STMicro unveils VL53L5 multi-zone ToF ranging sensor

We’ve previously covered or even tested STMicro Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging sensors with devices like VL53L0X with up to 2-meter range or VL53L1X extending the range to a maximum of 4 meters to measure the distance to one object aka region of interest (ROI). Those are used in various applications including the autofocus function in smartphones for example. The company has now introduced a new model with VL53L5 ToF laser-ranging sensor boasting increased camera Field-of-View coverage and 64-zone spatial resolution to enable new features such as touch-to-focus, multiple-target identification, flash dimming, or video tracking assistance. VL53L5 highlights: 940 nm invisible Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) and integrated analog driver 61° diagonal square system field of view (FoV) using diffractive optical elements (DOE) on both transmitter and receiver Receiving array of single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) Parallel multi-zone output – Either 4×4 (16 zones @ 60 fps) or 8×8 (64 zones @ 15 fps) separate ROI Up to 400 cm ranging 60 […]

DT71 smart tweezers review – 3-in-1 tweezers, multimeter, and signal generator

DT71 Tweezers Signal Generator

Earlier this year, I discovered a new (to me) category of devices that look useful for electronics projects with smart tweezers Colibri ST-5S that integrate an LCR meter and can help quickly identify SMD components. I also noted some cheaper, but bulky models selling on Aliexpress for $15 and up. I’ve now received another compact model, yet affordable, as Seeed Studio sent me Miniware DT71 smart tweezers for review.  As we’ll see in this getting started guide, DT71 can be used both as a multimeter and a signal generator and sells for around $59 plus shipping. Miniware DT71 Smart Tweezers Unboxing Let’s first see what I received. the tweezers are stored in a plastic box that contains three parts. First, the arms fitted with replaceable tips clearly marked as positive (red) and negative (blue). There’s a 3.5mm audio jack that allows us to connect the microcontroller unit with a display, and touch button on the top. We can also connect […]

Breadbox Double weatherproof breadboard enclosure houses two standard breadboards

breadboard case

Breadboards are mostly used to experiment and quickly prototype circuits before either moving the said circuit to a perfboard or designing your own PCB. But if you ever need to transport your messily wired breadboard, let alone used it outdoors, you’d need a case. That’s exactly what Circuit Armour has built with Breadbox Double, a weatherproof breadboard enclosure designed to house two standard 1/2 sized breadboards. The Breadbox Double enclosure is 3D-printed with ABS, features a rubber foam seal between the base and cover to create a dust-and-waterproof seal, a waterproof connector for the wires, as well as a tiny lens that allows an LED to be viewed from the outside. The enclosure can be mounted to a wall, tree, planks, etc.. thanks to 12 mounting holes on the side of the enclosure. Once installed, you can still loosen the screws and remove the top cover to make any modifications or repair to the circuit. Circuit Armour decided to create […]

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Education Laptop Review

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi Laptop Review

I started my review of CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Learning Kit a while ago and at the time I showed content from the kit and its first boot. I’ve now spent more time with this very special Raspberry Pi 4 laptop and will focus this review on the education part, namely CrowPi2 software, but will also look at thermal cooling under stress with and without a fan, and try to install another Raspberry Pi compatible board inside the laptop shell. CrowPi2 Education Software It’s quite important to read the user manual before getting started as there are a few non-intuitive steps you may have to take. First I assume the wireless keyboard would just connect after pressing the power button, but it did not. The user manual explains the RF dongle is inside the mouse, and once you connect it you’ll be able to use the keyboard that has some battery charge out of the box, and can be charged […]

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Learning Kit Review – Part 1 – Unboxing and First Boot

CrowdPi2 Unboxing Review

Last month, we wrote about Elecrow introducing CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 laptop and electronics learning kit for its launch on Kickstarter crowdfunding website. The company has now sent one of its kits to CNX Software for evaluation and review. I’ll start by checking out the content of the package, and boot it up, before publishing a more detailed review in a few weeks. The package is fairly big and highlights it’s made for kids over 8 years old with close to 100 course resources and over 20 electronics modules. The back of the package list the main features and package contents with for example a 11.6″ Full HD display, Raspberry Pi 4 4GB board running a customized (Linux) system or Retropie for game emulation, electronics components and modules like servos and motors, as well as some resources for gaming including two USB gamepads. The first things we get when opening the package are some “Minecraft carton papers” and the user […]

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Laptop Doubles as Electronics Learning Kit (Crowdfunding)

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Laptop with Detachable Keyboard

CrowPi portable learning kit for Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and Pi Zero boards was launched in 2018. It comes with a 7″ display, several sensors, buttons, a breadboard, and more all packed in a small suitcase. Elecrow has now started a new crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to fund the second generation portable electronics learning kit: CrowPi2 which looks much more like a laptop than a suitcase found in the first model thanks to a large display, and a detachable keyboard placed on top of the electronic prototyping/learning area. It’s also more powerful thanks to the latest Raspberry Pi 4 SBC. CrowPi2 specifications: Compatible Raspberry Pi boards – Raspberry Pi 3B/B+, Raspberry Pi 4 Display – 11.6-inch 1920×1080 IPS screen Camera – 2MP camera Audio – Built-in microphone and stereo speaker; 3.5mm audio jack Keyboard – 2.4GHz detachable wireless keyboard (QWERTY only) with touchpad Sensors and Modules under the keyboard: Displays – 4-digit Segment LCD, LCD1602 matrix display, and 8×8 RGB […]

Make PCB’s with a Modified Lexmark Laser Printer

Make PCB Lexmark Laser Printer

PCB manufacturing services are pretty cheap and fast nowadays. But imagine some kind of highly transmissible virus hits the globe, somehow the whole global economy shuts down, and you are stuck alone at home with nothing but a Lexmark laser printer. What can you do? Well, you can make your own PCBs! No paper involved. That’s exactly what Vítor Barbosa did by converting a Lexmark E460(DN) laser printer into a PCB making machine, not because of COVID-19, but instead, because of the price and delays of ordering PCBs in Brazil. Using a laser printing to make your own PCB like take some work, notably to strip the printer of unused parts such as the fuser and fit it with Arduino Nano or Pro Mini board, an aluminum guide, some resistors and more. The modifications are all explained on, and this is not a new idea as the project was derived from a 5-year project based on a Lexmark E260, […]

Ultra-narrow DipDuino Arduino Compatible Board is a Perfect Breadboard Companion

Ultra-narrow Arduino Board for Breadboard

We previously wrote about a uChip DIP-sized Arduino Zero compatible board with 0.3″ spacing between the two rows of pins making it perfect for breadboards as it left four rows on each side of the breadboard. There’s now another similar option with the appropriately named DipDuino board equipped with a Microchip Atmega328P MCU compatible with Arduino  Pro or Pro Mini boards. DipDuino specifications: MCU – Microchip Atmega328P 8-bit AVR MCU with 32KB flash, 1024 Bytes EEPROM, 2KB SRAM USB – 1x Micro USB port for power and programming via CP2104 USB to serial chip Expansion Two rows of headers spaced by 0.3-inch (7.62mm) with up to 21x GPIOs, 5x analog inputs, I2C, SPI, UART, Reset, VCC and GND I/O voltage – 3.3V or 5V (different versions of the board) Misc – RGB LED for power and UART Tx/Rx; reset button Power Supply – 5V via Micro USB port; LDO for 3.3V version Dimensions – 46.26 x 9.3 mm DipDuino comes […]