Open Source software has been around for decades. But open source on hardware especially microcontroller is not much a reality these days. But there is something which might change this: RISC-V is a free and open RISC instruction set architecture and for me it has the potential to replace some of the proprietary architectures currently used. RISC-V is not new, but it gets more and more traction in Academia (no surprise). Not only because it is open: Think about all the recent security issues with proprietary architectures: Spectre, Meltdown, and Foreshadow just be the most recent one.
I wanted to play with RISC-V for over a year, but finally a week ago I did one of these “hey, let’s buy that board” thing again. Sometimes these boards get on a pile to wait a few weeks or longer to get used, but that one I had to try out immediately :-).
I did a teardown a while ago on a cheap eBay electromagnetic radiation detector, and if you recall the performance of that meter was mediocre at the best. This time around though, I’ve got a MEDA PLM-100 AC magnetometer. Since MEDA (Macintyre Electronic Design Associates) specializes in fluxgate and search coil magnetometers, this PLM-100 magnetometer is a piece of professional test equipment. In this blog post, you will see some teardown pictures and for those who want to see some real world actions you can take a look at the video included towards the end.
Another application note from Analog Devices this time about the superiority of digital over mechanical potentionmenters. Link here (PDF)
Potentiometers have been widely used since the early days of electronic circuits, providing a simple way to calibrate a system, adjusting offset voltage or gain in an amplifier, tuning filters, controlling screen brightness, among other uses. Due to their physical construction, mechanical potentiometers have some limitations inherent to their nature, such as size, mechanical wear, wiper contamination, resistance drift, sensitivity to vibration, humidity, and layout inflexibility.
Digital potentiometers are designed to overcome all these problems, offering increased reliability and higher accuracy with smaller voltages glitches. The mechanical potentiometer has now been relegated to environments where the digital potentiometer cannot be a suitable replacement, such as high temperature environments or in high power applications.
Comparing both technologies is the simplest way to discern which is the optimal solution for your system.
App note from Analog Devices on robust precision signal conditioning. Link here (PDF)
Industrial measurement and control systems often need to interface to sensors while operating in noisy environments. Because sensors typically generate very small electrical signals, extracting their output from the noise can be challenging. Applying signal conditioning techniques, such as amplification and filtering, can aid in the extraction of the signal because these techniques increase the sensitivity of the system. The signal can then be scaled and shifted to take full advantage of high performance ADCs.
I have been spending way too much time playing with the new 3D printer, so have to get back to some electronics. Since the next CWTD.ORG episode is coming up, I decided to build another ‘Test Gadget’. This time it is a Signal Generator based on the SI5351 clock generator. I had purchased a couple Chinese versions of the Adafruit 5351 module when I was working on the ‘Sweeperino Jr. ‘ and wanted to see how well they worked.
avishorp has written a small program that pops up a message whenever a serial port over USB device is plugged in, that is available on GitHub (code) and (installer)
PopCom is a COM port plug-in/plug-out notifier. Whenever a USB device that emulates a COM port is connected to the computer, a pop-up will be displayed, describing the device that has been plugged in and the COM number assigned to it. This pop-up helps determining the COM number assigned to each device, a number that is required for communicating with it.
Old app note from Maxim Integrated about high-precision temperature measurement. Link here (PDF)
Many industrial and medical applications require temperature measurements with accuracies of ±1°C or better, performed with reasonable cost over a wide range of temperatures (-270°C to +1750°C), and often with low power consumption. Properly selected, standardized, modern thermocouples paired with high-resolution ADC data acquisition systems (DASs) can cover this wide temperature range and ensure reproducible measurements, even in the harshest industrial environments.
App note from Maxim Integrated on electronic devices sterilization. Link here (PDF)
Although there is considerable literature about sterilization methods and equipment, there is very little written about the impact of sterilization on electronics. This article compares popular sterilization methods and discusses their suitability for objects containing electronics.