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16 Jul 2015


by Leo Kelion @ bbc.com:

The BBC has revealed the final design of the Micro Bit, a pocket-sized computer set to be given to about one million UK-based children in October.

The device – which features a programmable array of red LED lights – includes two buttons and a built-in motion sensor that were not included in a prototype shown off in March.

But another change means the product no longer has a slot for a thin battery.

That may compromise its appeal as a wearable device.

An add-on power pack, fitted with AA batteries, will be needed to use it as a standalone product.

The BBC’s director general Tony Hall said the device should help tackle the fact children were leaving school knowing how to use computers but not how to program them.

BBC Micro Bit computer’s final design revealed – [Link]

16 Jul 2015


by Martin Cooke @ elektormagazine.com:

Microchip has announced a new addition to its portfolio of human interface solutions. The MTCH6303 supports touch panel sensors with up to 1000 nodes and 10 inch diagonals. The device uses signal processing to filter noise and provide predictive tracking of up to 10 fingers, at scan rates of up to 250Hz with a minimum of 100Hz each for five touches. The projected-capacitive touch controller provides multi-touch coordinates as well as a ready-made multi-finger surface gesture suite that can bring modern user interface elements such as pinch and zoom, multifinger scrolling and swipes to any embedded design with minimal loading on the host processor. It can also be used with Microchip’s MTCH652 high-voltage line driver to achieve better SNR in noisy environments.

When combined with the MGC3130, the MTCH6303 solution is also capable of supporting 3D air gestures up to 20cm distance from the touch panel. Microchip’s MGC3130 E-field-based 3D tracking and gesture controller includes Microchip’s patented GestIC technology, allowing user input via natural hand and finger movements in free space.

Microchip Touch and Gesture Solutions – [Link]

16 Jul 2015


LTC4015 is a highly integrated, high voltage multichemistry synchronous step-down battery charger controller with onboard telemetry functions. The device efficiently transfers power from a variety of input sources, such as wall adapters and solar panels, to a Li-Ion/Polymer, LiFePO4 or lead-acid battery stack and system load up to 35V.

It provides advanced system monitoring and management functionality, including battery Coulomb counting and health monitoring. While a host microcontroller is required to access the most advanced features of the LTC4015, the use of an I²C port is optional. The main charging features of the product can be adjusted using pin-strap configurations and programming resistors.

35VIN & VOUT battery charge controller delivers up to 20A – [Link]

16 Jul 2015


Andy build an android reflow controller based on ATMega8L . He writes:

Welcome to the never ending saga of Andy and his reflow controllers. About a year ago I published a project writeup showing how I built a PID-based reflow controller. It featured a 640×360 graphical LCD from the Sony U5 Vivaz mobile phone and was all-surface mount. It worked well and continues to serve me well to this day but I always thought that there were improvements that I could make in several areas.

Firstly, there’s no reason why it should have been all surface-mount. The LCD in particular has a 0.4mm connector that many people will find very hard to solder by hand. After all, presumably you’re building a reflow controller to help solve that very problem. Chicken and egg.

An Android Reflow controller that anyone can build – [Link]

15 Jul 2015


Turn loads on and off with your Arduino! Use 5V to control up to 100V. Add a motor, solenoid, or get creative! P channel or N Channel.

This is version 2.0 of the previously successful kickstarter project I launched last year. I have a ton of these PCB boards left over and it got me thinking. Why not find a P channel MOSFET with the same pinout and use it to control the direction of the motor also. I looked around and found the IRF5210. I ordered up a batch and tested them out. All thats left to do now is order a large quantity for the price break and assemble the rest of the boards.

Super Simple Arduino Load Driver V2.0 – [Link]

15 Jul 2015


by Robert Gawron @ robertgawron.blogspot.com:

Li-ion cells become more and more popular due to their capacity and reasonable prices. In this entry I will present how to build a simple li-ion battery charger based on MCP73831 chip. It’s a quite useful device for DYI projects,in addition its cost is only around 1,5 euro.

The device uses USB port as a power supply (mini-USB connector). I use the standard gold-pins as an output socket. There’re three of them, but only two are used (looking on the image, counting from top: V+, V-). I will design my li-ion based devices in the same way (same socket, but female), then if I will connect it in the incorrect direction (rotated 180 degrees) they won’t be damaged (V- connected to V-, but V+ connected to n/c pin) – simple way to avoid plugging in an incorrect way.

How to make a USB Li-Ion charger – [Link]

15 Jul 2015


by Graham Prophet @ edn-europe.com:

Fujitsu has used an ultra small package for this memory part, which it presents as a solution for power-critical miniature applications in sensor and wearable markets.

The 1Mbit SPI FRAM is in an 8-pin wafer level chip scale package (WL-CSP) which is an additional package variant to the existing product MB85RS1MT. In comparison to the industry standard SOP-8 package, the new WL-CSP package, which measures 3.09 x 2.28 x 0.33 mm, reduces the surface mounting area by 77%, and the device height by 80%.

1Mbit SPI FRAM comes in chip-scale packaging – [Link]

14 Jul 2015


by Larry Hardesty @ phys.org

The latest buzz in the information technology industry regards “the Internet of things”—the idea that vehicles, appliances, civil-engineering structures, manufacturing equipment, and even livestock would have their own embedded sensors that report information directly to networked servers, aiding with maintenance and the coordination of tasks.

Realizing that vision, however, will require extremely low-power sensors that can run for months without battery changes—or, even better, that can extract energy from the environment to recharge.

Last week, at the Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits, MIT researchers presented a new power converter chip that can harvest more than 80 percent of the energy trickling into it, even at the extremely low power levels characteristic of tiny solar cells. Previous experimental ultralow-power converters had efficiencies of only 40 or 50 percent.

Ultralow-power circuit improves efficiency of energy harvesting to more than 80 percent – [Link]


14 Jul 2015


by protoneer.co.nz:

We have designed the Arduino CNC Shield to use all the pins that GRBL implemented. We have also added a few extra pins to make things a little easier. GRBL is opensource software that runs on an Arduino Uno that takes G-Code commands via Serial and turns the commands into motor signals. Now compatible with Raspberry PI.

Arduino CNC Shield – 100% GRBL Compatable – [Link]

14 Jul 2015


by Norm Quesnal @ digikey.com:

Thermal Conductivity: A measure of the ability of a material to transfer heat. Given two surfaces on either side of a material with a temperature difference between them, the thermal conductivity is the heat energy transferred per unit time and per unit surface area, divided by the temperature difference.

Thermal Conductivity: What is it and Why You Should Care – [Link]





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