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Test & Tools

57 Posts authored by: Jan Cumps
Jan Cumps

Silicon Solder Mat

Posted by Jan Cumps Feb 6, 2021
I purchased a silicon solder mat today, when I was in the electronics shop to pick up my order.     I use an antistatic mat as a generic work area, and prefer to keep that tidy. That mat can take an accidental touch of a hot iron, but it's not intended for that.   The silicon solder mat (from Velleman - Buy Belgian!) is heat resistant, up to 500° C. Flexible and can be cleaned in a kitchen sink. It returns back to its original form. Total size 45 x 30 cm. Work area with ...
It's sometimes hard to probe a point on a PCB. Manufacturers sell "consumable" solder-in solutions. You can temporarily or permanently attach them to your design, and it makes probing easier and reliable.   I have a suggestion for a DIY solder-in solution that takes little effort and is cheap + reusable:     Needed: Vertical Mini Probe Socket, Keysight Infiniium Series Oscilloscopes Two short ends of single stranded wire A bit of heat shrink or isolation tape   sour ...
This post documents the main design for the the electronic load we made here on element14. The board that controls the load, measures performance and provides feedback.   Load Board CAD version:     optional use as a PSU PCB       BOM: Ref Value Footprint optional load psu manf. Nr source description url C1 330n Capacitors_SMD:C_1206_HandSoldering x x C2 10n Capacitors_SMD:C_1206_HandSoldering x x C3 47u Capacitors_SMD:C_1210_HandSoldering ...
This post documents the ADC firmware for the electronic load we made here on element14.   The DAC-ADC BoosterPack          Output pin assignments All pins isolated from LaunchPad if P1 and P2 open. P1 and P2 are for BoosterPack testing only, to deliver power to the DAC, ADC and REF ship when no power board is connected. In the final design, P1 and P2 need to be open and the power board has to provide GND and V+ for these 3 ICs. It should be at least 3V ( ...
This blog documents focuses on the BoosterPack pins use for the electronic load that peteroakes, jc2048 and jancumps designed.     MSP432 LaunchPad pin assignments    Pin Name Use J1.1 +3V3 3v3 for the i2c pull-ups J5.3 P3.2 UART6 RX J5.4 P3.3 UART5 TX J1.9 P6.5 i2c SCL J1.10 P6.4 i2c SDA J3.22 GND ground J1.2 P6.0 LCD Power Control J1.5 P4.13 LCD SPI CS J1.6 P1.5 LCD SPI CLK J2.2 P2.5 LCD External COM Inversion (not used) J2.6 P1.6 LCD SPI SIMO J3.29 reserved P5.4 ADC_IN ...
This blog documents focuses on the UART approach for the electronic load that peteroakes, jc2048 and jancumps designed. UART combined with SCPI are the programming interface for the instruments.   UART  Info: initial design used UART1 as 2nd option. When switching to the Red MSP432 LaunchPad, this switched to UART6. Where you see UART1, think UART6.   UART module if USB UART0 9600/8/1/N   UART module if TTL UART6 115200/8/1/N   The project uses uses the TI-RTOS ...
This blog documents focuses on the RTOS approach for the electronic load that peteroakes, jc2048 and jancumps designed.   CCS 8 with MSP432 compiler TI v 16.12.0.STS or > TI-RTOS for MSP43X, any SimpleLink version     RTOS Tasks overview  Task Priority Vital Stack Argument0 (schedule) Comments threadHeartBeat 1 no 1024 1000 pulse led as visual clue of RTOS health threadUART 10 no 1024 0 Managed by Semaphore SEM_uart_rx react on incoming traffic on UART. Send to ...
This blog documents focuses on the SCPI functionality of the electronic load that peteroakes, jc2048 and jancumps designed. The interface works with software that can do serial communications on a COM port. This project comes with a LABView driver and 2 proto GUIs.   SCPI Interface  SCPI Command status SCPI standard Comment Example *IDN? works Standard SCPI, implemented by library callsign THEBREADBOARD,ELECTRONICLOAD,0,01.00 *CLS check Standard SCPI, implemented by library SYST ...
I have a ST Micro Nucleo board with a low power microcontroller. The STM32F030R8 I'm going to measure its power consumption, to see how well it would do in low power designs. ST has a good power measurement example; called PWR_CurrentConsumption. It allows to measure power in SLEEP, STOP and STANDBY mode. This blog shows the power in the different modes.   Probe Point  The Nucleo 64 boards have a jumper called IDD. It's in the direct current path to the controller. You can replac ...
This real world example shows how to trigger a RIGOL DS1054Z oscilloscope at a specific point in an i2c communication, and then check signal + data. The DS1054Z comes with i2c functionality. In the past they were options you bought separately. Since 2019 they are standard.     Test Setup and Hooking up the Oscilloscope  Any i2c setup will do. Just pick whatever design you have that uses the protocol. I used a very simple design: An Arduino UNO talking to an RGB + ir sensor fr ...
A small script for the DMM6500 to take a number of measurements, triggered by an external signal. This can be useful when you're automating a test setup. On a production line, on a binning desk, in a setup with a foot pedal, ... I've deliberately kept the script as simple as possible, to make it easy to grasp. You get a lot of functionality with just 8 lines of code.   Let's get straight to business. The TSP code: buffer_size = 10 app_buffer = buffer.make(buffer_size, buffer.STYLE_ST ...
A little bit of nostalgia: my Philips power supply. 3 channels. Isolated. Constant voltage and constant current. And perfectly silent - no spinning fan. Made in Belgium! click to enlarge   Over here, Philips was the go-to brand for lab instruments. When I studied electronics, every instrument - except some Kyoritsu meters - was a Philips. In my own lab, this supply and a Philips oscilloscope were the pièces de résistance. I've sold the scope. I still use the power su ...
I'm thinking about building a low power SMU. We're playing with OpAmps and discrete semiconductors regularly over here, and there's a Keithley 2450 SMU with I-V Tracer Software  road test going on. Learnings from those activities can be applied here.   image: over simplified concept   Goals: Only two; Make a Source Measure Unit. Make it programmable or scriptable   Possible capabilities: This would be a low power instrument, µA up to maybe a few mA. Low voltage ...
I wrote a blog in 2015 about using an FPGA as logic analyzer. In that blog, I promised to review the input buffer that I was using to translate 5V logic to 3V3. Then I didn't follow up on that.     Yesterday I made a second buffer, using parts and PCBs that I had lying around from a few failed previous attempts. A good excuse to finally document this.   What Is This Input Buffer?  The inputs of my analyzer are raw Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA I/O pins. They aren't 5V tolerant ...
Detailed review of the current shunt circuit of the Programmable Electronic Load. The circuit and measurements are discussed here.   Circuit  The current measurement circuit reads the voltage over a 50 mΩ shunt resistor that's in series with the load circuit.   That voltage (always negative, because the resistor is "below" the circuit's analog ground) is amplified by a non-inverting OpAmp circuit, with gain 7.8.   Test Setup  A DMM measures the voltage of th ...

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