Current Source to Measure DC Resistance of a Wire

Have you heard of a current source before? In electronics, when you hear the word source, it means that part is “giving” or “providing” something, in this case, a current. The opposite of sourcing is sinking, this means that part is “taking” or “demanding” something. Continue Reading “Current Source to Measure DC Resistance of a Wire”

Transformerless PSU, is it worth it?

When it comes to the design of a power supply that needs to convert AC mains voltage into a fixed DC voltage, it is the norm to think that a transformer is required to achieve that design goal. In this article, a different alternative will be presented, and more importantly, it will be simulated and compared to the standard transformer solution in terms of cost, size and performance. Continue Reading “Transformerless PSU, is it worth it?”

Introduction to Product Requirements Documentation for New Hardware Products

This post was originally published on Predictable Designs, the original article can be found here

What does a practical, hands-on product developer or maker dislike the most? In my experience, I would say spending time writing documentation instead of designing interesting stuff.

Usually, when a product developer has a clear understanding about the function of the device, he/she jumps straight into the design.

This is great, as there’s nothing better than having an early proof of concept prototype to show stakeholders you can make it.

However, after the proof of concept stage issues can arise if the engineer starts picking components and designing the schematics without first having formalized the functions, behavior, operating parameters and the expected performance of the device.

Always focus on the big picture before you dig down into all of the little details.

Continue Reading “Introduction to Product Requirements Documentation for New Hardware Products”

Optimize the Energy Consumption of your Electronic Device

Energy consumption is an important parameter that not only concerns sustainability. It is true that by optimizing the use of energy on the device, less energy will be required to perform its function, therefore more efficient, but also by performing this optimization you will have an overall better product.  Continue Reading “Optimize the Energy Consumption of your Electronic Device”

WindAid is also Electronics

This post was originally published on the WindAid blog. The article can be found here

Back in the summer of 2014, I had one of the best experiences of my life (sounds cheesy and the start of a teenage girl movie doesn’t it?). I was just finishing university and graduating with an electronics engineering bachelor degree at the University of Plymouth and before getting hooked into a 9-5 job I was looking to have an experience where I could combine three different factors Continue Reading “WindAid is also Electronics”

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.

Continue Reading “Wind turbines with Twitter accounts”

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

firmware

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.

Continue Reading “Can you Recycle a PCB?”