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8 Jul 2015


by Les Hughson @ edn.com:

The ATMega168 is a great general purpose 8-bit AVR microcontroller from Atmel. It has 23 GPIO pins, but sometimes (as I have found) you can run out of I/O pins as your design grows. This happened to me recently when, of the 23 GPIO pins available, 2 were taken up by an external ceramic resonator, 1 for the reset line, 3 for serial coms, 14 for the LCD, and 3 for RGB LED control. This used all 23 GPIO pins, with none left for the four buttons I needed. What to do? This Design Idea has the solution.

A close look at the ATMega168 data sheet revealed that the I/O pins available on the 28-pin DIP package and on the 32-pin TQFP package are not all the same. On the TQFP package, there are an additional pair of VCC & GND pins and an additional two ADC input pins on top of the advertised 23 GPIOs. So if I could read my 4 buttons with these extra ADC inputs, all would be OK and the design would be saved.

Read multiple switches using ADC – [Link]

7 Jul 2015


by GardenState @ element14.com:

Silicon is receiving considerable attention as an active material for next- generation lithium-ion battery anodes because of its gravimetric capacity–a measure in mAh/g of the total charge capacity stored by the cell or battery, per gram of the battery’s weight.

Unfortunately, the large volume change of silicon during charge–discharge cycles has in the past weakened its competitiveness. Recently, however, a research group from Samsung reported in the publication Nature Communications that using direct graphene growth over silicon nanoparticles without silicon carbide formation resulted in a near doubling of run-time by expanding energy density– the amount of stored power in a given area — to 1.8 times that of current batteries.

Samsung Researchers Nearly Double Lithium-ion Battery Capacity – [Link]

7 Jul 2015


by Martin Cooke @ elektormagazine.com:

Bench power supplies aren’t really pieces of kit that get your pulse racing, they just sit there doing their job, in some cases giving gentle background heating to keep the lab warm in the winter and providing enough ballast to stop your bench wobbling about too much. The traditional bench top power supply always came with a sturdy handle on the top to give you a clue that inside is some serious ironwork and that this beast is going to be heavy. But that was all yesterday; buy a power supply today and it doesn’t look much different from any other piece of test gear; covered in buttons with a TFT display and the chances are you can wrap your hand around it and pick it up one-handed. That’s true of the HMC8043 three channel 100-watt bench power supply from Rohde & Schwarz I received for reviewing.

Rohde & Schwarz HMC8043 PSU: Review and Teardown – [Link]

7 Jul 2015

This circuit is designed for dedicated graphic display applications. It shows the basic configuration of personal computer hardware and functions. It is a generic type of a processing unit that handles display and improves image quality. It also manages data transfer from flash drives and other serial devices such as computer mouse and keyboard.

The design is comprised of different parts that serve different functions. The PX1011B-EL1 device is a high-performance, low-power, single-lane PCI Express electrical PHYsical layer (PHY) that handles the protocol and signaling between FPGA and Motherboard. The FPGAs or field-programmable gate arrays serves as the main processors of this designed circuit. It is configured to process data at very fast rate and control bidirectional data buses including I/Os for the display. It has memory interfaces that handle the SRAM, DRAM, and Flash memory. It also has accelerator functions that handle displays and other monitoring applications and fixed peripherals that handle GIGe, USB, CAN, I2C, SD, UART and GPIO. The Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) device is a memory component that is used as a cache memory of FPGA. The Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) stores bits of data in separate capacitor within an integrated circuit. It also serves as the main memory element so that the FPGA’s work will be lessened. The PTN36242L is a dual port SuperSpeed USB 3.0 redriver IC that enhances signal quality by performing receive equalization on the deteriorated input signal followed by transmit de-emphasis maximizing system link performance. The USB microcontroller is a programmable interface chip that is used to integrate USB 2.0 port. The USB 2.0 is provided for longer cable length applications. The PCA24S08A is Electrically Erasable and Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM), which allow you to reprogram the VID/PID for the USB device Identification.

The CBTL06122AHF device is a six-channel (‘HEX’) multiplexer for display port and PCI express Gen2 applications and provides four differential channels capable of switching and multiplexing applications. The PTN3361B device is a high-speed level shifter which converts four lanes of low-swing AC-coupled differential input signals to DVI v1.0 and HDMI v1.3a compliant open-drain current-steering differential output signals, up to 1.65 Gbit/s per lane and it is connected to a HEX multiplexer. The design is practically excellent since it considers the components’ cost. It can be used for commercial applications and as a reference for CPU development. It is also suitable for data management applications such as accounting or inventory.

Supercomputing Video Card for Personal Computer – [Link]

7 Jul 2015


The LTC6268-10 is a single 4GHz FET input op amp for high dynamic range and high speed transimpedance amplifier (TIA) applications. This new decompensated amplifiers extend the speed and dynamic range capabilities of this ultralow bias current op amp family for applications with a gain of 10 or higher. Input bias current is 0.9pA max over the 40°C to 85°C temperature range and just 4pA max over the entire 40°C to 125°C temperature range. Wideband voltage and current noise are 4nV/√Hz and 7fA/√Hz, respectively. With 0.45pF input capacitance and 1000V/μs slew rate, the LTC6268-10 is well suited for photodiode and photomultiplier (PMT) circuits, high impedance sensor applications and for driving analog to digital converters (ADCs). The part is also available as a dual op amp (LTC6269-10) and in unity gain stable options (single LTC6268 and dual LTC6269).

LTC6268-10 – 4GHz Ultra-Low Bias Current FET Input Op Amp – [Link]


7 Jul 2015


by Mary Anne Tupta @ edn.com:

DC-DC converters are widely used components that convert DC power from one voltage to another, producing a regulated output voltage. These devices are used in many electronic products, including laptops, mobile phones, and instrumentation. Like any device, DC-DC converters need to be characterized by manufacturers and by engineers evaluating them for a design.

Given the increased pressure to develop products that consume less power, design engineers are looking for ways to increase power conversion efficiencies. Thus, numerous measurements are required to characterize the electrical parameters of DC-DC converters.

Simplify DC-DC Converter Characterization – [Link]

7 Jul 2015


by circuitstoday.com:

This is a brief review of the capabilities and ease of use of three of the most interesting, innovative and downright disruptive web-based EDA tools:

Autodesk 123D Circuits (formerly Circuits.io)

The same simple astable multivibrator circuit is entered into each tool and the design process followed through simulation (where offered), to PCB layout and Gerber download.

How to Build PCB Online using Web Based EDA Tools – [Link]

6 Jul 2015


Rui @ ruijc.webnode.com writes:

The fact of having a CNC available at home gave me the freedom to build stuff more easily and quickly than before. Without this machine parts would take some time to manufacture and most likely would not end so perfect. This caused new ideas to be easily implemented.

This was one of those ideas that was born only by the desire to build a small replica of a gaming machine without any electronica inside. However,i would not pass up the opportunity to invent and build something to install inside.
I wanted to have something different and unique for that cabinet and not have a mini game machine. I chose to create a small and simple weather station to show not only temperature and humidity values but also hours and if possible something else …
Weather Station – [Link]
6 Jul 2015


Company Quectel brings to a market its first high-speed module EC20 which you can try yourself. More than fifty developers worked for over ten months on this module.

We´d like to share with you its parameters, as well as hints, which can make your work with this module easier – this is our biggest bonus to sale of modules from company Quectel.

Are you interested in compatibility with previous modules?

Module EC20 arises from the M10 GPRS module and the UC20 UMTS module. These modules can be designed to a PCB in a way that you have ensured variability and a possible replacement in case, that you wish to have one board for several solutions …

From theory to the praxis…

Discussions about LTE already last for some time. One LTE transmitter (800MHz) manages up to six times bigger area than one UMTS transmitter (2100MHz). LTE protocol is already from the beginning (in contrast to UMTS) written as a high-capacity with a fast response. The first phase of area coverage is usually equal to speed of UMTS uplink/downlink. After reaching almost a 100% coverage, then usually starts the second phase, which actually speeds up to current theoretical speeds of 172,8Mbps (downlink) and 57,6Mbps (uplink).

Let´s have look at frequencies

In presence, 4 bands are functional – on frequencies 800/900/1800/2100MHz and the 2600MHz band is not used so far. EC20 manages all these bands. EC20 will be produced in 2 versions, as EC20-E (for Europe) and EC20-A (for USA). Do you know that in USA also the 1559 to 1610 MHz band was approved, which however should interfere GPS signal in 1525 – 1559 MHz band, according to measurements?

And at last – advantages of EC20
  • No doubt and after experience with developers – the LCC package offering a possibility to assemble by hand or by machine.
  • Module is not the smallest LTE module in the world, but belongs to the smallest LTE ones. EC 20 also incorporates implemented GPS/GLONASS receiver.
  • Supports MIMO technology – multiple-input multiple-output, i.e. – multi antenna systems.
  • The EC20 module is able to communicate via USB port in Windows, LINUX, as well as in Android.
Frequently discussed eCall

The EC20 module also supports „emergency call“. In the time of creation of this article it was decided that eCall will be compulsory in vehicles from April 2018. In every way, company Quectel is already prepared and supports this system in almost all its modules.

The eCall function also related to another advantages and functions in the module, for example:

  • Low power consumption
  • High RF power and high sensitivity <-108.5dBm
  • Fimware can be updated remotely – DFOTA (firmware over the air)

Do you want to speed up to a “Long Term Evolution”? With Quectel modules it´s already possible… – [Link]

6 Jul 2015

This project is an automatic pet feeding system using NXP Semiconductors’ PCA8565. The PCA8565 is a CMOS1 real time clock and calendar optimized for low power consumption. A programmable clock output, interrupt output and voltage-low detector are also provided. All address and data are transferred serially via a two-line bidirectional I2C-bus with a maximum bus speed of 400kbps. The built-in word address register is incremented automatically after each written or read data byte. It provides a year, month, day, weekday, hours, minutes and seconds based on a 32.768kHz quartz crystal. It features alarm and timer functions, low current, and extended operating temperature range of -40 degrees Celsius to +125 degrees Celsius. It further contains an 8-bit year register that can hold values from 00 to 99 in BCD format. It also compensates for leap years, thus leap year correction is automatic.

The electronic part of the device is just an alarm clock based on NXP PCA8565. The alarm initiates an interrupt that awakes the microcontroller. The later one sends a signal to the motor to control its forward and reverse mechanism. The dc motor must make a full turn and stop in the initial position to be ready for the next loading. This is achieved by an opto-interrupter OBP625, which provides a feedback to the microcontroller to stop powering the motor. The motor itself is controlled by PWM based on the timer IC in order to slow it down to a practical speed. The current time and the alarm time are displayed by a 4-digit LED display combined from two HDSP-521E 2-digit displays. Time to display is selected by a 3-state slider connected to pins RA0 and RA1 of PIC16F684. In the middle position of this switch both inputs are pulled up (internally). Two buttons at inputs RA4 and RA5 accomplish time setting and alarm setting. The LED display is controlled by SAA1064. The controller and PIC communicate via the I2C interface. The display is turned OFF after 10 seconds upon release of any button. This is achieved by simply turning OFF the controller and display power by a MOSFET IRLML6402 when the voltage on pin RC2 of PIC becomes 5V.

Food and water are two essential elements for keeping pets happy and healthy. But what happens if you have to work all day, can you imagine that starving look when you come home? As a pet owner, you have to find a way that your pet is fed on time. Keep your pet well fed when you’re away using the automatic pet feeder. You never have to worry about rushing home or working late. It ensures that your pets never miss a meal and maintain their regular eating schedule.

Automatic Pet Feeder – [Link]





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