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Thursday, July 26, 2012

I2C Bus Technical Overview

Article: I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit) Bus Technical Overview

Based on the I2C FAQ by Vince Himpe

In the early 1980's, NXP Semiconductors developed a simple bi-directional 2-wire bus for efficient inter-IC control. This bus is called the Inter-IC or I2C-bus. At present, NXP's IC range includes more than 150 CMOS and bipolar I2C-bus compatible types for performing communication functions between intelligent control devices (e.g. microcontrollers), general-purpose circuits (e.g. LCD drivers, remote I/O ports, memories) and application-oriented circuits (e.g. digital tuning and signal processing circuits for radio and video systems).

All I2C-bus compatible devices incorporate an on-chip interface which allows them to communicate directly with each other via the I2C-bus. This design concept solves the many interfacing problems encountered when designing digital control circuits. I2C has become a de facto world standard that is now implemented in over 1000 different ICs and is licensed to more than 50 companies.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to make an Arduino shield with Eagle CAD – Tutorial

Tutorial: How to make an Arduino shield with Eagle CAD

There are many CAD developed to assist the electronic designers during drawing of PCBs and schematics; often they are integrated in complete suite to project, simulate and realize a whole electronic system.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bottle Radio

Complete Instructions

Crystal radio technology has been around for many years. This "bottle radio" take on a crystal radio requires no power source, operates on the power from radio waves, and receives signal from a long wire antenna. As radio stations slowly move away from the AM band, the "window of opportunity" to experience this remarkable technology is dwindling. The "crystal" in question is contained inside a germanium diode, and is used to rectify the radio signal so that our ears can hear it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Article: How to Read a ROM

ROM is an old term for “Read-Only Memory”. Nowadays these chips are often more correctly referred to as “non-volatile memory”, but it boils down to the same thing: they’re chips that store data even after you unplug your computer. When a digital device turns on, it effectively has amnesia. The only information it has about the world is what’s stored on its ROMs. So the first thing many devices do when they wake up is start reading instructions from a ROM.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thingverse: Adafruit

Thingverse: Adafruit

Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor "Ladyada" Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Since then Adafruit has grown to over 25 employees in the heart of NYC. We've expanded our offerings to include tools, equipment and electronics that Limor personally selects, tests and approves before going in to the Adafruit store. We pride ourselves on having great prices, the best customer service, technical support and fast shipping. We hope we can assist you on your journey of learning - At Adafruit we celebrate engineering happiness!

Brain Monkeys

Link: Brain Monkeys

Founded by Katie Tilton, a certified school teacher, artist, engineer, inventor and entrepreneur who saw the need to increase the number programs that support discovery based learning.

Brain Monkeys is out to redefine the reality in which education happens. Our students will be free to stretch, re-invent, and improve the curricula we set out to teach.

We will hand them tools instead of rote memorization because we believe that creativity, intelligence, and critical thinking are best nurtured by challenge and interaction. We will measure learning through projects and team efforts so that students come out with a portfolio of all the incredible things they have invented and the worlds they have conquered.

Brain Monkeys is designed to develop self-reliant and responsible college-bound students. Clear expectations and high standards are in place for all students for whom critical thinking and problem solving skills will be a focus.

Instructors provide an inquiry-based curriculum which promotes understanding across the disciplines and emphasizes depth over breadth. Teachers act as facilitators by providing students with an atmosphere in which they are encouraged to think for themselves, pose questions, investigate hypotheses and pursue solutions. Students become writers, scientists, researchers, explorers and artists as they consider open-ended questions that stretch cognitive abilities and honor individual learning styles.

At the Brain Monkeys, students and staff pursue the integration of intellectual and technical endeavors. Staff are committed to immersing students in a learning environment that will engage their interest in all content areas including literacy, math, the sciences, social studies and the arts.

How a lead-acid battery works

Engineering Guy Bill explains the essential principles of a lead-acid battery. He shows the inside of motorcycle lead-acid battery, removes the lead and lead-oxide plates and shows how they generate a 2 volt potential difference when placed in sulfuric acid. He explains how the build up of lead sulfate between the plates will make the battery unusable if it discharged completely, which leads him to a description of how to make a deep cycle battery used for collecting solar energy.

Tutorial: Force Sensitive Resistor (FSR)

From: Adafruit Learning System

Force Sensitive Resistors are sensors that allow you to detect physical pressure, squeezing and weight. They are simple to use and low cost. This guide will show you how to wire an FSR, connect it to your Arduino, and give you some project ideas.


OpenROV is a
 Do It Yourself telerobotics community centered around underwater exploration and education. We have developed a low-cost telerobotic submarine that can be built with mostly off-the-shelf parts.
The goal of OpenROV is to democratize exploration by allowing anyone to explore and study underwater environments. The 
OpenROV community is also laying the foundation for globally-connected citizen scientists to share their data and findings.

Our Passion is Robotics

Dexter Industries develops robotic sensors for LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT that are easy to use, fun, and have real-life applications for scientists and engineers . . . and those aspiring to be.

Monday, July 2, 2012

CadSoft Eagle: Schematic Design: Tutorial 1

Article: Tutorial 1 for CadSoft Eagle: Schematic Design

The first in a series on designing a complete PCB using the Eagle CAD software.


I am currently working through several courses on Udacity.

"Udacity was founded by three roboticists who believed much of the educational value of their university classes could be offered online. We believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost. Using the economics of the Internet, we've connected some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world."

CS101 Intro to Computer Science is a beginning level programming course in which Python programming is taught through the creation of a web browser. There is no need for external software, a Python programming environment is available on the Udacity Programming Interface. I have done ahead and installed Python IDLE for Python 2.7.3 with the 64-bit version of Google's PyScripter (a free and open-source Python Integrated Development Environment).

I am enjoying the course and am working through the PH101 Intro to Physics course as well as the ST101 Intro to Statistics course.

The goal with taking these courses not only for my pleasure, but so that I may encourage my students to work through these courses as well. The three courses listed above are at a Beginner level, but Udacity offers Intermediate and Advanced Courses as well.

I enjoyed the CS373 Artificial Intelligence course this past spring.


BatchPCB is a PCB pooling service. It's a pretty simple concept. You submit your PCB design, we add your design to the batch of orders. When the batch is big enough (usually around 2-3 days), the batch is set off to be manufactured. 10-14 days later, the individual boards are received by us. We then split the orders up and mail your order to you.

Beginning Embedded Electronics (11 tutorials)

SparkFun is pleased to introduce our budding Department of Education! We're still working on getting everything up and running, but if you're just getting started in electronics, are interested in taking or teaching classes, or are just curious you might head over to and take a look!

Lecture 1 - Background and Power Supply

Lecture 2 - How to Get Code Onto a Microcontroller

Lecture 3 - What is an oscillator?

Lecture 4 - UART and Serial Communication

Lecture 5 - AVR GCC Compiling

Lecture 6 - Soldering Basics

Lecture 7 - SMD Soldering

Lecture 8 - Eagle: Schematics

Lecture 9 - Eagle: PCB Layout

Lecture 10 - Eagle: Creating a new part

Common Mistakes, Tips and Tricks

According to Pete (7-2-12): Inductors

According to Pete 7-2-12 from SparkFun on Vimeo.