Low cost high accuracy STM32 FFT LCR meter

Adil Malik made a low cost FFT LCR meter with an STM32 MCU:

The approach I took was a mixed signal one where a capable analog front end would be paired up with a beefy DSP processor to compute the Impedance. Most importantly, in this scheme, the DSP is responsible for discriminating the phase between the sampled voltage and current waveforms; this approach is preferred because it leads to good accuracy and calibration stability.

See the full post on his blog.

Sweeperino, Arduino based test instrument


Ashhar Farhan (VU2ESE) made an Arduino based sweeper for ham radio homebrewing, that is available on GitHub:

The Sweeperino a very useful Arduino based test instrument. It is the following:
*A very stable, low noise signal generator from 4 MHz to 160 MHz without any spurs
*A high precision power meter with 90 db with 0.2db resolution
*A sweeper that can be your antenna analyzer, plot your crystal or band pass filter through the PC
*It fits in your jacket
*It can be assembled in an evening
*Costs about $50 in new parts

See the full post on VU2ESE’s radio experiments blog.

Guitar Amp builder notes — AF power amplifier dummy load

DSC_2129-1 (1)Vasily Ivanenko has written an article detailing his AF dummy load project:

I’ll describe a simple 8, or 4 Ω dummy load to test your home brew guitar power amplifiers.
Low cost 16 Ω / 25W wire wound, aluminum shell, chassis mount resistors seem abundant.  I got mine on eBay.  Wire wound resistors vary in quality, design and tolerance. Some even exhibit low inductance by winding with an Ayrton-Perry bifilar technique.  Resistor tolerances range from 10% down to ± 0.5 % + 0.05 Ω.  Typical manufacturer power ratings are done at 25C, however, these devices are meant to sit on a heat sink when used and that’s why the aluminum housing contains 2 relatively large mounting holes.

Project info on QRF HomeBuilder blog.

CurrentRanger: auto-ranging current meter


An auto-ranging nanoAmp meter from LowPowerLab:

CurrentRanger is a nanoAmp current meter featuring auto-ranging, uni/bi-directional modes, bluetooth data logging options and more.
It is a highly hackable and affordable ultra low-burden-voltage ammeter, appropriate for hobby and professional use where capturing fast current transients and measurement precision are important.

More details on LowPowerLab site.

Check out the video after the break.



A full review of EasyEDA: A circuit EDA online tool


Yahya Tawil wrote in to share his review of a web based EDA tool, the EasyEDA. He explains the general structure of this tool and some of its cool features:

EDA cloud tools which are related to electronics are emerging exponentially in almost all aspects (i.e. simulation, PCB design, footprint creation, gerber files viewing and 3D PCB viewing). Even well-known desktop programs like EAGLE CAD and Altium are trying to compete in this field by making their own services or by acquiring others.
Web-based EDA tool suites like EasyEDA and Upverter are getting rapidly famous. These online tools offer some outstanding solutions for collaboration and providing some viable features for teams with financial limits like multi-layer PCB designing, while it costs a lot to buy a licence for other EDA tool with a multi-layer feature, for example.

More details at allaboutcircuits.com.

Getting control over a 50 watt CO2 laser cutter from China


Unboxing laser cutter Co2 50 watt from China:

There are people around me who think I’m crazy. And they are probably right. Who else would buy a machine from someone he does not know. I have to pay upfront. It is not clear how things will get delivered, what gets delivered, or if it gets delivered at all. Up to the point I can lose the money I have spent. Best of all: that machine is dangerous enough to potentially kill me. And it has the potential to put my home on fire too. Well, that sounds like an exciting weekend project, or not?

See the full post at MCU on Eclipse homepage.

DIY robot design


A computational abstractions for interactive design of robotic devices by Ruta Desai, Ye Yuan and Stelian Coros from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute:

We present a computational design system that allows novices and experts alike to easily create custom robotic devices. The core of our work consists of a design abstraction that models the way in which electromechanical components can be combined to form complex robotic systems. We use this abstraction to develop a visual design environment that enables an intuitive exploration of the space of robots that can be created using a given set of actuators, mounting brackets and 3d-printable components. Our computational system also provides support for design auto-completion operations, which further simplifies the task of creating robotic devices. Once robot designs are finished, they can be tested in physically simulated environments and iteratively improved until they meet the individual needs of their users.

Full details at cmu.edu.

Check out the video after the break.

Adjustable constant current source


Dilshan Jayakody has published a new build:

The current source introduced in this article is capable to handle current up to 6A with maximum input voltage of 50V. This is an operational amplifier based adjustable current source and it uses LM358 in a general voltage follower configuration. To handle large currents we use four 0.1Ω 20W resistors as “load resistor”, and those load resistors are drive through pair of 55N06 N-channel MOSFET transistors.
The power supply unit of this project is build around 9V x 2 (2A) step-down transformer and it is design to get regulated 12V DC voltage. In our design this 12V power source is used to drive LM358 Op-Amp and 12V cooling fan.

More details at Dilshan Jayakody’s blog. Project files are available at elect.wikispaces.com.

DIY polarity Led tweezers


Jesus Echavarria shared detailed instructions of how to make a simple tweezers for checking led polarity:

I usually assemble by hand all the boards I make. I use SMD components, especially in 0805 format for resistors, capacitors and leds. With the last ones, I always have the same problem: I need to check the polarity of it, to ensure that I assemble on the right way. To do it, I need the multimeter, select the diode position and test the led’s for the right polarity. Because on the assembly process I don’t usually the multimeter, why don’t make a tweezers to test the led’s? It’s an easy and very cheap project, and you’ll have a usefull tool when assembly boards. Here’s the result, after a couple of hours working on it ;).

More details at Jesus Echavarria’s blog.