## Basic hand tools for electronics assembly

Though the software tools vary with different microcontrollers, many hardware tools are the same.

If you are working on larger robotic or automotive systems, you will need a 3/8" and 1/2" drive socket set. There are occasions when even larger drive socket sets are needed. For small robots and taking things apart, the 1/4" drive socket set is useful. The sizes usually range from 5/32" to 9/16" and 4mm to 15mm.? You will need both shallow and deep sockets, both standard and...

## Helping New Bloggers to Break the Ice: A New Ipad Pro for the Author with the Best Article!

November 9, 2015

Breaking the ice can be tough. ?Over the years, many individuals have asked to be given access to the blogging interface only to never post an?article. ?Maybe they underestimated the time it takes to write a decent article, or maybe they?got cold feet.?I don't?blame or judge?them at all?- how?many times in my life have I had the intention to do something but?didn't follow through? ?Once, maybe twice??? (don't worry if you don't...

## Welcoming MANY New Bloggers!

The response to the?latest call for bloggers has been amazing and I am very grateful.

In this post?I present to you?the individuals who, so far (I am still receiving applications at an impressive rate and will update this page as more bloggers are added), ?have been given access to the blogging interface. ?I am very pleased with?the positive response and I think the near future will see the publication of many great articles, given the quality of the...

## Recruiting New Bloggers!

Previous calls for bloggers have been very successful in recruiting some great communicators?- Rick Lyons,?Jason Sachs, Victor Yurkovsky, Mike Silva, Markus Nentwig,?Gene Breniman,?Stephen Friederichs,

## How to Read a Power MOSFET Datasheet

One of my pet peeves is when my fellow engineers misinterpret component datasheets. This happened a few times recently in separate instances, all involving power MOSFETs. So it’s time for me to get on my soapbox. Listen up!

I was going to post an article on how to read component datasheets in general. But MOSFETs are a good place to start, and are a little more specific. I’m not the first person to write something about how to read datasheets; here are some other good...

## Two Capacitors Are Better Than One

I was looking for a good reference for some ADC-driving circuits, and ran across this diagram in Walt Jung’s Op-Amp Applications Handbook:

And I smiled to myself, because I immediately remembered a circuit I hadn’t used for years. Years! But it’s something you should file away in your bag of tricks.

Take a look at the RC-RC circuit formed by R1, R2, C1, and C2. It’s basically a stacked RC low-pass filter. The question is, why are there two capacitors?

I...

## Voltage Drops Are Falling on My Head: Operating Points, Linearization, Temperature Coefficients, and Thermal Runaway

January 19, 2015

Today’s topic was originally going to be called “Small Changes Caused by Various Things”, because I couldn’t think of a better title. Then I changed the title. This one’s not much better, though. Sorry.

What I had in mind was the Shockley diode equation and some other vaguely related subjects.

My Teachers Lied to Me

My introductory circuits class in college included a section about diodes and transistors.

The ideal diode equation is...

## Optimizing Optoisolators, and Other Stories of Making Do With Less

It’s been a few months since I’ve rolled up my sleeves here and dug into some good old circuit design issues. I started out with circuit design articles, and I’ve missed it.

Today’s topic will be showing you some tricks for how to get more performance out of an optoisolator. These devices — and I’m tempted to be lazy and call them “optos”, but that sounds more like a cereal with Greek yogurt-covered raisins — are essentially just an LED...

## Someday We’ll Find It, The Kelvin Connection

You’d think it wouldn’t be too hard to measure electrical resistance accurately. And it’s really not, at least according to wikiHow.com: you just follow these easy steps:

• Choose the item whose resistance you wish to measure.
• Plug the probes into the correct test sockets.
• Turn on the multimeter.
• Select the best testing range.
• Touch the multimeter probes to the item you wish to measure.
• Set the multimeter to a high voltage range after finishing the...

## 10 Items of Test Equipment You Should Know

When life gets rough and a circuit board is letting you down, it’s time to turn to test equipment. The obvious ones are multimeters and oscilloscopes and power supplies. But you know about those already, right?

Here are some you may not have heard of:

Non-contact current sensors. Oscilloscope probes measure voltage. When you need to measure current, you need a different approach. Especially at high voltages, where maintaining galvanic isolation is important for safety. The usual...

## Sensors Expo - Trip Report & My Best Video Yet!

This was my first time at Sensors Expo and my second time in Silicon Valley and I must say I had a great time.??

Before I share with you?what I find to be, by far, my best 'highlights' video yet?for a conference/trade show, let me try to entertain you with a few anecdotes from this trip.? If you are not interested by my stories or maybe don't have the extra?minutes needed to read them, please feel free to skip to the end of this blog post to watch the...

## Specifying the Maximum Amplifier Noise When Driving an ADC

I recently learned an interesting rule of thumb regarding the use of an amplifier to drive the input of an analog to digital converter (ADC). The rule of thumb describes how to specify the maximum allowable noise power of the amplifier [1].

The Problem Here's the situation for an ADC whose maximum analog input voltage range is –VRef to +VRef. If we drive an ADC's analog input with an sine wave whose peak amplitude is VP = VRef, the ADC's output signal to noise ratio is maximized. We'll...

## Isolated Sigma-Delta Modulators, Rah Rah Rah!

April 25, 2013

I recently faced a little "asterisk" problem, which looks like it can be solved with some interesting ICs.?

I needed to plan out some test instrumentation to capture voltage and current information over a short period of time. Nothing too fancy, 10 or 20kHz sampling rate, about a half-dozen channels sampled simultaneously or near simultaneously, for maybe 5 or 10 seconds.

Here's the "asterisk": Oh, by the way, because the system in question was tied to the AC mains, I needed some...

## How precise is my measurement?

Some might argue that measurement is a blend of skepticism and faith. While time constraints might make you lean toward faith, some healthy engineering skepticism should bring you back to statistics. This article reviews some practical statistics that can help you satisfy one common question posed by skeptical engineers: “How precise is my measurement?” As we’ll see, by understanding how to answer it, you gain a degree of control over your measurement time.

An accurate, precise...

## Going back to Germany!

A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote that the decision to go to ESC Boston ended up being a great one for many different reasons.??I came back from the conference energized and really happy that I went. ?

These?feelings were?amplified a few days after my return when I received an email from Rolf Segger, the founder of SEGGER Microcontroller (check out their very new website),?asking if I would be interested in visiting their headquarters...

## Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part II: libgf2 and Primitive Polynomials

July 17, 2017

Last time, we looked at the basics of LFSRs and finite fields formed by the quotient ring $GF(2)[x]/p(x)$.

LFSRs can be described by a list of binary coefficients, sometimes referred as the polynomial, since they correspond directly to the characteristic polynomial of the quotient ring.

Today we’re going to look at how to perform certain practical calculations in these finite fields. I maintain a Python library on bitbucket called...

## 3 Good News

March 9, 20161 comment
Good News #1

Last week, I announced a?new and ambitious reward program that will be funded by the new Vendors Directory.

This week, I am happy to announce that we have our firsts two sponsors! ?Quantum Leaps & Abelon Systems have agreed to pay the sponsorship fee to be listed in the new Vendors Directory. ?Because of their support, there is now some money in the reward pool (\$1,000) and enough to pay for the firsts 500 'beers' awarded. ?Please...

## Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part I. Introduction

August 22, 2017
Introduction?to the topic?

This is the 1st in a series of articles looking at how we can use DSP and Feedback Control Sciences along with some mixed-signal electronics and number-crunching capability (e.g. FPGA), to create arbitrary (within reason) Electrical/Electronic Circuits with real-world connectivity. Of equal importance will be the evaluation of the functionality and performance of a practical design made from modestly-priced state of the art devices.

• Part 1:?