What does Dr. Victor Frankenstein have in common with engineers? You know you know the answer: It’s the ability to bring back objects from the dead. The doc’s most famous example is that big monster, of course, but who knows what else he reanimated in his lab? Frankenstein’s toaster? Frankenstein’s microwave? The list is likely to be endless.
Like a modern-day engineer, Frankenstein didn’t just throw out a crappy product or demand his money back when something didn’t quite live up to his expectations. No, sir, he applied his technical prowess and problem-solving ability to fixing it.
So, in honor of Dr. Frankenstein and Halloween, Tektronix and EE Times have teamed up to recognize this special ability of engineers and mad doctors to get things to work. And as our thanks for the countless products you help keep out of landfills each year, we are giving away a Tektronix MS02024B scope worth $3,650 to one lucky engineer. The winner will be announced on — you guessed it — Oct. 31, 2013.
All you have to do is describe a situation in which a product didn’t quite live up to expectations (or outright failed), and you successfully repaired, redesigned, or even reanimated it.
… Need a sample to get your gray cells working? Check out The case of the flat panel TV scream, in which an intrepid engineer scores a free 36-inch panel flat screen TV by knowing how to fix it….
Maybe you’re learning about filters and want to see the how your filter responds in the 10Hz to 1MHz range. This guide will show you how to make a low frequency ‘spectrum analyzer with tracking generator’ using a few cheap modules and an oscilloscope — Based off of a video done by Dave Jones over at EEVBlog. Dave does a great job going into the theory, so check out the video if you want to see how it works! He will also show you how to set up the scope.
In this episode Shahriar demos the world’s fastest oscilloscope! The Agilent DSA-X 96204Q offers 160GS/s of conversion rate with a bandwidth of 62GHz on two dedicated ‘RealEdge’ channels. It can also provide 80GS/s conversion rate and 33GHz of bandwidth on four simultaneous channels. The unit demoed in this video is equipped with all available options and is valued at over 0.5 million US dollars. The block diagram of various sub-systems of the oscilloscope are presented and the principle operation of the instrument is explained. A 56Gb/s PRBS-15 signal is applied to the scope from a Centellax 2G2P5A (now Agilent N4975A) and the resulting data pattern is examined in real-time. Various scope functions are also presented as well as the capability to observer bit failures at baud-rate using this instrument.
As a second experiment, two 3.125Gb/s PRBS-7 data streams are simultaneously up-convered to 20GHz and 40GHz respectively by using a pair of MITEQ mm-wave DSB tripple balanced mixers and a pair of Avantek 20-40GHz YIG oscillators. The resulting two signals are combined by using a power-combiner and fed to the oscilloscope. The capability of the instrument to act as an ultra-broadband software-defined radio is demonstrated by recovering the the two PRBS sequences simultaneously through DSP post processing. The block diagram of this setup can be downloaded from The Signal Path website.
If you have been looking to learn about how to ‘scope your circuit from a wizard who resuscitates telegraphs and teletypes, then look no further that Trammell Hudson’s Oscilloscope class at NYC Resistor! (We know it’s happening, because we just shipped out the classroom supplies!)
One of the most powerful tools in debugging circuits is the oscilloscope — it allows you to visualize your analog and digital signals at millisecond or microsecond time scales. This 18 August class at NYC Resistor will teach you basic operation of a handheld oscilloscope: topics include how to setup different time and voltage scales, how to configure the trigger modes to capture fleeting signals and how to use the cursors to measure various qualities of the signals. We’ll also show how to use the ‘scope to trace a signal through a circuit to identify some common problems.
The other most valuable tool in your electrical test equipment toolbox is a multimeter for measuring the instantaneous values of three important electrical measurements: voltage, amperage and resistance. This class covers all three of these as well as the very important “beep mode” to check for electrical connectivity.
Get your tickets here! The class fee includes both a compact multimeter and a DSO Nano v3, an Open Hardware design that is a great getting started oscilloscope. With these in your toolbox you’ll be able to diagnose all manners of circuit issues.
Digital Multimeter – VIC830: This is a basic multimeter, I’ve played with it a bunch and I think its a great addition to a toolbox. It’s low cost and simple to use with a big clear display and all the measurements you need:
DSO Nano v3 – Pocket-size color digital oscilloscope – v3.0: This cute pocket oscilloscope is a perfect companion to your tool box. For beginners, its a good starter scope – it is not as complicated as a benchtop scope so its easy to use. For advanced EE’s, its useful as a scope-on-the-go, for field-debugging, when you don’t want to drag your scope over, or when a floating-ground is needed (it will naturally do ‘differential’ measurements as long as its not plugged into a computer USB port). It’s not a terribly fast scope, best used for signals up to 100KHz, and it is only a single channel, but we still find uses for it all the time, especially with analog projects! The new version 3.0 has a nice fully-metal case for increased durability…. (read more)
What you see is a fluorescent light bulb being lit up wirelessly by the Slayer Exciter. A Slayer Exciter is essentially a transformer that steps up the primary voltage from the driver circuit (in this case, a high frequency oscillator) and creates a varying electric field that can light up fluorescent light bulbs
DefCon’s black Uber badges, designed by Ryan Clarke (aka LostboY and LosT), include a mechanical watch that’s an homage to Clarke’s grandfather, a former jeweler and watchmaker. Clarke hand-crafted each timepiece, using parts sourced from Europe and Asia, and painstakingly pieced them together.
Hello, I’m Frank Zhao. I’ve been playing with electronics since my highschool days. I got my first Arduino from Adafruit in 2007 (order number 6870). Now I’ve joined the Adafruit Industries team as an engineer after getting my bachelor’s degree. I am super excited to design stuff for people to play with and to learn from.
I’ve got an incredible passion for making things that run on electronics. You might have seen some of my earlier open source work around here, like my LED Pocket Watch, USB Business Card, Nehebkau, or my FYDP: ARUCI. These were just the simple ones. Look forward to some new Adafruit projects soon, and more of my own silly creations here and there.
See my other projects on my website at http://www.frank-zhao.com/, mostly filled with open source projects and tutorials, with some handy web based calculators.
I have constantly been looking at ways to make my home workspace more convenient and safer for PCB fabrication/prototyping. I switched to all lead-free products several years ago but have been using a pretty janky setup for fume extraction: a 120mm fan with the charcoal filter attached to one side. It worked well enough, but I wanted to make something a little better. I wanted to have the fan out of the way, with some hose, so it would not take up too much room on my actual table. I decided to design something in Autodesk Inventor to be fabricated out of acrylic. The idea is that a standard hose would be attached at the top and that the whole assembly can be mounted on my rack. The results are pretty good, the suction works well, with the key downside being that it is louder than commercial units which are more expensive. The files are attached, both in Inventor format and as DXF outlines. The material thickness was 0.250″ for the backplate and 0.175″ for the rest. The DXF units were in inches, so the tube OD can be measured there.
They are called ‘transient electronics.’ Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are studying how to make devices, like cellphones, disappear or dissolve so they don’t pose a threat to the environment.
Processors all have status flags to keep track of conditions such as a zero value, a carry, or a negative value. Whenever you write a loop or conditional, these flags ultimately are in control. But how are these flags implemented in the chip’s silicon? I’ve reverse-engineered the flag circuits in the 8085 microprocessor and explain what is really going on.
The photograph below is a highly magnified image of the 8085′s silicon, showing the relevant parts of the chip. In the upper-left, the arithmetic logic unit (ALU) performs 8-bit arithmetic operations. The status flag circuitry is below the ALU and the flags are connected to the data bus (indicated in blue). To the right of the ALU, the control PLA decodes the instructions into control lines that control the operations of the ALU and flag circuits.