Boarduino: breadboard-compatible mini Arduino 
Monday, October 8, 2007, 01:46 AM - Electronics
Over the last few months, I have become rather fond of the Arduino microcontroller board concept. I like its simplicity, its open design, and (last but not least), the fact that the development environment runs seamlessly on Linux.

One shortcoming of most Arduino boards is that they are rather bulky (not good for putting them onbard a small airplane). While the Arduino Mini has been available for a while, it is not as convenient as the new $17.50 Boarduino kit from Ada Fruit.

The Boarduino has everything a regular Arduino has, but it is much smaller and can plug into a breadboard.


3 comments ( 121 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 5037 )

Single-chip 6 DoF IMU from Analog Devices 
Monday, October 8, 2007, 01:07 AM - Electronics
Speaking of Jeff Han: Jeff pointed me to this new device, recently announced by Analog Device. Many people were anxiously waiting for something like this to appear: single chip that contains 3 accelerometers and 3 gyroscopes that can be used to build a full, 6 degree of freedom inertial measerument unit (IMU).

The part is called the ADIS16355.
It uses an SPI interface, and even includes an auxillary 10-bit A/D converter, an auxillary D/A converter, and two digitial I/O
(see data sheet).

Now for the bad news: the price is $360 in 1000 quantity (ouch!).

It's still a lot cheaper to buy a 5 DoF break-out board for $110 from sparkfun (3 accelerometers, 2 gyros), plus another gyro, and a cheap micro-controller.


3 comments ( 79 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 1685 )

Kestrel Autopilot for Micro UAVs 
Monday, March 19, 2007, 12:47 AM - Electronics
Procerus Technologies offer the Kestrel micro UAV auto-pilot. It weighs 16.5 grams and contains a 6 degree of freedom inertial measurement unit, a magnetometer, an absolute and differential altitude sensor, and an airspeed sensor. It's built around a Rabbit micro-controller. The only thing that's not light about it is its price: 5 kilodollars.



1 comment ( 106 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 2.9 / 1739 )

New ARM9-based Linux board from KwikByte 
Thursday, March 8, 2007, 12:24 PM - Electronics
KwikByte is rolling out the KBAT9261 single-board computer based on the 200MHz Atmel AT91SAM9261 with DSP intruction set. The board has 128MB RAM, 8MB boot flash, CF interface, ethernet, 2xUSB 2.0 ports, VGA port, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, audio in/out. It comes with Linux/Gnome. The price is $190, and the 13x12x2.5cm case is optional.


5 comments ( 445 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 5279 )

Desoldering Surface-Mount Devices 
Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 04:12 PM - Electronics
Instructables shows a nice method for desoldering surface-mount devices . The idea is to bend a piece of copper wire all around the SMD so that it touches all the pads. Heating the wire with an iron distributed the heat to all the pads.
Watch the video.

1 comment ( 21 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 4526 )

USB Digital Oscilloscope w Open Source Software 
Thursday, January 25, 2007, 01:46 AM - Electronics
SyscompDesign is selling a USB digital storage oscilloscope for $190, which comes with open protocol specs and open source software on Linux and Windoze. It has 2 channels and can go up to 20 million samples per second.

Finally, someone has realized that hardware hackers are also likely to be Linux/open source freaks. It took a while.




2 comments ( 242 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 5073 )

Powerful/lightweight speaker 
Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 12:07 AM - Electronics
Several people (my dad and I among others) have been experimenting with engine sound generators for electric R/C airplanes. Those generators make the plane produce the sound of the real plane. With all the chatter about this topic, there is a need for a compact, lightweight, but powerful loudspeaker that can be mounted in an airplane. It needs to be powerful enough to be heard from the ground. The necessary power seems to be around 40 Watts.

Some of us have so far been using cheap 10cm speakers, such as the Visaton R10S-4 (4 Ohms, 20 Watts, 10cm diameter, 150 grams).

Interestingly, Blaupunkt seems to have a range of powerful and lightweight speakers, such as the THx 402: 10cm diameter, 40W continuous (120W peak), 4 Ohms. The magnet weight is 30 grams (not sure about the total weight).

The only problem is that it retails for $55 to $90 (compared to about $10 for the Visaton).



2 comments ( 51 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 4436 )

High Power LEDs for cheap 
Tuesday, January 9, 2007, 12:41 AM - Electronics
High-power LEDs have been available for some time, but most web stores have huge markups on the price. Lumiled Future Electronics sells them for (relatively) cheap. For example, their 3 Watt Luxeon III Stars are $3.50 to $4.50 depending on color.

Instructables has a tutorial on an RGB light controller that uses them.



1 comment ( 262 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 2.9 / 4516 )

F. Thobois's R/C Electronics Site in English 
Wednesday, December 27, 2006, 12:45 AM - Electronics
French author Francis Thobois has published numerous articles on how to build your own R/C set since the early 60's. His web sites has instructions for building receivers, transmitters, and various R/C-related circuits. Some of his pages have been translated into English.

1 comment ( 117 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 3625 )

spare parts for consumer electronics 
Monday, November 27, 2006, 05:11 PM - Electronics
an entry on the Make: blog by someone who fixed his own large screen TV points to a number of forums and spare part retailers for consumer electronics: partstore, electronix, fixya forum.

add comment   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 3940 )

Atmel microcontroler kits for Linux 
Friday, November 24, 2006, 11:10 PM - Electronics
Tuxgraphics.org distributes Atmel microcontroler kits with Linux software tools.

add comment   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 4070 )

Cheap waterproof digital video camera with recorder  
Friday, November 24, 2006, 02:49 PM - Electronics
My old buddy and Techno Toy Enthusiast Steve Crandall pointed me to this nice and cheap waterproof "action" camera from Oregon Scientific. For 130 bucks, it can record VGA-resolution video on a 2GB SD card. The camera is designed to be mounted on a helmet, but it could very well be mounted in a miniature flying contraption.

1 comment ( 93 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 4007 )

IMU for 100 bucks 
Wednesday, November 15, 2006, 12:02 AM - Electronics
Sparkfun has a 5 degree of freedom Inertial Measurement Unit for a little over $110. It does Roll, Pitch, X, Y, and Z, not Yaw. Should be easy to build a UAV auto-pilot with one of these.

Perhaps one could add an altimeter based on this barometric pressure sensor, with a claimed 9cm resolution. One could also include a GPS using one of those modules.

Sparkfun has tons of cool sensors, electronic components, microcontrolers, and development kits for robotics and such.
1 comment ( 18 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 4014 )

high-power laser from a DVD burner 
Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 11:42 PM - Electronics
Fun with Lasers is a nice page about how to get the high-power laser diode from a DVD burner. The power is roughly 200mW. Since a DVD burner is roughly $35, that's a whole lot cheaper than the $200/150mW Pulsar laser from Wicked Lasers.

A 200mW laser can burn through plastic. I wonder if this could be used to build a cheap CNC Laser machine to cut Depron.....
2 comments ( 147 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 3935 )


Back