NEW PRODUCT – Grand Ideas Studio JTAGulator – On-chip debug (OCD) interfaces can provide chip-level control of a target device and are a primary vector used by engineers, researchers, and hackers to extract program code or data, modify memory contents, or affect device operation on-the-fly. Depending on the complexity of the target device, manually locating available OCD connections can be a difficult and time consuming task, sometimes requiring physical destruction or modification of the device.
JTAGulator is an open source hardware tool that assists in identifying OCD connections from test points, vias, or component pads on a target device.
This is a high end JTAG reverse-engineering tool! Be careful when using and select the correct voltages to avoid damaging it.
24 I/O channels with input protection circuitry
Adjustable target voltage for level translation: 1.2V to 3.3V
Supported target interfaces: JTAG/IEEE 1149.1, UART/asynchronous serial
USB interface for direct connection to host computer
NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit USB Power Gauge Mini-Kit – This little USB port go-between is like a speed gauge for your USB devices. Instead of hauling out a multimeter and splicing cables, plug this in between for a quick reading on how much current is being drawn from the port. Great for seeing the charge rate of your phone or tablet, checking your battery chargers, or other USB powered projects.
There are a few USB power meters out there, The Practical Meter and the USB Spypow. We wanted something that was made for makers: Reprogrammable micro-controller, analog output, TTL serial output for debugging / datalogging and of course, open source.
Data is passed through transparently from end to end, so you can use it with any USB device at any speed. The power line has a 0.1 ohm current sense resistor an an INA169 high-side current sensor that is tracked by a little ATtiny85 chip. The microcontroller is programmed to read the current draw as well as the bus voltage and light up the strip of LEDs on the side.
The blue LEDs will light up, one for each Watt of power draw (which is ~200mA at 5V nominal), with a couple levels of PWM dimming for increasing current. You can measure up to 1A of current draw – most USB ports are rated for 500mA.
The green LED is helpful to tell if you have too much droop on your power line. It stays lit as long as the voltage is higher than 4.5V, most devices won’t charge effectively once it goes below that so if the green LED goes out, you know you should check your port, shorten the USB cable, or reduce the current draw.
As an awesome extra, we also print out the voltage, current and wattage data as readable text on the TX pin at 9600 baud. Connect an FTDI friend, USB console cable, microcontroller, XBee, whatever you want that can read 9600 baud TTL serial data for datalogging, plotting or display.
Comes as a mini kit with an assembled & tested PCB plus a separate USB jack and plug as shown above. Before use, solder the jack and plug. It’ll only take you a few minutes and can be done with any soldering iron. Or, advanced users can splice it between a USB extension cable.
Please note: this is a handy gadget but it isn’t a multimeter! We do some basic calibration during test, but the serial output readings are not precise and should be used as a basic guide rather than lab-grade data plots. Assume a variance of at least 0.1V and 50mA due to noise, thermal changes, etc.
Now that you have lots of tips for projects and getting them out and about, how about getting your at-home workbench up to speed? Here are some basic tools we recommend for everyone, so transportable, so best left at home:
Lady’s Ada’s Electronics Toolkit, at an even $100, is a reasonably priced kit for anyone making their first foray into the world of working with electronics. It has almost all of the basics, including (but not limited to), an adjustable temperature soldering iron with a stand, rosin-core solder, wire cutters and strippers, pliers, wire, and a breadboard.
If you’ve already been working for a little while, you might want to invest in a higher-end solder iron. The Digital Genuine Hakko FX-888D is the best thing we’ve seen on the market, with faster heat-up time and a smaller footprint than its predecessor, the Hakko 936.
This pocket-sized digital multimeter is low cost and simple, and can tell you, among other things, AC/DC Voltage, current, resistance, and it can run a beeping continuity test and diode test too. If you’re new to multimeters, we have a tutorial on how to use them here.
Now that even the tools to make electronics have caught up with electronics technology, you don’t have to lug breadbox-sized and elephant-weight oscilloscopes around. This pocket sized DSO Nano v3 oscilloscope trades quickness and power for size. It does the trick for troubleshooting for beginners, and it’s much more affordable than the more heavy duty options.
Who has a workbench without a screwdriver? This 65 Piece Ratchet Screwdriver and Tool Bit Set comes (of course) with a screwdriver, but also with all kinds of bits, including torx, phillips, flathead, slot, hex square and socket in a variety of sizes. It’s a good start for getting into any machine.
When you don’t want to take your hands off the keyboard, a foot-pedal switch is a real convenience.
Overall, this pedal is much cheaper than the high-end pedals mentioned above. The total cost came to around $37, because I had some of the parts on hand. Further, you can upload new code to the Teensy on all operating systems, a big win over the Windows-only pedals above.
However, this pedal only has one foot switch. You could easily add more M-Audio sustain pedals to the design, and keep adding 1/4” jacks to a project box. The Teensy has plenty more IO lines to use! Or you could go for it all in one enclosure with the guitar pedal hardware.
NEW PRODUCT – FriedCircuits USB Tester v1.3 – USB has become the core of many projects, but it’s troublesome to test USB voltage levels and current usage using a breadboard. Some people try to splice cables and alligator clip onto frayed ends, but it’s difficult to get solid readings. This USB Tester will make it much easier to monitor any USB project’s power source.
As part of the USB spec, ports are limited to 500mA, so you want to monitor how close you are. Most people use USB hubs, both powered and unpowered, and with many devices connected, you can end up with less than 5V which can cause havoc on you projects. The USB Tester will make it a snap to monitor voltage levels and current usage without having to re-wire your breadboard. Just connect to your oscilloscope or DMM test leads, and you’re good to go! The USB Tester has both banana clip sized drills and standard 0.1” headers. When you are not testing current you can add a jumper for normal operation. The USB D+/D- pins are also broken out so you can monitor those on an oscilloscope, or for USB sniffing.
NEW PRODUCT – Mini Work Tool – A little tool-box in your wallet – good for every-day use, travel, or when you’re on a camping trip. Handy credit card sized multitool packed with useful features. Comes with 11 tools:
4 Position wrench
Butterfly screw wrench
Direction ancillary indication
2 Position wrench
Lanyard/key chain hole
Made from high quality stainless steel. Comes with a leatherette protection sleeve.
Dimensions: 68.85mm / 2.7″ x 45.14mm / 1.7″ x 1.94mm / 0.07″
Here’s a handy DIY Crimp Tool Holder brings more mechanical advantage to your inexpensive off-the-shelf handheld crimp tool — great for short production runs and interactive artwork installs that begin to get a little bit wire happy. Or if you were to break the arms off your crimpers! Via Oomlout:
We were getting frustrated with slow crimping. While not doing enough volume to warrant an automatic machine we augmented our hand crimps to make the job a little bit easier.
Simply grab a cheap pair of of the shelf hand crimps (we used these) cut the bits out and bolt together. You’ll be effortlessly crimping in no time.
Digital Genuine Hakko FX-888D (936 upgrade) – FX-888D: This iron is the last one your father will need for decades. Heats up in 30 seconds, with a calibrated temperature control knob gives precision heat to minimize cold solder joints. Once he knows he is on the path of electronics, this is the iron he’ll want beside him on his desk. (read more)
A few more treats for his electronics workstation…
Your friend gave her father a wallet, you gave yours a Faraday cage that fits in his pocket
Stainless Steel RFID Blocking Wallet: A reinterpretation of the average wallet for those who do not settle for the everyday but delight in the extra-ordinary. This is Stewart/Stand’s original bill fold design with crossing card slots. We picked one of these up a few years ago and still carry it every day, its incredibly rugged and good looking! (read more)
Remind him how he introduced you to the wonders of science
USB Microscope – 5.0 Megapixel / 220x magnification / 8 LEDs: We tried a bunch of different USB microscopes and found this one to be the best combination of optical clarity, usability, and price. It’s perfect for electronics hacking, rework, SMT (de)soldering, inspection, and soon you’ll find yourself pulling it out to look and photograph all sort of cool small stuff around your lab and home. (read more)
Check out our other USB microscopes and accessories…
Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16th 2013! We are pleased to announce our annual Adafruit’s Father’s day sale: 10% off everything in stock. Give Dad the gift of electronics and pick up a soldering iron, accessories for building things or if you just want to get him a gift certificate, we have those as well. The 10% cannot be combined with other discounts. To get the discount use the code “fathersday2013” on check out in the discount code area. Limit 1 use per customer. Code expires June 16th at 11:59PM ET.
NEW PRODUCT – Autoranging Digital Multimeter Pen – MS8211D – Chances are you spent time today poking into a circuit with two hands and then craning your neck over looking over at a multimeter display, which causes you to slip and lose your spot. OK well at least we had to do that, and that’s when we decided it was time to pick up one of these pen-style digital multimeters. It’s small and light but has a full featured multimeter inside. The ground probe is actually a wired clamp (it has a nice sharp tip or you can grab onto a ground wire). So you can just poke around with one hand and see the values instantly.
Comes in a nice padded case and has a nifty retractable tip so you won’t accidentally stab something in your toolkit. Powered by 2 x AAA batteries, included.
DC Voltage Range 200mV/2V/20V/200V/600V: ±(0.7%)
AC Voltage Range 200mV/2V/20V/200V: ±(0.8%)
AC Voltage Range 600V: ±(1.0%)
DC Current Range 20mA/200mA: ±(1.5%)
AC Current Range 20mA/200mA: ±(2.0%)
Resistance Range 200Ω: ±(1.0%)
Resistance Range 2kΩ/20KΩ/200KΩ/2MΩ: ±(1.0%)
Resistance Range 20MΩ: ±(1.0%)
Display Counts: 2000
Logic Level Test >3.5V is High Level <3.5V is Low Level
Auto Power Off
Diode Range: 2.7V
Continuity Buzzer <50Ω
Maximum Value Hold
Retractable Tip for Safe Storage
Power Supply: 2 x 1.5AAA Batteries
Product Size: 208mm / 8.2″ x 38mm / 1/5″ x 29mm / 1.1″