DakBoard family calendar with Raspberry Pi Zero W and Read Only filesystem

DakBoard Family Calendar

Scott Hanselman made this DakBoard family calendar with Raspberry Pi Zero W and wrote a post on his blog detailing its assembly:

The implementation is simple genius. It’s a browser that starts up full screen (kiosk mode) and just sits there and updates occasionally. DakBoard provides the private webpage and tools to make that happen. You can certainly build this yourself with any number of open source tools. I chose DakBoard because it was simple, beautiful, and I was able to get the whole thing done in less than an hour. I’m sure I’ll spend many hours tweaking it through. There’s also the very popular MagicMIrror platform, so lots of choice and power in this space!

See the full post on his blog here.

The OpenBrite Turbo controller for Vectrex

Vectrex Controller Prototype

Stephen Wylie blogged about his Turbo Vectrex controller build:

 The main impetus for this was to have a homebrew controller that actually featured an analog joystick, since there were few if any guides elaborating how to fashion one from an existing controller.  I acquired a couple Parallax 2-axis joysticks with breadboard mounting capability to do the trick.
The Vectrex comes with a game in its ROM — Asteroids — thus you can play without needing a cartridge.  However, with the traditional controller, this requires lots of button-mashing since it has no auto-fire feature.  Using a 555 timer, potentiometer, and clever values within an RC circuit, I have given it the ability to auto-fire.

See the full post on his blog here, GOSHtastic.

App note: How to achieve greater accuracy in battery capacity readings for portable designs


App note from Maxim Integrated on using fuel gauge IC to obtain accurate battery state of charge readings. Link here (PDF)

Because a product’s runtime is limited by battery capacity, it’s critical to have a precise method for measuring the remaining battery capacity to avoid an unexpected shutdown. This application note describes an experiment for obtaining accurate battery capacity readings in a dog-tracking project.

Teardown and repair of an GW Instek PSW80-40.5 1080W multi-range programmable power supply

GW Instek

Teardown and repair of an GW Instek 1080W power supply from The Signal Path:

In this episode Shahriar investigates the failure of a GW Instek 1080W power supply capable of providing up to 80V and 40A of programmable output voltage and current respectively. The power supply does not power on. However, relay noises can be heard inside the instrument during power on.
Teardown of the unit reveals a modular design with PCBs on all sides. The instrument comprises 6 different modules and 3 complete power supplies in parallel. The controller circuit is powered from the middle power supply module. Examination of the boards reveals three separate failed devices.

More details on The Signal Path site.

Check out the video after the break.

LPCNet – Open Source Neural Net speech synthesis


Jean-Marc Valin has been working on Neural Network (NN) based speech synthesis in his project called LPCNet:

This new demo presents LPCNet, an architecture that combines signal processing and deep learning to improve the efficiency of neural speech synthesis. Neural speech synthesis models like WaveNet have recently demonstrated impressive speech synthesis quality. Unfortunately, their computational complexity has made them hard to use in real-time, especially on phones. As was the case in the RNNoise project, one solution is to use a combination of deep learning and digital signal processing (DSP) techniques. This demo explains the motivations for LPCNet, shows what it can achieve, and explores its possible applications

Via Rowetel.

LM3886 based stereo amplifier


Mark Rehorst blogged about his LM3886 based stereo amplifier build:

Several years ago, National Semiconductor came out with some very high performance, easy to use audio power amplifier ICs.  I was in need of an extra amplifier so I could biamp some of my home-built electrostatic loudspeakers so I tried the LM3886 chip.
This part was chosen because of the ease of use, power output, turn-on and off thump suppression, low distortion, and built-in protection against shorts and thermal runaway.  There isn’t much more to ask of a power amp than that.  When driving electrostatic speakers, you can’t have too much protection!

See the full post on his blog here.

App note: Single-Channel power supply monitor with remote temperature sense


App note from Linear Technology using their LTC2970 to monitor external temperature aside from doing power management. Link here (PDF)

Many applications with a single power regulator can benefit from the monitoring and control features of a power supply manager, but most power supply manager ICs have more than one channel. In an application that only has one power supply, there will be an unused set of DAC and ADC pins. Instead of letting the unused channel go to waste, we can use these pins, and a bit of microcontroller code, to sense remote temperature.

App note: AMR angle sensors


Position measurement sensor using magnetoresistive technology discussed in this app note from Analog Devices. Link here (PDF)

Anisotropic magnetoresistive (AMR), thin film materials are becoming increasingly important in today’s position sensing technologies. Magnetoresistive (MR) position measurement has many advantages over traditional technologies. Reliability, accuracy, and overall robustness are the primary factors contributing to the development of MR sensing technologies. Low cost, small relative size, contactless operation, wide temperature range, dust and light insensitivity, and operation over a wide magnetic field range all lead to a robust sensor design.