High-voltage buck regulators stay cool in tiny packages


by Susan Nordyk @ edn.com:

A family of pin-compatible synchronous step-down switching regulators with integrated power switches, the MIC28511/12/13 from Micrel, supplies up to 4 A of output current (MIC28513) and accepts a wide input supply range of 4.6 V to 70 V (MIC28512). The devices have an operating junction temperature range of -40°C to +125°C and come in very small 24-pin, 3×4-mm FCQFN packages.

The MIC28511/12/13 regulators are offered in both Hyper Speed Control and HyperLight Load architectures, which allow for high VIN (low VOUT) operation and fast transient response, while reducing the required output capacitance and providing good light-load efficiency. They furnish an adjustable output voltage as low as 0.8 V with guaranteed accuracy to within ±1%.

High-voltage buck regulators stay cool in tiny packages – [Link]

8080 on a Stellaris Launchpad


by programmablehardware.blogspot.ie:

This chimera is a microcontroller emulation of a UK101, an 8-bit microcomputer from the early 1980s. Needless to say I had one; it is a shocking thirty-three years since, as a spotty teenager, I soldered one together over the course of a few days. I recall the kit cost the equally shocking sum of £99.95 (a lot of pocket-money), and had to be smuggled through Irish customs in my parents’ car because the Single European Market was at that time merely a twinkle in M. Delors’ eye. In its original configuration it had 1k of user RAM, 1k of display RAM, 8k ROM Basic (from Microsoft) and a 2k ROM monitor. When it went to its present resting place in the attic a couple of years later, it had 16k of user RAM, 2k of display RAM and an additional 6k of utility ROM, all piggy-backed on the original chips.

8080 on a Stellaris Launchpad – [Link]

Tektronix Entry-level Function Generator


by elektor.com:

Tektronix Inc., has introduced a new entry-level Arbitrary/Function Generator. The AFG1022 is targeted at educational institutions and supports a wide range of use cases and course subjects. The AFG1022 also integrates with the new TekSmartLab wireless lab instrument management solution.

Michael Ewald, General Manager, Bench Products, Tektronix stated that “Tektronix strongly believes that a rich hands-on experience dramatically improves education outcomes, that’s why we are working hard to meet the needs of colleges and universities including good price-performance on instrumentation, integrated courseware and ease of administration.”
Key performance specifications include dual-channel, 25 MHz bandwidth with 1 mVpp to 10 Vpp output, 14-bit vertical resolution and 1 µHz frequency resolution. It provides a 125 MS/s sample rate along with 64 MB of built-in non-volatile memory and USB memory expansion for user-defined waveforms.

On the functionality side, the instrument offers 50 built-in standard functions and arbitrary waveforms with continuous, modulation, sweep and burst modes to cover almost all the test requirements found in basic education labs. A built-in 200 MHz counter with 6-digit resolution offers an easy and precise way of performing frequency, period, pulse width, and duty cycle measurements.

Tektronix Entry-level Function Generator – [Link]

LTC2966 – 100V Micropower Dual Voltage Monitor


The LTC®2966 is a low current, high voltage dual channel voltage monitor. Internal high value resistors sense the input monitor pins providing a compact and low power solution for voltage monitoring. Each channel includes two comparator reference inputs (INH/INL) to allow configuration of a high and low threshold using an external resistive divider biased from the on-chip reference. Range selection pins are provided for each channel to set the internal resistive dividers for 5x, 10x, 20x and 40x scaling. The thresholds are scaled according to the range selection settings. Additionally, either INH or INL can be grounded to enable built-in hysteresis. Polarity selection pins allow each output to be inverted. The outputs are 100V capable and include a 500k pull-up resistor to an internal supply.

LTC2966 – 100V Micropower Dual Voltage Monitor – [Link]

ams develops MEMS VOC gas sensor


by Steve Taranovich @ edn.com:

Gas sensing techniques are continually being investigated to improve selectivity and sensitivity of identifying different types of gases. There are resistive gas sensors, quartz crystal microbalance, direct thermoelectric, electrochemical cell and other exotic types such as MEMS-tunable Fabry-Perot filter spectral sensors with lead-selenide detector and pulsed broadband infrared emitter light source. The ams sensor is a resistive type.

The resistive sensor design relies upon heating circuitry for temperature control of the entire system. There are different types of resistive gas sensor techniques and construction. Some are based upon metal-oxide (MOX) thin films which are small in size, low-cost, and low power as well as able to use low-power integrated analog front ends.

ams develops MEMS VOC gas sensor – [Link]


Use ESP8266 module as a wireless switcher


Razvan Dubau over at Extragsm posted a how-to on using an ESP8266 module as a wireless switcher:

A custom firmware to transform the ESP8266 wifi module into a wifi http based switcher GPIO02 is used as an output pin. You can connect a led or a relay and control it by a button added to GPIO00. Also the firmware provides a web interface and a simple API that will controll the GPIO02 state.

Use ESP8266 module as a wireless switcher – [Link]

Home Control 2015


Peter Scargill writes:

If you’ve read my early blogs you’ll know I do a lot of work with a pal of mine, Aidan Ruff. We had an R&D company for years and one of our products was a home control system which was plastered all over the UK tech press at the time and loads of people loved it but it involved spouse-unfriendly WIRES – bad mistake. Well, this DOESN’T.

The two of us have been working on home control for several years and regular readers will know that in the past few months, the ESP8266 boards have turned everything around. I’ve scrapped various radio designs and gone “hell for leather” into using these boards, this original plan was with an Arduino Mega as a “master controller”. That too went out of the window when the Raspberry Pi 2 came out, dirt cheap but with more than enough power to control a house. Armed with a WIFI USB dongle, the basics of a completely wireless home control setup are now in place. Personally it could not be better timed as we’re moving house shortly and so this is an ideal opportunity to do the job properly before inflicting this on other people.

Home Control 2015 – [Link]

GSM based SMS Alert Fire Alarm System using Arduino


by jojo @ circuitstoday.com

Recently we have learned how to interface GSM Module with Arduino and send/receive SMS using GSM module. Interfacing any device with a micro controller is the first step to building a useful system or project with that particular device. In this tutorial, we are going to build a very interesting project – a Fire Alarm System which will send SMS to a set of Mobile Numbers when fire occurs in a particular location. We have seen many typical Fire Alarm projects which will alert with a siren or an automatic shutdown mechanism. This fire alarm project make use of modern communication technologies to deal with emergencies.

GSM based SMS Alert Fire Alarm System using Arduino – [Link]

The future looks bright for graphene


by elektor.com:

The wonder material with so many extraordinary properties has found its way out of the research lab and into a commercial product. This new product will surely posses super powers and allow us to do things we thought impossible and probably change our lives for ever. Well, actually no. In this case Graphene has been used in the reinvention of what was arguably the first commercial electrical device patented back in 1879. It is perilously close to April 1st but the National Graphene Institute has announced they will be producing a light bulb based on graphene.

The light bulb has an LED shaped like a filament coated in graphene. It is thought the new lamp will use 10 % less energy compared to conventional light bulbs. Manufacturing costs are also lower and it will be made using more sustainable components. The company behind this new light bulb is Graphene Lighting. Professor Colin Bailey is a director of the company and also deputy vice-chancellor at Manchester University. According to Prof Bailey the light bulb should be available later this year and will be priced around $22.

The future looks bright for graphene – [Link]

Researchers Claim 44x Power Cuts


by R. Colin Johnson @ eetimes.com:

PORTLAND, Ore.– Researchers sponsored by the Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC, Research Triangle Park, N.C.) claim they have extended Moore’s Law by finding a way to cut serial link power by as much as 80 percent. The innovation at the University of Illinois (Urbana) is a new on/off transceiver to be used on chips, between chips, between boards and between servers at data centers.

The team estimates the technique can reduce power up to whopping 44 times for communications, extending Moore’s Law by increasing computational capacity without increasing power. “While this technique isn’t designed to push processors to go faster, it does, in the context of a datacenter, allow for power saved in the link budget to be used elsewhere,” David Yeh, SRC director of Integrated Circuits and Systems Sciences told EETimes.

Researchers Claim 44x Power Cuts – [Link]