About PCBs and designing them with pcb design software with altium

A printed circuit board or a PCB is able to provide mechanical support to electronically connected electronic parts of a device using traces which are etched using copper sheets, conductive pathways, etc. laminated on a substrate of a non conductive nature. Usually, there are preset IPC organization standards that help to design the PCB layout, maintain a certain level of quality, and follow a proper assembly pattern accepted by the industry. PCBs usually follow the IPC 2221A standard in terms of design and quality control, and it is the same for any material the PCB is made with. An insulator is a prime component of any PCB, which is home to a variety of layers of materials attached to the insulator itself. All these layers act as a form of grounding to the entire PCB. Now coming to the copper traces – they are created either by mechanical laying of …

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Simple dummy load for basic testing

I bet you face lots of problems in design process where you simply need to test power supply, or LED by providing/drawing constant current regardless to voltage change. Such device is called a dummy load. You can find lots of DIY dummy load projects and we won’t be talking about commercial ones right now. Nick found out that most DIY dummy loads tend to be complicated or unavailable. So without struggling he decided to start his own simple and reliable load. He wanted it to be simple, self powered and indestructible. Indestructible means that it won’t burn in voltage range up to 30V. With BTS141 FET this became possible as it has built in over-current and over-voltage protection built in. Controlling is done with simple potentiometer attached to operational amplifier positive input. Negative input is connected from current sense resistor. The project is OSHW which can be found on github …

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Using SVN for embedded projects. Part 1.

Writing software is complex task. In every microcontroller program you usually try to reuse previously written libraries, downloaded code and other data that is being updated. What if you are developing something in team? How to keep track of everything? Storing project files in directories eventually get messy – eventually you loose track of whats done. For instance some time you have written LCD library and used in several microcontroller projects. But eventually you found a bug, or optimized code. Normally you would have to copy new library files in every project to keep updated. This is hard when you already have dozens of projects. There is one way to stay organized by using version control software. In this case we will talk about SVN. Subversion (SVN) is an open source system that allows controlling files and folders, keep track of changes made during time. Simply speaking SVN is a …

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Right hand for electronics designers – pcb calculator

Designing a good PCB requires some knowledge and good calculator. First one can be obtained gradually by making tons of PCBs and learning from failures. Different thing is calculator. You cannot have all things in mind when tracing crucial traces in your PCB. What is high voltage is present? Or if there are large currents floating. How one or another configuration will behave when high frequency signals are used. There are always a tradeoffs between materials used and price. So measuring things right may save time and cost. Saturn PCB Design Inc. knows these problems and put their experience in a nice free calculator which covers many designing routine calculations. Here you are be able to calculate things like via/trace resistance, capacitance, inductance. By changing inductor width and thickness find its power dissipation. Also you can do quick thermal calculations that will allow to decide if you need a heat-sink. …

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Hand written equation conversion to LaTex and MathML

Writing formulas and equations for some publication or websites is time consuming task. Usually there is LaTex syntax used to enter formulas. But when formulas get more complex it gets really hard to remember all short-codes and it is easy to loose end in a long line. At school we are used to write equations by hand so why not to transfer that experience in to computer. Here is a nice small script that simply converts hand written equation in to LaTex and MathML XML codes. All you have is to open a MyScript demo website and start drawing. Algorithm analyzes hand drawn formulas and tries to convert them in to code. It previews your progress so you could redo last steps to match your needs. I should say it does job really great. So if you do lots of formulas you may give a try – could be faster …

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Free online circuit draw

If you electronics man/girl, probably you have circuit capture software installed on your PC. But there are situations when you are away from your desktop and need to draw circuit just to show some ideas for your friend or make some adjustments for existing project. In such cases online circuit capture software becomes really handy. dz863 have been developing a free online circuit draw application which has several handy features. It supports most of widely used browsers. Application area looks really handy and easy to use. It has grid, menu, part selection po-pups. Schematics can be saved or exported as png, jpg and seems that there will be pdf supported. Part library is growing – if you don’t find one – you can draw it right away. What else can you expect form online software?

Easy vector graphics in Eagle with Illustrator

Eagle is a great PCB designing software. But if you need to do some fancy graphics like specially shaped outline you will get stuck. Why not leave drawing tasks for other programs that are designed for. In this helpful tutorial you will learn how to draw complex shapes with Illustrator and then import it to Eagle. Tutorial explains how to add anchor to lines so Eagle wouldn’t approximate curves with straight lines. The other process is easy – Export image to DXF R13 on Illustrator and then import to Eagle by using modified ULP script.