PCBWay – A community-focused PCB manufacturer (Sponsored)

PCBWay community PCB designs

There are many PCB manufacturers in China, but PCBWay has been around for over a decade providing PCB prototype and manufacturing services, and is one of the companies that care the most about the community with project sharing and various community events organized over the years. If you use PCBWay services, you will join the more than 70,000 customers who already used their services, and the company claims an over 99% on-time delivery rate thanks in part to having factories in Shenzhen that work in three shifts per day. In order to better serve its customer around the world, the PCB manufacturer also has offices in Hong Kong, as well as Paris, for European customers. PCBWay services include PCB prototyping and PCBA assembly services for small volume production, and the company highlights its SMT expertise and capabilities with high-speed Pick-and-Place machines that can place up to 28000 components per hour […]

Elecrow’s Raspberry Pi Pico Advanced Kit ships with 32 electronics modules, 32 project tutorials

Raspberry Pi Pico Advanced Kit

We’ve just reviewed the Raspberry Pi 4-powered CrowPi L laptop and Crowtail Starter kit used to teach programming and electronics, but Elecrow has now launched the “Raspberry Pi Pico Advanced Kit” with 32 electronics modules, a smart kit car, and 32 tutorials that should be a more affordable way of teaching electronics and programming. However, it does so in a different way, as instead of using visual programming and Python, the Raspberry Pi Pico Advanced Kit’s lessons rely on MicroPython, and the projects are different with for example parts to build an obstacle avoidance, line tracking, or remote controlled car.   Package content: Optional Raspberry Pi Pico board with Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller Breadboards 2x 400 holes solderless breadboards 1x 170 holes solderless breadboard Display modules 1602 LCD display module (Blue) OLED module 4-bit digital LED display module Lights 10x 5mm LEDs in green, red, blue, yellow, and […]

CrowPi L Review – Part 2: Learn programming and electronics with a Raspberry Pi 4 laptop

CrowPi L review learn programming electronics

In the first part of our review of CrowPi L Raspberry Pi 4 laptop for education, we checked the hardware and accessories such as the CrowTail starter kit with various sensors and other electronics modules, and showed how to install or remove the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC from the laptop shell. I’ve now had more time to play with the educational software, so I’ll report my experience with the laptop when learning game design and hardware control with Letscode visual programming IDE, as well as the Python lessons for more advanced students. Reinstalling CrowPi OS image It’s the rainy season here in Thailand meaning it’s both hot and humid, and even though I’m not entirely sure it’s related, I recently had to reinstall Raspberry Pi OS on one of my Raspberry Pi with a corrupted SD card. It happened again with the CrowPi L after I left it in its […]

Altium Designer adds 3D PCB layout tool

Altium 3D PCB design

While we like open-source tools such as KiCAD, Altium has added a pretty cool feature to the Altium Designer program with a 3D layout tool, which as its name implies, allows the design of 3D PCBs… The new 3D layout tool relies on 3D-MID technology that combines electrical circuits with three-dimensional mechanical parts. I’m not sure who really needs this, but I have to admit the results look pretty neat. Altium explains the design process is quite similar to standard 2D PCBs, and designers would create a layout on the surface of a 3D substrate using the standard library components and with the connectivity driven by the schematic design in the same way as with a standard PCB. You can check out how it works in a video shared on Altium’s LinkedIn account. The designer would then export the files in the format required by LPKF Laser & Electronics AG’s […]

Pinecil V2 soldering iron gets BL706 Bluetooth LE RISC-V MCU, USB PD EPR support

Pinecil V2 RISC-V soldering iron

PINE64 is about to launch the second generation Pinecil RISC-V soldering iron with the Pinecil V2 featuring a new Bouffalo Lab BL706 RISC-V microcontroller with Bluetooth LE connectivity, optimizations for higher power levels, as well as tentative support for the new USB PD EPR standard (Extended Power Range) working at up to 28V. I don’t solder every day, but when I do, I use my Pinecil soldering iron, as it’s heating super fast and does the job, and in my case, works quite better than the TS100 soldering iron. So it should come as no surprise that the Pincel is the most popular consumer hardware from the PINE64 community (after SOPine modules), and the new Pinecil V2 is a welcome upgrading building on the same design but with Bluetooth LE connectivity and a lower tip resistance. Pinecil V2 preliminary specifications: MCU – Bouffalo Lab BL706 32-bit RISC-V microcontroller @ 144 […]

CrowPi L Raspberry Pi 4 laptop review – Part 1: Unboxing and teardown

CrowPi L Raspberry Pi Education Laptop Review

Elecrow CrowPi L is an 11.6-inch laptop shell based on Raspberry Pi 4 designed for STEM education with optional electronics modules and tutorials. That’s an evolution of the CrowPi 2 laptop I reviewed in 2020 with a thinner design and more flexible since the electronics modules are optional, so it can serve the market of people just wanting a Raspberry Pi 4 laptop. The company has sent me a full “CrowPi L Advanced Kit” for review with the CrowPi L laptop fitted with a Raspberry Pi 4, as well as the Crowtail Starter Kit for Raspberry Pi. CrowPi L Advanced Kit Unboxing Let’s check out the laptop package first. Since in this design, the laptop comes with a battery, and mine already had a Raspberry Pi 4 installed, I could just turn it on immediately. Accessories include a wireless mouse, a 12V/2A power supply (with USB Type-C plug… this should […]

Easily work around components shortage with WIN SOURCE (Sponsored)

WIN SOURCE components supplier

The electronics industry and the severe shortage of components have had a huge impact on the electronics sector, disrupting the way products are produced and how they are produced. Despite the dramatic reduction in supply, demand for many components has increased dramatically. The reasons for the shortage of components are mainly multifaceted with the outbreak of COVID, and the aggressive stockpiling of goods by companies, and manufacturers that must prepare to shut down component production lines with lower profit margins. This has led to a narrowing of component selection, a reduction in the supply of some components, and so on. There are mainly two solutions to work around components shortage: find replaceable components or reliable component suppliers. This is where WIN SOURCE can help. The company has been assisting customers in finding deprecated, EoL (end-of-life), and difficult-to-find electronic parts ever since it was established in 1999 from its base in Shenzhen. WIN SOURCE has expanded since then with additional […]

Pixel Pump is an open-source, manual pick-and-place machine (Crowdfunding)

Pixel Pump pick-and-place machine

Pixel Pump is an open-source hardware vacuum pump that should be easier to use than a pair of tweezers to pick and place SMT components, and suitable for prototypes and small production runs. The system comes with a pen with five exchangeable stainless-steel nozzles to match the size of components, a foot pedal, and several tactile silicone buttons with RGB backlighting to control the unit. The button on the unit (customized parts bought from Alibaba) allows you to change operation modes, switch between high- and low-power settings, or activate reverse mode to clean your nozzle. It’s also possible to configure vacuum power and LED brightness with the buttons. The foot pedal is used to control the vacuum pump to pick up and release the components. A serviceable air filter is also integrated into the design to protect the vacuum pump and valves from debris. Robin Reiter, Pixel Pump’s designer, explains […]