Silicon die analysis: Inside an op amp with interesting “butterfly” transistors

die-600

An excellent in-depth look at theTL084 op amp by Ken Shirriff:

Some integrated circuits have very interesting dies under a microscope, like the chip below with designs that look kind of like butterflies. These patterns are special JFET input transistors that improved the chip’s performance. This chip is a Texas Instruments TL084 quad op amp and the symmetry of the four op amps is visible in the photo. (You can also see four big irregular rectangular regions; these are capacitors to stabilize the op amps.) In this article, I describe these components and the other circuitry in the chip and explain how it works. This article also includes an interactive chip explorer that shows each schematic component on the die and explains what it does.

See the full post on Ken Shirriff’s blog.

Dirty terminal sample pack

header

Crimp Terminals for Cables

Crimp terminals lock to the end of a wire and attach to an electrical connection such as a screw or terminal block. There are tons of different styles out there, but we found a handful that every Chinese cable manufacturer stocks. This is important because while reels of crimps are cheap, each crimp uses different tooling and manufacturers only buy tooling for the most common crimps.

In the previous post we covered commonly used JST and Molex compatible parts from the Shenzhen markets. These connectors come in two parts: a metal crimp that attaches to the wire, and a plastic crimp housing that holds all the crimps in place. This post looks at common crimp terminals that don’t use a plastic housing. Get the sample kit here, or build your own custom cables here.

Ring terminals

ring-set

These super common crimps attach to a bolt or screw terminal block. Four sizes are super common in the market and all fit a corresponding metric bolt size: 3.2mm (M3 bolt), 4.2mm (M4), 5.2mm (M5), 6.2mm (M6). Smaller and bigger sizes are available, but the crimps are rarely stocked so you’ll generally be on the hook for MOQ if you stray from this safe range.

Our manufacturer recommends 18AWG wire for all crimp terminals.

Spade terminals

spade-set

Spade or fork terminals attach easily to a bolt or screw terminal without fulling removing the screw from the terminal. We only found these in 3.2mm (M3) and 4.2mm (M4) in the market.

These work with common screw terminals and grounding bolts, but we found these really nifty PCB mount connectors (through-hole) with a single screw terminal. The manufacturer has a range with parts numbers from PCB-1 to PCB-14 that vary primarily in the height of the leads. PCB-2 is the most compact and lowest profile version, so we’ve been working with it.

Our manufacturer recommends 18AWG wire for all crimp terminals.

Blade terminals

blade-set

Male and female blade terminals connect cables to board mount connectors AND cables to other cables. Available in multiple sizes, but 2.8, 4.8 and 6.3 are the common.

There are multiple type of terminal blocks for connecting female blade connectors to PCBs or wiring harnesses. We found single PCB mount connectors (through-hole) for use with female blade crimps. The smallest versions (2.8) use 0.5mm thick metal, while the 4.8 and 6.3 version use thicker 0.8mm metal. The two bigger connectors have offset tabs to provide additional stability.

Our manufacturer recommends 18AWG wire for all crimp terminals.

Other crimp terminals

A lot of available crimp terminals are missing from this list: male and female bullet connectors, right angle blade connectors, etc. A reel of these crimps is not expensive, but most cable manufacturers don’t have the proper tooling work with them in their crimping machines. Crimp tools can range from $100 to $1000s, depending on the machine and if the manufacturer has to customize the tools.

If you’re looking to do low volume cheaply, the it’s always best to use what multiple manufacturers and distributors have available in the market.

Insulated covers

All three types of crimp terminals have compatible insulators in multiple colors. We’re not yet equipped to offer these in the dirty cables creator.

Maximum ratings

Please note that we’re unable to provide maximum ratings at this time. Our cable suppliers don’t have datasheets for the common “duff” stuff they’re using, so you’ll need to do the same due diligence on the final cables that you would if buying directly in China yourself.

We’ll need to find our own crimp terminal manufacturer and supply parts to the cable maker ourselves to get properly rated parts.

Touch it yourself: Dirty Terminals Sample Pack v1.0

Buy the kit. Can’t wrap your head around it without getting your hands on these parts? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. All these crimp terminals and mating connectors are available in the Dirty Terminal sample pack. Grab it in the store for $4.95.

Dirty Cables: Get your own custom cables

DirtyPCBs

Get cheap custom cables for your project, direct from Huaqiangbei. Use the Dirty Cable creator to drag and drop wires and connectors into a cable and price custom cables from quantity 100.

Taking it further

In the coming weeks we’ll cover coaxial power connectors and LED strip sockets.

DIRTY CABLES: Cheap custom cables available now

DirtyPCBs

Dirty Cables is a drag and drop cable builder that gives you access to cheap custom cable services from China. Build a custom cable, get an instant quote, and checkout. Your custom cables should ship in 3 to 7 work days.

Huaqiangbei is full of cheap custom cable vendors with a big pile of samples on their booth. We tried to put the pile online so you can get cheap cables without making a trip to China!

cable-pile-2

We excavated the cable sample piles to see which connectors are common, cheap and readily available in the Chinese market. We bought bundles of everything and identified 17 common cable-to-cable and cable-to-board connector families to add to Dirty Cables. Read more about the different cable families here.

Cables are probably best understood by touching them yourself, so we put together a Dirty Cables Sample Kit that includes examples of each cable and connector. The kit is available in the store for $9.95.

In the coming weeks we’ll document a few more common and cheap connectors that didn’t quite fit in the first sample kit:

  • Crimp terminals: ring and spade ( M3/3.2mm, M4/4.2mm, M5/5.2mm, M6/6.2mm), two-part blades (2.8mm, 4.8mm, 6.3mm)
  • Coaxial power connectors (5.5×2.1mm, various)
  • LED strip connectors (3528/8mm, 5050/10mm, etc)

Dirty Cables is highly experimental. If pricing seems way off, if you find bugs, or if we’re missing your favorite connectors, please give us a shout in the comments or through the contact form.

DIRTY CABLES: What’s in that sample pile?

cable-pile

Massive sample piles advertise the custom cable manufacturers in Huaqiangbei market. A sketch and a few part numbers is enough to get a quote on the spot. These piles reveal which connectors are standard and readily available in the Chinese manufacturing ecosystem. To avoid sourcing problems and production delays its probably best to stick with one of these common connectors in your projects.

We grabbed a sample of every cable from the piles in the SEG and HQ Mart markets, then verified the actual model against datasheets. In this post we look at the common connector families available from multiple manufacturers. Sometimes market traders call the connectors by an unofficial part number, we’ve included these to help you communicate with Chinese vendors.

Continue below for an overview of the 17 most common cable and connector types from the Chinese market. Try out Dirty Cables to build your own custom cables, and grab the Dirty Cables Sample Kit to explore these connectors with your own hands.

Parts of a cable

Crimp housing

crimp-housing

A crimp housing holds the metal crimp contacts and cable wires, and mates with a PCB or cable mount connector. The most recognizable measurement of a crimp housing is pitch, the distance between pins. Common crimp housing pitch ranges from 1mm to 4.2mm.

Crimp contacts

crimps

Crimp contacts are the metal bits that mate cable wires to connectors. Crimp materials and coatings vary, which impact the maximum power rating of the cable. Nickel plated crimp contacts are by far the most common default option. A few connectors, mostly IDC, generally have gold plated contacts by default.

crim-machine

Reels of crimp contacts and wire load into a crimping machine. The machine strips the wire, attaches the crimp contact, and cuts the wire to length. Specific tooling is needed to attach and cut each type of crimp. Manufacturers can’t attach a crimp without the right tooling for their crimp machines.

Wire

wire-2

Cable wire is generally multiple strands of copper wire that have been tinned with solder and coated in insulation. Common colors are available: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, white, gray, and black. Wire size effects the maximum voltage and current a cable can carry, common cable wire sizes range from 32AWG to 16AWG (smaller AWG = bigger wire).

wire-ribbon-rainbow-gray-10

Some connectors use flat ribbon cables, generally with gray or rainbow colored insulation. Common sizes:1.27mm, 1mm, and 0.635mm.

PCB mount connectors

pcb-mount-connector

A connector mates a cable to a circuit board or another cable. Connectors may be polarized so the cable only fits one direction, or have locking features to keep the cable from coming loose. Cables may attach to the PCB from the top (top entry) or the side (side entry).

Cable to board connectors

cable2pcb

Most cables in the market connect to a circuit board (cable to board), some connect two cables (cable to cable). A few will do both. First let’s look at the common cable to board connectors.

CRHO

CRHO254-all

Let’s call this the simplest cable in the market. It mates directly with standard 2.54mm (0.1”) pitch pin header. It’s the only connector we found that isn’t polarized, it can attach in any direction.

Frequently called a DuPont connector, even in Chinese, but the current common version seems to be compatible with TC Connectivity’s AMPMODU IV series. We’re going to call it CRimp HOusing (CRHO) because it’s the most bog standard thing in the market. CRHO is borrowed from the amazing and unloved OOMP project.

Pin header PCB mount connectors are available in through hole (PTH) and surface mount (SMD), as well as various colors.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
CRHO 2.54mm 1-40 28-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
CRHO-xx HDR-2.54-xxX1P HDR-2.54-xxX1P-RA HDR-2.54-xxX1P-SMD HDR-2.54-xxX1P-RA-SMD

KF2510

KF2510-all

KF2510 is basically a keyed CRHO style housing. It mates with 2.54mm (0.1”) pitch keyed board mount connectors. It also fits on 2.54mm (0.1”) pin header, but without the polarity protection of the keyed connector.

The crimp housing and board connectors come in beige and white, which may have different maximums and tolerances so be sure to consult the datasheet.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
KF2510 2.54mm 2-16 30-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
KF2510-xxY KF2510-xxA KF2510-xxP

SH 1.0mm (JST compatible)

SH10-all

A 1.0mm pitch cable compatible with the JST SH series is the smallest we found in the market. At over 1 RMB per sample it was also among the most expensive cables.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
SH 1.0mm 2-20 32-28AWG 50VDC 1A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
SHR-xxV-S-B BmxxB-SRSS-TB SmxxB-SRSS-TB

51021 1.25mm (Molex compatible)

51021-all

This one is hard to tie down, and it seems to be a widely confused part. Chinese market traders and most of Taobao call this “SH 1.25”, as in a 1.25mm version of the JST SH 1.0mm connector above. We’ve also seen it called A121-xxY/A1251-Hxx, which may be a duff manufacturer part number.

This is actually a Molex 1.25mm “PicoBlade” 51021 compatible part. It’s no wonder Molex parts get nick names. Molex has a knack for making really crappy part numbers, and has even “upgraded” to new numbers that are worse than the old numbers.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
51021 1.25mm 2-15 32-28AWG 125VDC 1A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
51021-xx00 53047-xx10 53048-xx10 53398-xx71 53261-xx71

ZH 1.5mm (JST compatible)

ZH15-all

A 1.5mm pitch cable compatible with the JST ZH series. A vendor said this isn’t a commonly requested cable type, but there isn’t a shortage of suppliers in the market or online.

The through-hole mount connectors come in two versions for different PCB thickness. Use BxxB-ZR-3.4/SxxB-ZR-3.4 for standard 1.6mm thick PCBs, or BxxB-ZR/SxxB-ZR for thinner 0.6-1.2mm thick boards.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
ZH 1.5mm 2-13 32-26AWG 50VDC 1A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
ZHR-xx BxxB-ZR(-3.4) SxxB-ZR(-3.4) BxxB-ZR-SM4-TF SxxB-ZR-SM4A-TF

PH 2.0mm (JST compatible)

PH20-all

2.0mm pitch cable compatible with JST PH series. 2.0mm saves a bit of space over standard 2.54mm pitch connectors, but is still easy for most people to hand solder.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
PH 2.0mm 2-16 32-24AWG 100VDC 2A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
PHR-xx BxxB-PH-K-S SxxB-PH-K-S BxxB-PH-SM4-TB SxxB-PH-SM4-TB

XH 2.5mm (JST compatible)

XH250-all

A 2.50mm cable compatible with the JST XH series. 2.50mm != 2.54mm, pitch is actually 2.50mm. Many suppliers incorrectly list this as 2.54mm part. Despite the size difference, the connectors will generally still fit 2.54mm breadboards and pin headers.

An SMD top entry PCB mount connector is not an official part in the JST datasheet, but it’s widely available in the Chinese market. We named this connector BxB-XH-SM4-TB following the JST part numbering system, but note that it is not an official part number.

There are two oddities in this family. An XHP-20 crimp housing and connector exists with 20 pins in a 10x2P configuration. The through-hole side entry PCB mount connector also comes in a short shroud (7.2mm) version (SxB-XH-A-1). These specialty options don’t seem to be available in the Chinese markets.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
XH 2.50mm 1-16 30-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
XHP-xx BxxB-XH-A SxxB-XH-A(-1) BxxB-XH-SM4-TB SxxB-XH-SM4-TB

CH 3.96mm

CH396-all

A 3.96mm pitch nylon connector that the market vendors call “CH”. Heavy duty crimps and heavy duty connectors make this a good choice for power connections. It has a retention “bump” that helps secure the connection. The retention bump also helps polarize the connection, but nylon is flexible and the connector could be installed backwards with enough force.

This part is not from JST, despite a similar part number. Some duff manufacturers list this as 2139-xxY, similar to a Molex part number, but that isn’t an exact match for the board mount connectors. We use the market vendor name “CH”, short for CHina connector.

There are two versions of the side entry connector. 2139-xAWG has a 4.3mm extended length pin. This version is listed at several Taobao shops, but it was always out of stock and all our orders were eventually canceled.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
CH 3.96mm 2-16 24-18AWG 250VDC 7A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
2139-xxY 2139-xxA 2139-xxAW(G)

VH 3.96mm (JST compatible)

VH396-all

A 3.96mm pitch locking connector compatible with the JST VH series. This is another connector with heavy duty crimp contacts and connectors that is ideal for power supplies. Keyed to protect polarity, locking to secure in place.

The datasheet lists an -M version with a safety retainer. We could not locate this part in the market.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
VH 3.96mm 2-11 16-22AWG 250VDC 10A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
VHR-xxN BxxP-VH(-FB-B) BxxPS-VH

Insulation Displacement Connectors

IDC

Insulation displacement connectors (IDCs) are a cable to board connection system that doesn’t use crimp contacts. Teeth in the connector cut through the insulation of a ribbon cable and make contact with the wires inside.

These connectors have been around forever, but there doesn’t seem to be a solid part numbering system. Generally the displacement connector part number is FC. The PCB mount connector is DC3 (DC2 and DC4 are variants with locks and wings and such). We created our own part numbering system based on this convention that takes into account newer, smaller 2.0mm and 1.27mm pitch IDC versions.

IDC 2.54mm

IDC254-all

Bog standard 2.54mm IDC and mating shrouded header. It has a polarizing key that only fits one way, but there’s no retention mechanism aside from the friction fit. Fits 1.27mm ribbon cable.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
IDC 2.54mm 6-64 1.27mm 100VDC 2A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
IDC connector Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
IDC-FC-2.54-xx IDC-DC3-2.54-xx-PTH IDC-DC3-2.54-xx-RA-PTH IDC-DC3-2.54-xx-SMD

IDC 2.0mm

IDC200-all

Smaller. An even metric measure. What’s not to love? 2.0mm IDCs save a bit of board space, but are still easy to hand solder for most people.

Slightly more expensive than common 2.54mm IDCs. Fits 1.0mm ribbon cable, rainbow color may not be available.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
IDC 2.0mm 10-50 1.0mm 50VDC 1.5A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
IDC connector Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
IDC-FC-2.0-xx IDC-DC3-2.0-xx-PTH IDC-DC3-2.0-xx-RA-PTH IDC-DC3-2.0-xx-SMD

IDC 1.27mm

IDC127-all

1.27mm pitch IDCs are the smallest available in the market. Fewer manufacturers and suppliers than 2.0mm and 2.54mm IDCs means they’re more expensive and harder to source. The right-angle through-hole connector was only available as a special order of MOQ (200 pieces).

Fits 0.635mm ribbon cable, rainbow color may not be available.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
IDC 1.27mm 8-80 0.635mm 50VDC 1A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
IDC connector Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
IDC-FC-1.27-xx IDC-DC3-1.27-xx-PTH IDC-DC3-1.27-xx-RA-PTH IDC-DC3-1.27-xx-SMD

Cable to cable connectors
cable2cable

Some cables connect to other cables. These are common in hobby R/C batteries and wiring harnesses for panel mount switches, lights, and connectors.

Receptacle housing

If the cable connects to another cable the common terms plug and receptacle seem to be used. Manufacturers use different criteria to distinguish a plug and receptacle. A JST receptacle holds male crimp pins, while the JST plug holds the female crimp sockets (see datasheet excerpt above). Molex, however, calls the male crimp housing (with female crimp sockets) a receptacle and the female crimp housing (with male crimp pins, same as PCB mountable connector) a plug.

RCY 2.5mm (JST compatible)

plug-receptacle

2.5mm (not 2.54mm) JST RCY series compatible connector. Commonly used as a battery connector and only available in a 2 pin version. Market vendors simply call this “JST 2P”.

Always red. A white version exists in the datasheet but has not been spotted in China.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
RCY 2.50mm 2 28-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Receptacle Plug Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
SYR-02T SYP-02T-1

SM 2.5mm (JST compatible)

SM250-all

2.5mm (not 2.54mm) JST SM series compatible connector. High pin count cable to cable connector with polarization key and retention lock.

An 18 pin version exists in a 9x2P configuration that is not available in the market.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
SM 2.50mm 2-12 28-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Receptacle Plug Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
SMR-xxV-B SMP-xxV-BC

Cable to cable & cable to board

Molex 5557 and 43025 series power connectors have mating cable mount plug connectors and PCB mount connectors.

5557 4.2mm (Molex compatible)

5557-all

Molex 5557 4.2mm “Mini-Fit” compatible connectors are familiar from ATX power supplies and computer motherboards. The crimp receptacle is 5557-xxR. It mates with cable to cable plug 5559-xxP, and through-hole PCB mount connectors 5566-xxA and 5569-xxA.

The datasheet lists black crimp housings (5557-xxR-BL,5559-xxP-400), but they’re not common in China.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
5557 4.2mm 2-24 16-28AWG 600VDC 9A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Receptacle Plug Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
5557-xxR 5559-xxP 5566-xxA 5569-xxA

43025 3.0mm (Molex compatible)

43025-all

3.0mm Molex “Micro-Fit” 43025 series compatible connector. This is a smaller 3mm version of the 5557 series above. In fact, Market and Taobao suppliers call this “5557 3.0”.

The crimp receptacle is 43025-xx00. It mates with cable to cable plug 43020-xx00, and through-hole PCB mount connectors 43045-xx12 and 43045-xx00. Through-hole PCB mount connectors are widely available in the Chinese market. Molex sells a surface mount version too, but we can’t find cheap domestic production so we’re not including it here.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
43025 3.0mm 2-24 20-30AWG 600VDC 5A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Receptacle Plug Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
43025-xx00 43020-xx00 43045-xx12 43045-xx00

Debug connectors

Temporary connectors like test probes, alligator clips, and pin header fall into this category.

CRHO-M 2.54mm

CRHO-M-all

A male pin crimp contact that fits into the standard CRHO housing, we’re calling it CRimp HOusing Male (CRHO-M) for short. Useful for breadboards and temporary connections to female headers.

In theory these could be made for any number of pins supported by the CRHO cable to board family, but in practice we only found single pins in the market.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
CRHO-M 2.54mm 1 28-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
CRHO-M-xx FHDR-2.54-xxX1P

Note on cable maximum, tolerances

CH-example

Most of the connectors we found are compatible with popular designs from Molex and JST, but we assume they’re made by secondary manufacturers (duff manufacturers). In this post we list specs from the original manufacturer’s datasheet where available. Tolerances and rating may not be the same for the duff parts from the market. Be sure to leave wide safety margins for current and voltage when working with no-name Chinese cables, and inspect the final cable to ensure it’s properly suited for the intended load.

Dirty Cables: Get your own custom cables

DirtyPCBs

Get cheap custom cables for your project, direct from Huaqiangbei. Use the Dirty Cable creator to drag and drop wires and connectors into a cable and price custom cables from quantity 100. The example shown here is a 4 pin 1.0mm SH compatible connector broken out to 4 single pin 2.54mm CRHO-M connectors, only $0.23 each at quantity 100!

Touch it yourself: Dirty Cables Sample Pack v1.0

sample pack

Need to get up close and personal with all these cables and connectors yourself? The Dirty Cables Sample Pack has all of the cable types covered in this post, plus all mating cable and PCB mount connectors. Grab it in the store for $9.95.

Taking it further

In the coming weeks we’ll cover three more categories of less common cables and connectors: crimp terminals, coaxial power connectors, and LED strip sockets.

ESP32 (16) – IFTTT

After having published my tutorial about sending SMS with the ESP32, I received some comments via the contact form of my website asking a way to send notifications for free. Today I’ll show you a way to do it; it will be also the occasion to write about IFTTT service and about developing custom components for the esp-idf framework.

IFTTT

IFTTT (IF This Then That) it’s a web service that allows to create applets connecting different services with the pattern if this happens, then do that action.

ifttt-12

To better understand what you can do with IFTTT, here are some pre-built applets:

  • send me an email if rain is expected tomorrow
  • automatically post on Facebook the photos I share on Instagram
  • turn on silence mode on my smartphone when I arrive at work

The main advantage of using IFTTT is indeed the availability of many services ready to use: starting from the ones which query weather forecast providers, to services which connect to famous social networks and even including services that can talk to smart devices like FitBit bracelets or Nest thermostats.

Besides the website, IFTTT is also available on Android and iOS smartphones; for this tutorial I’m going to use indeed a feature of this app, the notifications.

Maker Webhooks

Among the many services IFTTT offers, one is very handy to integrate IFTTT with IoT devices: the Maker Webhooks service. As the name suggests, this service allows applets to interface with the Web. If you add it as a This service (trigger, source of the event that activates the applet) Maker Webhooks allows to send an event to the applet using a web request (GET or POST), while if you add it as a That service (action that the applet performs), Maker Webhooks allows the applet to make a web call:

ifttt-13

The Maker Webhooks service is the first element of our applet: thanks to it we’ll be able to activate the applet with a web request performed by the ESP32 chip and we’ll be also able to pass optional values to the applet itself.

Notifications

The second service we’ll be using is called Notifications: using this service the applet can send notifications to our smartphone. The only requirement is that our smartphone is running the IFTTT app and that we log in with the same account used to create the applet.

Applet

Let’s see how to build the applet. After having registered to the website, click on New Applet.

First click on this:

ifttt-01

Type some letters of “Maker Webhooks” to search the service, then click on its icon:

ifttt-02

Select the only trigger the service offers:

ifttt-03

Type the name of the event that will activate the applet. You can choose the name we prefer; the same name will be used when making the web request:

ifttt-04

Now click on that:

ifttt-05

Search and select the Notifications service:

ifttt-06

Click on the only action the service offers:

ifttt-07

Customize the message that will be displayed as notification. You can also include some custom values that will be received by the applet via the web call, together with the event name:

ifttt-08

Complete the wizard with a click on Finish:

ifttt-09

Personal key

To be able to send a request to the Maker Webhooks service, you must specify your personal key. Connect to the service’s homepage and click on Settings:

ifttt-10

Copy the key, that is the string after /use/ in the service URL:

ifttt-11

esp32_ifttt_maker component

To simplify the interaction with the Maker Webhooks service, I developed a component that is ready to use with the esp-idf framework. You can compare components to libraries, reusable code elements for your programs. You only need to copy the component’s folder within the components folder of your project to be able to use it:

ifttt-14

My esp32_ifttt_maker component is available in a dedicated Github repository and I explained how to use it in details in a dedicated webpage of my website.

Demo

I prepared a demo program that sends notifications using IFTTT applets; its source code is on Github.

Here’s a video that shows how it works (italian subtitles are available):

Hacker’s Wishlist: What Must-Have Components Let You Build Anything?

We’re putting in a parts order at the end of the week, yet we don’t have a specific project in mind. Trying to wrap your noggin’ around a bill of materials to build anything is tough, but that’s the gist of stocking components for a hackathon.

So we put it to you: what components can’t you live without when you roll your sleeves up for some good old fashioned hardware hacking?

What Can You Build in Two Days?

multiplierThis parts order is for the badge hacking at this year’s SuperCon. What we saw last year was amazing considering the parts we had available. What you see above is the back of the conference badge with a lot of caps and diodes added to it. It’s a voltage multiplier that [Sprite_TM] built onto his badge to get the 9V input up to a 1000V output.

So diodes and caps, check. They’ll be on the order. But we want to know what you would add to a parts order where anything is possible? Let us know in the comments below.

Unlock Beast Mode

Part of the fun last year was starting from a badge that had no circuitry built onto it at all. [Brian Benchoff] joked in his coverage of the hacking that this year’s badge would just be a piece of copper clad FR4 — a great idea and challenge accepted. In addition to the normal badge, for those willing to test their mettle, we want you to go for Beast Mode. We’ll have copper clad (single and double-sided) and protoboard on hand.

We’re looking for Manhattan style, dead bug, and any other elegant, interesting, or hacky method of rapid prototyping. Bring along your own pre-spun or home-etched boards — if they’re not already populated you can do that in the badge hacking area. If you want to learn the awesome X-Acto knife method of carving up copper clad, Zach Fredin will be helping out in the badge hacking area. You’ll also find Voja Antonic, Paul Stoffregen, and others hanging out there too.

But What About the Badge?

2016-supercon-badge-circuitYes, there is a hardware badge and it’s a doozy this year. Voja Antonic designed it and published a great explanation last week. It’s based around a PIC18LF25K50 and features an LED Matrix and user inputs. This will be a lot of fun for the firmware hackers, but why not get in on the hardware hacking action while you’re at it?

The back of the badge has a 9-bin breakout header (2x 3V, 2x Gnd, 5x GPIO). This pin header is 0.1″ pitch so you can design in advance for any add-on circuits you might want to build. We’ll also have connectors on hand to use in your hacks.

Last year Paul Stoffregen’s Teensy audio workshop was hugely popular and one of the most interesting badge hacks added a Teensy, audio board, and LCD to the mix to create a spectrum analyzer with waterfall display. I’m sure we’ll see some hacks that reach that level this year. But it’s a welcoming and jovial environment; even if you never blinked an LED there will be throngs of people waiting to cheer your accomplishment in the name of getting everyone in the world excited about hardware.

Seriously Though, What Components Should We Order?

Tools are going to be no problem this year since we have the Supplyframe Design Lab at our disposal. But we really are putting in a parts order this week and need your advice. We’ll have the usual suspects: pin headers, shift registers, voltage regulators, level converters, 7400 series logic and 555 timers, extra battery holders, passives, etc.

Even if you’re not in on the hacking, let us know what you can’t live without. What’s your analog hacking wishlist? What type of sensor breakouts would you like to see people playing with? Sound off in the comments below.


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