Author Archives: Al Williams

USB C Analyzer

via hardware – Hackaday

USB C allows data transfer, but also has provisions for transferring data related to power distribution. Of course, where there is data, there is a need to snoop on data for troubleshooting or reverse engineering. That’s the idea behind the open source Type-C/PD Analyzer.

According to the project the features include:

  • Spec support: USB PD 2.0 and USB Type-C 1.1
  • Allows pass-through of legacy USB, USB 2.0, USB 3.1, and Alternate mode
  • Non-intrusive, preserves signal integrity and timing conditions
  • Transparent interposing on a USB Type-C connection
  • Displays Packet timing
  • Monitors USB Type-C state machine
  • Exporting received packets as CSV and proprietary bin file format
  • Complete PD packet decoding
  • Supports Real-time decoding and Error detection
  • Sniffing PD traffic on both CC lines
  • Displays the CC packets in a human readable form
  • Monitors CC and VBus line voltage and displays graphically

There’s more detail at the project’s crowdfunding page. There’s also a video (below). We covered the USB C connector recently. We’ve also seen how bogus type C cables can even be harmful to your computer.

Filed under: hardware

Small And Inexpensive MEMS Gravimeter

via hardware – Hackaday

A gravimeter, as the name suggests, measures gravity. These specialized accelerometers can find underground resources and measure volcanic activity. Unfortunately, traditional instruments are relatively large and expensive (nearly 20 pounds and $100,000). Of course, MEMS accelerometers are old hat, but none of them have been stable enough to be called gravimeters. Until now.

In a recent edition of Nature (pdf), researchers at the University of Glasgow have built a MEMS device that has the stability to work as a gravimeter. To demonstrate this, they used it to measure the tides over six days.

The device functions as a relative gravimeter. Essentially a tiny weight hangs from a tiny spring, and the device measures the pull of gravity on the spring. The design of the Glasgow device has a low resonate frequency (2.3 Hz).

Small and inexpensive devices could monitor volcanoes or fly on drones to find tunnels or buried oil and gas (a job currently done by low altitude aircraft). We’ve covered MEMS accelerometers before, although not at this stability level.  We’ve even seen an explanation from the Engineer Guy.

Filed under: hardware, news