Member Since: January 6, 2010

Country: United States


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  • I've learned the hard way that using a vice when soldering SMT parts is suicide. I tape my board to the desk with masking tape, inside of an aluminum tray (pie tin) that is also taped to the desk. That way parts that get dropped have some chance of being found, as they have less distance to fall! I also use either close up glasses with 'coke bottle' lenses to see (can focus down to about 1.5-2" with those!), or a binocular microscope. The latter requires some careful pre-placement of the solder and soldering iron before I can put my eyes to the eyepieces!

    I've soldered '04 parts, but have never tried '02's. Don't even want to think about those!

  • That UV-C lamp is just what you need to erase EPROMS. I've built an eprom eraser using a longer tube made from an under the shelf type fixture that used an old school style neon bulb starter. Yeah, I guess eproms are a bit retro these days, but I still have a ton of them.

  • Two gripes.
    1: The SMT versions of the atmega328 have 8 analog inputs, but only 5 of them are used on the arduino. In a new design why not bring these pins out someplace, extend the Arduno footprint a bit. 2: Atmel now has a pin compatible upgrade, the atmega328B with TWO usarts, TWO spi interfaces, and TWO I2C interfaces. Plus the usarts can be used in SPI mode (so you have FOUR of them). True some pins are used in multiple ways so you can't use all of these things at the same time. Why not use this part in new designs?

  • For the benefit of those that are using KiCad, it would be nice if Sparkfun would also make their libraries available in that format.

  • There is also the limitation of how fast the RS232 interface can operate. While this depends on the length of the cable, 115300 is pushing it except for short distances, so most systems max out about there. RS422 can go faster, and I do recall an experimental fiber optic terminal interface back in the 70's at Digital that pushed something like 1 mega baud. That used a highly modified VT100 terminal BTW.

  • Your repair looks good! One thing I hope doesn't bite you, the DC voltage now available on the lamp power rails will be a bit higher than the RMS AC voltage was because of the filter caps charging up to the PP voltage. While you will get a 1.2 volt drop across the bridge rectifier, that will be more than made up for by the lower voltage drop in the transformer windings due to the lower current of the LED bulbs. Bottom line is that those 'fuse' based bulbs could see a bit more voltage than they were designed for depending on the design voltage output of that transformer winding. At least those are easy to replace. As for the soldered in LED's, I found that it's a bad idea to run LED's anywhere near their max rated current, especially if they came from China. My experience with that was a VERY short life time as the LED's got dim within a few weeks of operation (this was in an outdoor lighting application where the LED's ran about 6-8 hours a night, every night). Cutting the current in half made a huge difference in the aging rate of the LED's. I hope you sized the series resistors accordingly.

  • I went to the product page for the new IMU, and the link to the schematic pdf is dead.

  • I've managed to solder 0.5 mm QFTP parts with an iron. I actually use one of those thin tips, and I've never had them bend or break, in fact I've never even needed to replace them in years. Granted, I'm using a Weller, not a Chinese designed soldering station. I usually try to NOT make solder bridges, but I have no problems removing them with solder wick. A good magnifier is critical, especially for us older guys. I have a pair of close up glasses that my father used to use, their lenses look like coke bottle bottoms and they have a working distance of under a foot. I can see pimples on a fly with those!

    A hot air station is on my want list, and there is Chinese one available on ebay for about $35 that got good reviews on the EEV Blog. I've seen videos showing soldering with paste and hot air that make it look easy. We'll see about that.

  • I wonder if the RPi Zero would work with this camera? A wifi dongle could be added (as the Pi0 doesn't have wifi). The combo might fit inside of some of the 'pinhole' camera bodies I've found on thingiverse, and be 3D printed.

  • I'm confused. According to the schematic the ONLY thing the 3/5 volt jumper changes is the level converter output for the reset/DTR signal. The tx, rx, cts, and other signals remain at 3.3 volts. Why?

No public wish lists :(