Electrifying ideas, grounded in the field

Inductive kickback: observations, interesting finds, lessons learned and feedback related to my work as a circuit and PCB designer, embedded firmware programmer, prototype creator and electronics maker and consultant.

TinyG Wiring System for LitePlacer

As part of my LitePlacer pick and place machine build, the wiring was more familiar than the mechanical assembly but still pretty complex. To simplify things, and to decouple the TinyG from the machine, I created a set of PCBs to handle the wiring and host stuff like MOSFET switches and jumpers to select between…

Read more

A pick and place machine for prototyping

I really love electronics and all the challenges that come with solving problems and inventing things that have never existed before but building prototypes–especially of PCBs designed for manufacturability with tiny ICs and passives: ugh! It was fine when I was making basic circuits, but hundreds of tiny pieces, painstakingly placed one by one… Life…

Read more

The Case for R3 Prototyping: Product Development workshop at District 3 Biohealth Innovation Week

Day 2 of District 3’s Biohealth Innovation Week (which I covered in some depth yesterday) was the main reason I registered, and it did not disappoint. There were three main events scheduled, and I attended each: Product Development for Biomed and Biotech; Regulatory process and Quality Management in Biomed and Biotech sectors; and Emerging Technology…

Read more

D3 Biohealth Innovation Week: Day 1

Right now, District 3 is holding a Biohealth Innovation Week in Montreal. Billed as a discovery boot-camp, the idea is to bring together life-sciences startups, VCs, students, biohealth community players and anyone interested in the field. My particular interest is on the devices side of the arena, and the conferences and workshops touch on this…

Read more

PLC Quickstart for programmers and embedded engineers

This is everything you need to know to get a running start with PLCs if you’re already familiar with programming or engineering embedded systems. Programmable Logic Controllers have been around a long time and there are tons of online resources devoted to the devices but I’ve found these lacking when it comes to addressing the…

Read more

Quick Hack: controlling remote AC switches with Raspberry Pi/any MCU

Need to control some smart home switches, asap? That’s what happened to me, so I hit the hardware store and got a set of Noma RF AC switches, with a little remote, and hacked it up to automate the action. Get all the details and a little demo in this video:

Controlling a Raspberry Pi with Android

Device Druid version 3 is out and about! There’s a new look, a host of new features, etc but what I’m most thrilled to announce is support for both Raspberry Pi and Android. To celebrate, here’s a little video walkthrough of getting a GUI running on a Raspberry Pi in a couple of minutes. We’ll…

Read more

Creating an I2C slave interface for a sensor or peripheral

You’re creating a stand-alone module to bundle a few hardware sensors, or have an independent microcontroller that stays awake and needs to wake the main system depending on configurable environmental triggers. What’s the easiest way to let this unit receive orders and communicate results? An I²C slave! Inter-Integrated Circuit–I²C–is specifically designed to provide an easy…

Read more

Inductive kickback made simple to grasp, easy to handle

This site is about much more than inductors but if you came looking for info on inductive kickback or inductors in general, this light crash course should make it clear in no time using a few random anthropomorphizations I’ve found useful. Inductors: the grumpy old man of passive components Inductors stay on top of current…

Read more

Powering cellular IoT for months in the wild

For a LTE M1 connected IoT project that is meant to operate in the wild for months at a time, we’re designing a set of rechargeable power packs that will provide the electrons we need in an easily swapped out form factor. In the meantime, we needed some way to test the modules and profile…

Read more