App note: AC ripple current calculations solid tantalum capacitors

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Application note from Vishay on power and voltage limitations of solid tantalum capacitors for both low and high frequency applications. Link here (PDF)

Solid tantalum capacitors are preferred for filtering applications in small power supplies and DC/DC converters in a broad range of military, industrial and commercial systems including computers, telecommunications, instruments and controls and automotive equipment. Solid tantalum capacitors are preferred for their high reliability, long life, extended shelf life, exceptional stability with temperature and their small size. Their voltage range is 4 to 50 volts for the most common types. Tantalum chip capacitors for surface mount applications are manufactured in very small sizes and are compatible with standard pick-and-place equipment.

App note: Electrolytic capacitor lifetime estimation

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Lifetime estimation methods for elcap app note from Jianghai. Link here (PDF)

Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors (“alu-elcaps”, “elcaps”) are essential for the function of many electronic devices. Ever increasing for enhanced efficiency, the expanding utilization of renewable energy and the continuous growth of electronic content in automotive applications have driven the usage of these components.

In many applications, the lifetime of electronic devices is directly linked to the lifetime of the elcaps inside. To ensure reliable operation of electronic devices for a defined period, a thorough knowledge of the vital properties of elcaps is mandatory.

The present article outlines the construction of elcaps and explains related terms like ESR, ripple current, self-heating, chemical stability, and lifetime. Two estimation tools for obtaining elcap lifetime approximations in an application are introduced and illustrated by an example.

Open source RISC – Eclipse with RISC-V on the SiFive HiFive1 board

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Erich Styger writes:

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 :-).

More details on MCU on Eclipse site.

Teardown of an MEDA PLM-100 AC Magnetometer

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Kerry Wong did teardown of an MEDA PLM-100 AC magnetometer:

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.

See the full post on his blog here.

Check out the video after the break.

App note: Replacing mechanical potentiometers with digital potentiometers

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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: Precision signal conditioning for high resolution industrial applications

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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.

4pin hall sensor adapter board

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Davide Gironi published a new build:

Hall Sensor are pretty common components. Most of the time one will find 3 pin Hall Sensor. But there are time that one can find a 4 pin hall sensor. Those kind of sensor is called dual-channel.

See the full post on his blog.

Check out the video after the break.

SI5351 signal generator test gadget

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DuWayne published a new build:

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.

See the full post on his blog.

PopCom – Identify your COM ports

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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.

More details on avishorp’s blog.