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  • What Rate of Amps Can I Charge Deep Cycle Battery?

    This is a schematic of an idea I've had for re-organising my emergency power supply for brown outs. The solar array will only be connected to the battery during brown out. I have a 10amp MPPT controller which I know I could wire to the 2 x 120watt panels, but I believe that would restrict the charg

  • Go Analog With A Resistance-Based Calculator

    Do simple calculations with your own math box. Ralph Smith The next time you need to crunch a couple of numbers, resist the urge to grab a digital calculator. Instead, round up some variable resistors, also known as potentiometers, and wire them into an analog mathematics rig. By twisting the potentiometers' knobs and measuring the resulting voltage or resistance with a digital multimeter, you can perform simple multiplication and addition without a microprocessor in sight. MATERIALS: Digital multimeter Three 1K-ohm linear potentiometers 10K-ohm linear potentiometer LM7810 voltage regulator 0.33?F electrolytic capacitor 0.1?F electrolytic capacitor SPST on/off toggle switch Four 25/32-by-15/32-inch knobs Red binding post Black binding post Banana-to-banana cables Two 9-volt batteries Two 9-volt-battery holders 5.5-by-8.66-inch project box Roll of 22-gauge hookup wire TOOLS: Wire cutters Soldering iron Screwdriver Power drill 5/16-inch drill bit Your handy math box schematic. David Prochnow INSTRUCTIONS: Follow our schematic diagram for building a 10-volt power supply from the 7810 voltage regulator. Wire the two 9-volt-battery holders together in series by soldering a black wire from one holder to the other holder's red wire. Drill holes for the potentiometers and binding posts; you can use our schematic diagram's drilling template as a guide. Solder the remaining red wire from the joined battery holders to the red (+) binding post on the switch. Solder the remaining black wire to the black (-) binding post on the switch. Solder two 1K-ohm linear potentiometers in series to create a circuit that will help you perform simple addition. Solder one 1K-ohm linear potentiometer and the 10K-ohm linear potentiometer together as voltage dividers to make a multiplication circuit. Wire the power supply to the voltage-divider potentiometers according to our schematic diagram. Use the binding posts for collecting the black (-) and red (+) wires together. Join the series potentiometers and the voltage-divider potentiometers to the respective multimeter inputs. The voltage dividers, used for multiplication, will connect to the multimeter via the binding posts and the banana-to-banana cables. The series potentiometers, used for addition, are soldered to the multimeter's two probes. Prepare the probes by snipping them off and soldering each remaining wire to one end of the potentiometer series. Place the potentiometers and power supply inside the project box. Secure the knobs to each of the potentiometer's shafts. Mark the range of each addition circuit's knobs from 1 through 10 in a clockwise direction. Next, mark the range of the multiplication circuit's knobs from 1 through 0 in a clockwise direction. (See the photo above for guidance.) Switch the multimeter's ohmmeter to 2,000 ohms for addition, and calculate sums using the series potentiometers' knobs. For multiplication, use the multimeter's voltmeter (set to 20 DC volts) and measure the product of the voltage-divider potentiometers' knobs. OPERATION: Two modes are used on the multimeter. The ohmmeter displays the series potentiometers' sums, and the voltmeter displays the voltage-divider potentiometers' products. Addition: Set up the multimeter for addition calculations by connecting the red probe wire to the V?mA (+) input and the black probe wire to the COM (-) input on the multimeter. Turn on the multimeter and set its selector dial to its ohmmeter function with a setting range of 2,000 ohms. Rotate each knob on the addition potentiometers, and watch the sum on the multimeter display. Multiplication: Set up the multimeter for multiplication by connecting the red banana-to-banana cable to the V?mA (+) input and the black banana-to-banana cable to the COM (-) input on the multimeter. Plug the other end of each cable into the matching-color binding post. Turn on the multimeter, move its selector dial to the voltmeter function, and set the range to 20 volts. Turn on the SPST switch. (Note: This switch sends 10 volts of DC power through the voltage-divider potentiometers.) Turn each multiplication potentiometer and see the product on the multimeter display. Notes: There are two noteworthy features about the multiplication function of the analog calculator: The products are decimal fractions. This is because the potentiometers act as voltage dividers. For example, the first potentiometer divides the reference voltage (i.e., 10 volts DC) in half, which is equivalent to multiplying the reference voltage by 0.5. Similarly, the second potentiometer multiplies the first product by 0.5. Therefore, if each potentiometer is placed at its halfway point, the multimeter will display a product of 2.50, or ((10 * 0.5) * 0.5) = 2.50. The second feature of the analog calculator's multiplication function is the presence of an obvious calculator error. Can you spot it? As the two 9-volt batteries begin to lose power, the resulting products will be lower than you would expect to see. For example, with both potentiometers set to 1, the anticipated multimeter display would be 10 volts. As the batteries age, however, the multimeter might display 9.55 volts with both potentiometers set to 1. Therefore, our calculation would be: ((9.55 * .5) * .5) = 2.39. This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of?Popular Science.

  • Welcome To The Lab Of An Apollo Computer Anatomist

    Blanche in her workshop. Photograph by Ray Lego Fran Blanche's workshop is more than a place to unwind. It's home. "I put a bed in my office," she says. Her fashion business is downstairs; upstairs is a music studio and a laboratory with 30 years' worth of tools. A private collector recently asked Blanche?to study part of his Apollo-era Launch Vehicle Digital Computer (LVDC), which NASA designed to fly a Saturn V rocket. "All modern boards would come to emulate it," Blanche says. "Trouble is, there's no information about how it was constructed."? Blanche''s workshop in detail. Photograph by Fran Blanche 1) Tektronix 564B oscilloscope.?Blanche owns two, and they help her examine DC- and audio-frequency signals. 2) Articulated dental-exam lamp.?Designed in the 1940s, the lamp has a tightly focused beam that gives Blanche a clear view of a project from any angle.3) Homemade adjustable DC-power supply.?Whatever current and voltage a project requires, Blanche's custom-built device can usually provide it.4) Heathkit 5-watt resistor substitution box.?No schematic is perfect. This device helps test various resistances in a circuit before installing the real deal. 5) 25-watt Weller soldering iron.?"I have used this iron since 1978, and it has never failed," says Blanche. One of LVDC''s page-assembly boards. Photograph by Fran Blanche Saturn vs. LVDC:?The launch-computer assembly could autopilot Apollo's 363-foot-tall, 6.2-million-pound Saturn V rockets. Dozens of page-assembly boards like this one comprised each of the LVDC's three computers. By carefully dissecting a board, Blanche uncovers its components and construction methods. This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of?Popular Science.

  • Toradex launches Open Source "Viola", a new concept for ultra-low cost customized single-board computers (SBC), starting at $55.00

    Toradex launches ultra-low cost customized single-board computers (SBC) Toradex – a world leading provider of embedded computing solutions based on ARM® CPUs – today announced Viola, a new open source concept for ultra-low cost customized single-board computers. Combined with Colibri VF50 COM, a Freescale® Vybrid™-based Computer-on-Module, a Viola based single-board computer starts at $55.00 for 1K units ($69.00 single unit price) and offers a very interesting set of functions for numerous embedded applications. The Viola carrier board may also be paired with any module in the pin-compatible Toradex Colibri family, thereby offering a variety of Customized SBCs with different performance levels, features and price points. “This development is going to further strengthen our world leading position in the embedded ARM computer modules today. Inserting a Colibri VF50 or any other Colibri module into your Viola carrier board allows you to very economically create your own custom-specific industrial quality single-board computer. This is an ideal choice for cost-sensitive end-products in the most demanding industries without any hidden charges.” explains Ronald Vuillemin, Toradex Chairman. The 4-layer Open Source Viola carrier board, Toradex’s recent addition to its portfolio of carrier boards, measures just 74mm x 74mm, and is compatible with the entire Colibri family of COMs. The long product lifecycle of 10+ years, complemented with the availability of key communication interfaces – including USB 2.0 host and 100 Mbit Ethernet – and a variety of industrial interfaces – such as I2C, SPI, UART and GPIO – makes the Viola carrier board perfectly suited for industrial and embedded applications. Support for LCD panels and touch interfaces is also provided. The schematics, layout, libraries and BOM are all available free of charge in electronic format, thereby enabling a full custom design, if required. The Viola carrier board’s core features and benefits are further explained on www.toradex.com/products/carrier-boards/viola-c[...]. Availability and Pricing The Toradex customized single-board computer (Colibri VF50 & Viola) is available on the Toradex web shop for a price of $69.00 (single order) and $55.00 (bulk order > 1000 pcs). The Viola carrier board is available on the Toradex web shop for a price of $22.00 (single order) and $19.00 (bulk order > 1000 pcs). For more information, please visit www.toradex.com/products/customized-single-boar[...]

  • Altium and In-Circuit Design partner to provide new extensions for Altium Designer to respond to challenges in high-speed design

    Sydney, Australia – Altium Limited, a global leader in Smart System Design Automation, 3D PCB design (Altium Designer) and embedded software development (TASKING), in cooperation with Australian based In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd (ICD), announce the availability of new extensions for Altium Designer for advanced stackup planning and power distribution network analysis to bring comprehensive high-speed design capabilities to the mainstream market, at an affordable price. With the increasing challenges concerning high-speed signals – not only because of high clock frequencies, but also because of faster edge rates – more and more PCB designers need to have analysis tools that allow them to successfully design with fewer iterations. The two new extensions for Altium Designer, the ICD Stackup Planner and ICD Power Distribution Network (PDN) Planner, are accessible from within the design tool to provide for seamless analysis. “The ICD analysis software complements Altium Designer by empowering designers to accurately and confidently route complex, high-speed designs” said Barry Olney, Managing Director and CEO of In-Circuit Design. “Altium opens up a broader market for our products and gives Altium Designer customers the tools they need for competitive advantage at a reasonable cost.” ICD provides a centralized, shared, impedance planning environment that connects materials, PDN analysis, stackup planning, signal integrity, PCB design and fabrication, consolidating the impedance control from schematic to fabrication.The impedance is planned pre-layout and flows through the design process to fabrication. ICD Stackup Planner Attention to critical placement, fanout, matched length and differential pair routing are vital for more and more mainstream designs. However, planning the multilayer PCB stackup configuration is one of the most important aspects in achieving the best possible performance of a product. The ICD Stackup Planner enables engineers and PCB designers to master this challenge. Key Benefits of ICD Stackup Planner include: ● Unprecedented simulation speed, ease of use and accuracy at an affordable price. ● Accurate impedance control for rigid-flex design flows seamlessly, in the Altium environment, from concept to fabrication. ● The 8,800 part dielectric materials library allows the simulation of the actual materials used by your fabricator. ● Unique field solver computation of multiple differential pair definitions per layer. ● Automatic creation of high-speed design rules in Altium Designer. ICD PDN Planner A typical high-speed, multilayer PCB has five or six individual power supplies that all serve a different purpose, and must be regulated to maintain power integrity during high current switching up to the maximum frequency. With a frequency range up to 100 GHz, the ICD PDN Planner analyzes the AC impedance of each on-board PDN, including capacitor selection, to ensure a broad spectrum of noise reduction, giving a concise graphical view of the entire network including plane resonance peaks. Key benefits of the ICD PDN Planner include: ● Unprecedented simulation speed, ease of use and accuracy at an affordable price. ● Accurate PDN management flows seamlessly, in the Altium environment, from concept to production. ● Comprehensive capacitor library of 5,000 parts, allows the simulation and optimization of the actual capacitors extracted from manufacturer’s SPICE models. ● Intuitive and easy to use – gives all members of your PCB design team the ability to quickly analyze power integrity without the usual steep learning curve associated with complex software. Availability Both the ICD Stackup Planner and the ICD PDN Planner are available immediately. For details about product configurations and pricing, contact an Altium Sales & Support office or a localreseller. About Altium Altium Limited (ASX: ALU) is an Australian multinational software corporation that focuses on 3D PCB design, electronics design and embedded system development software. Altium Designer, a unified electronics design environment links all aspects of smart systems design in a single application that is priced as affordable as possible. Altium’s embedded software compilers are used around the globe by carmakers and the world’s largest automotive Tier-1 suppliers. With this unique range of technologies Altium enables electronics designers to innovate, harness the latest devices and technologies, manage their projects across broad design ‘ecosystems’, and create connected, intelligent products. Founded in 1985, Altium has offices worldwide, with US locations in San Diego and Boston, European locations in Karlsruhe, Amersfoort, Kiev, Moscow and Zug and Asia-Pacific locations in Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney. For more information, visit www.altium.com. You can also follow and engage with Altium via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. About Icd In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd (ICD), Australia developed the ICD Stackup Planner and ICD PDN Planner software, is a PCB Design Service Bureau and specializes in board level simulation. Incorporated in 1995, ICD has won many awards over the years for engineering excellence, exceptional EDA software sales and marketing. Barry Olney, managing director, is a regular columnist for the PCB Design Magazine.

  
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