STM32F103 vs GD32F103 round 1: Solderability

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Sjaak writes:

I locked myself into the basement with a couple of PCBs, chips and fresh flux for a couple of days. For the STM32F103 vs GD32F103 challenge I needed to have two identical boards with a different microcontroller. As far as I could judge both chips are legit and not counterfeits as we bought both chips from (different) reputable sellers. The used chips are GD32F103CBT6 and STm32F103CBT7. The STM32F103CBT7 is the industrial rated part of the STM32F103CBT6 and is identical except for the temperature range.

More details at smdprutser.nl.

Multicolor signal light with beeper

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Multicolor signal light with beeper for ROS by Gal Pavlin

When debugging algorithms in an autonomous vehicle a light that can show algorithm state in real time was proven to be effective for easier debugging and additional insight to what is going on in the code.
Because all existing signal light were either to bulky or too expensive we decided to build our own. It was actually quite simple with few key elements:

  • 3x RGB LED strip
  • STM32F0 microcontroller with native USB support
  • Beeper

Via Mare & Gal Electronics.

Check out the video after the break.

Troubleshooting tips: Failed debugging with GDB

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Erich Styger writes:

Three years ago I published “Debugging Failure: Check List and Hints” and unfortunately this article is one of the most popular ones: obviously debugging problems are very common. Debugging with GDB works usually fine, but if things are failing, then it can be hard to find the cause for it. Recently I have been asked to check some failures, so here are two more hints about what could go wrong…

More details at MCU on Eclipse blog.

 

App note: Measuring inrush current

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Inrush current evaluation from Aimtec. Link here

In AC/DC power converters beyond a few watts, during the initial application of power an excessive inrush current will flow when the input capacitors are suddenly charged. If unhindered the inrush current can easily exceed 50 A at the peak of the AC cycle and severely stress the converter’s fuse and input rectifiers, thereby significantly reducing the reliability and life expectancy of the modules. Universal power supplies (supplies which accept a wide range of input voltages) are particularly susceptible to high inrush current since their input capacitors must be large enough to handle line voltages as low as 110 VAC, as well as voltages as high as 305 VAC at start-up. In these environments, a power-supply failure or a tripped circuit breaker can be inconvenient at best, and expensive or dangerous at worst.

App note: Pulse width modulation (PWM) vs. Analog dimming of LEDs

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App note from Aimtec on dimming LEDs. Link here

With the phenomenal growth of the LED lighting market, there has been a natural growth in demand for highly efficient and controlled LED drivers. Applications from ‘smart’ street lights, flashlights, digital signage and many others require not only highly regulated currents, but in many cases dimming capability in order to sustain the energy efficient scheme and end use flexibility behind LED design.

As there are several ways to achieve dimming of an LED, we describe here the main methods that are used to provide dimming for LED’s from a switch mode LED driver.

STM8 Microcontrollers

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Here’s a three-part series of posts by Shawon Shahryiar detailing the STM8 microcontrollers:

STM8 microcontrollers are 8-bit general purpose microcontrollers from STMicroelectronics (STM). STM is famous mainly for its line of 32-bit ARM Cortex microcontrollers – the STM32s. STM8 microcontrollers are rarely discussed in that context. However, STM8 MCUs are robust and most importantly they come packed with lots of hardware features. Except for the ARM core, 32-bit architecture, performance and some minor differences, STM8s have many peripheral similarities with STM32s.

Read the full post at Embedded Lab’s blogPart 1 and Part 2 are also available.

Check out the video after the break.

 

Custom 3D printed magnetic encoder disks for robotics projects

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A how-to on making a custom DIY magnetic disk encoder by Erich Styger:

I’m making great progress with the firmware for the new Mini Sumo Robot (see “New Concept for 2018 Mini Sumo Roboter“). The goal is a versatile and low-cost Mini Sumo robot, and the robot comes with the feature of magnetic position encoders. In a previous article I have explained how to mold custom tires for robots (see “Making Perfect Sticky DIY Sumo Robot Tires“), this article is about how to make DIY Magnetic disk encoders.

Via MCU on Eclipse.

ESP8266 Wi-Fi button – DIY Amazon dash button clone

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Rui Santos over at Random Nerd Tutorials posted a step by step guide on building an ESP8266 Wi-Fi button:

In this project you’re going to build an ESP8266 Wi-Fi Button that can trigger any home automation event. This is like a remote control that you can take in your pocket or place anywhere that when pressed sends out an email. It can also be called a DIY Amazon Dash Button clone.

Check out the video after the break.

 

Yellowstone JTAG debugging

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A follow-up to the FPGA-based disk controller for Apple II post, Steve writes:

After a month of inactivity, I finally returned to my unfinished Yellowstone disk controller project to investigate the JTAG programming problems. Yellowstone is an FPGA-based disk controller card for the Apple II family, that aims to emulate a Liron disk controller or other models of vintage disk controller. It’s still a work in progress.
Last month I discovered some JTAG problems. With the Yellowstone card naked on my desk, and powered from an external 5V supply, JTAG programming works fine.

More details at Big Mess o’ Wires.