CurrentRanger: auto-ranging current meter


An auto-ranging nanoAmp meter from LowPowerLab:

CurrentRanger is a nanoAmp current meter featuring auto-ranging, uni/bi-directional modes, bluetooth data logging options and more.
It is a highly hackable and affordable ultra low-burden-voltage ammeter, appropriate for hobby and professional use where capturing fast current transients and measurement precision are important.

More details on LowPowerLab site.

Check out the video after the break.



Teardown of an Array 3711A 300W DC electronic load


Kerry Wong did a teardown of an Array 3711A 300W electronic load:

I have made many electronic loads in the past. For instance this simple harddrive cooler housed small dummy load, this more sophisticated constant current/constant programmable load and this heavy-duty electronic load that is capable of sinking over 1kW under peak load. In this blog post though, I am going to take a look inside an Array 3711A DC electronic load I recently purchased on eBay. You can find a video of this teardown towards the end of the post.

See the full post on his blog here.

Check out the video after the break.

Simple homebrew 6502 computer


Sven Krasser blogged about his 6502-based homebrew 8-bit computer build:

After completing my VGA Generator project a while back, I’ve embarked on a new electronics project: building a simple 6502-based homebrew 8-bit computer on a breadboard. There are a bunch of similar projects online from which to draw ideas. Some projects set constraints such as only using contemporary parts of the 8-bit era, no FPGAs, no microcontrollers etc. In my case, I opted instead to keep the constraints minimal and the project simple.

See the full post on his blog here.

Check out the video after the break.

Making an e-Paper Etch-a-Sketch


Scott Baker has been working on making an Etch-a-Sketch using modern e-Paper displays and optical encoders:

Above you can see my prototype. I’m using a 4.2″ e-Paper display from Gooddisplay, together with the Waveshare breakout board. I have a couple of ENS1J-B28-R00128 optical encoders that I attained on eBay. I specifically chose these encoders instead of traditional electro-mechnical encoders due to the high numbers of pulses per revolution. A typical electro-mechanical encoder will net about 24 pulses per revolution. The optical encoders I bought on ebay are 128 pulses per revolution. Our 4.2″ ePaper has 400×300 pixels. To traverse the major axis would require 16 full turns of the electromechical encoder but only 3 turns of the optical encoder.
The hardware is so simple that there’s not much more to say. The encoders are connected to GPIO pins of a Raspberry Pi. Note that there are resistors inline on the encoder outputs as the encoders are 5V and the Raspberry Pi uses 3.3V GPIO. The e-ink display is connected to the SPI bus.

See the full post on his blog here and the GitHub repository here.

Check out the video after the break.

App note: Blood pressure monitor fundamentals and design


Application note from NXP on blood pressure monitor fundamentals using their medical oriented MCUs. Link here (PDF)

Arterial pressure is defined as the hydrostatic pressure exerted by the blood over the arteries as a result of the heart left ventricle contraction. Systolic arterial pressure is the higher blood pressure reached by the arteries during systole (ventricular contraction), and diastolic arterial pressure is the lowest blood pressure reached during diastole (ventricular relaxation). In a healthy young adult at rest, systolic arterial pressure is around 110 mmHg and diastolic arterial pressure is around 70 mmHg.

App note: How to eliminate over stress of MOSFET during start-up of flyback converter


App note from Richtek about their embedded soft-start function to eliminate MOSFET stress. Link here

Switching Power Supply, compared to Linear Power Supply, is widely used due to its advantages, such as small size, light weight, high efficiency, etc. Flyback Converter, one of the switching power supply topologies, is most suitable for power supply systems that are below 150W because of its unique features of isolation between primary and secondary sides, simple circuit architecture, few components, low cost, etc.

Since switching power MOSFETs play a very important role in switching power supply converters, how to effectively eliminate over-stress of MOSFET during the start-up of flyback converters will be the main focus to be discussed in this application note. The three major aspects to be investigated are flyback controller design, feedback stability, and Snubber design.

Grbl_ESP32 development board version 3.1


A board to control your CNC machine with Grbl_ESP32 designed by Bart Dring, that is available on GitHub:

This is a Grbl_ESP32 CNC Development board. This is a quick and easy way to use and test CNC on the ESP32 controller.
Grbl is a great CNC firmware that has been around for nearly a decade. It was originally designed for the Arduino UNO and basic 3 axis CNC routers, but it has been ported to other CPUs and was the basis for many other CNC and 3D printer firmwares.
The firmware was written using the Arduino IDE to make it as user friendly as possible. If you have experience with Arduinos, this will not be much different.

Project info at Buildlog.Net Blog. It’s also up on Tindie.

A simple 8-channel receiver voting controller for enhanced repeater coverage and usability


KA7OEI has written an article detailing a simple 8-channel receiver voting controller:

To simplify things, this voting controller sits in “front” of an ordinary repeater controller, taking the audio and COS inputs from the various receivers and outputting a single audio and COS signal.
If the repeater system in question uses subaudible tones, it is recommended that “discriminator” audio (e.g. that which has not been de-emphasized) that has not been subject to a squelch or tone detector audio gate be applied to the voting controller from the link receivers as well as any “local” receivers as this will assure that the voted audio will contain the subaudible tone.

More details on KA7OEI ‘s blog.

trigBoard – Ultra low power ESP8266 IoT platform


Kevin Darrah writes:

The trigBoard is an IoT project that does one thing – it pushes you a notification triggered by a digital input. Well, it’s much more than that, but this is the inspiration. I wanted to design a WiFi board that essentially sleeps most of its life, but when that door switch, flood sensor, motion sensor, etc.. gets triggered, I just want a notification immediately on my phone. And that’s about it… a perfect IoT device in the background doing its job.

Project info on Kevin Darrah Wiki. It’s also up on Tindie.

Check out the video after the break.

SAMD21 LoRa development board with GPS


Michael Krumpus designed and built a SAMD21 development board with LoRa radio module and GPS receiver, that is available on GitHub:

I’ve been doing some LoRa projects lately in order to learn as much as I can about this exciting new radio technology (see this LoRa mesh networking project and this LoRa weather station). ATmega328-based Moteino modules work great for a lot of projects, but I wanted a LoRa node with more processing power, more memory, and an onboard GPS receiver. The ATmega328 is just too constrained with memory — I’ve outgrown it. I really wanted a LoRa board with an ARM Cortex microcontroller like the SAMD21. This is the microcontroller used on the Arduino Zero. So, my ideal board is a SAMD21 with LoRa radio module and GPS receiver, all programmable with the Arduino IDE.
But, where is such a board? I could not find one so I decided to design and make one myself.

More details on Project Lab.