Power category

Control AC Voltages Safely And Easily with Sugar Device

Sugar Device is a tool designed to control AC Voltage and it promises to change the way you control AC applications forever.
Sugar team is targeting hobbyists, students, teachers and engineers to push their application to the next level, since it makes AC control easy, safe and compatible with a lot of development platforms. The mechanical case that comes with Sugar is offering protection to users while using AC voltages and preventing any electrical shock resulted by misuse.

You can control AC voltage using Sugar with two different ways: ON-OFF switch, and AC output voltage control. You can power Sugar using the AC C14 cable. This voltage provided is used to power the load connected and the internal circuits. The fuse holder is accessible, you can replace it easily whenever you need.

For the output, Sugar is providing a universal output socket to connect your load, and it is compatible with all AC power cable types. Sugar can work with 110V/220V and with 50Hz/60Hz. You can switch between the two options using a switch provided with two indicator LEDs.

Sugar Device also can be connected with 3.3V and 5V development boards like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Beaglebone using the RJ12 cable. Sugar had designed  a RJ Connector breakout to make it possible to connect your board and it will be available in all kits. Controlling the AC loads using your PWM pins and Sugar will be so simple.

This 150x120x47 mm size device supports WiFi and Bluetooth and is IoT ready. For example, ESP8266 can directly control Sugar Device since it has PWM output with Frequency of 1KHz.

Sugar Device comes in two editions: Sugar 300, a white device that control up to 300W, and Sugar 1000, a black one that can control up to 1000W. The second one is offered for hackers and professionals where the first is for newbies.

Sugar Device is now live on a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and still has a month to go. You can pre-order your Sugar 300 with a Power cord C14, RJ12 Cable, Sugar RJ Breakout and two AC fuse for only $49! Check the campaign video for more information.

In this video you can watch Sugar Device in Action, check it out!

Sugar device is the tool you need to expand the scope of your projects and control AC loads safely. Your dream of making your home smart can come true now with the use of this device. This device had came to life due to a cooperation with Fablab dynamic in Taipei, Taiwan. Such a cooperation will make it uncomplicated for makers to produce their own devices. Mohannad Rawashdeh and his team had tested many applications and used different platforms to ensure that Sugar is safe, practical and easy for everyone to use.

“When I was looking  for FabLab in Taiwan, I found FabLab Dynamic. They offered me a free space inside the lab to work and offered me all help I need to find component resources, using machines and instruments and contact with designers I need for my project” – Mohannad Rawashdeh, founder of Sugar Device and an electronics engineer.

You can check the campaign page to know the offers and full specifications. More information are provided on Sugar Device website. Many tutorials are added to this page and source files will be added soon on Github.

DIY IKEA Wireless Qi Charging

mcuoneclipse.com writes:

To my surprise, when I visited a nearby IKEA store yesterday, the older iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S4 (VITAHULT) Qi receivers were on sale for CHF 0.95 (about US$1): what could be wrong with buying a few of them? At this point, I should probably mention the ‘rolling eyes’ of my wife😉.

The question is: can I use these for my projects? So I decided to open up the wireless phone cover. The cover has to plastic parts, and with a bit tweaking I was able to separate them. Insider there is the battery connector, the receiver circuit and the charging coil under a black FFDM (Flux Field Directional Material):

DIY IKEA Wireless Qi Charging – [Link]

Replacing a dead iPhone battery

discuss his experience replacing an iphone battery @ edn.com:

About a week ago, in preparing to run some errands, I plugged my iPhone 4S into the charger in my car so that I could stream Pandora while I drove. Oddly, a “this accessory may not be supported” message appeared on-screen; when I unplugged and re-plugged the iPhone to the charger, it didn’t reappear, so I didn’t think anything more of it … until a half hour later, when the iPhone again alerted me, this time with a “low battery” message.

Replacing a dead iPhone battery – [Link]

Dual Relay Board Using SMD Components

Dual channel Compact  Relay driver module can be controlled by feeding 2-12V trigger voltage, Very useful project for application like Micro-Controller based projects, Remote controller, Lamp on Off, and any circuits which required isolated 5A current and high voltage switching by applying any TTL or CMOS level voltage. Two LED works as operation indicator, 3 pins screw terminals to connect load.  Relay provides both normally open and normally closed switching.

Note: Board is made only for low voltage switching applications.


  • Input: 12 VDC @ 84 mA
  • Output: Two SPDT relay
  • Relay specification: 5 A @ 60 VAC
  • Trigger level: 2 to 12 VDC
  • Header connector for connecting power and trigger voltage
  • LED on each channel indicates relay status
  • Power Battery Terminal (PBT) for easy relay output connection

Dual Relay Board Using SMD Components – [Link]


nano technology plus li-ion

Nanotechnoloy – Nano coating prevents exploding Li-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are very popular as they’re lightweight and have high energy density. But at the same time, li-ion batteries are very sensitive to overcharge/over discharge. An internal short circuit can cause fire and it may even lead to a violent explosion. Fortunately, nanotechnology found a way to prevent this kind of nightmare. How? let’s discuss:

Why Does li-ion Battery Explode?

When a device draws too much power from a Li-Ion battery, it heats up and thus melts the internal separator between the two flammable electrolytes. This phenomenon ignites a chemical reaction between the electrolytes causing them to explode. Once their package ruptures, the oxygen in the surrounding air helps the flammable electrolytes to catch fire. The fire then spreads quickly to other cells and loads a thermal runaway.

Thermal runaway in Li-ion Battery
Thermal runaway in Li-ion Battery

During a thermal runaway, the high heat of the damaged or malfunctioning cell can propagate to the next cell, causing it to become completely thermally unstable as well. In some worse cases, a chain reaction occurs in which each cell disintegrates at its own timetable.

So, in a nutshell, Li-ion cells possess the potential of a thermal runaway. The temperature quickly rises to the melting point of the metallic lithium and cause a violent reaction, which finally causes an explosion.

How Can Nanotechnology Prevent This?

Recently conducted research shows that atomic layer deposition (ALD) of titania (TiO2) and alumina (Al2O3) on Ni-rich FCG NMC and NCA active material particles could substantially improve Li-ion battery’s performance and allow for increased upper cutoff voltage (UCV) during charging, which delivers significantly increased specific energy utilization.

Atomic Layer Deposition in li-ion CellsAtomic Layer Deposition in li-ion Cells
Atomic Layer Deposition in li-ion Cells


A company called Forge Nano claims to prevent this thermal runaway situation by never letting it get started even if the battery electrodes are shorted out. Forge Nano’s precision coatings on cathode and anode powders protect against the most common degradation mechanisms found in Li-ion batteries.

The benefits of Forge Nano precision coatings include extended battery life and greater safety, especially in extreme situations such as high-temperature operation, fast cycling rates, and overvoltage conditions.

By implementing lithium-based ALD films in nanostructured 3D lithium-ion batteries, significant gains in power density, cycling performances during charge/discharge, and safety is noticed.

What’s the Result?

Some of Forge Nano’s accomplishments in the Li-ion battery space includes:

  • Increased lifetime of commercial cathode material by as much as 250%
  • 15% higher energy density in large format pouch cells (40 Ah) that pass nail penetration testing
  • 60% reduced gas generation in cathode material
  • A low-cost high-voltage cathode powder with exceptional performance
  • Increased rate capability of conventional materials for enhanced fast charge acceptance using Forge Nano’s proprietary solid electrolyte coatings

    ForgeNano Claims Their Technology as Best Solution
    ForgeNano Claims Their Technology as Best Solution

Since the solution found by the research, Forge Nano has been working on a commercial version of the product that they finally believe they can place in the market very soon.

4 Channel Relay Board


4 Channel Relay Board is a simple and convenient way to interface 4 relays for switching application in your project. Very compact design that can fit in small area, mainly this board is made for low voltage applications.


  • Input supply 12 VDC @ 170 mA
  • Output four SPDT relay
  • Relay specification  10A/24V DC
  • Trigger level 2 ~ 5 VDC
  • Header Connector for connecting power and trigger voltage
  • LED on each channel indicates relay status
  • Power Battery Terminal (PBT) for easy relay output and aux power connection
  • Four mounting holes of 3.2 mm each

4 Channel Relay Board – [Link]

Large Current Relay with Dual Output DC-DC Converter for Hobby CNC/Router


Single Channel Large current relay board with dual DC-DC converter board is mainly designed for Hobby CNC, Routers, and Plasma cutters.

Hobby CNC controller requires multiple DC outputs to drive various things.  This board provides 5V DC and 12V DC 1Amp each. The dual supply helps driving LPT breakout board, Sensors, Limit switches and few other things that require 5V and 12V.

The Relay has large current handle capacity and can be used to drive spindles, solenoids, and other things that require switching. The relay requires TTL High signal to trigger or it has the capability to even trigger with GND signal.


  • Supply Input 15V to 35V DC
  • DC Outputs 5V @ 1A & 12V 1A
  • On Board LED for Relay Output
  • Relay Contact 20Amp NC and 30 Amps No 230V AC
  • Relay Trigger 5V TTL in or GND input
  • Screw Terminal and 2 Pin Header Connector Provided for Supply Input
  • Screw Terminal and 2 pin header provided for 5V DC & 12V DC Output
  • 3 Pin Screw Terminal Provide for Relay output Connections NO/NC
  • 3 Pin Header Connector for TTL + Signal Trigger, and Low GND signal Trigger
  • Close The Jumper to trigger rely with low GND signal input

Large Current Relay with Dual Output DC-DC Converter for Hobby CNC/Router – [Link]

4 Channel Large Current Relay Board


4-Channel Relay Board is a simple and convenient way to interface 4 relays for switching application in your project. The project has large Relay which can switch current up to 20Amps.


  • Input supply 12 VDC @ 360 mA
  • Output four SPDT Relay
  • Relay specification 20 A @ 230 VAC NC/30A NO
  • Trigger level 2 ~ 5 VDC
  • Box Header connector for connection of trigger signal
  • LED on each channel indicates relay status
  • Power-On LED indicator
  • Screw terminal connector for easy relay output and power in connection
  • Four mounting holes of 3.2 mm each
  • PCB dimensions 65 mm x 116 mm

4 Channel Large Current Relay Board – [Link]

An open-source IoT power meter

The first step toward finding ways to reduce home electricity usage begins with installing an energy monitoring system. These days you can find an electric meter in every residence, but it is likely that you would find it installed in a location that is more convenient to access for a utility person and not for you, the homeowner. This DIY Internet-of-Things enabled power meter is what you would need for an easy access to the real-time electricity usage data right on your computer screen at your desk.

IoT Power meter
IoT Power meter

This IoT power meter (IPM) is designed by Solenoid and it works in conjunction with a regular watt meter that consists of a flashing LED as a watt-hour usage indicator. The IPM senses the blinks of the LED using a light-dependent resistor (LDR), counts those pulses, saves the values to an SD card, and later uploaded to a cloud service, such as Google spreadsheet, for remote access using internet. Another advantage of IPM over the regular power meter is it extrapolates the measured data samples for improved resolution and estimation of energy usage.

The heart of this project is the WiFi-enabled ESP8266 microcontroller, which is coupled to an SD card and a 0.96” OLED screen. The SD card is used for storing the energy usage data as well as the HTML web pages that are served by ESP8266 on a client’s request. The network credentials required by ESP8266 to connect to a WiFi router are hardcoded into the firmware. The OLED serves as a local display for showing the current time and date, local IP address of the ESP8266 device, watt-hour usage for the day, etc. For accuracy, the ESP8266 synchronizes its local time with an NTP server.

IPM prototyping on a breadboard
IPM prototyping on a breadboard

The IPM is an open-source project and costs about $20 to build. The BOM and detail documentation can be found here.

Lightweight Body Heat – Electricity Converter

Powering wearable technologies using thermoelectric generators (TEGs) is becoming more efficient. An undergraduate student in North Carolina University, Haywood Hunter, is producing a lightweight and an efficient wearable thermoelectric generator. It generates electricity by making use of the temperature differential between the body and the ambient air.This converter produces 20 times more electricity than other technologies (20 µwatts) and it doesn’t use any heat sink, making it lighter and much more comfortable.

Study co-lead Haywood Hunter, shows off the TEG-embedded T-shirt at work.
Study co-lead Haywood Hunter, shows off the TEG-embedded T-shirt at work.

The design begins with a layer of thermally conductive material that rests on the skin and spreads out the heat. The conductive material is topped with a polymer layer that prevents the heat from dissipating through to the outside air. This forces the body heat to pass through a centrally-located TEG that is one cm2. Heat that is not converted into electricity passes through the TEG into an outer layer of thermally conductive material, which rapidly dissipates. The entire system is only 2 millimeters, and flexible. Some limitations to size can be solved by choosing right power settings for different sizes.

Even though the wrist is the best place to use heat-electricity converters because the skin temperature is higher, the irregular contour of the wrist limits the surface area of contact between the TEG band and the skin. To solve this issue, it was recognized that the upper arm was the optimal location for heat harvesting. Meanwhile, another experiment showed that wearing the band on the chest limited air flow and heat dissipation, since the chest is normally covered by a shirt.The researchers found that the T-shirt TEGs were still capable of generating 6 µW/cm2 – or as much as 16 µW/cm2 if a person is running. It was realized then that T-shirts are just not as efficient as the upper arm bands.

TEG-embedded T-shirt (left) and TEG armband (right).
TEG-embedded T-shirt (left) and TEG armband (right).

The work was funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) and the research was done in the Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) at North Carolina State. This center’s mission is to create wearable, self-powered, health and environmental monitoring systems, such as devices that track heart health or monitor physical and environmental variables to predict and prevent asthma attacks.

Further details can be reached at the university website and the project’s paper.

Via: ScienceDaily