Open source 22mm diameter PCB project


An open source 22mm diameter PCB project from Concretedog, that is available on github:

So I posted a while back about how I had used these 22mm pcb’s I’d made in prototyping an ematch ignitor system for use in rocketry. Although I made these stackable boards so they would fit inside a popular size of Estes rocket body tube I’m aware that they are quite useful for lots of things. So i’ve open sourced them so anyone can get some made, or add improve or change them.
There are three boards,an Attiny85 board with some power LED and indicator LED, a SOT89 power supply board which could be built up with either a 3.3v or a 5v supply. Finally there is a “kludge” board which is useful for adding in some thru hole components into the system. Some quick pics here but in the files on Git each board is well documented in a pdf. All the dust components are 0805 so super accessible for hand SMD soldering. :)

See the full post at Concretedog blog.

Repairing the card reader for a 1960s mainframe: cams, relays and a clutch


Ken Shirriff writes:

I recently helped repair the card reader for the Computer History Museum’s vintage IBM 1401 mainframe. In the process, I learned a lot about the archaic but interesting electromechanical systems used in the card reader. Most of the card reader is mechanical, with belts, gears, and clutches controlling the movement of cards through the mechanism. The reader has a small amount of logic, but instead of transistorized circuits, the logic is implemented with electromechanical relays.1 Timing signals are generated by spinning electromechanical cams that generate pulses at the proper rotation angles. This post explains how these different pieces work together, and how a subtle timing problem caused the card reader to fail.

See the full post on his blog.

Retropie plug in USB speaker


A detailed instructions of how to make this DIY retropie plug in usb speaker from Facelesstech:

The 2 down sides to my ZeroBoy build I did recently were that it didn’t have a build in battery power and that it didn’t have sound. I seen that the MintyPi was using a USB sound card to give their handheld a speaker by soldering a speaker to the 3.5mm jack. So I thought I could do the same to add sound to my ZeroBoy.

Check out the video after the break.

App note: LEDs – The future of horticultural lighting


LEDs used in a controlled environment greenhouse farms, an app note from Würth Elektronik. Link here (PDF)

Greenhouse farms may not be a new technology but with an every growing world population and the move towards sustainability, intensive yet highly efficient and standardized food production will increasingly become the norm in future years opening a potentially huge new agricultural sector that incorporates the latest technologies from the bioscience and engineering fields. But how can researchers and personnel from these separate fields understand the mutually dependent requirements of indoor greenhouses? Photosynthesis is the process that converts water and carbon dioxide into complex carbohydrates (i.e. sugars) and oxygen using energy from light. However, although the energy radiated by the sun that reaches the earth’s surface consists of the entire spectrum of visible light (and more), plants only utilize specific frequencies of light for photosynthesis. These frequencies are related to the absorption characteristics of different pigments that are present within organelles called chloroplasts that are responsible for different functions of photosynthesis.

Light emitting diodes are solid-state, light generating components that, have become and will continue to be one of the greatest drivers in the expansion of internal greenhouses due to their advantages over incandescent bulbs, fluorescent bulbs, high-pressure sodium lamps and mercury lamps. Their main advantage stems from their ability to generate specific wavelengths of light. To meet the requirements for Horticultural LED’s for Indoor-farming, Würth Elektronik offers the WL-SMDC SMD Mono-color Ceramic LED Waterclear series of LEDs. The WL-SMDC range has been expanded to include wavelengths of 450 nm (Deep Blue), 660 nm (Hyper Red) and 730 nm (Far Red), which have been selected to match the absorption spectra of photosynthetic pigments. In addition to the existing products in the range, a diverse range of combinations is possible that can be catered to the target cultivar.

App note: The behavior of electro-magnetic radiation of power inductors in power management


Application note form Würth Elektronik about EM radiation radiated from inductors in DC-DC converters. Link here (PDF)

This Application Note focuses on the Electro-Magnetic (EM) radiation behavior of power inductor(s) in DC-DC converters, which is dependent on several parameters such as ripple current, switching frequency, rise & fall time of a switching device, the core material and its permeability and suggests several design tips to mitigate these EMI effects.

Optimizing the 5v to 170v Nixie tube power supply design (part 2)


Mark Smith has a nice write-up on optimizing the 5v to 170v Nixie tube power supply:

Since this power supply is just a fun design for an upcoming Nixie tube clock project of mine, I have the time to achieve ESE. While in Part 1 I described the equations and simulations, in this Part 2, I collected experimental results to complete the design. In the process of finalizing the design, I was able to discover a couple of key design improvements and I’ll share these changes with you. The updated schematic, BOM, Kicad Layout, and design files are located at Github.

Via surfncircuits.

STM32F103 vs GD32F103 round 2: Blink a LED


A follow-up to the STM32F103 vs GD32F103 round 1- Solderability post, Sjaak writes:

The defacto ‘hello world’ for microcontrollers is blink a LED at a steady rate. This is exactly what I’m going to do today. I made a small 5×5 development board, soldered it up and started programming. In this first example we not gonna use fancy IRQs or timers to blink at a steady rate, but we insert NOPsas delay. This would give an idea of the RAW performance of the chip. The used code is simple; set up the maximum available clock available and then toggle RA0 for ever.

More details at

Teardown of an HP 8671A microwave frequency synthesizer


Kerry Wong did a teardown of an HP 8671A microwave frequency synthesizer:

I recently bought an HP 8671A microwave frequency synthesizer on eBay. This synthesizer can generate signals from 2GHz to 6.2GHz with an unleveled output of more than 8dBm. It is a nice complement to my HP 8642B signal generator and Wavetek 907 signal generator. Using these generators, I can now generate signals of pretty much any frequencies under the 12GHz range. A video of this teardown is linked towards the end of this post.

More details on his blog here.

Check out the video after the break.

App note: Understanding infrared diode power ratings


App note from TT Electronics about infrared diode specs, how they vary from different manufacturers, and help clear things about infrared definition of parameters. Link here (PDF)

Infrared emitting diode power measurement is dependent upon a number of variables which must be precisely defined in order for design engineers to utilize data sheet information. Manufacturers differ not only in the techniques used in measuring power, but also in their interpretations of the definitions of the parameters which are measured. This application bulletin is intended to clarify this misunderstanding, especially for GaAs and GaAlAs solution grown epitaxial devices.

App note: Linear and rotary encoders are evolving to meet demands


Application notes from TT Electronics on optical encoders versatile sensing. Link here (PDF)

Linear and rotary encoders have come in a wide variety of design styles over the years, the most common being rotary switches, potentiometers, capacitive, magnetic, and optical types. The optical encoder has become the most popular of these encoding methods due to its long life, simplicity of construction, versatility, high accuracy and high resolution. This application bulletin will briefly define an optical encoder, and bring the designer up to date on encoder terminology, design techniques and limitations.