Improved Silicon-Substrate LEDs Address High Solid-State Lighting Costs

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by Steven Keeping @ digikey.com:

The dominant technology for today’s high-brightness LEDs is gallium nitride (GaN) on sapphire or silicon carbide (SiC) substrates. These materials are popular because the resultant LEDs are bright, efficient, and last a long time. However, the chips are tough to manufacture and package into useable devices, multiplying the cost of end products that use them as light engines. Although prices have plummeted in recent years, LED lighting is still considerably more expensive to purchase than traditional alternatives. This initial expense is cited as a major factor slowing the acceptance of solid-state lighting (SSL).

A pioneering group of manufacturers has worked hard to reduce the cost of high-power LEDs by replacing the sapphire or SiC substrate with silicon (Si), the material routinely used to manufacture most electronic chips (“ICs”). The key benefit is a very-low-cost supply of wafers and the opportunity to use depreciated 8-inch wafer fabs for LED manufacture. Combined, those concepts enable a dramatic reduction in LED prices, overcoming consumer objections.

Improved Silicon-Substrate LEDs Address High Solid-State Lighting Costs – [Link]

MCU blends low power and high performance

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by Richard Quinnell @ edn.com

Texas Instruments has launched the MSP-432, a Cortex-M-based microcontroller that aims at providing developers with a higher-performance upgrade path for MSP-430 users while still retaining low-power operation. The 32-bit processor uses an M4F core with FPU and DSP extensions, achieving a CoreMark score of 3.41/MHz and a certified ULPBench score of 167.4, among the highest in its performance class.

The device can operate at full speed down to a supply of 1.62V, simplifying direct sensor interface. It specs an operating current of 95 µA/MHz and a sleep mode current of 850 nA with its real-time clock running. The device also contains a number of architectural features that support reduced power consumption while boosting performance.

MCU blends low power and high performance – [Link]

Diodes – Types and Applications

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In semiconductor and electronics industry, a diode is a widely used discrete component. It is a significant element in many electronic circuits and applications ranging from low power signal circuits to power rectification. Based on the functions and ratings, there are different types of diodes. However, all semiconductor diodes contain a PN junction to perform their basic operation.

Diodes – Types and Applications – [Link]

Automatic Tea Maker

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by 24Eng @ instructables.com:

I am scatterbrained. I like to drink hot tea. Oversteeped tea gets bitter. I am easily distracted.

The natural choice was to (over)engineer something with inexpensive hobby-grade electronics. Automatic tea timers are hardly new and people have made them from discarded toasters and K’Nex which I have a lot of respect for. People on this site have been making them with Arduinos and Servos for a long time so I’m hardly the first. This project has three major differences though.

Automatic Tea Maker – [Link]

3D Printed Desktop CNC mill

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by Elektron8 @ instructables.com:

Welcome to this project. The CNC UNO is a small desktop CNC Mill that can be used for hobby engraving and routing, PCB milling and education. It is mainly made with 3D Printed ABS plastic parts and plywood. Before starting this project, please observe that this machine is not intended for precision work nor for cutting hard materials like metal. As the machine parts are made of plastic and wood, the machine will flex under heavy load and that is why this project is for fun rather than any serious application. That said, it is a great little machine for hobbyists that want something to play with without having to spend a fortune.

3D Printed Desktop CNC mill – [Link]

Maintenance-free lead batteries Panasonic will surprise by their lifetime

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When observing basic rules will the top quality AGM VRLA batteries last you up to 15 years – we will advise how.

This description could start by a long list of technical improvements of Panasonic batteries. thanks to which they gained a stable place on the top of development in this segment (AGM, expanded positive grid. additives for regeneration from a deep discharge, self-extinguishing container material,…).

However those are things, which can be easily checked up from available internet source or even better from satisfied users. Instead of it, we better bring you a few advices for usage of VRLA/ SLA batteries to serve you as long as possible:

mbugs – rapid-prototyping electronics for hobbyists and pros

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mbugs™ – the building blocks of an integrated ecosystem for the mbed online IDE that enables form-factor electronics prototyping.

The mbug ecosystem uses the mbed online compiler and SDK where you can quickly create embedded applications that are easily downloaded onto the mbug processor through a standard USB interface, just like adding a file to a USB flash drive.

In addition to the processor mbugs which run the applications, we’re offering a number of expansion mbugs that can be stacked onto the processor to create multifunctional systems. Together, you can use mbugs to build projects containing sensors, displays, relays, and servo motors.

mbugs – rapid-prototyping electronics for hobbyists and pros – [Link]

3D Spectrum Analyser

by Dooievriend @ tweakblog.tweakblogs.net:

More than a year ago, a friend of mine asked me to write the software for his 3D Spectrum Analyser (3DSA): a device that takes as input an audio signal, and outputs its visualisation on a 3D matrix of leds. If the above description doesn’t quite ring a bell, simply watch the end result in action.

First things first though, the microprocessor to be programmed was an 80MHz Olimex PIC32, soldered to the PIC32-PINGUINO-OTG development board. (For those who ever tinkered with Arduino boards: it’s the same, only with a faster chip and fewer builtin libraries ) The Algorithm had to sample the input signal at regular time intervals, convert this signal to the frequency domain, and visualize the detected frequencies on a 16x16x5 LED matrix.

3D Spectrum Analyser – [Link]

USB 3.0 – Everything you need to know

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by Abhishek Gupta @ edn.com:

In the last 14 years, the Universal Serial Bus (USB) has become the standard interface to connect devices to a computer. Whether it’s an external hard drive, a camera, the mouse, a printer, or a scanner, the physical connection to transfer data between devices generally is a USB cable. The interface is indeed universal.

USB technology has been under development since 1993. The first official definition, USB 1.0, was introduced in 1996. It provides a Low-Speed transfer rate of 1.5 Mbits/s for sub-channel keyboards and mice, and a Full-Speed channel at 12 Mbits/s. USB 2.0, which came in 2001, made a leap to Hi-Speed transfer rates of up to 480 Mbits/s. In 2010, USB 3.0 finally hit the market.

USB 3.0 – Everything you need to know – [Link]

Energy Meter based on MCU

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The circuit shown is a microcontroller based Energy Meter that uses MCP3905A as its main component, which is an energy-metering ICs that supplies average power information through a pulse with direct drive for mechanical counter. It includes a higher-frequency output supplying instantaneous power information for calibration while conforming the IEC 62053 International Metering Standard Specification. The energy meter provides exceptional accuracy in measuring the amount of energy consumed by an electrically powered device. It can significantly read immediate power usage, which may be used to perceive future energy consumption.

Microchip’s MCP3905A energy meter reference design is a standalone, single-phase residential meter for active energy meter design. In addition, MCP3906A can be used in the project. For calibrating the frequency output, a voltage divider calibration circuit was optimized. Each meter must be calibrated using the voltage divider circuit going into Channel 1 of the MCP3905A/06A. The MCP3905A/06A has appropriate bypass capacitors on VDD coming from the DC power supply circuitry and has its input logic pins connected to user-selectable jumpers, with the exception of the HPF pin. For this system, the HPF is turned ON with this pin connected to VDD. Moreover, the DC power supply is created from a half-wave Zener diode limited AC signal feeding a 7805 +5V regulator. The Zener diode D2 however, limits the peak voltage to 15V while the optical isolator is included in the reference design as an additional level of protection for other circuitry.

Energy meter system had been widely used to measure the energy consumption to residents, industries and businesses benefiting the power usage. It is typically calibrated in billing units such as kilowatt-hour and periodic readings of electric meters, which establishes billing cycles and energy used.

Energy Meter based on MCU – [Link]