New VFC uses flip-flops as high speed, precision analog switches

Voltage to frequency converters (VFCs) are a popular method of noise-tolerant analog to digital conversion. Synchronous VFCs (like the Analog Devices AD652) in which an external, usually crystal-derived, clock provides timing for the conversion process, have significant performance advantages (speed, linearity, precision independent of passive components) over the free-running type in which conversion timing must … Read more

Universal development board eases prototyping

Mikroe’s 8th-generation universal development board, the UNI-DS v8, now packs a programmer/debugger that works over Wi-Fi. Other features that simplify and speed prototyping include extensive MCU support, additional standard interfaces, and and a connector for adding a TFT display. The board’s integrated Codegrip programmer/debugger supports more than 3300 microcontrollers from different vendors. Along with its … Read more

Designing building & installing a homemade 12VDC LED lighting system

My family has a cabin in the woods of Northern California. We built the “new cabin” in the late 1950s when the one built in 1922 had too many maintenance issues. Before our recent overhaul, its lighting was supplied by a combination of the original propane lamps and AC driven fluorescent tubes. The AC power … Read more

Altium’s free CircuitMaker in open beta

CircuitMaker will be available worldwide to all interested electronics designers, and aims to address the specific needs of the electronics maker and hobbyist community with a free software offering. All those interested in participating in the open beta can register now at the CircuitMaker website. “We’re excited to see how the CircuitMaker community will grow … Read more

7 tips for optimizing embedded software

In my previous post, I discussed key embedded system characteristics that in many cases require optimization. These characteristics include system timing, code size, RAM usage, and energy consumption. While optimizing each characteristic typically requires its own methods and techniques, there are several general tips developers can follow when optimizing their embedded software. Tips #1 – … Read more

Raspberry Pi accessory GPS, accelerometer and prototyping modules

Distributor element14 has launched the Microstack range, a series of accessories for the Raspberry Pi that will make it quicker and simpler for all levels of user to create and prototype physical devices; the first Microstack products are GPS positioning, accelerometer and prototyping modules. Microstack modules are positioned as the “building blocks for The Internet … Read more