4.5 to 42V-in, 4 x 4mm, isolating buck DC-DC delivers 3.7A

by Graham Prophet @ eedesignnewseurope.com discuss about the MAX17682 buck DC-DC converter.

With details recently posted by Maxim integrated, MAX17682 is a high-voltage, high-efficiency, iso-buck DC-DC converter designed to provide isolated power up to 10W. The device operates over a 4.5V to 42V input voltage range and uses primary-side feedback to regulate the output voltage. It delivers primary peak current up to 3.7A and regulates primary output voltage to within ±1.2% over -40°C to +125°C.

AS7261 Color sensor from Ams

The AS7261 integrates Gaussian interference filter technology to enable chromatic white color sensor which provides direct XYZ color coordinates consistent with the CIE 1931 2° Standard Observer color coordinates. Additional mapping of XYZ coordinates to the x, y (Y) of the 2-dimensional color gamut and scales of the CIE 1976 u’v’ coordinate system, providing accurate Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) measurements and color point deviation from the black body curve for white light color in the ∆u’v’ coordinate system. A Near-IR channel and LED drivers with programmable currents increase application flexibility, including support for electronic shutter applications.

AS7261 Color sensor from Ams – [Link]

Meet Obsidian, A $99 Plug & Print 3D Printer

Kodama Inc is a new company that delivers a new generation of FDM 3D printers that increase the possibility of affordable 3D printing. Recently, Kodama launched its new 3D printer “Obsidian“, the first 3D printer made for professional applications starting at under $100.

Kodama, Inc. (PRNewsfoto/Kodama, Inc.)

Most additive manufacturing machines in this price range are not aesthetically designed, nor engineered for accurate printing. Many consumers who are eager to upgrade their skills set are unable to because there is no affordable 3D printer that boasts high-quality printing.

“We wanted to create a 3D printer that defies what’s on the market. A sleek design, high-quality printing, and customizable, all starting at under $100,” said Michael Husmann, the ex-Apple employee and founder of Kodama Inc.

Obsidian is designed to deliver 3D printing functionality and features are more commonly found in devices that cost at least $1,000. It also can print in very high accuracy with a layer thicknesses between 50-350 microns. Obsidian’s design provides a stable printing experience, while the customized internal components decreases the need for frequent maintenance and recalibration.

Obsidian’s features include:

  • Printing volume: 120 x 120 x 120 mm
  • Printing Resolution: 50-micron at a steady 70mm/s speed
  • Plug and Play: Obsidian comes fully assembled, making it easy to get printing started in a few minutes.
  • Smart Display: Obsidian’s UI was tailor-made for Kodama by automobile UX designers to be inviting for beginners while packing all the controls a power user needs.
  • App Control: Obsidian’s Pro’s display runs on Android, allowing a myriad of new features. You’ll be able to remotely monitor and adjust your print settings while recording time lapses and receive prompts when your print is done or if something needs your attention.
  • Wide Filament Compatibility: Obsidian works with most filaments on the market, making it the ideal 3D printer to complete a variety of projects.
  • Heated Bed: Expands printing options by allowing the user to print with ABS, PETG, and other filament types. Only available with Obsidian PRO.
  • Exclusive Obsidian PLA: Obsidian is a naturally formed volcanic crystal. This filament contains real crushed Obsidian powder stones, and is only available through Kodama.
  • Camera: Record time lapses and monitor prints remotely.

Kodama is planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign in June 2017, and it will offer limited Early Bird deals at $49 for the basic version of Obsidian.

Last year, Kodama raised over $1.6 million for Trinus, an all-metal 2-in-1 3D printer and laser engraver for under $500. Successfully shipping their breakthrough product to over 3,100 backers in 80 countries helped solidify Kodama, Inc. as an up-and-coming leader in affordable, high-quality 3D printing.

Nixie Bargraph Kit

Robin @ kickstarter.com launched his new campaign on a project using IN-9 Nixie tubes. Now you can easily control two IN-9 Nixie bargraph tubes with 2 PWM inputs from your Arduino, Raspberry or other control board. The tubes are controlled by PWM signals and adjusting the PWM duty cycle you can control the tubes height, thay easy!

I had the idea for this project after building myself a Nixie bargraph clock which looked fantastic and eye catching. Instead of using conventional nixie tubes, which use numbers to display the time, the time is indicated by the height of the neon glow. But, this isn’t just limited to displaying the time, anything can be indicated with these tubes, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, proximity… anything!

µduino, The Smallest Arduino Ever

A new member to Arduino compatible devices is just here, the newest yet the smallest Arduino ever created, µduino!Believing that it is enough to include some bulky devices in our applications, the team behind µduino is trying to provide a shrinkified device that can be included anywhere. With the size of  12mm (0.5 inches) x 12mm, µduino is considered the smallest Arduino compatible device that compete with other similar microcontroller boards with power saving .

The µduino makes use of the power of the ATMEGA32U4 chip found in the Arduino Leonardo (a board over 20 times larger), offering 20 I/O ports, including PWM and ADC ports! In addition, the µduino can be powered by batteries or directly by micro-USB.

A list of µduino specifications is here:

  • ATMEGA32U4 microcontroller
  • 6x Analog I/O ports
  • 14x Digital I/O ports (including Rx/Tx)
  • Status LED
  • 5V voltage regulator (accepts up to 16V DC)
  • 6-pin ICSP programming ports (load custom bootloaders, program other boards, etc)
  • 2x 5V ports
  • 2x ground ports
  • 1x Analog reference voltage port
  • Reset button
  • 16 MHz precision crystal oscillator
  • MicroUSB port for easy programming and prototyping
  • 2x mounting holes (can be sewn into clothing)

Despite its small size, µduino is still powerful and capable to be included in many applications performing as full size Arduino boards. µduino team are planning to run a crowdfunding campaign on CrowdSupply but it is not launched yet. You can sign up here to receive more updates about µduino once launched.

The First 3D Quantum Liquid Crystals

Strong electron interactions can drive metallic systems toward a variety of well-known symmetry-broken phases, but the instabilities of correlated metals with strong spin-orbit coupling have only recently begun to be explored.

A team of physicists at the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at Caltech, had discovered an new state of matter that may have applications in ultra-fast quantum computers of the future. It is the first three-dimensional quantum liquid crystal.

“We have detected the existence of a fundamentally new state of matter that can be regarded as a quantum analog of a liquid crystal, There are numerous classes of such quantum liquid crystals that can, in principle, exist; therefore, our finding is likely the tip of an iceberg.” says Caltech assistant professor of physics David Hsieh, principal investigator on a new study describing the findings in the April 21 issue of Science.

Liquid crystals are materials that are between liquid and solid, they are consisted of molecules that flow around freely as if they were a liquid but are all oriented in the same direction, as in solid. An important feature of the liquid crystals that in addition to availability in the nature, they can be made artificially like those used in items that have display screens.

In 1999, the first quantum liquid crystal was discovered by Caltech’s Jim Eisenstein, the Frank J. Roshek Professor of Physics and Applied Physics. It was a two-dimensional which means that it was limited with a single plane inside the host material. In a quantum liquid crystal, electrons behave like the molecules in classical liquid crystals. They move around freely in a preferred direction of flow.

These images show light patterns generated by a rhenium-based crystal using a laser method called optical second-harmonic rotational anisotropy. At left, the pattern comes from the atomic lattice of the crystal. At right, the crystal has become a 3-D quantum liquid crystal, showing a drastic departure from the pattern due to the atomic lattice alone.

The behavior of the electrons in the newly discovered 3D-variant are possibly even stranger. The electrons do not only distinguish between x-, y- and z-axis, but they also have different magnetic characteristics depending along which axis they move back and forth.

According to the researchers, the 3D quantum liquid crystals could play a role in a field called spintronics, where the spin direction of electrons can be utilized to create more efficient computer chips. It may also help with some of the challenges of building a quantum computer, which seeks to take advantage of the quantum nature of particles to make even faster calculations.

“Rather than rely on serendipity to find topological superconductors, we may now have a route to rationally creating them using 3-D quantum liquid crystals” says Harter. “That is next on our agenda.”

You can read more about this research through the published paper and by reading Caltech’s post.

Electrolytic + polymer = the hybrid capacitor

Electrolytic capacitor is often a common reason for device failure and replacement is necessary. But what if we could combine the benefits of electrolytics and polymer capacitors. Now you can have the best of both worlds: hybrid capacitors from have been designed to combine the advantages of electrolytic capacitors with those of solid polymer capacitors.

The supplier claims the use of hybrid technology offers low leakage current and long life in combination with low ESR (20 mΩ) in miniature case sizes. The EEH-ZE series (Type V-ZE) hybrid components offer a nominal capacitance range of 33 µF up to 330 µF, at voltage ranges from 25 VDC up to 63 VDC, and feature an operating temperature range of -55°C up to 145°C, as well low ESR and high ripple current. So think about using a hybrid capacitor in your next power converter input/output filter, voltage regulator, or clock circuit.

Electrolytic + polymer = the hybrid capacitor – [Link]

USB 3.0 NanoHub

Muxtronics @ tindie.com designed a USB 3.0 mini hub. Source files here:

Are you familiar with my NanoHubs? Tiny, penny-sized USB hubs you can use to add additional USB ports in incredibly cramped spaces, like hacking projects or mobile devices? Whereas the original NanoHubs were all USB 2.0, limited to 480Mbps, this new NanoHub allows for transfer speeds of up to 5.0Gbps, as well as up to 3.0A of power delivery. The cut-off connector boards allow you to test your application before soldering it into your product, reducing the size of the hub from 27x34mm (about 1.1×1.3″) to 20x20mm (4/5ths of an inch on each side), with an overall thickness of just 1.55mm (1/16″).

USB 3.0 NanoHub – [Link]

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ESP32 Monster board, Ether, CAN, OLED all in one

ESP32 monster board with Ether(LAN8720A), CAN bus(SN65HVD232DR), OLED(SH1106), Lipo-charger and FTDI interface @ tindie.com

ESP32 Monster board, Ether, CAN, OLED all in one – [Link]

Opensource USB HUB

Christian @ hackaday.io build his own USB Hub based on GL850G IC:

I was looking to make a custom USB Hub for a project but I couldnt find any of them that worked and using the chip GL850G. The chip is pretty old and cheap, but in my case I didnt need to use any of the fast transfering USB3, probably the next version can be based on this schematic.

Opensource USB HUB – [Link]