USB MIDI controllers (such as Launchpad Mini Mk II for example) are common and often quite low in cost.
To interface such a controller with a Eurorack synth system, often a host computer and a MIDI to CV interface might be used. The host computer would take USB MIDI data from the MIDI controller, perhaps store and manipulate that data in some way (e.g. a sequence), using a MIDI to CV converter to then control a Eurorack synth system.
It would be useful to use USB MIDI controllers with Eurorack synth systems without needing a computer and MIDI to CV interface in between the two.
Teensy 3.6 is a great microcontroller that can be programmed using the Arduino IDE. A very useful feature of the Teensy 3.6 is the USB host port.
I have done several pen and laser machines lately, so I decided to create a custom PCB for Grbl_ESP32 for these types of machines. This is a small (70mm x 60mm) PCB with all the features a pen plotter or laser cutter/engraver would need.
These typically use stepper motors for the X and Y axes. On pen plotters, the Z axis is controlled by a servo or solenoid. On lasers you need an accurate PWM for laser power control.
The implementation is simple genius. It’s a browser that starts up full screen (kiosk mode) and just sits there and updates occasionally. DakBoard provides the private webpage and tools to make that happen. You can certainly build this yourself with any number of open source tools. I chose DakBoard because it was simple, beautiful, and I was able to get the whole thing done in less than an hour. I’m sure I’ll spend many hours tweaking it through. There’s also the very popular MagicMIrror platform, so lots of choice and power in this space!
The main impetus for this was to have a homebrew controller that actually featured an analog joystick, since there were few if any guides elaborating how to fashion one from an existing controller. I acquired a couple Parallax 2-axis joysticks with breadboard mounting capability to do the trick.
The Vectrex comes with a game in its ROM — Asteroids — thus you can play without needing a cartridge. However, with the traditional controller, this requires lots of button-mashing since it has no auto-fire feature. Using a 555 timer, potentiometer, and clever values within an RC circuit, I have given it the ability to auto-fire.
App note from Maxim Integrated on using fuel gauge IC to obtain accurate battery state of charge readings. Link here (PDF)
Because a product’s runtime is limited by battery capacity, it’s critical to have a precise method for measuring the remaining battery capacity to avoid an unexpected shutdown. This application note describes an experiment for obtaining accurate battery capacity readings in a dog-tracking project.
Teardown and repair of an GW Instek 1080W power supply from The Signal Path:
In this episode Shahriar investigates the failure of a GW Instek 1080W power supply capable of providing up to 80V and 40A of programmable output voltage and current respectively. The power supply does not power on. However, relay noises can be heard inside the instrument during power on.
Teardown of the unit reveals a modular design with PCBs on all sides. The instrument comprises 6 different modules and 3 complete power supplies in parallel. The controller circuit is powered from the middle power supply module. Examination of the boards reveals three separate failed devices.
Jean-Marc Valin has been working on Neural Network (NN) based speech synthesis in his project called LPCNet:
This new demo presents LPCNet, an architecture that combines signal processing and deep learning to improve the efficiency of neural speech synthesis. Neural speech synthesis models like WaveNet have recently demonstrated impressive speech synthesis quality. Unfortunately, their computational complexity has made them hard to use in real-time, especially on phones. As was the case in the RNNoise project, one solution is to use a combination of deep learning and digital signal processing (DSP) techniques. This demo explains the motivations for LPCNet, shows what it can achieve, and explores its possible applications
Several years ago, National Semiconductor came out with some very high performance, easy to use audio power amplifier ICs. I was in need of an extra amplifier so I could biamp some of my home-built electrostatic loudspeakers so I tried the LM3886 chip.
This part was chosen because of the ease of use, power output, turn-on and off thump suppression, low distortion, and built-in protection against shorts and thermal runaway. There isn’t much more to ask of a power amp than that. When driving electrostatic speakers, you can’t have too much protection!