LM2596 DC-DC Converter Module Testing


by Kerry D. Wong:

LM2596 based step-down DC-DC converter modules can be bought on eBay quite cheaply for around a dollar each. But how do they perform? Is it safe to use it to power your design? Let’s find out.

According to TI’s website, these LM2596 step-down (buck) regulators are sold for $1.8 each for a quantity of a thousand. So how a finished converter could be sold for just above a dollar each is quite a mystery to me. Anyway, the picture below is the board I received. It appears that there are a few variations to this design (slightly different inductor size or capacitor size/voltage rating, etc.) but they all are largely based on the reference design.

LM2596 DC-DC Converter Module Testing – [Link]

Freaks3D: the World’s First Portable 3D Printer


Simplified structure. Portable so you can take it anywhere. Quality prints at breaking low price.

Take it wherever you want. The Freaks3D weighs 2.945kg and battery compatible. It is completely portable. Small enough to blend in with any table but large enough to unleash your creativity.

Less is more. Simplified extruded-aluminum beams to ensure sturdy and high-quality performance. The Freaks3D employs v-slot slider system to provide precise seamless positioning.

Quality prints on your desktop. Detailed layer resolution at fast speed. All-metal nozzle head allows PLA/TPU filaments of a rainbow of colors without easy breaks or damage. No pre-heating is needed. Simply feed the filament into the entrance path and the printer will do the rest.

Freaks3D: the World’s First Portable 3D Printer – [Link]


“Non-breakable” interface converter combined with MCU? Wiznet is a solution.


In the last period we can see, that producers go on the way of processors combined with interface converters grouped into a single chip. Company Wiznet also goes this way.

At the end of May 2015, Wiznet launched on the market the new W7500, combining the HW TCP/IP interface converter W5x00 with an MCU. W7500 is a solution combining ARM Cortex-M0, 128kB Flash and the HW TCP/IP. It´s suitable for applications where you use TCP, UDP, IPv4, ICMP, ARP, IGMP and PPPoE. In these devices it´s usually undesired to upgrade SW resulting in resetting a device.MCU W7500 uses HW TCP/IP thus selecting data which arrived from allowed source. W7500 processes only desired data, so “only” 50 MHz is enough. That´s approximately half the power necessary for SW TCP/IP solutions and it also doesn´t require so big Flash and RAM – as illustrated on the picture.

When comparing all data with other MCU, you can notice that with a small power you can make the same things as with the Wiznet solution. This fact is associated with not only reliability and comfort but also with approximately half the price of the chip.

Please note, that parameters mentioned in the table below are substantially lower at SW TCP/IP, while HW TCP/IP is clearly winning.

To make your development easier, Wiznet has its „wikipedia“, where datasheets, schematics, news and user guides can be found.

“Non-breakable” interface converter combined with MCU? Wiznet is a solution – [Link]

Even a small figurine can play a big performance


New aerial from 2J will surely not surprise you by its size, however features of the antenna are worth noticing.

2JW035 antenna measures only 52,5mm and is intended for WiFi and Bluetooth devices in 2.4 a 5GHz bands. The gain is 5dBi and the VSWR value is below 2.6:1. A big advantage of this antenna is a possibility of its versatile placing, as it contains a hinge.
So as to suit various customers´ requirements, the producer offers a possibility to order this antenna with three various connectors:

  • 2JW035-C20Nb is equipped with hexagonal black SMA connector
  • 2JW035-C675 is equipped with a round SMA connector
  • 2JW035-C442, which is also our standard stock type is equipped with a round black reverse-polarity SMA connector (RP).

For special applications, there´s also a possibility to order this antenna in a custom specified colour.

Detailed information can be found in the 2JW035 datasheet.

Even a small figurine can play a big performance – [Link]

KaraOkay Microphone Amplifier


Here is an all-analog, all-through-hole, cheap & cheerful preamplifier for that perennial problem of getting the microphone amplification just right, which is a challenge not only with the faithful reproduction of lead vocals during concerts and recordings, but also with campfire and karaoke-ish performances specially when the beer takes hold.

KaraOkay Microphone Amplifier – [Link]

More awesome DoorBell control


Felix of LowPowerLab posted an update on his DoorBell Mote project:

My first DoorBell Mote prototype was working nicely and it allowed monitoring the door bell (while also triggering it remotely – toddlers love it). But I wanted more. On weekends the family likes to get a well deserved nap during the day and often those pesky solicitors ring the bell and wake everyone up. So naturally the doorbell has to be disabled also, without major effort or any disconnected wires. Sounds like the perfect addition to the Door Bell Mote. So I made a new revision and a proper PCB for this, below is the schematic with the changes and the proto PCB from OSHPark. Actually I made more changes to the schematic after putting together the PCB, so there are some differences. I’ve tried a LTV814H optocoupler for AC detection instead of the more expensive H11AA11, it works just as well, but both can be used on this PCB

More awesome DoorBell control – [Link]

Energy Wristband monitors energy usage on home


by Matt Venn:

A wristband that tells you energy changes in your home. It connects via a Raspberry Pi computer to a base station like a ‘current cost’ or similar. When a change in energy usage occurs, the wristband vibrates and a small LED bargraph shows your current usage from 1 to 4.

Energy Wristband monitors energy usage on home – [Link]

Using Python with Arduino


by toptechboy.com:

This series of lessons will teach you how to take your Arduino projects to the next level by having the Arduino interact with the Python programming language. Python is a free program you can download. Since you have already learned the fundamentals of programming through our first 20 Arduino lessons, learning Python will be a snap!

Using Python with Arduino – [Link]

2 New Families from Microchip


by elektormagazine.com:

Microchip has introduced two new 8-bit MCU families with integrated Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs). You may be thinking that 8-bit processors are unlikely to cut the mustard for many of today’s applications but built-in interconnected CIPs combine to perform functions autonomously, without intervention from the processor. This makes these new 8-bit families suitable for a much broader range of applications. Functions are deterministically and reliably performed in hardware instead of software so the system performance is much better than you could otherwise expect from a typical 8-bit MCU. 8-bit architecture also leads to a simpler system design and reduced memory costs.

2 New Families from Microchip – [Link]

Engine and Steering Wheel Automotive Networking Protocol

An automobile plays an important role in a community. Aside from being a major option for transport, automobile also saves life, which is designed to give support in medications and hospitalizations. These machines are now embedded with electronic technology in which this advancement brings security and convenience to people. The engine and the steering wheel are major parts, which made an automobile useful in transportation. This design features the benefits of a FlexRay to automotive networking protocol. It is capable of 1Mbps to 10Mbps communications system. It has high ESD protection, excellent EMC performance, improved power-on reset concept, improved ElectroMagnetic Emission (EME), support of 60ns minimum bit time, and improved bus error detection functionality. It also monitors system performance using dedicated error and status information that is readable by any microcontroller.

The design is comprised of a TJA1080A transceiver, which is the main component of the system. It provides the interface between the protocol controller or MCU and the physical bus. The chokes serve as a protection from high frequency spikes that flow through the network bus. The 1N4007 diode manages the correct polarity of current and voltages to the FlexRay transceiver. The capacitors stabilize the supplies while the resistors are used for pull-ups and current limiter components.

The design is applicable to different parts of automobile in which it can serve as a backbone of the automotive network communications. Aside from automotive application, it is also applicable to other types of machineries that require real-time status of engines and gears. It is also suitable for further development in automotive application that additional parameters to be considered are expected

Engine and Steering Wheel Automotive Networking Protocol – [Link]