First test was to check the speed of the temperature rise inside a standard halogen floodlight. Reflow soldering temperature curves are quite demanding, and some adapted ovens can’t reach the degrees-per-second speed of the ramp-up stages of these curves.
I bought the spotlight, put an aluminium sheet covering the inside surface of the protective glass (to reduce heat loss), and measured the temperature rise with a multimeter’s thermometer…. and wow! More than 5ºC/s… and I better turned the thing off after reaching 300ºC and still rising quickly.
So the floodlight was able to fulfill the needs.
Next step was a temperature controller, that is, the device that keeps the temperature as in a specified reflow curve profile in each moment.
See the full post and more details on his blog, TheRandomLab.
I admit to being a tiny bit obsessed with monitoring utility bills and gathering data on my usage patterns blow-by-blow. The energy monitoring has reduced my electricity bills, so I wanted to have a go at the water usage. Granted a lot of the water bill is fixed supply costs and sewerage charges which I can’t do much about.
A while ago I made some pulse counting breakouts with the DS1682+ RTC. I have finally got a chance to put them to good use interfacing with my mechanical water meter. The water meter has a spinning permanent magnet and in principle this can trigger a reed switch and generate pulses for accumulation by the RTC.
Back when I was deverloping the PSU burner, I wanted to have the Analog Discovery isolated from the common ground, to avoid noise and other issues. Since I did not have a way to do this, I ended up using a laptop on battery for measurements. But for long term, I needed to have this isolation. Unfortunately, things that can isolate USB at 480Mbps or faster are too expensive to justify.
The ADUM3160 isolator can provide a magnetically isolated 12 Mbps connection, which proved to be good enough. I grabbed one ready made isolator module from ebay for about $12, cheap enough. Well, it is not perfect: the B0505S DC/DC converter provided can only supply 1W and the Analog Discovery is a hungry beast.
Johan Kanflo’s OpenDPS project, a free firmware replacement for the DPS5005:
This write up of the OpenDPS project is divided into three parts. Part one (this one) covers reverse engineering the stock firmware and could be of interest for those looking at reverse engineering STM32 devices in general. Part two covers the design of OpenDPS, the name given to the open DPS5005 firmware. Part three covers the upgrade process of stock DPS:es and connecting these to the world. If you only want to upgrade your DPS you may skip directly to part three.
Dr. Scott Baker writes, “In this video, I try out some Qume 8 inch floppy drives that I bought on eBay. I interface them to a WD37C65 controller on my Z80 CP/M computer and I format the disks and read/write some files to them.”
One of the difficult parts when prototyping is to find reliable power sources. Today is still hard to find the battery size we want to use because country exporting frontiers stops these chemical packages. Here I’ll show how to refurbish dead batteries by combining cells and protection circuits to preserve battery life.
An (almost) dead Apple MacBook Pro (17″) battery fell in my hands so I decided to tear it down to see if there was something profitable. Inside I found that the battery pack was composed with 6 individual cells, paired in 3 groups.
Many years ago I’d read about the type of tube that is now often referred to as a “Gammatron” – a “gridless” amplifier tube of the 1920s, so-designed to get around patents that included what would seem to be fundamental aspects of any tube such as the control grid. Instead of a grid, the “third” control element was located near the “cathode” and “anode”. As you might expect, the effective gain of this type of tube was rather low, but it did work, even though it really didn’t catch on. It was the similarity between the description of the “Gammatron” and these “rod” tubes that intrigued me.
Kerry Wong has written an article detailing a simple hardware hack to make your mouse capable of doing rapid firing:
In this blog post, I will show you a simple hardware hack to make your mouse capable of rapid firing (or automatic continuous clicking). Of course you can always resort to software mods to achieve the same goal, but admittedly doing so in hardware is nevertheless more fun and as a bonus you also get an extra button. A video demonstrating this hack can be found towards the end.
For a typical mouse, whenever a button is clicked the output voltage level from the button changes between high (e.g. Vcc) and low (e.g. Ground) and this voltage level is in turn translated into the clicks. So the idea behind this hack is simple, if we could connect a circuit in parallel to the mouse button and automatically change the output voltage level we would essentially achieve the same effect as physically clicking the button.
Not many people know, but in some smoke detectors, radioactive materials play an essential role. Today I will present one of those devices, and my -successful- attempt to reverse engineer it and get the circuit diagram.
Those smoke detectors uses a small amount of Americium-241 (chemical symbol: Am) obtained in nuclear reactors as a decay product of Plutonium-241. Am241 emits mainly alpha particles, but also some gamma rays. In smoke detectors it is in a form of an oxide Am02.