Author Archives: DP

App note: Is the lowest forward voltage drop of real schottky diodes always the best choice?

via Dangerous Prototypes

App note from IXYS about the pros and cons of different forward voltage drop of real shottky diodes. Link here (PDF)

According to the thermionic emission model, pure Schottky barriers exhibit a forward voltage drop, which decreases linearly as the barrier height diminishes; whereas the reverse current increases exponentially as the barrier height decreases. Consequently, there exists an optimum barrier height, which can minimize the sum of forward and reverse power dissipation for a particular application.
However, discussions with the users of Schottky diodes reveal that they do not search for the minimum of forward and reverse power dissipation but always for the minimum forward voltage drop. Values of reverse current are very rarely asked for. One must know how the Schottky diode is being applied in order to objectively select the most appropriate part.

App note: Voltage vs. output speed vs. torque on DC motors

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App note from Precision Microdrives about DC motor capabilities and their uses. Link here

Why Change Torque?
The most obvious benefit of varying the torque is to maintain a constant speed when the motor’s load varies, keeping in mind the interdependent nature of speed, torque, and voltage.

Although this example may be outdated, audio cassettes are a great way of explaining how some applications need to vary the torque to match a changing load. As the cassette plays and the audio tape moves from one spindle to the other, the driving motor will experience a change in load. However, the playback must remain at a constant speed throughout – otherwise the audio pitch would be affected.

Why Change Speed?
The ability to vary motor speed whilst maintaining a steady torque is essential to many applications for a variety of reasons.

An example of an application that requires a variable speed and steady torque is an audio CD player as it is commonly observed that the CD will rotate faster at certain points than others. This is because the information is stored in spiralled circular tracks on the disk and the length/circumference of the track is directly proportional to the amount of information stored on them. This means that the speed must be decreased as the laser is reading from the outermost tracks because there is more information per revolution. Inversely, the speed is increased as the laser reads from the innermost tracks as the spiral circumferences are smaller and therefore contain less information per revolution.

ClockSquared Mini

via Dangerous Prototypes

Willem has been working on a tiny word clock, the Clocksquared Mini:

Summer break is here, and with some time to spare I decided to challenge myself with a project that I call “Clocksquared Mini”. It is Clocksquared, but in a tiny wristwatch package. This gives rise to a major challenge, as everything has to be shrunk down approximately ten times from a 300x300x50 mm to an approximately 35x35x7 mm package. Moreover, running everything off a tiny battery whilst maintaining an acceptable battery life also turns out to be quite difficult.

Project info at

Designing a Memory/IO (ETA-3400) addon for the ET-3400 trainer

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Dr. Scott Baker designed and built an ETA-3400 Memory/IO accessory for the vintage Heathkit ET-3400 trainer, that is available on GitHub:

I’ve always wanted one of these Heathkit microprocessor trainers, and finally one caught my eye on eBay and I pulled the trigger. The basic interaction with the trainer is through the onboard keypad and LED displays, but Heathkit also made an accessory that added additional ROM, RAM, serial port, and a cassette interface.
This allowed you to use a machine monitor over the serial port, and even featured a Tiny Basic interpreter in ROM that allowed the trainer to be programmed in Basic.

See the full post at

Check out the video after the break.

App note: TQFN package thermal pad via design guide

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TQFN footprint pad via design guide for proper thermals from Diodes Incorporated. Link here (PDF)

TQFN packages have exposed pads to provide excellent electrical grounding paths to the PCB and transfer the device heat through thermal vias on the PCB thermal landing to the internal copper planes. In order to maximize the removal of heat from the package, the number of vias, the size of the vias, and the construction of the vias must be considered for the thermal landing pattern. The exposed pad must be soldered down to ensure adequate heat conduction from the package.