How not to build a semiconductor lapping machine

electronupdate writes:

One area of silicon reverse engineering which has interested me is the delayering of a chip to see each layer which allows superior visibility into the circuitry. I know of two ways: chemical etch and mechanical means.
In this video I try to make a mechanical grinder which can take micron levels of material away: a partial success. Parts are ground but I was not able to keep the silicon absolutely flat. More study of the commercial units is warranted!

See the full post on electronupdate blog.

DIY Moteino guide


Felix writes, “I posted a short illustrated guide for making your own Moteino from SMD components. It also includes details how to burn the bootloader and fuses. Check it out here. Thanks and credit goes to forum user LukaQ for his contribution of the images and test sketches in this guide!

See the full post at LowPowerLab.

Negative impedance converters


An article discusses the negative resistance and negative impedance converter from Analog Zoo:

“Negative resistance” may seem like a purely academic concept, but can be easily realized in practice with a handful of common components. By adding a single resistor to a standard non-inverting op amp circuit, we can create a negative impedance converter, which has applications in load cancellation, oscillator circuits, and more.

More details at

Check out the video after the break.

Why electrolytic capacitors are actually kinda shitty


Afroman writes, “Electrolytic capacitors are common, but knowledge of their limitations is uncommon. A demonstration is shown highlighting the difference in performance between electrolytic and ceramic capacitors in power supplies. Other topics discussed in the video: Electrolytic capacitor construction, ceramic capacitors, ESR, ESL, impedance curves, why “0.1uF”, and more.”

Via Afrotechmods.

Check out the video after the break.

Reading a VGA monitor’s configuration data with I2C and a PocketBeagle


Ken Shirriff wrote an article showing how to read the monitor’s config data using the I2C protocol and a board with an I2C port:

Have you ever wondered how your computer knows all the characteristics of your monitor— the supported resolutions, the model, and even the serial number? Most monitors use a system called DDC to communicate this information to the computer.1 This information is transmitted using the I2C communication protocol—a protocol also popular for connecting hobbyist devices. In this post, I look inside a VGA monitor cable, use a tiny PocketBeagle (a single-board computer in the BeagleBone family) to read the I2C data from an LCD monitor, and then analyze this data.

More details at Ken Shirriff’s blog.

Low cost single cell battery pack simulator


Mare writes:

There are many battery cell simulators available which could simulate battery cell(s). Unfortunately, none is emulating any of the digital protocols used by fuel gauge devices. Optimal solution to efficiently emulate given smart battery pack is to use custom solution based on battery cell simulator and fuel gauge protocol emulator. Both parts could be fused together in small, but efficient smart battery pack emulator.

  • complete battery cell simulation
  • fast response time
  • unlimited cycle use
  • flexible fuel gauge protocol emulation
  • use of a standard interface for integration in automated test equipment

More details at Mare & Gal Electronics homepage.

Custom 3D printed magnetic encoder disks for robotics projects


A how-to on making a custom DIY magnetic disk encoder by Erich Styger:

I’m making great progress with the firmware for the new Mini Sumo Robot (see “New Concept for 2018 Mini Sumo Roboter“). The goal is a versatile and low-cost Mini Sumo robot, and the robot comes with the feature of magnetic position encoders. In a previous article I have explained how to mold custom tires for robots (see “Making Perfect Sticky DIY Sumo Robot Tires“), this article is about how to make DIY Magnetic disk encoders.

Via MCU on Eclipse.

Programming STM32F103 Blue Pill using USB bootloader and PlatformIO


Coyt Barringer wrote a post on his blog showing how he program the Blue Pill STM32F103 using USB Bootloader and PlatformIO:

This is the infamous Blue Pill board – a $2 ARM STM32F103 development board with all the capabilities of a Teensy 3.x at a fraction of the price of an Arduino. So what’s the catch?
I’ll tell you – software support.
A couple weeks ago I decided to invest some time learning this platform because I was sick of paying 20+ dollars for a Teensy. While the PJRC platforms are fantastic, they are expensive and need a proprietary boot loader in order to work. I want a small and powerful arm chip which I can integrate INTO my own PCBs and the Teensy does not easily or cheaply allow this. The Blue Pill and it’s derivatives appear to be just the thing I need!

See the full post at