Powering Batteries With Protons – A Potential Disruption in the Energy Industry

Climate Change have been a crucial factor taken into consideration by the Australian researchers from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology before creating the first rechargeable proton battery. After considering all available options about cost and availability of the materials needed, the researchers in Melbourne decided to make a proton battery to meet up with the alarming increase of energy needs in the world.

Proton Battery

Lead researcher Professor John Andrews says, “Our latest advance is a crucial step towards cheap, sustainable proton batteries that can help meet our future energy needs without further damaging our already fragile environment. As the world moves towards inherently variable renewable energy to reduce greenhouse emissions and tackle climate change, requirements for electrical energy storage will be gargantuan”. The proton battery is one among many potential contributors towards meeting this enormous demand for energy storage. Powering batteries with protons has the potential to be more economical than using lithium ions, which are made from scarce resources. Carbon, which is the primary resource used in our proton battery, is abundant and cheap compared to both metal hydrogen storage alloys and the lithium needed for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Here’s how the battery works; During charging, protons generated during water splitting in a reversible fuel cell are conducted through the cell membrane and directly bond with the storage material with the aid of electrons supplied by the applied voltage, without forming hydrogen gas. In electricity supply mode, this process is reversed. Hydrogen atoms released from the storage lose an electron to become protons once again. These protons then pass back through the cell membrane where they combine with oxygen and electrons from the external circuit to reform water. In simpler terms, carbon in the electrode bonds with the protons produced whenever water is split via the power supply’s electrons. Those protons pass through the reversible fuel cell again to form water as it mixes with oxygen and then generates power.

According to Andrews, “Future work will now focus on further improving performance and energy density through the use of atomically-thin layered carbon-based materials such as graphene, with the target of a proton battery that is truly competitive with lithium-ion batteries firmly in sight.” With the kind of progress made, it might not be now, however, lithium-ion batteries might be put out of the market in the nearest future.

The team is looking to improve their research, ameliorate the battery’s performance, and exploit other better materials like graphene to further put this proton battery to its fullest potential. Developments like will be needed if we are going to create sustainable future especially with the ever rising cost and demand of Energy.

One thing is sure, the Energy Industry is going to be disrupted now or in the future, and this proton battery innovation could just be one of the potential ways.

Program Pi, BeagleBone and Other Linux SBCs On The Arduino Create Platform

We have seen the massive ecosystem the Arduino has built and established over the last few years and this has made developing with Arduino quite leisurely. It is way easier to solve a programming issue or hardware issue with Arduino unlike other hardware boards mostly due to its community.  Arduino Create is an online platform by the Arduino Team that simplifies building a project as a whole, without having to switch between many different tools to manage the aspects of whatever you are making.

Arduino Create

Arduino Create is excellent especially for people already used to build stuff with Arduino boards, but what about the likes of Raspberry Pi, BeagleBones, and other makers board? The Arduino boards are great, especially the famous Arduino Uno, but this board still have it’s limitations too. The Raspberry Pi/BeagleBone on the other hand could take some task that the 16MHz Arduino Uno will never dream of doing, but this will also require makers and developers to begin learning new hardware (could be daunting for beginners). But this is changing now, as Massimo Banzi, CTO, and Arduino co-founder announced an expansion of Arduino Create to support Arm boards which will provide optimized support for the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone boards.

Arduino Create now integrates Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone and other Linux based SBCs ─ all with IoT in mind. The introduction of ARM boards (Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, AAEON® UP² board, and Custom ARM boards) follows the vision of the Arduino’s goal for the Create platform. A vision to build a full featured IoT development platform for developing IoT (Internet of Things) devices quicker, faster, and easier than ever before, intended for Makers, Engineers or Professional Developers. Arduino Creates brings the Arduino framework and libraries to all these SBCs, officially, changing the development game in a big way.

“With this release, Arduino extends its reach into edge computing, enabling anybody with Arduino programming experience to manage and develop complex multi-architecture IoT applications on gateways,” stated Massimo Banzi in a press release. “This is an important step forward in democratizing access to the professional Internet of Things.”

Raspberry Pi and other Linux based ARM boards can now leverage the community surrounding the Arduino Create Platform that offers support for step-by-step guides, examples, code, schematics and even projects. Although the SBC support is brand new, resources surrounding SBCs is sure to grow, in short time. Import from or sharing with the community is easy too.

Multiple Arduino programs can run simultaneously on a Linux-based board and interact and communicate with each other, leveraging the capabilities provided by the new Arduino Connector. Moreover, IoT devices can be managed and updated remotely, independently from where they are located.

Getting started with Arduino Create for the Linux SBCs is quite easy and straightforward. One merely connect the Raspberry Pi, or whatever SBC of choice to a computer and connect it to the cloud via Arduino Connect or via USB using the Arduino Plugin (This will make possible the communication between the USB ports on your PC and your Arm®-based Platform.). To start developing, upload sketches (programs) from the browser to the SBC. No need to install anything to get the code to compile, everything is up-to-date. This may become a standard way to develop on these platforms.

Arduino Create currently works with any board that runs Debian OS; a case for the Raspberry Rasbian, which is a Debian OS. To get started building with the Arduino Create for your ARM-based boards, visit the Arduino Create site, and click on the Getting Started while setting the board of your choice.

How to make precision measurements on a nanopower budget

Gen Vansteeg @ ti.com discuss about precision measurement for nanopower scale using OPAMPs.

Heightened accuracy and speed in an operational amplifier (op amp) has a direct relationship with the magnitude of its power consumption. Decreasing the current consumption decreases the gain bandwidth; conversely, decreasing the offset voltage increases the current consumption.

Many such interactions between op amp electrical characteristics influence one another. With the increasing need for low power consumption in applications like wireless sensing nodes, the Internet of Things (IoT) and building automation, understanding these trade-offs has become vital to ensure optimal end-equipment performance with the lowest possible power consumption. In the first installment of this two-part blog post series, I’ll describe some of the power-to-performance trade-offs of DC gain in precision nanopower op amps.

How to make precision measurements on a nanopower budget – [Link]

HDC2010 – Low Power Humidity and Temperature Sensor

The HDC2010 is an integrated humidity and temperature sensor that provides high accuracy measurements with very low power consumption, in an ultra-compact WLCSP (Wafer Level Chip Scale Package). The sensing element of the HDC2010 is placed on the bottom part of the device, which makes the HDC2010 more robust against dirt, dust, and other environmental contaminants. The capacitive-based sensor includes new integrated digital features and a heating element to dissipate condensation and moisture. The HDC2010 digital features include programmable interrupt thresholds to provide alerts/system wakeups without requiring a microcontroller to be continuously monitoring the system. This, combined with programmable sampling intervals, low inherent power consumption, and support for 1.8V supply voltage, make the HDC2010 well suited for battery-operated systems.

[via]

USB Adaptive Charger (2.7A per port) with Wattmeter

A 10.8A, 4 port USB charger with a wattmeter and adaptive intelligent charging.

It works by taking any DC input between 7V to 17V, from an AC/DC adapter or car adapter. It can be used anywhere with wall outlets, car power ports, lead-acid batteries, DC-output solar panels, and lithium-ion battery packs (2S, 3S, and 4S).

It then drops the voltage down to 5V and intelligently adapts to match the maximum current the device being charged would accept. We believe it is the most powerful 4-port USB charger at 10.8A. No device is throttled when every port is in use.

USB Adaptive Charger (2.7A per port) with Wattmeter – [Link]

TPS61092 Boost Converter on Test Bench

luckyresistor.me tests his TPS61092 boost converter with a thermal camera and shares the results.

For my current project I searched for a good boost power converter which is able to deliver continuous 400mA power for various sensors.

There are an endless number of good boost converters around, but not many can be hand soldered to a board. I would really like to see some like the TPS61092 with SOIC or similar packages. The biggest problem seems to be the heat transport, why most chips have to be mounted flat on the board.

TPS61092 Boost Converter on Test Bench – [Link]

MEMS technology shrinks loudspeakers

Miniature MEMS-based speakers could revolutionize speech and music reproduction in mobile communication devices. They combine the advantages of a large frequency bandwidth and high acoustic quality with the ability to generate very high sound levels. Nevertheless, they are so tiny that they can be integrated into headphones. By Christoph Hammerschmidt @ eenewseurope.com

The breakthrough has now been achieved. The characteristics of the chip-based loudspeaker are impressive: With currently a area of 4×4 millimeters, the MEMS loudspeaker can be optimally integrated into headphones, hearables and hearing aids. They cover the entire frequency range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz as a one-way system – comparable HiFi loudspeakers typically consist of woofer, a midrange loudspeaker and a tweeter for the high frequencies. The tiny MEMS speakers achieve a sound pressure level of 110 dB for in-the-ear applications – this corresponds to the noise level of a jet aircraft at a distance of 100 meters.

Qoitech’s power measurement tool in distribution

Power measurement software by Qoitech is available from Digi-Key Electronics, following the signing of a worldwide distribution agreement to distribute Otii, a power measurement tool with software.

Otii provides developers with the means to simplify power measurement of applications and devices, especially those targeting the IoT space and aiming for optimised, long battery life. Otii combines the measurement capabilities of several test and measurement hardware tools into the Otii Arc, a device that makes it substantially easier for developers to pinpoint which sections of code, associated peripherals, and hardware contribute most to the application’s power consumption.

Powered by a PC’s USB port or an external 7.0 to 9.0V power supply, the Otii Arc provides power to the target application whilst measuring and displaying power consumption from below one microA to 5.0A without the need to manually change the settings.

As well as measuring power consumption, the Otii Arc, together with the accompanying Otii software, can also monitor additional analogue and digital signals, allowing application sub-systems to be monitored in parallel to the main power input. Any serial data, from 9600bit per second to 4Mbit per second, output by the target can also be synchronously captured and time-stamped.

Qoitech’s Otii software runs on Windows, macOS and Ubuntu Linux. The developer can review power consumption from a development PC and share and compare the results with colleagues, customers and suppliers. The software increases usability when compared to traditional test and measurement tools, claims Digi-Key, as these can require results to be displayed on the tool itself, or to be exported for later analysis in a spreadsheet without the test settings and related context of the application.

Vanja Samuelsson, founder of Qoitech, says: “By combining current measurement, voltage measurement and debug logs output by the target’s serial interface, developers acquire a significantly improved view of their IoT application’s power consumption, allowing them to guarantee a battery life of up to 10 years for some applications.”

The Otii solution comes with a standard software license, but with the additional purchase of an Otii Premium License, developers can access the battery profiling, simulation and scripting capabilities of the Otii software. Using the Lua scripting language, the Otii Arc can be used to profile batteries, allowing different batches of the same cell to be compared, or to evaluate their performance under environmental conditions that more closely match that of the application. The Lua scripting also enables automated testing, allowing longer term tests to be run without human intervention.

Otii solution is available to ship immediately from Digi-Key Electronics.

http://www.digikey.com

9 Tiny Microcontroller Board Options to Complement Your Arduino Uno

The venerable Arduino Uno is the de facto standard in microcontroller development boards, but there are also other boards that can be hidden in a project to make it “smart.” Some even provide extra features like built-in Bluetooth or WiFi capabilities. While the Uno will certainly be used for years to come, due to its familiar form factor and available accessories, here are nine other options in even smaller form factors to hide in your project.

Arduino Nano

If you like the Arduino Uno, but just want it smaller, then the Arduino Nano provides very similar specs. While the Uno board measures 68.6 x 53.4mm at 25g, the Nano measures only 18 x 45mm at 7g. The Nano gets its size down by eliminating the DC power jack and utilizing Mini-B USB. (more…)

Seeed Fusion Service Ensures High-Quality PCB Assembly at every stage

Seeed PCBA inspection and manual re-work station

Quality is as important to us as it is to you. At Seeed Fusion, our manufacturing expertise can help you reduce errors and failure rates for a prototype or a mass-produced product. Whether there is a problem with one of the components, assembly, or the PCB design itself, any error can result in a non-functioning device which can be complicated or impossible to rectify. In the business for over 10 years, Seeed is an old hand when it comes to manufacturing electronics and implements quality control measures at every stage of its Seeed Fusion PCB Assembly service.

Gerber File Review

Quality assurance procedures begin at order submission. CAM engineers will review every set of manufacturing files to minimize design for manufacture errors before the files are sent for production. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. If any problems are found such as shorts and breaks, missing holes or solder mask openings, etc. Seeed Fusion will work with the customer to review the issue and make corrections if necessary.

PCB In Production

As standard, all Seeed Fusion PCBs undergo bare PCB AOI (Automated Optical Inspection), flying needle tests, individual visual checks between each stage and then a Final Quality Control inspection. These measures cover errors with copper deposition, trace connectivity, solder mask coverage and more.

Incoming Parts Quality Inspections

Many fake, second-hand or old components are on the market, so vigilance is paramount when shopping for parts. Seeed Fusion’s PCBA service can take the risk out of parts procurement for you. Seeed preferentially orders its components from partners DigiKey, Mouser, TME and Element14 to ensure genuine and new parts direct from reliable channels.

Seeed’s own stock of parts, the Seeed Fusion Open Parts Library (OPL) also undergo strict quality control measures to fulfill high standards. All incoming stock goes through the same IQC (Incoming Quality Control) that Seeed’s own materials undergo and suppliers are trusted partners that are audited on a regular basis.

Populated PCBs queued up for inspection. Stickers highlight potentially problematic areas for further review.

Assembly Process

Seeed Fusion PCBA’s completely lead-free assembly line employs visual inspections along the entire line as well. Each operator at each stage will check for common process errors, for example, PCBs fresh from the reflow oven will be inspected for insufficient solder wetting, component tombstoning or skew, etc. and re-worked if necessary. Boards are then inspected before packing, and any issues that arise are forwarded to the customer for confirmation.

Other tests and certifications are also available such as mechanical and functional testing, In-Circuit testing, SMT AOI, X-ray inspection, FCC/CE certification and more.

By utilizing industry proven and tested quality control measures, Seeed Fusion PCBA can maximize your output and production efficiency with peace of mind and no compromises. And now is no better time to give us a try. We are currently holding March sales to help with your production needs whether it be prototyping or mass production. Get 10% off PCB upfront, $50USD off PCBA and over 400 OPL components are free just this month. Don’t forget there is also free express shipping on PCBA orders. Upload your BOM here and get a quote now!

Learn more about Seeed Fusion PCBA service from the video below:

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