Proto Board Power Supply

David Johnson-Davies @ technoblogy.com build a breadboard friendly power supply to power your Arduino or other low power electronics. The power supply is able to deliver 0V to 5.5V at up to 0.5A and it’s powered from two Li-Ion rechargeable batteries. The output can be adjusted using a rotary encoder, and the voltage is displayed on a three-digit 7-segment display. The whole circuit is controlled by an ATmega328.

72 Channels Serial To Parallel Driver Board Using 74HC595 & ULN2803

72 channels Serial (SPI) to parallel driver board has been designed for various applications. This project can be used as multi Solenoid driver, large size 7 segment display driver, bar graph driver, and LED driver. The project works with 5V logic levels. Output load supply 12V-48V DC and each output can drive 500mA load.

I have used 3 digits 2.3Inch 7 segment displays as an example, this board can handle up to 9 digits. The board can serve many applications like, Stop Watch, digital timer, counter, score board, token display and lot more.

Project built around 74HC595 and ULN2803 ICs, The 74HC595 devices contain an 8-bit serial-in, parallel-out shift register that feeds an 8-bit D-type storage register. The storage register has parallel 3-state outputs. Separate clocks are provided for both the shift and storage register.

72 Channels Serial To Parallel Driver Board Using 74HC595 & ULN2803 – [Link]

LCR-Reader MP: the Ultimate PCB Debugging Tool

With LCR-, ESR-meter, AC/DC Voltage/Current meter, Oscilloscope and Signal Generator this device covers all needs for low frequency PCB debugging.

LCR-Reader-MP recently released by Siborg Systems Inc. which joins the LCR-Reader family of handheld LCR- and ESR-meters, offers users unprecedented functionality for testing circuits and components and a record high basic accuracy of 0.1%.

The IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) is an annual nano- and microelectronics conference held in December since 1955. The scope covers technological breakthroughs in the areas of semiconductor and related device technologies, manufacturing, design, modeling, physics and circuit-device interaction.

Digital Multimeter LCR-Reader-MP is a continuation of the LCR-Reader line of products and features a design of combining a lightweight multimeter, and LCD display and a set of tweezers with gold-plated probes. The device is controlled using a jog-wheel navigation similar to the one used in the original Smart Tweezers ST-1. The new device offers more measurement features than any other tweezer meter uo to date. These features include: oscilloscope mode, LED/diode measurements, AC/DC voltage measurements, continuity testing, pulse counting, signal generator, super large capacitance measurements, etc. Most importantly it offers the ability to test at 100 kHz test frequency that allows for a 0.01 pF resolution for capacitance and 1 nH resolution for inductance.

FastCAP Launches a Chip Ultracapacitor

FastCAP Systems has launched its latest product – a board mountable chip ultracapacitor. This new product offering is the first low ESR, thin-profile, reflowable ultracapacitor on the market and is now available for purchase in FastCAP’s online store.

This chip ultracap has the highest energy density of any board-mountable ultracapacitor. The sealed ceramic package is pick and place compatible, RoHS compliant and Pb-free reflow compliant.

The supercapacitor provides maintenance free storage in a small form factor, perfect for thin devices that require reliability and long lifetime at high temperatures (up to +85°C). This new technology is well suited for applications such as power loss protection for solid state drives, power buffering for lithium-ion batteries, and auxiliary power supplies for peak and pulsed power, wireless sensors, and energy harvesting.

Banana Pi M2 Magic, Smallest Banana Pi Board

Sinovoip had announced its new board Banana Pi M2 Magic. At first, it is an ARM SoC development board that features a high computing performance in a 51mm square portable design. In addition to onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, M2 Magic offers 8GB eMMc storage and DDR3 SDRAM of 512 MB. There is also an SD card slot for more storage, to install an OS for example.

Banana Pi M2 Magic

Banana Pi M2 Magic specifications:

  • SoC: Allwinner R16 or Allwinner A33, quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU
  • System Memory: 512MB DDR3
  • Storage: 8 GB eMMC flash (option: 16, 32 or 64GB) + micro SD slot
  • Display Interface: 4-lane MIPI DSI connector
  • Camera Interface: CSI connector supporting up to 5MP sensor, 1080p30 H.265 video capture
  • Video Decoder: Multi-format FHD video decoding, including Mpeg1/2, Mpeg4, H.263, H.264, etc H.264 high profile 1080p@60fps
  • Audio: Onboard microphone
  • Connectivity: Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP6212)
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0 host, 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Expansion: 40-pin header with GPIOs, UART, I2C, SPI, PWM…
  • Misc: Reset & power buttons, RGB LEDs,
  • Power Supply:
    • 5V @ 2A via DC power barrel
    • 3.7V Lithium battery support
  • Dimensions: 51 x 51 mm
  • Weight: 40 grams

Alongside the processor and the memory at the front side of the board, you will find a 40-pin GPIO header, a DSI display slot, an Antenna connector, a CSI camera slot, a USB OTG adapter, a USB2.0 port, a microphone and a DC power jack. On the rear side, there is an antenna, a PMIC AXP223, a battery interface and a microSD card slot.

Front and rear sides

This board is oriented for IoT applications in general. Since there is no HDMI interface, M2 Magic is suitable for headless use, or you can use the MIPI DSI display interface to connect a screen. It also doesn’t have an Ethernet interface, so you will have to use WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

The board will run Tina IoT Linux, which is a lightweight Linux distribution optimized for Allwinner R-Series processor.

Tina IoT Linux

Both A33 and R16 versions are available in the market. A33 version is for $23, while R16 is for $28. You can get it from any global distributor or cooperative partner of Banana Pi products. Finally, you can reach more information and data at the official wiki.

High Voltage Capacitor Charger for Photo-Flash Using LT3751

The project is built for professional photo flash systems. Circuit generates high voltage from low voltage battery to operate a photo-flash tube. The project can also be used in other applications like high voltage capacitor charger, emergency strobe, high voltage power supply, security, detonators etc. LT3751 is the heart of the project.

The LT3751 is a high voltage input flyback controller designed to rapidly charge a large capacitor to a user-adjustable high target voltage set by the transformer turns ratio and three external resistors. Optionally, a feedback pin can be used to provide a low noise high voltage regulated output. The LT3751 has an integrated rail-to-rail MOSFET gate driver that allows for efficient operation down to 4.75V.

High Voltage Capacitor Charger for Photo-Flash Using LT3751 – [Link]

Imagina Book, For Augmented Reality Education

Virtual reality and Augmented reality became essential technologies these days. They have an important role in making products much exciting and entertaining, especially in education. Recently, Livit Studios announced its new augmented reality book series “Imagina Book“.

Imagina Books is an educational book series that converts the classic and traditional book into an interactive and 3d visualized. It provides a new reading and learning method which leads to better understanding and also more enjoyable experience for kids.

Imagina consists of two components, a mobile application, and a printed booklet. Using the app is easy, so the kid in only need to put the camera on a page and then an interactive animated 3D model will appear on the screen.

This technology can cover most of the scientific topics by making some customization to the app and print a new book. However, the first book of the series is about the human body, and Livit had launched it through a kickstarter campaign. It is a journey inside the human body allows kids to explore their body organs and functions with an interactive augmented reality experience. Below I will talk more about the book and the application.

Imagina Book Features

The book is a hardcover 32-page booklet for children from 8 to 12. It is designed to be attractive for kids and to have a substantial amount of science on its own. It also consists of several sections, each one talk about a system in the human body.

Sarah and Adam are two friendly characters who will take the learners on a journey to explore their body. They make the learning experience more friendly and enjoyable for kids. In addition, the printed book is a high quality and colorful, to make sure that kids will love it.

Imagina Book App Features

The app is compatible with both IOS 9 and above devices, and Android 5.0 and above devices. Inside the app, the “gamification” process is one of the main aspects of the learning process. The 3D games include levels and achievement goals to help the learner develop a sense of competition among his peers and friends.

Main features of Imagina book app:

  • 3D Models Overlay
    The app simply adds another dimension to the 2D conventional world of books. It overlays 3D models of each organ or system on each page of the book.
  • Organs Animation
    Each model is a realistic rendering of the body organs and systems with accurate animations that portray the functionality of each organ.
  • 3D Info Labels
    The user can inspect the anatomy of the human body organs with the help of accurate 3D labels for each part of the organ.
  • Interaction
    The user can interact with 3D models by resizing and rotating them to better visualize each organ.
  • Screenshot & Share
    The user can take screenshots from the application anytime and share these shots via social media.
  • In-Game Currency
    You gain coins when you finish each level. You use coins to build your own in-game hospital.
  • 3D Games
    For each organ, they made a customized 3D interactive game in which Sarah and Adam help the learner identify the basic anatomy of the organs.

Although there are still 17 days remaining for the kickstarter campaign, Imagina Book achieved their goal of $9,000. And with $21, you can pack your early bird copy of the human body book, while the original copy is available for $25.

More details and information can be found on the official website.

Ubuntu Core to the i.MX6 based TS-7970

Technologic Systems,Inc. announced that it will be partnering with Canonical to make Ubuntu Core available for their newest single board computer: the TS-7970. The TS-7970 is a high-performance single board computer based on the NXP i.MX6 CPU which implements the ARM® Cortex A9 architecture clocked at 1 GHz.

Bob Miller, founder of Technologic Systems said, “With the functionality of our TS-7970 and the flexibility of Ubuntu Core, I can see these powering virtually anything from industrial Internet of Things gateways, plant automation, network equipment, high definition digital signage, to remote monitoring stations.”

The TS-7970 is ideally suited for deployment into a wide range of robust industrial applications and is truly a high end general purpose single board computer ideal for smart devices, auto entertainment systems, medical systems, enterprise class intelligent control, plant automation, or any high-end embedded systems. Ubuntu Core is ideal for this environment because of its rich networking and protocol support. In addition, Ubuntu Core offers a secure, reliable, and remotely upgradeable platform to easily update and maintain IoT devices making for a more secure and cost-effective deployment.

Most Accurate Digital Temperature Sensor STS35

Sensirion, a leading provider of environmental and flow sensor solutions, presents the STS35 temperature sensor – the most accurate sensor of the versatile STS3x series. The high-accuracy temperature sensor has been designed to fulfill the needs of demanding markets such as the medical and automotive sectors. Typical applications include body temperature measurement and temperature control.

The new STS35 temperature sensor is a high-end model in the STS3x series and has an outstanding temperature accuracy of DT = ± 0.1°C. Like all STS3x series models, the sensor features increased intelligence and reliability. Its functionality includes enhanced signal processing, two distinctive and user-selectable I2C addresses and communication speeds of up to 1 MHz. The DFN package can be integrated into an extensive variety of applications thanks to its footprint of 2.5 x 2.5 x 0.9 mm3 and the wide supply voltage range of 2.4 V to 5.5 V. Furthermore, the STS35 sensor includes a configurable alert function, allowing it to be used as a temperature watchdog. Like all sensors by Sensirion, the STS3x is based on the unique CMOSens® Technology that integrates the sensing element and read-out electronics onto a single chip, enabling high production volume at an exceptional price/performance ratio.

ICECool – An Intra-Chip Cooling System That Is More Efficient

In the Moore’s Law race to keep improving computer performance, the IT industry has turned upward, stacking chips like nano-sized 3D skyscrapers. But those stacks have their limits, due to overheating. Researchers from IBM have solved this problem by developing an intra-chip cooling system as a contribution to ICECool program research project by the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

ICECool - intra-chip cooling system by IBM
ICECool – intra-chip cooling system by IBM

Today, chips are typically cooled by fans which blow air through heatsinks that sit on top of the chips to carry away excess heat. Advanced water-cooling approaches, which are more effective than air-cooling approaches, replace the heatsink with a cold plate that is fixed on the top of the chip.  But this approach requires extra protection and proper insulation of the chip because of the electrical conductivity of water. Neither of these technologies can cool down the chip much efficiently. Here comes the ICECool that cools the chip down from the inside rather than just from the upper surface.

ICECool uses a nonconductive fluid to bring the fluid into the chip. This completely eliminates the need for a barrier between the chip and fluid. It not only delivers a lower device junction temperature, but also reduces system size, weight, and power consumption significantly. The tests performed on the IBM Power 7+ chips demonstrated junction temperature reduction by 25ᵒ C, and chip power usage reduction by 7 percent compared to traditional air cooling. This is clearly a great achievement when the operating cost is much smaller than the conventional cooling technologies.

IBM’s ICECool intra-chip cooling system solves the problem of cooling the 3D “skyscraper” chips by pumping a heat-extracting dielectric fluid right into microscopic gaps, some no thicker than a single strand of hair, between the chips at any level of the stack. Being nonconducting, the dielectric fluid used in ICECool can come into contact with electrical connections without causing any short circuit, so is not limited to one part of a chip or stack. Based on the tests with IBM Power Systems, ICECool technology could reduce the cooling energy for a traditional air-cooled data center by more than 90 percent.