Small motor controller with integrated position sensor

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Ben Katz writes:

A while ago I added the hall effect encoder IC I’ve been using directly to the motor controller PCB.  The controller sits directly on the back of the motor (with a magnet added to the motor shaft), and the phase wires solder straight in.  I also have a pair of board-mounted XT30 connectors on the DC bus for easy daisy-chaining.  Otherwise, the board is basically identical to the previous version of this controller.  I’ve now built over a dozen of these, and have had no problems.

See the full post on BuildIts in Progress blog.

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#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

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Every Tuesday we give away two coupons for the free PCB drawer via Twitter. This post was announced on Twitter, and in 24 hours we’ll send coupon codes to two random retweeters. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times a every week:

  • Hate Twitter and Facebook? Free PCB Sunday is the classic PCB giveaway. Catch it every Sunday, right here on the blog
  • Tweet-a-PCB Tuesday. Follow us and get boards in 144 characters or less
  • Facebook PCB Friday. Free PCBs will be your friend for the weekend

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • Check out how we mail PCBs worldwide video.
  • We’ll contact you via Twitter with a coupon code for the PCB drawer.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.

We try to stagger free PCB posts so every time zone has a chance to participate, but the best way to see it first is to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

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Debug SONOFF AC relay with a thermal camera

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James Lewis shares his experience in debugging SONOFF AC relay with a thermal camera:

The clever solution seemed to be clever, at least for a few minutes. Suddenly the light turned off. I thought maybe there was a timeout for the manual button. Annoying, but workable. The lamp remained off for about another 2 minutes when I started to smell that unmistakeable burning plastic odor. Touching the case of the SONOFF identified the culprit immediately.
Great. So I have an AC mains switch that isn’t working, but I do not want to go poking my multimeter into it. What do I do?
Turns out, that SONOFF module was defective. I wanted to debug it, but I did not want to measure anything while connected to AC. Here’s how I used a thermal camera to debug my SONOFF.

See the full post on Bald Engineer blog.

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The ‘$20 Bill’ DC receiver

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Steve’s (a.k.a N8NM ) ‘$20 Bill’ DC receiver:

If you follow Bill, N2CQR’s SolderSmoke blog, you know that he’s working on a simple DC receiver of his own, which, along with his aversion to using the magic chips, served as inspiration for this rig, which is how it got it’s name: $20 is my guess at what it’d cost to duplicate, and Bill, of course, is Bill. The alternate name is based on my belief that the last thing the world needs is another 40m DC receiver.

More details at Steve’s Eclectic Radio blog.

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Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

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We go through a lot of prototype PCBs, and end up with lots of extras that we’ll never use. Every Sunday we give away a few PCBs from one of our past or future projects, or a related prototype. Our PCBs are made through Seeed Studio’s Fusion board service. This week two random commenters will get a coupon code for the free PCB drawer tomorrow morning. Pick your own PCB. You get unlimited free PCBs now – finish one and we’ll send you another! Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • Be sure to use a real e-mail in the address field so we can contact you with the coupon.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.
  • PCBs are scrap and have no value, due to limited supply it is not possible to replace a board lost in the post

Be the first to comment, subscribe to the RSS feed.

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App note: Advanced LED rework procedure for video wall and signage applications

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App note from OSRAM about LED rework on signages and their demand for more sophosticated tools. Link here (PDF)

SMT LEDs have became more and more popular in video wall and signage applications, replacing radial LEDs. This leads to more difficulties during the repair or replacement of failed LEDs on PCBs, especially for QFN (Quad Flat No-lead) packages, as there is no exposed lead. This application note provides basic information on how to rework the SMT LEDs in video wall and signage applications. To describe the rework process the DISPLIX Oval LED was chosen an example, as the rework of this LED is more challenging due to the lack of exposed lead and the oval lens on top. However, the procedure is also suitable for other LEDs. In this application note details on the materials used, examples of suitable equipment and the process are presented and described. Finally, the test results of the LED after the rework process are presented, showing that in this case the rework procedure did not cause any damage to the LED itself.

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App note: Matrix LED and where they are used

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White paper about matrix LED usage from Integrated Silicon Solution Inc. (ISSI). Link here (PDF)

People today come in contact with a wide range of consumer electronics (CE) devices in their daily lives. CE devices have become increasingly complex with added functionality enabled by MCU’s which provide the intelligence for automating functions. Control panels used in appliances and other equipment leverage MCUs and several integrated circuits to enable functions, such as sensing, process control and user interface (UI).

The user interface consists of input controls, visual and audio feedback used to configure the product to perform complex tasks. An aesthetically pleasing UI is a major differentiating feature for home appliances such as ovens, washing machines and refrigerators. Home appliance UIs commonly use capacitive or inductive touch sensing to provide an easy to clean interface unmatched by mechanical buttons. In addition to touch sensing, a UI has to provide audio and visual feedback in response to the user selection. The UI may not be the most important factor in determining the commercial success of CE devices. However, once parity is established on the major functions such as washing capacity, energy efficiency, etc, the UI becomes a key differentiator. Today, parity has been established on most of the important factors making the UI a product differentiating factor.

As the trend continues to move away from purely mechanical switches to a fully electronic interface expect to see demand for LEDs and drivers to continue increasing.

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Philips Hue – control anything hack

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Fred writes:

To be honest, my recent simple relay hack wasn’t really all that great. It just used the high power constant current output to drive a SSR. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked. I decided that it was worth the effort to track down some more useful outputs and properly detect the desired state of the bulb.
All it took was a little bit of poking around and probing the pins of the SAM R21 microcontroller with an oscilloscope. It wasn’t actually that hard. On the B22 bayonet fitting version of the bulb I found some.

More details on his blog here, 0xFRED.

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Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

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Every Friday we give away some extra PCBs via Facebook. This post was announced on Facebook, and on Monday we’ll send coupon codes to two random commenters. The coupon code usually go to Facebook ‘Other’ Messages Folder . More PCBs via Twitter on Tuesday and the blog every Sunday. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • We’ll contact you via Facebook with a coupon code for the PCB drawer.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month, please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.

We try to stagger free PCB posts so every time zone has a chance to participate, but the best way to see it first is to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

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Capacitor plague? Inside an HP 8620C sweep oscillator and HP 86245A RF plugin

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A teardown of the HP 8620C and HP 86245A by Kerry Wong:

I just picked up an HP 8620C sweep oscillator with an HP 86245A 5.9 GHz to 12.4 GHz RF plugin on eBay. This time around though, the unit does not work. While it was advertised as a working unit I could not get it powered on and there was no sign of life whatsoever. So before I start troubleshooting and repairing the unit, I thought I would do a quick teardown to see what’s inside and if I could spot anything obvious that was out of the ordinary.

More details on his blog here.

Check out the video after the break.

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