Wind turbines with Twitter accounts

Wind Turbines with Twitter accounts? Unconventional perhaps, but it’s a zero service cost option I was able to implement that allows WindAid Institute, a Peruvian Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) to receive notifications from their wind turbine systems in rural Peru. The open source remote monitor project (or ReMona) was born out of a need to:

  • Receiving system alerts, such as battery level being critically low.
  • Wanting Live data to track system usage and turbine performance anywhere in the world.

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PCB Technology 101

Most of us have come across PCB and FPCB in our day to day usage of electronic devices. However, few of us have ever taken time to think about how PCBs and PCBA are made. So we keep wondering how the PCBs that drive our appliances including computers and microwaves are actually made. In this article, we delve into what PCBs are, the materials used in making them, the cost and the process of manufacturing them. Continue Reading “PCB Technology 101”

Virtual Coffee with a Firmware Engineer

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Nowadays, most electronic devices out there require some form of intelligence or decision making. Sometimes very talented electronic engineers can make this using purely analogue and digital electronics together and substantially reduce the costs of the project. However, it is more than common to find that almost all electronic products have a microcontroller inside. These little computers introduce the possibility of measuring analogue signals so they can be processed, enable communication between peripherals, and execute a code taking into account the inputs of your system, just to name a few things. Continue Reading “Virtual Coffee with a Firmware Engineer”

Can you Recycle a PCB?

If you think about it, almost all electronic devices found out there have their components sitting in a nice looking Printed Circuit Board or PCB. No one sells a device with their electronics stuck on a breadboard and hold by electrical tape (or I hope not).

Since electronic devices are booming, PCBs are everywhere. Making sure their materials can be collected and reused instead of just throwing them into a landfill would potentially be a smart and environmentally sensible move if performed properly.

In this article, we will discuss the issue of PCB recycling, if it’s possible at all, how it is done and what can we do as electronics design engineers to create more recyclable PCBs. Note that with PCB we mean the PCB without any components.

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DIY Telematics Box

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Lately, there has been a rise in dashcams sold worldwide to protect the driver’s insurance claims. Most of the time, these have been sufficient. I recently bought my first car and had to drive about an hour on the motorway to my first job. Being a new driver, I had my car fitted with a black box (telematics box) to monitor my driving. A few years later, I bought my second car, but I didn’t have a telematics box installed. Given the driving styles I have seen from various individuals on my commute to and from work, I felt a dashcam alone would not be sufficient, and I really wanted to have something that could monitor my driving in the event of some idiot thought they were on the set of the next Fast & Furious. So I made my own! Continue Reading “DIY Telematics Box”

Dissection of a Successful HW Product Crowdfunding Experience

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One of the main challenges that HW startups face is the issue of financing the project. Fortunately, in the last years, a range of different alternatives has risen allowing many companies to take that initial jump and pay for development and manufacturing costs. One of the most popular ways to finance a project nowadays without involving banks and investors is through crowdfunding. What the backers get in return can either be a percentage of ownership of the company or a special edition product (sometimes even both). Continue Reading “Dissection of a Successful HW Product Crowdfunding Experience”

Are your tree roots well designed?

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A tree can be long, tall with vibrant green leaves and mandarins because it has strong roots and a system that can deliver its nutrients effectively without overloading or bottlenecks.

The simple structure is that a stronger entity supports a smaller one and then repeats itself. The energy to make a leaf grow will be less than the one used for growing a branch (or so I think so as I am not a biologist). And as we can assume, a branch is capable of supporting a certain amount of leaves and fruits and of delivering the nutrients and water from the roots. I think I have never seen a healthy tree with a branch with too many leaves and fruits to the point of damaging the rest of the tree because of overweight or the energy demand of the leaves and fruits is too much. Continue Reading “Are your tree roots well designed?”

Crystal oscillator for your digital ICs

Just as a stable voltage source is necessary for any analogue circuit to work properly, a clock is required for any digital circuit to appropriate shift from one state to the next. In this short article, we will look into the design of an oscillator circuit to give your circuit’s MCU or any other digital IC the necessary clock to perform its functions. Continue Reading “Crystal oscillator for your digital ICs”