Electrifying ideas, grounded in the field

Microscope trinocular port extensions: c-mount and body

A few tweaks I’ve made or simply printed, make my new compound microscope that much cooler to use, and I’m sharing them here along with some details on the process. I only recently got the microscope—specifically a Swift SW380T trinocular scope, for which the microbehunter has some tips and a video review—and I had so…

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Inspecting Zigbee Packets for dev and debug

Trying to implement a Zigbee device involves a few challenges, but things get a whole lot easier when you aren’t operating blind. I’ve got my prototype built and running, based on an nRF5340 and the Zboss stack, and also have a few commercial hubs to play with. I started out naively thinking that if I…

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Controlling a FeelTech function generator with a computer: issues and fixes

The FeelTech/FeelElec arbitrary waveform generators are cool, inexpensive, signal sources that provide a whole lot of functionality, and work well from low frequencies up to tens of megahertz. But, boy, do I hate twiddling with buttons, changing settings a single digit at a time. The answer–for test harnesses, remote control and just plain ease of…

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Ham License Fast Track: Amateur Radio Resources

In researching and documenting a week-long adventure to get an amateur radio license, I’ve digested a lot of information. Here I’m listing the resources I feel are best suited to learning amateur radio specifics as well as related general concepts. How Stuff Works There are tons of learning electronics resources everywhere, but one interesting find…

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psypnp: powerful scripts for OpenPnP and python modules to easily roll your own

Nothing beats a scripting engine when it comes time to customize and psypnp provides both cool scripts to use with OpenPnP right away, and a set of python modules to make creating your own really easy. The project is split into two parts: a set of scripts that automate away a lot of the drudgery…

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Openpnp with LitePlacer Pick and Place

Using the LitePlacer pick and place with openpnp isn’t just possible, it’s pretty awesome. I’ve used both together for a few months now, to assemble over 100 PCBs of varying levels of complexity. It is quite reliable down to 0402 components, with or without bottom vision (which is amazing, when it works–see below). I’ve got…

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TinyG EZConnect for Pick and Place Machines

Here’s how to build your own TinyG “EZ-Connect”, for LitePlacer or other pick and place/G-code-controlled machines. The system’s advantages over a straight-up connection to the TinyG are mainly that it: decouples the TinyG from the machine (remove, replace or share the TinyG with other installations with only two cables to muck with); hosts a few…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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