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.

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…

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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…

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Eclipse saves my ass and the day

It started with the best of intentions, as these things are wont to do. What had begun as a test script, nothing more than the stub of an eventual server side implementation to catch data coming in from an embedded device, was quickly morphing into an actual project. Hm… getting serious and valuable: time to…

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Extending the life of a cell connected IoT device

How do we maximize the useful lifetime of our battery powered, cell connected, IoT device? The obvious answer is to sleep and conserve power as much as possible but there are a few ways of doing this when dealing with M2M networks, like NB-IoT and LTE Cat M1, each with its own advantages and trade-offs….

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Device Druid v3 Beta Now Available

Operating your Arduino project has never been sweeter.  Version 3 of device druid is out in beta and you can try it out to give a little feedback on what’s awesome and what needs a bit of work.  The new Druid Builder requires no installation, as its now available online, and the client is smoother…

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Simplifying Assembly: Open Source Manual Pick & Place Assistance

Building prototypes is fun but can be a huge time sink.  Hunting around on the board–how many 10k resistors are there? where is R15? ugh. Thankfully, Colin O’Flynn created an program to help you while you’re acting as a meatbag pick and place machine.  MeatbagPnP is a python application that takes generated placement files and…

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Powering your breadboard: Options, Reviews and Caveats

Though most of my projects wind up with their own regulators on-board, the breadboard is the go-to of choice when it’s time to just try something out.  Since pretty much everything I play with needs juice, this will be a little review of some of the options I’ve used, and what I’ve learned in doing…

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Quick & Easy Attitude and Heading Reference System

Though I’d used the Razor 9DoF and a few other IMUs, it’d been a few years since I got to play with an AHRS.  Recently, I got a request to tweak a system using the MPU-9250, a nine-axis (gyro, accelerometer and compass) MEMS device, to see how nicely we could get it to play. I…

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Druid Builder available for Linux

A beta version of Druid Builder, the drag & drop Arduino UI creation app, is now available for Linux. Check out the video for instructions. The linux edition of builder uses Coraline to run the ionic framework app under Linux, while providing access the SQLite and device info using coraline’s plugin system, so in short…

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Coraline: cordova/ionic apps on Linux

Cordova-ubuntu is dead! Long live Coraline! Though my focus is circuitry and embedded systems, I wind up developing a lot of apps for Android or Windows but also a few for Linux, like device druid.  On this Linux side, I’ve been counting on the Ubuntu support from cordova, but now that I’ve upgraded to 17.x…

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