App note: Common mode filter inductor analysis

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App note from Coilcraft on the design and construction of common mode filter inductor. Link here (PDF)

Noise limits set by regulatory agencies make solutions to common mode EMI a necessary consideration in the manufacture and use of electronic equipment. Common mode filters are generally relied upon to suppress line conducted common mode interference. When properly designed, these filters successfully and reliably reduce common mode noise. However, successful design of common mode filters requires foresight into the nonideal character of filter components — the inductor in particular. It is the aim of this paper to provide filter designers the knowledge required to identify those characteristics critical to desired filter performance.

App note: How current and power relates to losses and temperature rise on inductors and transformers

Coilcraft’s app note on temperature rise due to losses on inductors and transformers. Link here (PDF)

Core and winding losses in inductors and transformers cause a temperature rise whenever current flows through a winding. These losses are limited either by the allowed total loss for the application (power budget) or the maximum allowable temperature rise.

For example, many Coilcraft products are designed for an 85°C ambient environment and a 40°C temperature rise implying a maximum part temperature of +125°C. In general, the maximum allowed part temperature is the maximum ambient temperature plus temperature rise. If the losses that result in the maximum allowed part temperature meet the power budget limits, the component is considered acceptable for the application.

N6QW Heathkit SSB transceiver

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Pete Juliano, N6QW,  has a nice build log on his newest version Heathkit 40M SSB Transceiver:

What are you thinking — I am not trying to break any world record? My XYL asked me that question today — why are you building another rig? Followed up by a snide comment that I had so many rigs now why do I need another one. Well the answer plain and simple because I can!
For the longest time in the late 60’s early 70’s my success rate with homebrew SSB transceivers was miserable. At that time I lacked the more sophisticated test gear and let’s face it some of the technology wasn’t that great. Crappy Analog VFO’s were high on the list of impediments! I also had to work and to give a fair share of my time to the family — it is that balance thing.
But today that is all changed –better test gear, better technology like Digital VFO’s and a bit more time. The latest project is to demonstrate that some of the components out of boat anchors can indeed be reworked to provide a very modern, very capable rig.

See the full post on N6QW blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Battery monitor on a automotive relay form factor

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Jesus Echavarria made this battery monitor and wrote a post on his blog detailing its assembly:

Here’s one of the design I do last year for a client. He wants to measure the voltage of a car battery and set a couple of alarms when voltage falls below a defined values. Also, he wants to put the device in the relay box of the car, so the design needs to have a relay form factor to easy integration. So, after a couple of iterations, here’s the final design of the battery monitor.

Via Designing Electronics in Spain.

ICSP switch box

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Stynus has published a new build:

For a project I need to program a few microcontrollers in the same circuit. This meant I needed to plug the programmer around on the board a lot.  This got annoying very fast. Therefore I decided to make a switch box. In my junk pile I found an old switch of a, parallel port switch. This has 4 positions and a lot of contacts. For the ICSP I only need 3. However in some circuits the supply voltage is not common. Hence, I chose to also switch the power supply connections.  For the connections to the circuit boards I used DIN connectors, for the simple reason I have lots of these.

See the full post on ElektronicaStynus blog.

App note: How a SIMO PMIC enhances power efficiency for wearable IoT designs

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App note from MAXIM Integrated on very compact PMIC using only single inductor to drive three independent switching regulators. Link here

Small form factor and minimal power loss are key criteria for internet of things (IoT) hardware, particularly wearables. Meeting these criteria typically involves some tradeoffs. For example, to meet a specific power consumption goal, a designer usually would have to compromise with an increase in design size.

ESP32 (37) – https OTA

In the previous post of this tutorial, I explained how it is possible to update your board Over-The-Air thanks to a feature of the Freshen IoT dashboard.

Today I’ll show you how to update the firmware running on an esp32 chip using only components included in the esp-idf framework, without the need of any external tools or platforms.

OTA API

The esp-idf framework offers a set of native functions to implement, in your program, the ability to be updated over the air.

Those functions are grouped in the app_update component and to use them in your program you have to include the corresponding header file:

#include "esp_ota_ops.h"

Altough the use of the native functions is not very difficult (on Github you can find an example program), Espressif developers have added a component to the framework that makes it even easier the over the air update if the new firmware is located on a web site.

The component is named esp_https_ota.

esp_https_ota

The esp_https_ota component uses the OTA API to update the firmware of your board, downloading the binary file that contains the new firmware from a web site. As the name suggests, the only requirement (for security reason) is that the web site supports the secure version of the protocol (HTTPS).

The component is able to automatically identify an OTA partition in the flash memory that is not in use and to save the new firmware in that partition. It then configures the chip to boot from that partition:

https_ota_001

The use is very simple. First create an esp_http_client_config_t struct to configure the URL of the file with the new firmware and the SSL certificate of the server (or the certificate of the CA that signed it):

esp_http_client_config_t ota_client_config = {
  .url = "https://mysite.com/newfirmware.bin",
  .cert_pem = server_cert_pem_start,
};

You have to provide the certificate in PEM format. To store the certificate in your program, you can leverage the embedding binary files functionality of the firmware, as I already explained in a previous tutorial.

Then you only have to call the function:

esp_err_t ret = esp_https_ota(&ota_client_config);

to start the update process. If – when the process is complete – the ret variable contains a positive result (ESP_OK), you can reboot the chip to run the new firmware:

esp_restart();

A real application would probably need to periodically check if a new firmware is available and, only in that case, to start the update process. How can it be done?

In the program I wrote for this post and that is explained in the video below, I’m going to show a way widely used also in commercial products… enjoy the show ;)

as usual, the source code of the program is available in my Github repository

DIY custom power supply

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Anthony Lieuallen made this custom power supply and wrote a post on his blog detailing its assembly:

You might not truly be an electronics nerd until you build your own power supply. Either way, I’ve finally passed that threshold. As I’ve mentioned previously (and previouslier), I’ve been working on mine — very slowly, off and on — for most of a year. The bare start came with a guide posted to Hackaday about using nichrome wire to heat and bend acrylic plastic in straight lines, to make cases.

More details at Arantius.com.

Povon home energy monitor part 1, 20 channel system

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Coyt Barringer documented his home energy monitor project called POVON. This first part of a series will detail the 20 Channel sub-metering hardware:

Our initial goal was to monitor power consumption in different parts of the house, and we quickly realized every household circuit would need to be monitored. After some research, small clip on current transformers, or CT’s, looked to be the best sensor for our application. Using CT’s, current draw and thus power on each circuit can be measured. The CT’s would be installed on the wires immediately leaving the circuit breakers in the standard household breaker box. CT’s work great for this because they’re completely isolated and nothing needs to be disconnected to install them.

Project info at lostengineer.com.