I recently bought a QUICK 191AD soldering iron thermometer, here's a 3-minute review : ) This instrument costs about £100 in the UK (a couple of resellers in the UK stock it). It comes with a pack of ten sensors, there is a spring peg to hold it taut. It's a type-K thermocouple basically. I cannot say it is the most useful tool in the world, I'm unlikely to use it often just to check soldering iron tip temperature. I may get a bit more use out of the tool simply because it has ...
This ultra-short blog post is just a quick follow-up to the measurement amplifier project Viewing Noise with a Measurement Amplifier which basically describes a X100 or X200 gain amplifier for working with sensors or measuring noise on power rails. The amplifier is fully described in the earlier blog post, but at that time I had not finished assembling it into the enclosure. The video here shows the completed amplifier in use: The oscilloscope capture in the photo below s ...
What's a VNA, and What's "Calibration" in this Context?
What can the DIY tool do, and what can't it do?
RF Switching Unit
Assembling the Boards
Using the Device
Example Scenario #1: Inductor and Resistor in Series
Example Scenario #2: Amplifier Input Port Measurement
Introduction This blog post describes a DIY tool for VNAs that can allow users to get going with easily attaching components or circuits to the VNA and ge ...
1. Save the Data
2. Transfer the Data to the PC
3. Export the Data in CSV Format
4. Convert to .s1p Touchstone Format
Example: Viewing using Python scikit-rf
Introduction When working with the FPC1500 in Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) mode, it can be handy to transfer the captured data into math programs and other PC software. Fortunately, that's very easy to do; there is an in-built file system and data can be transferred across easily. I ...
What does it do?
How does the RF Switching internally work?
Circuit Walkthrough: RF Switching
Controlling the RF Switches
Regulated Supply (3.3V)
Power On/Off Circuitry
Printed Circuit Board
Introduction This project has been in the back of my mind for ages, and a recent conversation on RF switches with BigG reminded me I really ought to work on it! ...
Connecting It Up
Testing with a Bare PCB and a Signal Generator
Testing with a BeagleBone Black Wireless
Introduction This blog post is a spin-off from Building Solderable In-Circuit Oscilloscope Probes After working on those probes, Jon ( jc2048 ) mentioned that in "Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineering" by Henry Ott, there was another way of using two similar resistive probes, in an arrangement that could ...
Why not just use Coax Cable
How Do Probes Work?
‘Normal’ Passive Probes
Comparison with Other Probing Methods
Introduction The probes attached to oscilloscopes are fundamental to getting useful captures and measurements from the ‘scope. The normally seen ‘scope probes (technically they’re called passive probes) have a special construction that is not easy to DIY; it ...
This blog post walks through one method for prototyping electrical circuits. It revolves around using prototyping boards, copper tape, and thin insulating tapes and wires. Here's an example: The example above was built on copper-clad board, but other types of boards can be used too: The copper-clad board is great for whenever a ground plane is desired. It comes in single-sided and double-sided variants. I use double-sided which can be sometimes convenient. The tools and consumables ...
Introduction Crimping is a popular topic at Element 14, it seems we all love our crimping tools. A slightly more uncommon tool for hobbyists, but very common for industrial, military, automotive and aerospace purposes, is the pin crimping tool. It is used with circular pins, and indenters push into the pin from multiple sides. It is a bit like a ferrule crimping tool, but for smaller pins that may be used in connectors such as DEUTSCH, D-Sub and circular connectors with often dozens of ...
How is it Used? How does it Work?
Is it Legal?
Trying it out
Introduction I needed to upgrade a spare room at home to convert it into an office. The ceiling has some low-voltage halogen lights fitted which had gradually failed over the years (more to do with the heat damaging the connections, rather than the bulbs failing). I wished to upgrade them to LED lights, and replace the low-voltage power supplies too (replacing ...
What is a Measurement Amplifier?
Building Revision 2.0
Note: This blog post is now historical, there is a more improved version of the Measurement Amplifier here: Viewing Noise with a Measurement Amplifier The blog post content below still has some hopefully useful information, and the comments at the bottom are important for explaining the evolution from this bl ...
Introduction This short blog post documents a simple project to measure current in devices that may have low power operation for periods, but possibly have periods of high current draw. I recently needed to monitor the current of a few wireless devices, and I wanted a way to measure up to an amp or so, but to also be able to resolve tens of microamps in the same range. This is a simple project that can be constructed in half an hour, so there’s not a lot of text to read! W ...
I had to solder an IC today, nothing new there, but usually I'll use a 1mm conventional soldering tip (slice off conical shape) to solder each individual pin one-by-one, deal with any bridges with desoldering braid, and call it a day. There are dozens of different ways to solder though. I have a reflow oven, but it is overkill for a single IC. I have a pre-heater and a hot air tool but the ones I have are under-powered. Although I have seen an expert present drag solderin ...
What Crimp Pins and Sockets?
Crimp Tools Tested
Crimp Socket Result Photos
Crimp Pin Result Photos
Introduction Making your own jumper cables is quite high on the list of unproductive things to do : ) since they are available ready-made in pin, socket and pin and socket versions. Sometimes I'll just use solid core wire if it is going into board sockets. How ...
A friend gave me a couple of Pomona Insulation Piercing Clips which I thought were pretty neat. Apparently they are quite popular with the automotive repair/test crowd. The clips were something I had not seen before, so thought maybe it would be good to share some pics/video if anyone else has not seen these before either. In brief, they can connect to banana plugs (there is also a version of clip compatible with multimeter test leads) and then the other end can be hooked over an insul ...