NFC antenna tuning without a VNA

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Fred writes:

Recently I started work on a new board. This one will be a front door entry system, so I decided to go with something that could read my NFC implant but also had a numeric keypad for the kids (and anyone else) to use. Not everyone wants to be chipped. Crazy, isn’t it? I’ll write more up on the board when it gets closer to completion, but for this post I’m going to concentrate on a small PCB antenna that’s intended for use with a tiny implanted tag. I’ve successfully used a wirewound inductor before, but I decided it was time to try a PCB trace antenna. This is the most common way to make an NFC reader, but nobody seems to have tried to tune one for an implant – probably because it means it will be worse at reading larger tags. Anyway, this is about creating a small PCB antenna and more importantly tuning it so that it read well.

Check out the video after the break.

More details on 0xFRED blog.

 

Serial Star, a 4 in 1 USB serial and I2C converter

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Jesus Echavarria published a new build:

Here’s one of the last board I design the last year. On 2016, I develop the Dual USB Serial and I2C Converter board. Although this board works fine, it has a couple of lacks. First one, is that to use the both converters, you need two free USB ports. Is a minor problem today with USB hubs, but you need the hub and also two USB wires. And the other problem is that this board uses mini-USB connectors. Of course today you can still find it, but aren’t as common as the micro-USB wires. For this two reasons, I decide to upgrade the board, add the micro – USB connector and put a USB hub inside it. Because I choose a 4-port USB hub, I use also 4 USB serial converters. With some addons, you can select power supply value (5V, 3V3), serial levels (TTL, RS232) and GPIO functions in an independent way for each converter. So, let’s see how works this USB Serial Star, a 4 in 1 USB to Serial and I2C Converter.

More details on Designing Electronics in Spain blog.

uMesh – A self-contained, battery operated ESP32 module

Jarrett published a new build:

I’ve been working on an ESP32 module. Part of the problem I’ve been seeing with inexpensive IoT dev boards, is that the design around the power system hasn’t been very good. Here’s my attempt to fix that. This is a battery-ready module with a proper lithium battery charge circuit, lithium battery protection circuit, power supply, and antenna, all in a 1 inch by 1 inch package.
The goal is to have a tiny, inexpensive module that can immediately accept a battery and be deployed in the field, along with 30 of its mates.

See the full post on his blog.

Scott’s Z80SBC: Z80 single board computer

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Dr. Scott M. Baker published a new build:

When I was first getting started with electronics, wanted a Heathkit ET-3400 Microproccessor trainer, but could never afford one at the time. Eventually both I and the world moved on, to fancier more capable computers. However, I’ve still always wished I had an iconic trainer, complete with LED displays and a hexadecimal keypad. So I decided to build something of my own.

Project info at smbaker.com and the GitHub repository here.

Check out the video after the break.

Open source Agilent 53132A 53131A OCXO ultra high stability oven upgrade

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Gaurav Singh made an open source 53132A OCXO Ultra stability time base, that is available on github:

While i was working with my own GPSDO project. i need to have a frequency counter with descent stability so purchased my self a Agilent 53132A which is a 12 digit frequency counter, big brother to 53131A 10 Digit Counter. Both are really nice units.
But they unusable standard Timebase. So optional oven oscillator time base need to purchase. but 53132A and 53131A both unit are no longer available for sale and neither of the Time base upgrades.

See the full post on Embedded Engineering blog.

Wavecatcher

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Anfractuosity published a new build:

“Acoustic cryptanalysis is a type of side channel attack that exploits sounds emitted by computers or other devices”

Wavecatcher is a simple PCB that makes use of a MEMS ultrasound microphone, in order to capture audio to around 80kHz, with the goal
of finding interesting ultrasound sources and playing with exfiltrating data from SMPSs etc. via ultrasound.

See the full post on Anfractuosity’s project page and the GitHub repository here.

StyloCard

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Stylophone business card project from mitxela.com

Printed Circuit Boards as a business card are a great gimmick. I’d seen ones with USB ports etched into them, which enumerate as a keyboard and then type a person’s name or load up their website. It’s just about possible to build them cheap enough to hand out as a business card, at least if you’re picky about who you give them to.
A couple of years ago I took a stab at making one for myself, but I didn’t want it to be pointless. I wanted it to do something useful! Or at least entertain someone for longer than a few seconds. I can’t remember quite how I got the idea of making a MIDI-stylophone, but the idea was perfect.

More info at mitxela.com.

Check out the video after the break.