How to Build a Class-D Power Amp

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Cezar Chirila @ allaboutcircuits.com shows how to build a Class-D amplifier which has amazing efficiency.

What is a Class-D audio power amplifier? The answer could be just a sentence long: It is a switching amplifier. But in order to fully understand how one works, I need to teach you all its nooks and crannies.

How to Build a Class-D Power Amp – [Link]

RELATED POSTS

Exploring Eagle CAD ULPs #1 – PickUp.ULP Select Components Both in Schematic And Layout

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Welcome to the first post of the “Exploring Eagle CAD ULPs” series. Every week we will publish a new post about one useful ULPs in Eagle CAD.
“ULP” User Language Program is a plain text file which is written in a C­-like syntax and can be used to access the EAGLE data structures and to create a wide variety of output files, you can consider it like a plug-in for Eagle.

You can reach the posts published in this series using the following link.

ULPSerPost

When we work on schematic design, we always add parts here and there, adding a missed capacitor for a power pin of a regulator or a missed resistor for a data line and so on.
When we will generate the board file to start routing, we will find the parts scattered in the board.

The first rule in placing and routing in PCBs is to place connected components near to each other, but in the raw board file you will find every component located in a different place according to the order of adding them in the schematic.

This becomes very annoying in big designs. You need to gather the connected components manually, you will using MOVE tool for that. For example, to gather the components C9, C11, Y1 and R1 of a crystal connected to the MCU, you should run the following commands in the layout editor:

MOVE C9;
MOVE C11;
MOVE Y1;
MOVE R1;

Some MCUs have up to 50 capacitors and resistors or more connected to them, so obviously gathering components manually is not the way.

Personally I was doing the gathering process manually until the day I told myself, SHOW tool can highlight the component or components (by selecting them using ctrl+SHOW tool) both in schematic and PCB editor, you should find a similar way.

When I googled about the problem I found an ULP (made by lorenznl) in a response of one of Element14 forum discussions “How can I select components booth in schematic and layout at the same time?”, it was exactly what I was looking forward.

To use this ULP, you must select a group of components using GROUP tool then run “PickUp.ULP” from the schematic editor. Now when you will go to the layout editor, you will find the components you grouped them in the schematic editor movable as a group in the layout editor.

The below GIF demonstrates how this ULP works.

PickUpULP

 

You can download the ULP from here: PickUp_ulp

See you in next post in this series with another useful ULP.

 

kitnic.it – Share your board and Order parts with one click

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Kaspar tipped us with his nice website which allows you to download Gerbers of a board and order associated parts with one click. Currently supporting: Mouser, Digikey, RS, Newark and Farnell.

Kitnic is a registry of open hardware electronics projects that are ready for you to order and build. Click on any project to get further info, download the Gerbers and see the bill of materials. To quickly purchase the parts from various retailers you should install the 1-click BOM extension.

You can register your board today and get your board manufactured. The first 20 projects that register get vouchers with Dangerous Prototypes’ PCB service. Currently there are 15/20 left.

To register, follow these instructions: https://github.com/monostable/kitnic/blob/master/README.md#submitting-your-project

kitnic.it – Share your board and Order parts with one click – [Link]

RELATED POSTS

Matrix driver IC supports up to 192 LEDs

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Integrated Silicon Solution has released a family of high performance LED drivers, IS31FL3733, IS31FL3736 and IS31FL3737 to support LED matrices consisting of 192, 96 and 144 LEDs respectively. By Julien Happich @ edn-europe.com

ISSI’s LED matrix architecture provides designers with flexibility in controlling individual LEDs or an array of LEDs resulting in simplified color adjustment and lighting zone selection for a large array of LEDs.

Matrix driver IC supports up to 192 LEDs – [Link]

60V-input battery charger; Pb-acid & Li-ion charge algorithms up to 20A

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LTC4013 is a highly integrated, high voltage multi-chemistry synchronous step-down battery charger controller. With a wide input voltage range that spans up to 60V, the LTC4013 uses temperature-compensated 3- and 4-stage charge algorithms to efficiently charge 12V and 24V lead-acid batteries. By Graham Prophet @ edn-europe.com

Alternatively, the LTC4013 will charge a multicell Lithium-based battery stack with float voltages near to the input supply. Mode pins define the float voltage and charge algorithm. Charge current is precision regulated to ±5% and programmable with a single resistor up to 20A (depending on the selection of external components). The LTC4013 features user-adjustable maximum power point tracking (MPPT) circuitry that enables simple power optimization in the case of power-limited sources such as solar panels. The MPPT open-circuit method corrects for panel temperature changes without the inconvenience of adding a solar panel temperature sensor. Applications include portable medical instruments, monitoring equipment, battery backup systems, industrial handhelds, industrial lighting, military equipment, ruggedized notebooks/tablet computers, plus remote powered communication and telemetry systems.

60V-input battery charger; Pb-acid & Li-ion charge algorithms up to 20A – [Link]

Lithium ion batteries that work best at 95°C

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Numerous laboratories are working towards reducing or eliminating the accidental risks of Li ion batteries by working on solid electrolytes. Researchers at ETH at Zurich are developing unique solid materials which even when brought to high temperatures will not ignite. by Denis Meyer @ elektormagazine.com:

This represents a double advancement over current Li ion batteries which contain inflammable gel electrolytes, because not only does the fire risk disappear, but constraints over form-factor are also much less.

Lithium ion batteries that work best at 95°C – [Link]

Comparing the Top 5 PCB CAD Programs

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sfcircuits.com compares the top 5 PCB CAD Programs, DipTrace, Eagle, Altium, Pads and Orcad:

There are several programs available that range from simple and intuitive to highly sophisticated.

They range from free or inexpensive to high-end/premium.

They come feature-less or feature-heavy.

All of the tools are different and unique in their own way. Ultimately, your needs and preferences should drive what CAD program you use. This guide is structured to help you decide which is optimal or explore alternatives.

Comparing the Top 5 PCB CAD Programs – [Link]

EspoTek Labrador – Oscilloscope, Signal generator, Power supply in one tiny board

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EspoTek Labrador is a small, portable, USB-connected electronics lab-on-a-board that includes an oscilloscope, waveform generator, power supply, logic analyzer, and multimeter.

The EspoTek Labrador plugs directly into a solderless breadboard and connects to any Windows, Mac, or Linux computer via microUSB. A custom software interface lets you see and interact with your waveforms on-screen. Careful planning and a lot of work has been put into making the interface intuitive for those new to electronics, while keeping it powerful for those familiar with the instruments. Experienced engineers, don’t fear – you can do things like manually adjust the ADC gain and UART parameters. These kinds of function have just been moved away from the main screen, keeping things clean and simple for newer users.

EspoTek Labrador – Oscilloscope, Signal generator, Power supply in one tiny board – [Link]

BeagleCore: an embedded industrial/IoT computing module, in distribution

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Distributor Conrad Business Services has added an open-source module and starter kit based on the BeagleBone Black, as a rapid development tool. By Graham Prophet @ edn-europe.com:

The result of an agreement between Conrad (Hirschau, Germany) and BeagleCore, the BCM1 embedded computing module and BCS1 starter-kit will be exclusively available to Conrad’s customers world-wide. Heavily based on the BeagleBone development board, these devices provide small, simple and powerful building blocks for creating and testing new technologies for industrial and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Conrad offers them as suited for professional and industrial embedded solutions.

ICS501 simple frequency multiplier

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Scott from SWHarden has published a new build:

Today I made a high frequency multiplier using a single component: the ICS501 PLL clock multiplier IC. This chip provides 2x, 5x, 8x (and more) clock multiplication using an internal phased-lock loop (PLL). At less than a dollar on eBay, $1.55 on mouser, and $0.67 on Digikey, they don’t break the bank and I’m glad I have a few in my junk box! I have a 10MHz frequency standard which I want to use to measure some 1Hz (1pps) pulses with higher precision, so my general idea is to use a frequency multiplier circuit to increase the frequency (to 80 MHz) and use this to run a counter IC to measure the number of clock pulses between the PPS pulses.

ICS501 simple frequency multiplier – [Link]