Monthly Archives: October 2015

App note: Welcoming water metering into the 21st Century

via Dangerous Prototypes


Maxim application note:

Water. It is the most precious managed resource on the planet. Getting clean water to everyone can, in fact, be a matter of life and death. Managing water resources is a serious challenge today. Water is expensive to clean and difficult to get to where it is needed. In fact, connecting people to clean water is one of the great challenges of the 21st century.
With so much at stake, the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart utility grids have an opportunity to improve the world by deploying accurate, reliable water flow-measurement technology. Utilities need to understand and monitor how water is consumed so they can estimate water requirements, but their water meters today do not do a good job of helping us find waste. Given the increasingly scarcity of water resources, we all need to know where every drop of clean water is going. In short, we need a network of ubiquitous, smart water meters.

Designing a CPU in VHDL

via Dangerous Prototypes


A detailed guide on designing a CPU in VHDL by Domipheus:

This is part of a series of posts detailing the steps and learning undertaken to design and implement a CPU in VHDL. Previous parts are available here, and I’d recommend they are read before continuing.
Part 10 was supposed to be a very big part, with a special surprise of TPU working with a cool peripheral device, but that work is still ongoing. It’s taking a long time to do, mostly due to being busy myself over the past few weeks. However, in this update, I’ll look at bringing interrupts to TPU, as well as fixing an issue with the embedded ram that was causing bloating of the synthesized design.

Check out the previous parts at Domipheus Labs.


New product: MyoWare muscle sensor and electrodes

via Pololu Blog

New product: MyoWare muscle sensor and electrodes

We are pumped to announce that we are now carrying Advancer Technologies’ MyoWare Muscle Sensor!

This sensor features a number of improvements over the older Muscle Sensor v3 including single-supply operation (no need for a negative voltage supply) and built-in snap connectors for electrodes. Other new features include a raw EMG output, reverse power protection, a power switch, LED indicators, and two mounting holes.

For a fun example that shows how you could use the muscle sensor, take a look at this blog post, which uses one of our Maestros to monitor a bicep while it is flexing, and command a servo to imitate the motion with a tiny cardstock version of He-Man’s arm. (Note that the project uses the older Muscle Sensor v3, not this new product.) You can also head on over to Advancer Technologies’ website for more project ideas.

The MyoWare Muscle Sensor does not ship with electrodes; they are available separately in packs of six.

Understanding silicon circuits: inside the ubiquitous 741 op amp

via Dangerous Prototypes


Ken Shirriff’s writes, “The 741 op amp is one of the most famous and popular ICs with hundreds of millions sold since its invention in 1968 by famous IC designer Dave Fullagar. In this article, I look at the silicon die for the 741, discuss how it works, and explain how circuits are built from silicon.”

Details at Ken’s blog.

Developed on Hackaday – HaDge is back to the drawing board

via Hackaday » hardware

A couple of days back, we wrote about the HACK – a prototyping platform designed by [Michele Perla] based on the Atmel SAM R21 MCU. It’s one of the new breed of devices consisting of an ARM Cortex-M0 MCU + IEEE 802.15.4 Wireless radio bundled together. This was exciting since we could pack a lot of punch in the HaDge hardware. We planned to use the same design later to power the HaDge. Building HACK would have allowed us to get it in the hands of the software team, while the hardware folks worked on the real HaDge layout.

The HACK design was ready for review and we asked around to verify the antenna layout, which was the part we were not too sure about.  We asked Atmel for help with verifying the layout. That’s when we had the facepalm moment. They asked us – “What about FCC certification?” Since we plan to build the badges in quantities of a few hundred at the very least, it’s obvious we cannot escape from FCC certification. A design based around the R21 is ruled out – the cost of obtaining approval is pretty high. This means we need to punt the R21 and instead use an off-the-shelf radio module which is already FCC certified. Sigh.

Now the good news. This is a setback in terms of time, and effort put in by [Michele]. But beyond that, we’re good to go back to the drawing board and start afresh. First off, we decided to revert back to the Atmel D21 as the main controller. It’s a fairly decent MCU, and there’s a fairly robust tool chain available that a lot of people are familiar with. For the Radio, we are looking at some of these available options :

The last one from Microchip looks quite promising. But we’re open for better and cheaper suggestions, so please chime in with your comments.

Filed under: Hackaday Columns, hardware, radio hacks

Friday Product Post: Pumpkin Pi

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

Happy early Halloween, everyone! Our Internet has been playing TRICKS on us all week but that won’t stop us from TREATING you to a fantastic assortment of new products on this All Hallow’s Eve… eve. Don’t forget to tune in at the video link below at 1:30 p.m. MT today for a festive SparkFun Live, where you can watch our annual costume contest madness (Jabba, a number of deadly sins, and a partially-consumed Robert Muldoon have already been spotted), and learn some Halloween hacks and tricks from Tim!

See you there! Moving on. Let’s continue this Friday with a new video.

We are really going all out with Raspberry Pi products this week! If you want to watch the new product demos on their own, you can find the BLE Nano video here and the Raspberry Pi Starter Kit video here.

Raspberry Pi 2 Starter Kit

$ 89.95

That’s right, we finally have a RPi Kit! The Raspberry Pi 2 Starter Kit is a great way to gain a solid introduction to the small, credit-card sized computer. With this kit you will be able to get your Raspberry Pi 2 connected through our SparkFun Pi Wedge to a breadboard and, by utilizing the Pi’s 40-pin GPIO, control pushbuttons, LEDs, and a host of user created circuits.

Raspberry Pi LCD - 7" Touchscreen

$ 62.95

This 7" Raspberry Pi Touchscreen LCD provides you with the ability to create a standalone device that can be utilized as a custom tablet or an all-in-one interactive interface for a future project. Each LCD features a full color 800 x 480 capacitive touch display that connects to the Pi via an included adapter board which handles all of your power and signal conversion needs.

Raspberry Pi 2 - Model B (8GB Bundle)

$ 49.95

Hey, you know that Raspberry Pi B+ bundled with an 8GB microSD card that we carry? Well there’s a new bundle but this time it contains a Raspberry Pi 2! Inside every box you will find the RPi2 that you know and love AND an 8GB microSD card preloaded with NOOBS!

SparkFun Pi Wedge (Preassembled)

$ 9.95

The SparkFun Pi Wedge is a small board that connects to the 40-pin GPIO connector on the Raspberry Pi and breaks the pins out to breadboard-friendly arrangement and spacing, and even adds a couple of decoupling capacitors on the power supply lines. The “Wedge” also makes the initial bring-up process easier - you can plug an FTDI Basic module into the built-in serial port. Each version of this Pi Wedge comes preassembled and can be inserted into the RPi’s GPIO port that allows you to prototype - no soldering required!

RedBearLab BLE Nano - nRF51822

$ 17.95

The BLE Nano from RedBearLab is one of the smallest Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy (BLE) development boards in the market. At each BLE Nano’s core is a Nordic nRF51822, an ARM Cortex-M0 SoC plus BLE capable of running at 16MHz with ultra low power consumption. The RedBearLab BLE Nano also supports numerous different wireless devices running iOS 7/8, Android 4.3 or higher, and Windows Phone 8.1.

RedBearLab BLE Nano Kit - nRF51822

$ 32.95

The BLE Nano Kit from RedBearLab includes the same Nano board as above but also includes an MK20 USB board and a few extra headers. The MK20 board functions as a USB dongle, allowing you to be able to deploy firmware to BLE Nano even easier.

Phew… well that looks like that is it for this week. We want to wish everyone out there a very spooky and safe Halloween but don’t eat that candy too fast! We’ll see you back here next week for, yet another, Friday Product Post. See you then!

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