to 50mA of output current.

The coulomb counter stores the accumulated battery discharge in an internal register accessible via an I2C interface. The LTC3335 features a programmable discharge alarm threshold. When the threshold is reached, an interrupt is generated at the IRQ pin.

To accommodate a wide range of battery types and sizes, the peak input current can be selected from as low as 5mA to as high as 250mA and the full-scale coulomb counter has a programmable range of 32,768:1.

LTC3335 – Nanopower Buck-Boost DC/DC with Integrated Coulomb Counter – [Link]

Mini Project: Doorbell Memory


by Jan Buiting @ elektormagazine.com:

Even in the Internet & Wi-Fi age where it seems irrelevant just where you are at a specific time, it’s sometime useful to know if a visitor called at your door while you were out. Who knows, it might be the DHL man with a delivery of essential components!

The little circuit described in this article can reassure you that you haven’t missed the postman’s call irrespective of whether he always rings once or twice. It’s cheap and can probably be built from parts in your junkbox.

Doorbell Memory – [Link]

USB power supply active load tester


Sasa Karanovic has designed and built a DIY USB power Supply active load tester, that is available at GitHub:

USB Power supply Active Load Tester or short PAL Tester is unit designed for testing the quality of the power supplies.
Idea was to create low-cost, precise device for simultaneous measurement of Voltage and Current drawn from the device under test.

USB power supply active load tester – [Link]

Basic Automotive Lighting Control with MCU

The electronics trend in automotive is continuously rising due to the demand in the market. The technological developments are now into embedded system in which the manufacturers are developing products that suits to the needs of the people. In this design, it features a automotive lighting control using an MCU with S12 CPU core, 25 MHz bus and up to 240 KB on-chip flash with Error Correction Code (ECC). The timer interface module (TIM) supports up to eight channels that provide a range of 16-bit input capture, output compare, counter and pulse accumulator functions. The on-chip SRAM is up to 12KB while 240KB for flash and 4KB for EEPROM.

The design is comprised of S9S12G240F0CLF 16-bit microcontrollers that serves as the host of the automotive lighting control. It directly communicates with MC10XS6325EK high side driver for the halogen lamps and LEDs that are used in the automotive lighting module. The capacitors connected to VBAT improve emission and immunity performances the same case on VCC while the one connected to CP is charge pump tank capacitor. The capacitor that are connected to OUT1 to OUT5 are for sustaining ESG gun and fast transient pulses that improve emission and immunity performances while the one connected to OUT6 is for sustaining reverse battery voltage. The resistors closed to CSNS pin are for output current sensing and low pass filter removing noise while the ones connected to SYNCB and smart power CSNS are pull-up resistors for the synchronization of A/D conversion. The watchdog timer IN1 to IN4 resistors helps to withstand high voltage. The 20V zener diode and a regular diode are used for the protection of the entire system from possible voltage transients with load or no load while the 5V zener diode is used to ensure 5V supply for the MCU and other components that operates within that range of voltage.

This design is also applicable to space-constrained applications, body controllers, door modules, HVAC, smart actuators, and some related industrial controlling applications with only few external components needed for modifications. It is also a good choice for automotive technological developments and experiments. Since it is targeted generic automotive applications and some intensive applications, therefore it is durable compared to a regular MCUs.

Basic Automotive Lighting Control with MCU – [Link]

Phoenix EH basic is more than just a “basic” enclosure


If you´re searching for an enclosure with a high variability and for a reasonable price, then we can recommend you the EH basic series enclosures.

Searching for a compromise between the quality (materials, design,…) and production costs is a theme at development of every device and naturally – also at development of components. Also from this reason on the market can be found enclosures with a various wall thickness, with various temperature resistance, etc. and so everyone can choose according to requirements of a designed/produced device. EH basic series from company Phoenix Contact addresses everyone who wants a quality enclosure for a reasonable price. We can say, that EH basic series is not designed for absolutely highest rigidity but for a reasonable compromise among strength and the price. However in every way, we don´t deal with a “paper-like” enclosure but with a solid enclosure suitable for a vast majority of applications with modular devices.
EH basic is designed in a way to reach a maximum user comfort and versatility, i.e. to have a possibility to choose optimum size and version.

Versatility is also supported for example by these facts:

  • 2 mounting possibilities – on a DIN rail or on a wall
  • available in 2 various heights (110,5/54mm)
  • available in 7 various widths (22,5-90mm)
  • parts of enclosure mating without use of tools
  • 3 various cover versions (closed, 1-sided connection, 2-sided connection) in two colors
  • integrated (recessed) field for marking (labels) on the side of enclosure
  • over 100 combinations is possible
  • PCB mounting is possible in all 3 ways

EH basic enclosures enable to use various connection technologies, including RJ45 and USB connectors, as illustrated at attached pictures. EH basic enclosures will soon be our standard stock item. Upon order, we´re able to supply you all versions.

Further details can be found in the Phoenix Contact electronic enclosures overview.

Phoenix EH basic is more than just a “basic” enclosure – [Link]