NanoPi NEO kit lets you build your own network-attached storage system for about $30

@ writes:

The NanoPi Neo is a tiny computer with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor, Ethernet and USB ports, and support for a number of accessories.

Measuring just 1.6″ x 1.6″ it’s smaller than most Raspberry Pi computers, and with a starting price of $7 it’s also an awfully affordable computer capable of running Ubuntu Linux.

NanoPi NEO kit lets you build your own network-attached storage system for about $30 – [Link]

MAX17055 – a 7μA operating current fuel gauge

by Graham Prophet @

Maxim Integrated has posted details of a battery charge monitor IC for which it claims the lowest quiescent current available, at 7µA. The 1-cell Fuel Gauge with Maxim’s ModelGauge m5 EZ algorithm can eliminate battery characterization issues.

MAX17055 – a 7μA operating current fuel gauge – [Link]

3D Gaming With Raspberry Pi & ExaGear

ExaGear is a virtual machine that implements virtual x86 Linux container on ARM and allows you to run Intel x86 applications directly on ARM. With this software by Eltechs you can run Intel x86 application on your ARM-based Mini PC simultaneously with common native applications.  It is like QEMU but 5 times faster! You can even run Windows applications on your ARM Mini PC if you install Wine.

ExaGear is user friendly software with transparent operation so you don’t notice a difference between running x86 applications on x86-based or ARM-based platform. Use your favorite applications on ARM-based devices and overcome platform compatibility.

In 2014 ExaGear Desktop was launched to allow running PC games on ARM-based devices (Raspberry Pi, Odroid etc.). ExaGear Desktop is an emulator too but dramatically differs from other emulators with its performance. ExaGear Desktop provides very low slowdown – 1.3 times instead of 50-100 times for other kind of emulators! It enabled to run such games as Arcanum, Disciples II, Fallout , Might And Magic VI,Pharaoh and Cleopatra, Stronghold Crusader, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Caesar 3 and many others on Raspberry Pi! You can learn how to set up these games from this article

However, there was one important issue. ExaGear Desktop didn’t support hardware graphics acceleration. That mean that games which actively use 3D were terrible laggy.

But amazing things happened!  A new version of ExaGear Desktop – ExaGear Desktop 2.0 is fully supporting 3D graphics acceleration on Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3!

Check this video that run Counter Strike and Diablo II on Raspberry Pi:

More games are going to be added gradually and you can also suggest on the team your favorites. The team solved this problem after the OpenGL library was adapted into Raspberry Pi architecture, so they could develop some OpenGL calls to the hardware in order to solve the problem of 3D graphics.

This option is only available at Raspberry Pi since it is the only development board that uses OpenGL. You can learn more about this new era of gaming from this article and get ExaGear from here.


One wire controls LCD module

Rex Niven @ has a design idea on how to drive a character LCD using only one wire.

This hardware interface Design Idea reduces the connection to just one wire, allowing a basic microcontroller with limited I/O to drive a large display, either directly, through a standard interface, or even an opto-isolator.

One wire controls LCD module – [Link]

3-axis accelerometer performs wake-up in consumer designs

Kionix (Ithaca, New York), part of the Rohm Group, has added the KXTJ3 3-axis low-cost accelerometer that offers the performance of a more expensive accelerometer in a 2 x 2 x 0.9 mm form factor. By Graham Prophet @

The company presents the device as a high performance and reliable accelerometer in a package that is sized and priced to be embedded in anything and everything, from toys, wearables, remote controls to the SmartHome and IoT.

3-axis accelerometer performs wake-up in consumer designs – [Link]

Arrow’s New FPGA-Based IoT Maker Board

Arrow Electronics has introduced a new FPGA IoT Maker Board designed for end-to-end application development and optimised for cost. The Arrow MAX1000 board can be installed directly into a custom application or integrated on to a completely separate board.

It has been created for start-ups, universities or established equipment manufacturers who want a flexible, low cost FPGA platform for development, and the distributor can also supply customised variants.

At the heart of the maker board is a compact (11x11mm) Intel MAX10 FPGA with 8000 logic elements. This single chip includes integrated flash memory, a 1Msps 12bit ADC for analogue signals and a 3.3V power supply. Other features include embedded SRAM, DSP blocks, instant-on within milliseconds, and the ability to implement Intel’s NIOS II soft core embedded processor to perform microcontroller tasks. The board is equipped with an integrated Arrow USB-Blaster that enables the FPGA to be programmed directly from a PC and debugged using the free of charge Intel Quartus Prime Lite software.

The MAX1000’s power can be supplied as 5V from the USB port or via a separate pin. An Enpirion DC/DC converter with integrated coil then generates the 3.3V supply used on board. A MEMS oscillator provides the clock supply for the FPGA and the USB bridge. The low power, 3-axis acceleration sensor – also based on MEMS technology, can be used for position and motion detection, which are often required in IoT applications. External SDRAM can be used for storage of application data or as memory for the NIOS II processor.

Visit Arrow Electronics at

Source: eeDesign Europe

Siglent SSA3032X Spectrum Analyzer Review & Experiments

Afroman reviews Siglent’s SSA3000X series spectrum analyzer and all the options. There is some RF information for beginners and usage experiments are also performed.

Siglent SSA3032X Spectrum Analyzer Review & Experiments [Link]

iCP12Q DAQduino, A Data Acquisition Board In Arduino Form

iCircuit Technologies had produced the iCP12A DAQduino, an Arduino-like development board for signals monitoring, data acquisition and circuit troubleshooting at 1mSec/Samples period.

The DAQduino board features a PIC18F2550 microcontroller with 14 digital I/O pins, two of them are PWM, and 6 input analog pins. With these IO ports, user can easily plug in different type of 3rd party boards with direct connection to USB port.

DAQduino has the same concept of the ICP12 usbStick with different shape and more I/O pins. Its PIC MCU is preloaded with Microchip’s USB HID bootloader that allows users to upload an application firmware directly through a PC’s USB port without any external programmer.

Features of iCP12A:
  • Arduino form connection, easy interfacing, high performance and user friendly device
  • Onboard with PIC18F2550 [Default] or PIC18F2553 28-Pin Flash USB PIC MCU
  • Excellent flexibility that allows user to expand the board features with plug and play modules
  • Peripheral Features:
    • 19x IO Port (6x 10/12bit ADC pins, 2x 10 bit PWM/Freq/DAC pins)
    • Serial port emulation (UART Baud Rates: 300 bps to 115.2 kbps)
    • Supported operating systems (32bit/64bit): Windows XP ,Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Linux, Mac OS X and Raspberry Pi
    • On board Female Mini USB and Micro USB Type B connector
    • Maximum Input Voltage: 15Vdc
    • With 500mA current output at VDD pin with over-current protection
    • 20MHz oscillator
    • Green LED – power on indicator
    • 2x LEDs (Green, Red) – status indicator
    • ICSP Connector – on-board PIC programming
    • Switch Mode Selection – Boot or Normal mode

DAQduino board is shipped with a preloaded data acquisition firmware that emulates as a virtual COM port to PC. Thereafter, the communication between the PC and DAQduino is serial and through a miniUSB cable. The firmware also supports basic I/O control and data logging feature. They provide a PC application named SmartDAQ that communicates with the DAQduino and controls its I/O pins, PWM outputs, and record ADC inputs.

iCP12A DAQduino Layour

SmartDAQ has a very friendly GUI with real-time waveform displays for 6 analog input channels. The time and voltage axes scales are adjustable. SmartDAQ can log the ADC data in both text and graphic form concurrently. One can utilize this feature to construct a low-cost data acquisition system for monitoring multiple analog sensor outputs such as temperature, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetic field sensor, etc.

SmartDAQ v1.4 Features:
  • Sampling channel: 6x Analogs (10/12 bit ADC) + 7x Digitals (Input/Output)
    • PIC18F2550 [10bit ADC: 5mV Resolution]
    • PIC18F2553 [12bit ADC: 1mV Resolution]
  • Maximum Sampling rate: 1KHz or 1mSec/Samples
  • Sampling voltage: 0V – 5V (auto & scalable graph) at 1mV Res. Dispaly
  • Sampling period:
    • mSec: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500
    • Sec: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 30
    • Min: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 30, 60
  • Trigger Mode: Larger [>], Smaller [<], Positive edge [↑], Negative edge [↓]
  • Sampling Mode: Continuous, Single
  • VDD or External Vref Input Mode
  • Logging Function:
    • Save Format: Text, Graphic, Both
    • Start Time: Normal, Once Trigger, 24-Hour Clock (Auto Run)
    • End Time: Unlimited, Data Size, 24-Hour Clock (Auto Stop)
SMARTDAQ1.4 Window

The DAQduino is available with the PIC18F2550 for $30, and with the PIC18F2553 for $39.9. You can order it through the official page where you can also get more details about iCP12A and its source files.

You can also see this product preview to know more about its functionality.

Electrons Counter-Intuitive Movement

Our ‘common sense’ would say that when an object moves from point A to point B it necessarily has to also move through all the points between A and B. This is, however, not true for electrons in the quantum world, where these intuitive truths are not valid. Electrons can, for example appear on the first floor and then on the third floor – without ever putting a foot down on the second floor (insofar that electrons have feet, of course).

Exactly this counter-intuitive behavior has been observed by professor Hui Zhao and his colleagues in the Ultrafast Laser Lab of the University of Kansas. In the sample, which consists of three different, ultra thin layers, electrons move from the top layer to the bottom layer without ever having been observed in the middle layer. According to Zhao this efficient form of quantum electron transport could play a key role in so-called Van der Waals materials, which have their uses in solar panels and in electronics in general.

The sample that was the subject of the research comprises three layers of semiconductor materials (MoS2, WS2 and MoSe2), each with a thickness of less than 1 nm. These three materials react to light of different wavelengths (colors).

The researchers used a laser pulse with a duration of 100 femtoseconds to knock a few electrons from the topmost MoSe2 layer so that they were able to move freely. With a laser pulse of the correct color for the bottom MoS2 layer (which, thanks to the difference in path length of 0.3mm, arrives one picosecond later than the first pulse), the appearance of the electrons in the bottom layer could be demonstrated. It appeared that the electrons on average needed 1 ps to move from the top layer to the bottom layer.

With a third laser pulse the middle layer was monitored – but no electrons on their way from the top to the bottom were ever observed there. Apparently the electrons ‘jumped over’ the middle layer – a behavior that has also been confirmed through simulations by theoretical physicists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Source: Elektor

-5V @100mA Switched Capacitor Converter

The circuit diagram presented here is about a negative voltage regulator. It is based on LT1054, which is a switched capacitor voltage converter with regulator from Texas instrument. This device has many advantages over other previously available switched capacitor voltage converters. It provides higher current and has lower voltage losses.


  • Input Voltage: 3.5VDC to 15VDC
  • Output Voltage: -5VDC
  • Output load: 100mA
  • PCB: 60mm X 20mm

-5V @100mA Switched Capacitor Converter – [Link]