Sigrok and Pulseview in Ubuntu 14.04 with UNI-T UT61E Digital Multimeter

A couple of months ago, I received a new digital multimeter UNI-T UT61E that can send data to a computer via a serial cable, and allows you draw some nice charts. I’ve already done that in Windows 7 with the provided tools, and reported on the power consumption of some Chinese Android TV boxes. However, since I use Ubuntu 14.04 as my main operating system, Linux based tools would be more convenient, and open source sigrok-cli command line client and its graphical interface pulseview are supposed to support UT61E DMM, so I had to give it a try. A Quick Look at UNI-T UT61 Digital Multimeter Before going into Sigrok, I’ll quickly show what the multimeter received from DealExtreme . It took longer than expected to ship because of of  included 9V battery, and at the first shipping attempt it was returned to DX, but after 8 weeks or so, […]

Voltera V-One is a Low Cost PCB Printer and Solder Paste Dispenser (Crowdfunding)

The traditional hardware development cycle involve sending PCB Gerber files to a manufacturer, wait a few days (or weeks), get the boards back, find and fix bugs, send a new revision of the gerber files to the manufacturer and so on. This wastes a lot of time, so PCB printers capable of handline single and dual layer PCBs have started to see the light of the day, for example with BotFactory Squink. The latter can also do pick and place, but costs over $3,500. Luckily if you’d like something cheaper, Voltera V-One will do many of the same tasks, for but for only $1,500. Voltera V-One specifications: Minimum Trace Width – 8mil (~0.2mm) Minimum Passive Size – 0603 (0402 for solder paste) Minimum Pin-to-Pin Pitch – 0.8mm (0.5mm for solder paste) Resistance – >12 mOhm/sq @ 70um height Max Heated Bed Temperature – 250C Heated Bed Ramp Rate – ~2C/s […]

Power Consumption of Amlogic S812 and Rockchip RK3288 TV Boxes

The recent post comparing the power consumption of ODROID-C1 vs Raspberry Pi boards, as made me want to give another try at power consumption measurements. Regular reader already know I made a power measurement board and cables capable of hading different connectors (micro USB, mini USB, power barrels,  etc..), but eventually it failed to deliver enough current to the boards for any meaning testing. But since I now have a better power supply, and multi-meter, it was worth another try, especially since I could draw some pretty charts. I decided to test the three most popular Chinese SoCs for mini PCs namely Amlogic S812 (4x Cortex A9), Rockchip RK3288 (4x Cortex A17), and Allwinner A80 (4x Cortex A15 + 4x Cortex A7) using respectively Eny M8S, Open Hour Chameleon, and A80 OptimusBoard. If you are paying attention, you must have noticed Allwinner A80 is not part of the title, that […]

LA1016, LA2016, and LA5016 Logic Analyzers Cost as Low as $75

I remember 10+ years ago, when my managers argued whether buying a logic analyzer, because some of its functions could be done by an oscilloscope, and logic analyzers were selling for a few thousands dollars at the time. Fast forward to 2014, it’s now possible to acquire lower end logic analyzers that connect to a PC for as low as $75 thanks to products such as LA1016, LA2016, and LA5016, all supports 16-channels and respectively 100, 200 and 500 Mbps sampling rate. Key features and specifications: Input channels – 16 Max Sampling Rate: LA1016: 100M; LA2016: 200M; LA5026: 500M Measurement Bandwidth – LA1016: 20M; LA2016: 40M; LA5016: 80M Min pulse width – LA1016: 20ns; LA2016: 12.5ns; LA5016: 6.25ns Hardware memory size – LA1016/LA2016: 1Gbits; LA5016: 512Mbits Hardware sampling depth – LA1016/LA2016: 50M/channel; LA5016: 32M/channel Max compressed depth – LA1016/LA2016: 10G/channel; LA5016: 5G/channel Input voltage range – -50V ~ +50V Input […]

$50 UNI-T UT61E Digital Multimeter Supports Data Logging to a Windows Computer

Since I don’t use a multimeter that often, and don’t need high precision, I bought an ultra cheap multimeter (Sunwa DT830B) locally a couple of a years ago. I normally use it for continuity testing (no beep though) for repair work / checking solder point, and some quick voltage measurement, and it works well for these simple tasks, although the lack of buzzer makes it a little inconvenient. But I discovered its limits when I tried to measure current. The 200 mA range works fine, but I started to encounter issues when switching to the 10A range, as device under tests would just start rebooting if the current draw was too high, and the manual indicates that you  “cannot measure more than 15 seconds in the 10A range”. Since I did not want to spend $100+ on a Fluke multimeter, I did some research for a better multimeter, and finally […]

How to Buy an Arduino Leonardo (Clone) Kit for Less than $20

Borderless Electronics Indiegogo campaign for their $9 electronics kit with an Arduino Leonardo clone went so well that the owner of the campaign decided to limit the total number of boards to 15,000, and basically stop the campaign early to avoid production delays. For $12 ($9 + shipping), you could get a full kit with: Arduino Leonardo clone A mini breadboard with 10 Jumper wires A plug for a 9V battery A few components: 6 LEDs, 10x 330 Ohm resistors, 10x 1 KOhm resistors, 3x push buttons, 2 NPN transistors, 5 diodes, a light sensor, and a sound buzzer A micro USB to USB cable Although they may start a new one campaign in a few months, the campaign is over, and you can’t get this cheap Arduino kit anymore. But one of my reader (onebir) let me know that for less than $20, you can  get an Arduino Leonardo […]

Borderless Electronics Sells $9 Arduino Compatible Starter Kit

The Raspberry Pi fundation, a nonprofit organization, has brought a low cost ARM Linux platform to the masses, and Arduino already did that with electronics, but Harold Timmis, an engineer, found out it was still not cheap enough as he worked as a volunteer teaching electronics at his library. So he (and others) decided to clone Arduino Leonardo, setup a website called Borderless Electronics, and sell it without profit via Indiegogo for just $9 ($12 including shipping). The board is indeed the same as Arduino Leonardo with different color, logo, and name: Microcontroller – Atmel ATmega32u4 @ 16 MHz SRAM – 2.5 KB onchip (ATmega32u4) Flash Memory – 32 KB onchip (ATmega32u4) of which 4 KB used by bootloader EEPROM – 1 KB onchip (ATmega32u4) Operating Voltage – 5V Input Voltage – (recommended) 7-12V | (limits) 6-20V Digital I/O – 20 pins PWM – 7 channels Analog Input – 12 […]

$359 Red Pitaya Board Combines an Oscilloscope, a Spectrum Analyser, a Waveform Generator and More

If you need to setup an electronics lab, the cost of equipment such as an oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, can quickly add up and become expensive. There are already some attempts at low cost measurement devices such as the $35 ExpEyes Junior or pocket size digital storage oscilloscopes (~$200), but those are far from the performance achieved with regular measurement devices. Red Pitaya measurement board brings the performance level and flexibility a bit higher, and stays relatively low cost at $359, with a Linux-based solution based on Xilinx Zynq dual Cortex A9 + FPGA SoC. Hardware Specifications: SoC – Xilinx Zynq Z7010 dual core Cortex A9 CPU + FPGA System Memory – 1GB DDR2 RAM Storage – microSD card slot (For system and FPGA images, and data) Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet USB – 2x micro USB ports (1 for power, 1 for console), and 1x USB 2.0 Host port Signals: 2x […]