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Electronics

This blog described electronic components that can be used to support or interface to nanodevices.

100G communications papers

morreale Wednesday 02 of October, 2013
The IEEE Communications Society has made 30-40 papers on 100 Gb/s communications available open source. Some of the topics include:
  • 100G QPSK
  • FEC
  • Optical transport
  • Coherent signal processing
  • Undersea communications
  • Low power PHY at 400G

SPICE made easy

morreale Monday 16 of September, 2013
Planet Analog has posted the article SPICE made easy which reviews the book "The LTspice IV Simulator - Manual, Methods and Applications" by Gilles Brocard. LT SPICE is a free SPICE simulator that does not have any limitations on component count or node count. There is a graphical schematic capture tool now too. It is very popular but isn't well documented until now. The book is available from the publisher for €49 plus VAT.

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Free circuit simulator tools

morreale Tuesday 20 of August, 2013
EE Times has enlisted its readers to say which free circuit simulators they use. I saw that a number of people like PSPICE which is not free. LTspice was another favorite. The number one complaint was the lack of device models. PSPICE is a great tool with plenty of models. It would be cool if was open source. It would seem that online circuit simulators like CircuitLab is being used by students at hundreds of universities around the world so programs like PSPICE, LTspices, and Multisim are likely to fad away.

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DoCircuits

morreale Tuesday 13 of August, 2013
DoCircuits is a web based circuit simulator and acts like a virtual electronics lab. It has freemium model so there is a free plan, pro plan, enterprise plans ranging from $0/month, $4/month, and an unspecified rate for the enterprise plan. The pro plan allows offline usage too. It has many sponsors like the IEEE and Intel. It easy to use, fun, and nicely done.

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Function Generator

Home supercomputers

morreale Tuesday 30 of July, 2013
I predict that cheap parallel processors/clusters will be common in the future and I would be able to build an array of such processors for my home network (Network Attached Cluster perhaps). Adaptava is shipping the Parallella supercomputer platform now (Kickstarter project). It has 16 processor and can do 100 GFLOPs at 2W all for around $100. Future versions are expected to offer 64 to 16k cores and reach 20 TFLOPs. It would be fun to pair such devices with Mathematica. Maybe you could do some real time imagine processing of video from a quadcopter this way to control the copter, for example. It would be neat.

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Custome IC development

morreale Monday 17 of June, 2013
Analog planet has posted a short summary of The REAL Cost for a Custom IC and describes the team typically needed to produce a custom IC. NRE costs can range from $350,000 to $2,000,000 which is a significant investment. Of course you can go the DIY garage approach and design a chip on the cheap for $3000 for a hobby project.

Beaglebone Black

morreale Friday 26 of April, 2013
Beaglebone black is the new community-driven development board from Beagleboard.org. It costs $45 and offers the following features:
  • AM335x 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8
  • 3D graphics accelerator
  • NEON floating-point accelerator
  • 2x PRU 32-bit microcontrollers
  • USB client for power & debug
  • USB host
  • Ethernet
  • HDMI
  • 2x 46 pin headers
and supports the following operating systems:
  • Ångström Linux
  • Android
  • Ubuntu
  • Cloud9 IDE on Node.js w/ BoneScript library

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The first opamp

morreale Wednesday 27 of February, 2013
George A Philbrick Researches launched the first commercial Operational Amplifier in 1952. The K2-W opamp was based on vacuum tubes and was part of the first analog computer. The Phibrick Archive contains historical accounts of the company, the first opamps, applications notes, and photos. The Philbrick company is the foundation the present analog semiconductor industry including companies like Analog Devices, Linear Technology, and National Semiconductor.

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Analog parts kit

morreale Monday 04 of February, 2013
Embedded.com has posted a short article about an analog parts kit from Digilent Inc. The kit contains op-amps, voltage regulators, instrumentation amps, current monitor, accelerometer, magnetic sensor, temperature sensors, voltage reference, resistors, capacitors, transistors, and FETs for around $60.

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Electronic stuffed toys

morreale Saturday 29 of December, 2012
Adafruit has introduced a new line of playground circuit plushies dolls to teach kids about electronics. The line includes
  • Cappy the capacitor
  • Connie the transistor
  • Hans to 555 timer IC
  • Billie the Blue LED
  • Gus the Green LED
  • Mho the Resistor
  • Ruby the Red LED
Each doll is about $10. They are so cute!

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Partsim

morreale Thursday 15 of November, 2012
Partsim is a new online simulator that lets you create a schematic and runs SPICE simulation on your designs. The BOM is linked to Digikey so you assign Digikey part numbers to your simulation models. It looks very handy.

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RIP Hans Camenzind

morreale Wednesday 22 of August, 2012
EE Times has short article commemorating Hans Camenzind who invented the 555 Timer and recently past away. There are a lot of links to interviews and to his books which I added to my Amazon wish list. The article indicates that 1 billion 555 timer circuits are built every year (hard to believe) and there many videos about 555 timer circuits posted every year as well.

Electric vocabulary

morreale Tuesday 17 of July, 2012
James Sheils gives this short TED talk on the history of our Electric Vocabulary. I did not know, for example, that Benjamen Franklin devised the term battery as reference to canon batteries on early sailing ships. These ships fired their canons all at the same time. Franklin reasoned that his array of charged cells also all discharged at the same time. Oh ya, charge and discharge refers to charging and discharging of muskets.

Diodes

morreale Monday 16 of July, 2012
The folks over at Evil Mad Scientist posted a article about some vintage diodes found at the Silicon Valley Electronics Flea Market. I did not know that old timey diodes could be interesting. I should check my old parts draw and see what's there.

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Arduino at TED

morreale Sunday 01 of July, 2012
Arduino fans check out Massimo Banzi TED talk on open hardware. I had the chance to teach a teenager and an adult electronics using in part an Arduino Uno kit. It was a fabulous experience for everyone. I was amazed that everything worked without a lot of debugging. The software development system just worked which is just unreal in my experience. Bravo to the Arduino team.

FreeCad

morreale Wednesday 27 of June, 2012
FreeCad is 3D drawing tool that can be used to create 3D models of boxes, heatsinks, and other electronic packaging items. The 3D models can then be made through online fabricators like Ponoko.

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