Tools category

HPS140MK2, The New Handheld Oscilloscope

Velleman Inc., a producer and a distributor of electronics, has produced a new handheld oscilloscope with the same power of its HPS140, but with smaller size and modern design.

HPS140MK2 is a 11.4 x 6.8 x 2.2 cm versatile component tester that fits in your pocket. This small oscilloscope features a real time 40 MS/s sampling rate with up to 10 MHz bandwidth and 0.1 mV sensitivity.

HPS140MK2 features:

  • 40 Mega samples/sec in real time
  • Bandwidth up to 10 MHz
  • Full auto range option
  • Sensitivity down to 0.1 mV
  • Signal markers for amplitude and time
  • Memory hold function
  • Direct audio power measurement

The device is powered by 4 AAA batteries. On the front panel you can find four buttons; menu, up, down, and hold. The display is used to menu options and received signal. On the top side you will find an on/off switch and a BNC input connector that can accept maximum input of 100Vp.On the bottom side there is an X10 probe test signal.

Specifications:

  • Bandwidth: up to 10 MHz (-3dB or -4dB at selected ranges)
  • Input range: 1 mV to 20 V / division in 14 steps
  • Input coupling: DC, AC and GND
  • Real-time sample rate up to 40 MS/s
  • AD resolution: 8 bits
  • Time base: 250 ns to 1 h per division
  • Auto set-up function (or manual)
  • Probe x10 readout option
  • Readouts: DC, AC + DC,True RMS, dBm, Vpp, Min-Max. (±2.5%)
  • Audio power measurement from 2 to 32 ohms
  • Hold & store function
  • Time and voltage markers readout
  • Max. 100 Vp AC + DC
  • Monochrome OLED
  • Power supply: 4 x 1.5 V AAA batteries (not incl.)
  • Operating time: up to 8 hours on quality Alkaline batteries
  • Dimensions: 114 x 68 x 22 mm
  • Weight: 166 gr
  • Current consumption: max. 150 mA

The product is available for $150 on Velleman store. Additional parts will be available soon including component tester ‘HPS141’ to receive all useful information about resistors, transistors, diodes and more, including their pin out identification, and the ‘HPSP1’ protective pouch.

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DIY Arduino-Based Desktop CNC Router

Inspired by machines like the Nomad 883 from Carbide3D, Carvey from Inventables and more, Thimo Voorwinden had come up with a new tutorial for building a desktop CNC router powered by Arduino.

This CNC budget is around €200 and you don’t need a workshop to build it up, basic tools will do. It is designed to be modular, Arduino powered, and with a tolerance of (±0,1 mm). It has Ø8 mm linear rods, M8 thread lead screw and uses NEMA 17 stepper motors and drv8825 drivers. Plus, 250 watt flexible shaft is needed to drive the spindle and it has a work area of 200 x 250 x 100 mm (x,y,z).

Here you are the Bill of Materials that Thimo made based on his research in German and Chinese web-shops:

The tools Thimo used to build this CNC are listed here:

  • Homemade router table
  • Old ‘cordless’ drill
  • Ø22 mm wood spade drill
  • A rusty collection of old metal drill bits
  • Hammer
  • Metal saw
  • File
  • Screw drivers
  • Clamps
  • Try square
  • A soldering iron

Thimo shared this experience as a 5 HD video tutorials on Youtube to explain all the steps he went through: setting X and Y axis, the frame, Z axis and spindle, electronics and a video where the CNC is in action while milling a jigsaw piece. He added two extra videos for foam milling and testing the plotting function. Check them out here:

“For about €200 I’m now capable to CNC machine wooden parts. Not at a high speed, or without any bumps along the way, but having this option is still great. I will definitely try to machine some gears, specific parts for projects and engrave signs with this in the future.”

For more information, a detailed guide, and some notes check the project’s page at Thimo website.

Export Eagle Libraries With SnapEDA

Although the new Eagle subscription model by Autodesk will bring much-needed features to the software, many users after the announcement had decided to move their work to other alternatives, such as KiCad, Altium, Cadence, etc.

One of the challenges was to convert the libraries made by Eagle to be compatible with other software programs. SnapEDA solved that by offering a new free tool that translates Eagle libraries to KiCad, Altium, OrCad and other formats.

SnapEDA is a parts library for circuit board design provides free symbols, footprints, and 3D models for millions of electronic components. The goal behind SnapEDA is to build one trusted, canonical source of electronics design content that everyone can benefit from.

To convert your Eagle library just upload your file here, then you can re-download it in any format through your uploaded models page. The video below demonstrates the converting process:

Currently, all the uploaded parts will be public on SnapEDA until the private version is released. All parts are clearly marked as user-generated content and attributed to the uploader, and can be deleted at any time.

“We are big fans of Eagle and the new changes they’re making, and are confident that the subscription model will bring much-needed features to the software. But we also understand that it is (for many) a showstopper. Hopefully this free tool is helpful to those for whom this is the case.” – SnapEDA

Try now this tool and convert your files here!

CTC By Arduino, Creative Technologies in the Classroom

Arduino and Genuino Education is a worldwide-leading school initiative bringing technology into the hands of teachers and students to create a more inventive learning experience. It offers multiple platforms, including research-based projects and in-class programs such as Creative Technologies in the Classroom(CTC) and other initiatives like: Mastering Arduino: Foundations, Arduino Education on YouTube, #EduMondays on Arduino Blog, and other on-ground events. These initiatives are not launched yet and are coming soon, and one event, BETT 2017, was held in London earlier on January. CTC is the running initiative right now.

CTC is Arduino’s one-of-a-kind STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program for upper secondary education. Students are introduced to the foundations of programming, electronics, and mechanics through a series of playful, well-documented projects and easy-to-assemble experiments.

Arduino’s one-of-a-kind STEM program has been implemented in nearly 500 schools throughout the globe, resulting in an overwhelming satisfaction rate among both students and teachers alike. 95% of instructors continue to use the curriculum in their classrooms year after year, while more than 13,000 students have already participated.

Source: Intel IQ

CTC 101 — running on Arduino 101 — is divided into 4 modules or blocks covering various topics. The CTC program is a toolbox comprised of more than 20 hands-on and easily assembled electronic projects, an online source for course materials, documentation tools, content specific reference sections, and professional support services.These four distinct stages are:

  1. Teacher training (one week)
  2. Themed modules (five modules, 10 weeks)
  3. Student projects (nine weeks)
  4. Technology fair (one day)

Each program comes with a CTC 101 Toolbox consisting of:

  • Sets of electronics components and pre-cut mechanical parts
  • 25+ hands-on projects
  • Live training for teachers
  • Free online documentation and course materials
  • Support forums for teachers and students

“CTC is one of our best educational activities and makes us especially proud on account of its potential for teacher training, student motivation, and transformation of the society in which we live.” – Javier Hidalgo, Head of Exhibitions and Programmes, la Caixa Foundation

Participating schools should have student access to computers and the ability to access the internet – A dedicated room that can function as a workshop, or at least a room with tables to work on – Different exercises may involve common school appliances such as pens, scissors, sticky tape, etc. In order to register your school in the CTC program just apply here.

Arduino Education is committed to empowering educators with the necessary hardware and software tools to create a more hands-on, innovative learning experience. More details about these initiatives are available at Arduino Education and this blog.

Upverter, The Online Hardware Design Hub

If you are a hardware DIY enthusiast who is interested in open source hardware and want to share projects and designs, you have to learn more about Upverter.

 

Upverter is a web-based EDA (Electronic Design Automation) system which enables hardware engineers to design, share, and review schematics and PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards). It does for open-source hardware design what GitHub have done for open-source software development, providing a collaboration platform. And also offers a Wikipedia-like electronic-component libraries which would ease the burden of electronic design substantially.

Upveter’s Tools and Services:

  • Schematic Design

Upverter’s Schematic Capture tool is a simple editor that features a real-time syncing and error catching, which enables the teams to work on the same design at the same time. In addition, the in-design search allows you to find a part, net, or an attribute in your design.

  • PCB Layout

Intelligent and responsive PCB layout editor, tightly integrated with the Schematic Capture tool to create an efficient work environment. The netlist and footprint updates appear automatically so that there is no need to manually import the changes.

  • System Design

This tool enables engineers to capture their high-level ideas without losing them as the design moves forward. It allows them to create system architecture, alongside the circuit diagram and PCB layout design.

  • Real-time Collaboration

A very important feature for teams that makes them able to work and develop the designs together, at the same time, and from different places. With Upverter’s automated version control, every action by a team member is logged, synced, and stored, enabling infinite redo/undo stack and quick jump back to a previous instance.

  • Verified Parts Library

A growing and updated large library with the ability to create or order your parts if you couldn’t find them. For accuracy of the schematic symbol, footprint, and key part attributes, Upverter verifies all the parts’ designs, removing the risk of symbol and footprint errors.

  • 3D Rendering & Export

Upverter helps hardware designers to visualize their boards as a real, three dimensional objects before sending them to manufacturing. The rendering is automated and does not need time. You can also export your model in many file types to bring your product to the real world.

The service is free for open-source circuits and boards enabling most features, the professional and premium plans allow private project with access to more features starting from $1,200 per year.

Sign-up and start explore Upverter more by yourself.

 

A New Era of 3D Printing With Cel Robox’s Root, Mote and Tree!

C Enterprise Ltd., the company behind the amazing 3D printer Cel Robox, is now back on stage with some new upgrades and plug-ins: Root, Mote and Tree! Imagine that you will be able to control your 3D printer missions remotely where you can also control not only one printer, but multiple of them!

Robox is not another 3D printer, the 20-micron accuracy printer is a micro-manufacturing platform. The precise positioning of the 3 axis system along with the mechanical and electronic design of the HeadLock system provides a robust framework on which to build a range of manipulators and scanning devices to allow this robot in a box to do much more than just create beautiful 3D prints.

Key features of Robox is on this slideshow. You can check the full specifications here.

 

If you already have a Robox so don’t worry, you are not left behind. Robox team thinks that it won’t be a good choice to build above the already functional 3D printer in order to increase its capabilities. What they are doing right now is updating peripherals which are standalone and won’t disrupt the quality of the original printer. For example, an original Robox can be upgraded to become a RoboxDual using DIY upgrade kits or vendor provided services.

Increasing the size of printing by making a bigger size Robox was a suggestion for them, but what they were thinking about was different. Making a bigger Robox may risk some features already guaranteed in the original one, so why not make a way that you can function multiple Robox editions at the same time in an amazing architecture that saves space and time? Here comes Tree: a bespoke furniture system that utilises the compact nature of the Robox micro-manufacturing platform to increase productivity. It is  a precision CNC machined from high quality birch plywood with a choice of two different finishes, and is supplied as an easy-to-assemble ‘flat-pack’ solution. Using familiar fasteners, Tree can be assembled by anyone in under 30 minutes with just an allen key and screwdriver. It is a nice addition to your fablab, coworking space or even your office!

To control this Tree, a new plugin from Robox is also introduced: Root! Robox Root is a connectivity
extension platform for all Robox printers. Its core function is to add network capabilities to multiple Robox from a single Root, with secondary functions to include a web interface and printer sharing across a network. It is perfectly suited for use in offices, schools or other professions where multiple users need easy access to a single or multiple printers. The onboard HDMI port also allows you to connect Root to any external display or touchscreen, including its companion, Robox Mote.

Robox Mote is custom designed controller for Root. Using a 5” touch screen connected directly to Root, you can see the status of any connected machines and also control them directly. This allows you to control and execute prints without a connected PC from pre-sliced GCode on SDcard or USB flash drive. Using Mote is an option, you can use any smartphone, tablet, or a computer using AutoMaker – Robox outstanding software.

In order to launch this new phase of Robox with customers involved, the team had launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Although it still has 21 days to go but the campaign exceeded its 10,000 goal.

Check the campaign video to learn more from Robox team:

If you don’t have a Robox, it’s a good opportunity now to get one with a great deal. You can order Robox now for £999, as mentioned in the website, but how about a DualRobox with Root included for £1399? If you already have a Robox it’s time to add a Root to your collection for £149 including Mote and support. And finally, if you are a business or a fablab and want to add a great 3D printing corner to your space then it’s the suitable time to order one of the Tree packages provided in the campaign.

Lots more rewards, packages, specifications and detailed information are provided in the campaign page, so check it out!

Dintervalometer, A Custom Made Intervalometer For DSLR Cameras

If you want to take a timelapse with your camera, it may be helpful to use an intervalometer. It is an attachment or facility on a camera that operates the shutter regularly at set intervals over a period, in order to take timelapse series or take pictures after a set delay.

Daniel Knezevic had developed a custom made intervalometer for DSLR cameras. Dintervalometer (Deni’s intervalometer) enables cameras to shoot time lapses and allows shutter speeds longer than the 30s.

The Dintervalometer is built with an Atmega328P clocked at 10MHz, a PCD8544 84×48 pixel monochrome LCD display with a backlight, a 3.5mm male jack connector, and two tactile push buttons all combined together on a small PCB.

Dintervalometer Features

  • Intervalometer: It is used for time-lapse photography. It controls how often, how long and how many shots are taken.
  • Bulb mode: It allows to take time exposures longer than 30s.
  • Backlight
  • Charging via USB

The Display & Backlight

The PCD8544 LCD display can be powered using 3V3 and it draws very small amounts of power (around 200uA) making it extremely good for use in battery powered devices. It is typically used in Nokia 5110/3310 phones, and it interfaces to microcontrollers through a serial bus interface (SPI).

A custom made backlight were designed to allow using the Dintervalometer in the dark without an additional lamp. It operates like a backlight of a cell phone: it is active for 10 seconds when the user presses a button or the Dintervalometer finishes some job.

The backlight consists of these materials:

  • A sheet of white paper
  • A piece of transparent plastic
  • A double-sided tape

The first layer of the backlight is a sheet of white paper. Its main function is to reflect the light of the LEDs. Then it comes the piece of transparent plastic. The top of the plastic is sanded with a fine sandpaper to diffuse the light. Finally, the LCD comes on the top. The layers are glued together with a double-sided tape.

Powering & Charging

Dintervalometer’s circuit is powered using a LiPo battery and a very low drop 3V3 voltage regulator (TPS79933). A MAX1555 Li+ battery charger IC is used to charge the battery, which also can be powered via USB.

To prevent the over-discharge of the LiPo battery, Dintervalometer monitors and measures the battery voltage every 60 seconds. The user can always see the current status of the battery on the LCD. When the battery reaches the critical voltage, a “Low battery” notification will be shown, then the device will turn off.

The voltage measuring process is done using a voltage divider and AVRs internal 1V1 voltage reference.

The following equation is used to measure the battery voltage in mV, with the known values R2=10k, R3=3k3, Vref=1100mV, ADCres=1024.

Controlling The Camera

Using the 3.5mm male jack connector, the Dintervalometer will trigger the camera to focus and to take a picture. The jack consists of three wires: ground, focus and shutter.

To focus the camera, the focus wire has to be connected to the ground. To release the camera both wires have to be connected to the ground. Dintervalometer is tested with Canon EOS 700D. It has a jack plug for remote shuttering.

The Software

The software is written in C and compiled with avr-gcc. It is divided into 6 logical modules:

  • TIMER: Initializes Timer1 and provides an interrupt based delay function.
  • BATTERY: Initializes ADC to read the battery voltage.
  • BACKLIGHT: Functions are used to control the backlight (initialize and update).
  • GPIO: Initializes IO ports for buttons, camera output, battery charger status indication, auto cut off control output.
  • LCD: It represents the pcd8544 LCD driver, it is reusable code for other projects. The driver provides the API to initialize, control, and print text on the LCD.
  • STATE: The state machine is implemented by using function pointers. Each menu state has three basic operations; show data on LCD, wait for user input, update backlight and battery status, and handle button presses/holds.
State Machine Diagram

Dintervalometer Sources

This project is published on hackady.io. Daniel had shared all the source designs and scripts online, so you can get it on its Github repository.

 

ONO, $99 Smartphone-Powered 3D Printer

Born in 2014 from the simple idea of making 3D printing accessible for everyone, Filippo Moroni and Pietro Gabriele worked on new technology to develop a high quality 3D printer that was affordable and easy to use. Their goal was to make the most diffused printer in the world and to develop a worldwide community around it. After 2 years of hard work, ONO has developed and grown into the first 3D printer of its class. ONO is the first ever smartphone-powered 3D printer that depends on your smartphone screen resolution in its printed outputs.

Similar to DLP (Digital Light Processing) resin printers, ONO needs light to harden the resins. But instead of using an embedded source of light, it uses the light of your smartphone screen to power the operation. Thanks to the customized patented resins ONO uses, they can react perfectly to white light coming from your phone, thus there’s no need for ultra violet light that is used for resin printers. All you need to do is to place your mobile on the phone pad and ONO will do the rest.

ONO has the following components:

  1. LED interface – The logo on the top of the printer flashes to show the status of the print
  2. Motor housing – The top part of the printer which controls the raising of the build plate
  3. Z-axis actuators – Drive gears connected to the motor and the build plate
  4. Build plate – Aluminum plate where the part adheres
  5. Resin tank – Removable tank where resin is poured prior to printing
  6. Printing film – Thin, clear film which seals the resin tank
  7. Adjustable base – The base can be raised or lowered so that the phone screen will sit flat against the printing film.
  8. Phone pad – A soft pad that helps level phones with protruding cameras

 

The affordable $99 3D printer is portable and can be charged using any USB charger whether connected to wall plugs or a power bank. You can clean ONO easily thanks to the removable resin tank and the printing films.

ONO has the following specifications:

  • Printer Dimensions: 180 x 128 x 185 mm – 7.0 x 5.0 x 7.3 in
  • Printing Volume: 124 x 72 x 52 mm – 4.8 x 2.8 x 2.0 in
  • Phone compatibility: Any phone with a screen size below 5.8”
  • Accuracy: Up to 42 micron XY resolution, Up to 100 micron Z resolution
  • (XY resolution depends on the resolution of the phone screen.)
  • Printing Speed: 12 mm per hour

It’s a simple process, after downloading the app you have to choose the design to be printed and then plug in through the headphone jack. Finally fill the resin tank with the resin you prefer. ONO is providing multiple kinds of resins for different uses: solid, flexible, translucent, castable and clear! The $15 resin bottle is said to be able to bring out around 10 simple 3D printed objects, and the amazing thing is that unused resin can be recycled for future prints!

“We believe 3D printing should be accessible to everyone. This is why we set out to design ONO, the first ever smartphone 3D printer.” – ONO team

You can check this video by Adafruit to know more about ONO during World Maker Faire 2016 featuring Giacomo Fornasini:


ONO is a rebrand of OLO, the first edition of the printer that was live on Kickstarter one year ago. More details about ONO can be found at the official website where you can sign up on its newsletter to be updated and to know when ONO will be available to buy.

PCB Rax – A modular system for holding circuit boards

pcb-rax-01-1024x657

The PCB Rax is an easy to use, versatile printed circuit board holder for repair, prototyping , and assembly that can hold nearly any shape of circuit board. Check the details on the link below.

Not all circuit boards are rectangular. PCB Rax was designed to hold all kinds of different shaped circuit boards, from circles to christmas trees, and everything in-between. PCB Rax comes standard with 10″ connecting rods that can hold rectangular boards up to 9-1/4″ x 8″, and odd shaped boards up to 6-1/2″ x 8″. For larger projects the connecting rods can be replaced.

PCB Rax – A modular system for holding circuit boards – [Link]

Introducing “Buy Parts” Electronics-Lab New Feature

In partnership with OEMSecrets, we are pleased to launch a new section in our website. “Buy Parts” is a price-comparison search engine that helps you save time and money, by finding the cheapest price and the best offer while buying electronic components online.

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This tool provides an electronic components comparison from leading distributors and manufacturers in the electronics market, such as Farnell, element14, Mouser, TIstore, etc. It also offers datasheets and part images from suppliers to give you a better understanding of products you are purchasing.

The new search engine comes with these features:

  • Price comparison to help you find the cheapest price.
  • Quantity filter to find you the total cost of the part.
  • Quick datasheet downloads to confirm part specifications.
  • Order with ease with our add to basket ‘buy now‘ buttons.
  • Line by line comparison results dedicated to save your time.
  • Part images available for visual verification before ordering.
  • Quick-find supplier navigation to find favourites.
  • Currency conversions, your zone your currency.

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It is very simple to use. Just enter a part name in the search box and start saving time and money!