Category Archives: Tindie

Analog Electronics RF Tindie Tools and Test Equipment

Just in! and the start on a VSWR bridge

I’ve been working on little bits over the last week or two, nothing notable but filling up my notebook with plenty of “lessons-learned”. For instance I decided I’m no good as estimating how many uH my home-made inductors are. I purchased a BK Precision 879B LCR meter to confirm that fact. A side-bonus was I went through all my caps and could test my home-brew ESR meter vs. the ESR meter built into the 879B and I now have a fair amount of capacitors that are going to the garbage. No more saving scrapped caps for me. I was working on an oscillator the other day.. well I winged the inductor.. not a wiggle out of the oscillator when finished, that’s what finally made me break down and buy the meter..

A crystal oscillator.. that doesn't oscillate
A crystal oscillator.. that doesn’t oscillate

Today I sat down at the bench and I started working on a project I have had on the board for a while (it’s a surprise); for this piece I made a 50 Ohm VSWR interface; then I threw it into a test jig and checked it out. It actually worked pretty solid. I got some 1 watt SMD resistors off an eBay purchased of some 49.9 ohm 0805 SMD resistors I ordered. The guy just randomly threw in 10 1-watt 49.9 ohm resistors… nice guy. I tested it up to 500MHz but after that I had a bit of noise measuring reverse power.. that’s okay though for me. Interestingly I found with my SA I have a pretty solid local noise source at 90.9, some local station I’m sure.  If you’re interested in making your own check out this guy’s website. He has a basic schematic of a bridge that is functionally equivalent to mine it seems. (a bridge with 3 resistors.. not a brain buster).

 

A little home made VSWR bridge for an upcoming project..
A little home made VSWR bridge for an upcoming project..

So after some success I decided it was time to get to mail. Yesterday I got a packages from the @tymkrs and Jason at AtomSoftTech.

Jason stuffed a box with some goodies I ordered and extras (thanks Jason!) The two most notable items of the bunch is the breadboard PIC buddy and the ESP8266 breakout board. The ESP board was flawless, but after use of BB PIC buddy I have ideas for v2. Now let me make it clear I saw this design before it went to the fab and I missed stuff that seems now obvious.. totally my bad.

Is it functional? Yep.. What would I recommend for changes?

Make the power side a little longer and have the USB jack coming in on the side.. if the PICKit2 is plugged in you can’t use the USB connector. Also while the PIC Kit 2 works okay I think pushing it a 1/2 inch away from the RJ12 jack for the ICD would make the insertion a little more solid. Nice product though.. this is certainly a new breadboard-fav. Jason is selling these for too cheap on Tindie. Get it before he gets smart and raises his price 🙂

The BB PIC Buddy and ESP8266 breakout board
The BB PIC Buddy and ESP8266 breakout board

There are some other items from AST as well but I’ll mention them later on. I had purchased two items from the @tymkrs ; the new Analog Shift Kit and the new SMD LM386 audio amplifier “Amplify Me”. The Amplify Me board works as expected, I checked out the PDIP version of this some time back ago, I’m not going to hunt for the post though, it’s a LM386 audio amp, kind of a no-brainer. I though of one change for future versions of this product that might have been a little more user friendly. It’d be nice if they made the product just a few more tenths of inches wide and brought that PCB 3.5mm jack out away and further back (back in reference to the photo below). I would make the jack so that it was level with a panel if you mounted the potentiometer into a panel. I don’t think it would add too much to board coast but it wold make this much easier to integrate into projects. As it is though, the potentiometer doesn’t have to be soldered into the board (it doesn’t come soldered) so it would be easier enough to work around. I still find it shocking to get a battery included in an order! It’s the little things @tymkrs!

Updated @tymkrs SMD LM386 Amplify Me
Updated @tymkrs SMD LM386 Amplify Me

No time to get to the Analog Shift kit today, I’ll save that for the future.

I have a lot more Analog bits I’m working on in the near future; I hope to get some of them mentioned here.

C Electronics LEDs PIC Tindie

@tymkrs TTL-8

TYMKRS TTL-8

I’ve been watching for the release of the tymkrs ttl-8 ( no -me ?) for some time now. @whixr had been showing it off in a MIDI project on one of their YouTube videos a while back and I thought it was a great little breadboard-hackers tool. Is it magic? No it’s a shift register.. but a worthy bench-top tool for sure. For $6 this board showed up in the mail box a couple of days after purchase… Atdiy is pretty prompt about shipping.

I also have plans on putting this to use while troubleshooting a MIDI project I’m working on for my brother but I’m sure this little board will come in handy for all sorts of purposes.

So like all items I buy off Tindie* I had to check it out right away! My workshop is about half packed for the move but I suspect my bench top items will wait for last so I still had the tools to check this item out; In full tradition of moving, my bench top items will also be first to move into the new house 😉

* with exception for the Minishift and CPLD dev board; someday..
I wrote up some basic code to shift out a counter in my main loop to test this board out; nothing special but it got the job done. There isn’t much to go wrong.. and in fact the task was pretty vanilla; nothing went wrong.

The tymkrs TTL-8 up close...
The tymkrs TTL-8 up close…

 

The test code.. [Edit: my code works with no delays built in.. at 4MHz (I tested this), whixr runs these faster and has ganged many of these together but adds capacitors for filtering on power mentioned adding a ceramic cap between the clock and ground after about 5 chained boards]


/*
 * File:   main.c
 * Author: Charles M Douvier
 * Contact at: http://iradan.com
 *
 * Created on September 26, 2014, 2:47 PM
 *
 * Target Device:
 * 16F1509 on Tautic 20 pin dev board
 *
 * Project: ttl-8 test
 *
 *
 * Version:
 * 1.0
 *
 */
#ifndef _XTAL_FREQ
#define _XTAL_FREQ 4000000 //4Mhz FRC internal osc
#define __delay_us(x) _delay((unsigned long)((x)*(_XTAL_FREQ/4000000.0)))
#define __delay_ms(x) _delay((unsigned long)((x)*(_XTAL_FREQ/4000.0)))
#endif

#include 
#include 
#include 
#include 


//config bits
#pragma config FOSC=INTOSC, WDTE=OFF, PWRTE=OFF, MCLRE=ON, CP=OFF, BOREN=ON, CLKOUTEN=OFF, IESO=OFF, FCMEN=OFF
#pragma config WRT=OFF, STVREN=OFF, LVP=OFF

#define _XTAL_FREQ 4000000 //defined for delay
 

/*
 *
 */
int r;
unsigned char n;

void init_io(void) {

    ANSELA = 0x00; // all port A pins are digital I/O
    ANSELB = 0x00; // all port B pins are digital I/O
    ANSELC = 0x00; // all port B pins are digital I/O

    TRISAbits.TRISA0 = 0; // output
    TRISAbits.TRISA1 = 0; // output
    TRISAbits.TRISA2 = 0; // output
    TRISAbits.TRISA3 = 0; // output
    TRISAbits.TRISA4 = 0; // output
    TRISAbits.TRISA5 = 0; // output

    TRISBbits.TRISB4 = 0; // output
    TRISBbits.TRISB5 = 1; // input
    TRISBbits.TRISB6 = 0; // output
    TRISBbits.TRISB7 = 0; // output

    TRISCbits.TRISC0 = 0; // output
    TRISCbits.TRISC1 = 0; // output
    TRISCbits.TRISC2 = 0; // output
    TRISCbits.TRISC3 = 0; // DATA OUT
    TRISCbits.TRISC4 = 0; // CLOCK
    TRISCbits.TRISC5 = 0; // LATCH
    TRISCbits.TRISC6 = 0; // output
    TRISCbits.TRISC7 = 0; // output

}

void latch(void) {
    PORTCbits.RC5 = 1;  //latch bump
    __delay_us(10);      //this is slow.. that's okay for me
    PORTCbits.RC5 = 0;
}

void clk(void){
    PORTCbits.RC4 = 1;  //set clock
    __delay_us(5);      //this is slow.. that's okay for me
    PORTCbits.RC4 = 0;
}

void shift_out (unsigned int x){
    r = 8;

    while(r){
        if (x & 0b10000000){
            LATCbits.LATC3 = 1;

        }
        else{
            LATCbits.LATC3 = 0;
        }

        clk();
        x = x << 1;
        --r;
        LATCbits.LATC3 = 0;
    }

    latch();
}

int main(void) {

    // set up oscillator control register, using internal OSC at 4MHz.
    OSCCONbits.IRCF = 0x0d; //set OSCCON IRCF bits to select OSC frequency 4MHz
    OSCCONbits.SCS = 0x02; //set the SCS bits to select internal oscillator block
    //OPTION_REGbits.nWPUEN = 0; // enable weak pullups (each pin must be enabled individually)

    init_io();

    latch();

    while (1) {

        n = n+1;;

        shift_out(n);

        __delay_ms(50);

    }
    return (EXIT_SUCCESS);
}


TTL-8 what comes in the bag..
TTL-8 what comes in the bag..

This I would have done different:

We all have different needs for our tools; I believe this board layout worked for their projects and made sense, it just wouldn’t have been how mine would have been laid out. As you can tell from the first photo I chose to use my own.

I would have opted for side mounted port in/out connections with right angle connectors. I would have also added a pair of mounting holes. My layout would have increased the cost of the board by about 30%. That’s fine and dandy for *me*….the tymkrs are obviously targeting breadboard-hackers with this board which makes more sense; the outputs on the board could have a right angle connector (not included, pennies on eBay) soldered on and plugged into a breadboard while you had jumpers come in from your micro to plug into a right angle female connector of choice. The LEDs would then be the correct orientation for normal viewing (reading 0 on the left).  The current board size is a compact 1.15 in (29mm) by 0.65 in (11.5mm) or about .75 in²; my alterations would have pushed it up to just over 1 in².

 

Tindie

RGB LED Break-Out-Board

I had a need for this little break-out-board for a bunch of RGB LEDs I had acquired. Have a need?

A special deal to get rid of the boards and LEDs with “unknown” specs. These LEDs look just like the 60mA LEDs from China but I don’t have any specs on these. I based my design on LEDs I have coming in stock.. well unfortunately these LEDs have the blue and green swapped so I took an exacto-knife to pull of the stencil stating which is R, G and B… I want to get rid of these so I’m going to cut you a deal: what do you get? an extra board and an extra LED! A practice board for reflow! These are full functional parts and pieces. I’ve tested every LED on all boards.

Here is what you’ll receive:

 

RGB LED Special

In the photo you’ll see the arrows. The black arrow represents the negative side of your supply and the colored arrows correspond to the color of the positive (anode) side of each LED.

RGB LED diag

 

In version 1 of this board I’ve added 100 Ohms resistors. These are the values I needed for my project. If you really happen to need other values let me know and I’ll see what I can do. These work fine on 3.3V as well as 5V.