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BML GPIO-14 USB Board for PCs

BML project for using a $2 FTDI FT260Q for adding 14 bits of GPIO to any PC via USB with no device drivers required.

Ever miss the simple days of using a PC’s LPT1 parallel port to bit-bang GPIO over 8 output pins and 4 input pins of the DB-25 connector? I sure do. My first design project as a BSEE graduate in 1993 was to design a LPT1 controlled test fixture for the Motorola MDT-9100-T data terminal (shown below). Those were the days. By multiplexing 12 parallel port pins into 74HC dip CMOS latches and transceivers my test jig tested all the IO signals of the MDT-9100s 386sx motherboard. All of the diagnostic software could be written in C on my Windows 3.1 desktop thanx to this versatile interface. Those were the glorious simple days of computing. Sigh…. Then USB came along and killed the wonderfully easy parallel port interface.

BML GPIO-14 USB Board for PCs – [Link]

Synchronous four-switch buck-boost controller suits transport and medical use

Synchronous four-switch buck-boost controller suits transport and medical use

A 150V high efficiency four-switch synchronous buck-boost DC/DC controller, the LTC3777, by Analog Devices operates from input voltages above, below or equal to the regulated output voltage and had an efficiency of up to 99 per cent.

The Power by Linear DC/DC controller has an input voltage of 4.5 to 150V and operates from a high input voltage source or from an input that has high voltage surges, eliminating the need for external surge suppression devices. This, says Analog Devices, makes it suitable for transportation, industrial and medical

To prevent high on-chip power dissipation in high input voltage applications, the LTC3777 integrates a low quiescent current high efficiency switching bias supply for its internal power consumption. The output voltage of the LTC3777 can be set from 1.2 to 150V at output currents up to tens of amps, depending on the choice of external components. Output power up to 500W can be delivered with a single device. Higher powers can be achieved when multiple circuits are configured in parallel. The LTC3777’s 1.5-Ohm n-channel MOSFET gate drivers can be adjusted from 6.0 to 10V, enabling the use of logic-level or standard-threshold MOSFETs.

The LTC3777 employs a proprietary current mode control architecture for constant frequency in buck, boost or buck-boost modes. The operating frequency can be synchronised to an external clock from 50 to 600kHz, while an I/O constant current loop provides support for battery charging and over-load protection. The user can select either forced continuous mode or discontinuous mode to maximize light load efficiency. There are also seamless transfers between operating regions, a power good output voltage monitor, adjustable soft-start and input overvoltage lockout, and output voltage disconnect during shutdown.

The LTC3777 is available in a 48-lead 7.0 x7.0mm e-LQFP package with pin skipping for high voltage spacing. Extended and industrial versions are available from –40 to +125 degree C.

Synchronous four-switch buck-boost controller suits transport and medical use – [Link]

DAC Shield For Arduino Nano using MCP4725

This project features an easy to use Digital to Analog converter (DAC) shield for Arduino Nano. The project is built using MC4725 12Bit DAC IC over I2C communication. The shield directly seats on Arduino Nano and also can be used as stand-alone DAC converter that can be connected to other micro-controller board with help of 5 pin header connector. Output is 0-5V. PCB jumper J1 provided to select the address in case of using multiple modules on the same I2C .

Shield also provided with high current driver circuit, which converters voltage to current and can be used to drive Laser diode or LED. Maximum possible load 500mA.

DAC Shield For Arduino Nano using MCP4725 – [Link]

Cubibot: New affortable 3D Printer

Cubibot is a small, clean, simple, stylish & cloud base 3D printer with a heated bed that brings fun and education to your life. Live on kickstarter:

Cubibot is an affordable, user-friendly, high-quality 3D printer with a compact and dynamic design made to fit your lifestyle. Cubibot balances functionality and ease of use without compromising features. Matching the performance and quality of expensive, professional 3D printers at an affordable cost, Cubibot enables you to realize all your imaginations!

Cubibot: New affortable 3D Printer – [Link]

Raspberry Pi Twitter

Post Tweets With Your Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is famous for its great computing strength and ability to run the Linux operating system. In today’s tutorial, you’ll learn how to make your Raspberry Pi tweet. You can add extra features to this project to post tweets autonomously if any specific event occurs. Let’s get started.

Required Parts

You’ll need following parts to make this project.

  • Raspberry Pi running Raspbian OS (Any model)
  • USB Mouse
  • USB Keyboard
  • HDMI Compatible Monitor
  • HDMI Cable
  • USB power supply for Raspberry (5V 2A)
  • Working Internet Connection

Create App In Twitter

You need to create an app in Twitter so that Raspberry Pi can use to make tweets on your behalf. Go here to make a twitter app. The Raspberry Pi will require following parameters to make tweets:

  • Consumer Key (API Key)
  • Consumer Secret (API Secret)
  • Access Token
  • Access Token Secret

You can find all these details from your app.

Creating An App In Twitter
Creating An App In Twitter

Store Keys In Raspberry Pi

In this step, you need to create a python file in your Raspberry Pi and store all the Keys and Tokens there. Create a file named keys.py in your working folder with all information in it.

consumer_key = "Place your consumer key here"
consumer_secret = "Place your consumer secret key here"
access_token = "Place the access token here"
access_token_secret = "place the access token secret here"
Get Access Keys And Access Tokens From App
Get Access Keys And Access Tokens From App

Now, save the file and go the nex step of this tutorial.

Install Twython

Well, what is Twython actually? Twython is the premier Python library providing an easy way to access the Twitter data. It’s been tested by companies, educational institutions and individuals alike. This amazing library will make our job a lot easier and the code much shorter. To install the Twython library, follow the given steps:

 sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade
 sudo apt-get install python-setuptools
 sudo easy_install pip
 sudo pip install twython
 sudo pip install requests
 sudo pip install requests-oauthlib

pip is required to install Twython, so it’s installed in 3rd step. But if you already have pip installed, just ignore that step.

Write The Python Script & Run It

Open a file in your working directory in your Raspberry Pi and rename it to twitter.py. Make sure that it is in the same directory wit previously created keys.py file. Now, copy-paste the following code using any editor or IDE:

import sys

from twython import Twython
from keys import (
 consumer_key,
 consumer_secret,
 access_token,
 access_token_secret
)
twitter = Twython(
 consumer_key,
 consumer_secret,
 access_token,
 access_token_secret
)
message = "My first tweet using Rapberry Pi! Yeh!"
twitter.update_status(status=message)
print("Raspberry Pi successfully tweeted: %s " % message)

Pretty simple, isn’t it? Actually, the Twython library performs lots of tasks behind the screen keeping the code surprisingly small.

Now, save the file and open terminal in your raspberry pi. Write the following command and hit the Enter key to run this Python script:

python twitter.py

That’s all. Now you can see that is your Raspberry Pi is tweeting successfully.

Advancing power supply solutions through the promise of GaN

by Michael Seeman and Dave Freeman from Texas Instrument:
One important innovation that promises to contribute significantly to meeting this goal is the use of gallium-nitride (GaN) in power applications. GaN is already an established semiconductor material, employed extensively in LED lighting and increasingly important in wireless applications. Now, with process advances and defect rate improvements, GaN is providing a number of advantages in electronic power supplies that convert electricity between alternating and direct current, change voltage levels and perform a number of functions to ensure the availability of reliable electric power.

Advancing power supply solutions through the promise of GaN – [Link]

ESP8266 PlaneSpotter

@ blog.squix.org has published his latest project.

After many hours of work I’m very happy to finally publish all the sources for the ESP8266 PlaneSpotter project. It is not yet really in a V1.0.0 state but I’m sure with the help of the community it will quickly get better. While this post is more a “making-of” you can find build instructions on Github: https://github.com/squix78/esp8266-plane-spotter-color

ESP8266 PlaneSpotter – [Link]

RELATED POSTS

That’s how nano solar cells work!

20160919102751_nano-solar-cell-fom
by Harry Baggen @ elektormagazine.com

Researchers from the AMOLF institute and Eindhoven University of Technology have developed a theory and an experimental method that for the first time provide a detailed description of how a nanoscale solar cell works. Previously this was difficult due to the extremely small dimensions of these solar cells. This new method brings the practical use of nanotechnology for sustainable energy supply a step closer.

That’s how nano solar cells work! – [Link]

Web-Bluetooth Devices Integration

Chrome Browser version 53 came out with a new feature: Origin Trial for Bluetooth which allows websites to use this feature and enable Web Bluetooth for all their visitors. Web Bluetooth is a new technology that connects the Web with the Internet of Things, this technology will provide a level of integration in the IoT scene that never happened before making web designers eager to get their bits out into the real world.

There is no need to install a mobile app on your smartphone to control any of your Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) devices anymore. Thanks to this technology, it will be easier to build one solution that will work on all platforms, including both mobile and desktop, that result to lower development costs, more open source control interfaces for various physical products, and more innovation.

To understand how that works, here’s an example of a drone controlled from a web app:

In Bluetooth Low Energy networks, devices play two roles. A device can be either a “Central” or a “Peripheral”. Bluetooth device with services that correspond to one function of the device. Each service exposes variables called characteristics that represent one parameter of the service, which can be read, written or both. Each service and characteristic is identified by a unique 16-bit or 128-bit number and they are defined by the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group).

Bluetooth Low Energy: Peripherals, Services and Characteristics
Bluetooth Low Energy: Peripherals, Services and Characteristics

How to use Web Bluetooth

  • In order to use Web Bluetooth, your site must be served over a secure connection (HTTPS). A secure website is becoming a requirement for a growing number of new web APIs. One way is using GitHub hosting. The implementation of the Web Bluetooth API is partially complete and currently available on Chrome OS, Chrome for Android M, Linux, and Mac.
  • Go to chrome://flags/#enable-web-bluetooth, enable the highlighted flag, restart Chrome and you should be able to scan for and connect to nearby Bluetooth devices, read/write Bluetooth characteristics, receive GATT (Generic Attribute Profile) Notifications and know when a Bluetooth device gets disconnected.
  • Building a Web Bluetooth App

This is the process that will be common for all Web Bluetooth apps:

  1. Scan for a relevant Device
  2. Connect to it
  3. Get the Service you are interested in
  4. Get the Characteristic you are interested in
  5. Read, Write or Subscribe to the Characteristic

The code should be written in JavaScript. It has to scan for a device with an identified Service number, then ask for this service, ask for a specific characteristic number, and finally write the desired command. An example for hacking a light bulb and connecting it to the web via bluetooth is available here.

Although the browser is the most ubiquitous cross-platform operating system that the world has ever seen working on all platforms and systems, it could be a threat because of many malicious websites that mischief with your security. Sites ask the browser to show a list of nearby Bluetooth devices matching certain criteria, and the user either picks which to grant access to or cancels the dialog. Thus, users’ permission is the only responsible about their own privacy.

Two conflicting views are raising right now, one is for IoT enthusiasts and the other’s for security geeks. Essentially, this integration will push forward the development of new IoT applications. but it may risk users’ privacy. On the contrary, Developers are promising to minimize risks and are assuring that connection through this API will be secure and privacy-preserving. The Chrome team will end the trial in next January (2017), and after that, they expect to be able to stabilize the feature and move it closer to a general release.

Further details can be found at the official documentation website, the blog of one the developers, and this step-by-step tutorial. More about the security model can be reached here.

Evince raises £750,240 to develop diamond-based electronics

news-evince3

by Julien Happich @ edn.com

The company has demonstrated proof of concept devices and is currently developing prototypes of two solid-state devices based on proprietary IP that leverages diamond’s unique electronic properties.  It is now announcing £750,240 of new equity investment from business angels and other private investors.

Diamond offers the potential to yield devices that are up to 100x faster than silicon and could therefore revolutionise electronics across a broad range of industries.

Evince raises £750,240 to develop diamond-based electronics – [Link]