I’ve become somewhat of a Heathkit ET-3400 enthusiast lately, after building my ETA-3400 memory/io clone. I decided to also clone the ET-3404, which is a 6809 adapter board for the ET-3400. Why? Simply for completeness sake. The official “experiments” for the ET-3404 aren’t all that exciting, they’re mostly focused around understanding the differences in the microprocessor. Differences such as addressing modes, register changes, etc. There’s not much flashy interfacing like you would find in the other labs. Nevertheless, the ET-3404 fit an important niche in history. Recall that back in the day all of this stuff was new, computers were expensive, and the ability to upgrade your trainer and learn about the 6809 would have been valuable.
A chaotic oscillator is an electronic circuit that can exhibit “chaotic“, nonperiodic behavior. A commonly cited example is Chua’s circuit, but there are many others. I always regarded these as carefully designed, rather academic, examples. So I was a bit surprised to observe apparently chaotic behavior in a completely unrelated experiment.
Automatic Zener diode tester is capable of identifying Zener diodes up to 27.5V. Apart from that, it can be used to recognize leads of the diodes/Zeners and detect damaged diodes. This tester is designed using well-known ICs such as MC34063 and PIC16F88. This unit provides approximately 5% to 15% accurate readings. Based on our observations, the accuracy of this unit can increase by using resistors with 1% tolerance, stable booster circuit, accurate sampling method(s), and with a more optimized PCB layout.
App note from ON Semiconductor on their Smart Fuel gauge LC709204F. Link here (PDF)
LC709204F is a Fuel Gauge for 1−Cell Lithium−ion/ Polymer batteries. It is a part of our Smart LiB Gauge family of Fuel Gauges which measure the battery RSOC (Relative State Of Charge) using its unique algorithm called HG−CVR2. The HG−CVR2 algorithm provides accurate RSOC information even under unstable conditions (e.g. changes of battery; temperature, loading, aging and self−discharge).
is complete enough to start testing on real hardware. This update puts
almost every feature under control of the state machine in the FPGA so
commands can be pipelined with repeatable precision. Commands
(write/read SPI, set/clear pin, measure voltage, update PWM, enable
pull-up resistors, etc) are pushed into a FIFO buffer using a 17bit
command/data protocol inspired by the interface of ST7789-based LCDs.
When the state machine is enabled the commands are processed in one
We’ve been prototyping the Bus Pirate Ultra with a 240 x 320 pixel 2 inch LCD, but it’s just a bit small and hard to read from a distance. A 2.8 inch version is available that fits the full width of the Bus Pirate PCB, with the trade off of bigger pixels/lower pixel density. We bought a few displays from various “manufacturers” on Taobao and made up a daughterboard. It failed spectacularly because the datasheet was so wrong!
We don’t have to go beyond pin 1 to find a major and obvious error. The datasheet lists pin 1 as the LED backlight anode, and pins 2-5 as the cathode. The printing on the flex connector makes it clear that four cathodes (K1-4) join into a single trace to pin 1. A single anode (A) trace connects to four pads on the connector (pins 2-5). The backlight connections are backwards.
Coincidentally, datasheets for other similar displays (2.8 inch, 50 pin connector) match the corrected pinout. This datasheet just had it backwards. We reversed the backlight power and ground on the PCB by drilling out a trace and creating some strategic solder bridges. While the LEDs light, the display doesn’t respond to any commands so other connections could be wrong.
That’s not all. The flex cable is actually several millimeters shorter than listed in the datasheet, so it can’t reach the connector through the slot in the daughterboard.
We had similar issues with this supplier’s 2 inch display. The dimensions in the datasheet are a bit off, and their sample initialization code doesn’t work. We asked for an updated datasheet and received three different versions, none of which matched the actual display.
Their Taobao page has pictures of a factory and a nice section on after sales support. A charitable guess is that they manufacture runs of custom displays, and sell the excess on Taobao. That would explain all the different datasheets they so readily have available. We tried to get another grab-bag of PDFs for the 2.8 inch display, one of which might match the actual pinout, but at this point they got tired and ghosted us.
Will we stop buying prototyping samples on Taobao and 1688? Definitely not! It’s a great way to see what’s a cheap commodity product. This process plays out in the Shenzhen markets as well, people sell a lot of stuff without knowing exactly what it is. It’s kind of up to us to know what we’re buying, and sometimes it’s a crapshoot. When we find a sample we like, it’s time to send someone up to the factory to meet the boss, drink way too much tea, and ensure we’ll have a steady and consistent supply in the future.