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Posts Tagged ‘electronics’

Hantek PSO2020 is a $53 USB Oscilloscope Pen

September 15th, 2017 2 comments

I previously covered IkaScope & Aeroscope oscilloscope probes that are both portable and connect wirelessly to your mobile device or computer over respectively WiFi or Bluetooth. The former has slightly better specifications and sells for 300 Euros, while the latter goes for $200 US with 20 MHz bandwidth and 100 MSps capabilities. Several people mentioned it was more expensive than they were prepare to pay, but I’ve been informed about another portable solution: Hantek PSO2020 oscilloscope pen with about the same key specifications as Aeroscope 100A, except it relies on a USB port instead of a wireless connection. This also means it does not need a battery, and sells for much less at $53.20 including shipping.

Hantek PSO2020 specifications:

  • Analog Bandwidth  – 20 MHz
  • Sample Rate – 96 MSps
  • Host Interface – USB 2.0 port
  • Input Range – +/-50 V range
  • Input Sensitivity – 20mV/div to 50V/div
  • Offset Range – +/- 20V to +/- 40V offset
  • Input Impedance – 1MΩ
  • Voltage Resolution – 20mV/div to 20V/div
  • Sample Resolution – 8-bit
  • Time Resolution –  1ns/div to 5000s/div
  • Memory Depth – 1 million points
  • Protection Input Level – 100V (DC+AC peak)
  • Misc – Rotary button to change voltage/time division; voltage, offset, position, time, plus, minus, and R/S buttons; LED
  • Dimensions – N/A


The oscilloscope ships with a “witch hat”, and a CD ROM with documentation and software that works on Windows XP and greater operating system, and supports various features including math functions like FFT or Hann function, cursor measurements, and so on. You can also download those directly from the manufacturer’s product page. The device is not listed in Sigrok wiki, but other Hantek USB oscillopes are, so it might be possible to use with Sigrok open source tool. The pen has been available at least since 2015, but I could not find any (detailed) independent reviews, however the video below shows how PSO2020 in action while connected to a laptop running the Windows based tool.


It’s fairly large so I’m not sure it’s that convenient to use. Having said that people who bought it on Aliexpress appear to be pretty happy with their purchase. The few “reviews” left on Banggood are also good.

Thanks to Theguyuk for the tip

IkaScope WiFi Oscilloscope Probe Works with Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android and iOS

September 13th, 2017 11 comments

Last year, I wrote about Aeroscope, a portable Bluetooth oscilloscope that looks somewhat like a Stabilo Boss highlighter pen, and sends measurements over the air directly to your Android and iOS tablet or smartphone. It was introduced through a crowdfunding campaign which eventually failed, but Aeroscope can now be purchased for $199 on Amazon US or their own website. If you’d prefer WiFi over Bluetooth, and would like something that also works on Windows, Linux, and/or Mac OS X, IKALOGIC has just launched IkaScope WiFi oscilloscope probe compatible with all popular mobile and desktop operating systems.

IkaScope WS200 specifications:

  • Analog Bandwidth  – 30 MHz @ -3dB
  • Sample Rate – 200 MSps
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/e/i WiFi @ 2.4 GHz configurable as access point or station
  • Input Range – +/-40 V range CAT1
  • Offset Range – +/- 20V to +/- 40V offset
  • Input Impedance – 10MΩ || 14pF
  • Input Contact – ProbeClick intelligent probe tip that will only start measurements upon contact
  • Voltage Resolution – 100 mV/division to 10 V/division
  • Sample Resolution – 8-bit
  • Max Refresh Rate – 250 fps
  • Memory Depth – 4K points (4x 1000 points for burst buffers)
  • Protection Input Level – 253 VAC 1min
  • USB – Isolated micro USB port for charging only
  • Misc – Power/Charging and WiFi status LEDs
  • Battery – 420 mAh battery good for about 1 week battery life with daily regular use.
  • Dimensions – 161mm long

IkaScope specifications are slightly better than the ones of Aeroscope when it comes with analog bandwidth and sample rate for example, but the battery capacity is lower. However,  the latter is likely more than compensated by ProbeClick technology that will only measure when a contact is detected, hence saving power during idle times. One advantage of WiFi over Bluetooth is that it allows for a higher refresh rate up to 250 fps.

The probe ships with a ground clip and a USB charging cable. OS support will be brought step by step starting with Windows, but Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android will all be supported by November 9th if the schedule’s deadlines can be met, and all desktop OK will be supported by the end of September before shipping. More details about the software can be found in IkaScope knowledge base.

IKALOGIC has started taking pre-order for IkaScope for 299 Euros excluding VAT and shipping scheduled by the end of the year. “EARLYBIRD” coupon valid until the 20th of September will power the price by 10%.. Some more information, and the purchase link are available on the product page.

HTTM Backlit Capacitive Touch Switch / Button Sells for about one Dollar

July 27th, 2017 1 comment

You may have some project that requires buttons to turn on and off devices, or perform other tasks like navigating a user interface or playing games. One interesting and inexpensive solution for this could be HTTM (HelTec Touch Model) capacitive touch buttons that include three pins for power, ground, and the button status, as well as a backlight. You’ll find them on many websites, and one of the cheapest option is a pack of 10 buttons going for $9.91 on Aliexpress.

HTTM button specifications:

  • Voltage input range: + 2.7v to + 6v
  • Signal output – Voltage: + 3.3v; Current up to 500 mA
  • Header – 3-pin with GND, VCC, and OUT
  • Backlight color – red, blue (cyan), or yellow
  • Dimensions – 20.4 x 16.6 mm
  • Operating temperature range: -30 ℃ to + 70 ℃

You’ll find more details on the manufacturer’s product page including a user manual (Chinese only), and their DIYtrade page implies they may have versions with up to four keys:

HTTM is HelTec Touch Model shorthand;
□ → Number of keys: S- single key, D- double keys, T- triple keys, F- four keys;
◇ → Version attribute: C- conventional version, S- Special Edition (customized version);
△ → backlight colors: B- blue, R- red, G- green

But I could not find any of those. The company (Chengdu HelTec Automation Electronics Technology Co. Ltd) also makes some OLED displays, which may be worth checking out.

I learned about HTTM button via Pete Scargill’s blog, and he shot a video showing how to use the switch directly connected to a relay board (The demo starts at the 1:50 mark). Since it’s using capacitive touch, he explains you could place one or more buttons inside a box, and it would still work. Those buttons are also likely more durable than mechanical switches.

TinyLIDAR is a $15 LIDAR MCU Board based on STMicro VL53L0X Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor (Crowdfunding)

July 23rd, 2017 3 comments

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology is used in autonomous car, drones, and some smartphones, in order to get an object position just like RADAR systems, but instead of using radio frequencies, it relies on infrared signals. High speed, long range LIDAR systems can cost several hundred dollars, but if you’d like to experiment with the technology, or your project would work just fine with 60 Hz scanning and a 2 meter range, tinyLIDAR could be a fun board to play with using Arduino compatible boards.

TinyLIDAR specifications and features:

  • LIDAR Sensor
    • ST VL53L0X Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging sensor
    • 940nm laser VCSEL
    • Up to 2 meters range
    • Up to 60 Hz sampling rate even with Arduino UNO board
    • Up to 3% accuracy with mm precision
  • MCU – Unnamed dedicated 32-bit MCU (likely STM32) used to abstract the ST PAL API into simple I2C commands
  • Host Interface – 4-pin I2C header; re-configurable I2C address and operation modes
  • Misc – Blue LED, low profile reset button
  • Power Supply – +3 to +5V
  • Power Consumption – 10uA typ. Quiescent Current in single step mode
  • Dimensions –  25 x 21 mm (2x M2 mounting holes)
  • Weight – <1.5 g

Some of they advantage of the board against competing solution include lower power consumption, higher sampling rate (up to 60Hz), as well as lower memory and code footprints with 2604 bytes of program storage space and 252 bytes RAM with distance reading sketch in Arduino UNO compared to  6480 bytes / 414 bytes using Pololu VL53L0X library with a generic VL53L0X sensor board ($14) thanks the MCU in the board. They also claim the board is simpler to use thanks to their I2C command set. The company only showed 3D rendering of the board, but they do have working samples, as showed in the demo below with instructions available in instructables.com.

The Arrow Electronics certified project launched on Indiegogo with a $3,000 funding target. A $15 pledge will get you one tiny LIDAR, but you may as well as commit to three boards for $39. Shipping adds $5, and delivery is scheduled for October 2017. If you’d like to get such solution earlier, without built-in MCU and the advantages it brings, beside the $14 Polulu module linked above, you’ll also find a VL53L0X board working within  2.6 V to 5.5 V range on Aliexpress for $8.92 shipped.

HT-01 “Helping Hand” Soldering Stand Comes with 6 Arms, a USB powered Fan

July 7th, 2017 2 comments

I have a “helping hand” in my office with two flexible arms and alligator clamps, and a magnifier that I use sometimes to solder or unsolder components more easily. The metallic arm are not always easy to put in the right position, and the base is not always heavy enough, but it does the job most of the time. But I’ve just come across with a helping hand station with 6 flexible gooseneck arms that may allow for more positions and easier setup, as well as hold a USB powered fan to such out fumes or blow them away, and/or a lamp.

HT-01 soldering station features:

  • Aluminum alloy base – 140 x 100 x 12mm (purple or black)
  • 6x universal joint pipe of 300mm length with alligator clip
  • 1  5V USB output regulator plate with two USB ports up to 5V/3A to connect fans
  • 1x 5V USB Fan
  • 1x Soldering Iron Holder
  • Power Input  for battery?
  • Product weight – 580g

I first found it on GeekBuying for $41.99 shipped, but there are similar designs minus the USB ports, on Amazon US and Banggood. The video shows an unboxing and short test of the model sold on Banggood.

Categories: Hardware Tags: electronics, tool

ABC: Basic Connections is a Book Listing Common Circuit Diagrams for Arduino Boards (Crowdfunding)

May 19th, 2017 No comments

PighiXXX is known for their very useful and pretty pinout diagrams, but they’ve now created a book called “ABC: Basic Connections” comprised of a collection of easy to read circuit diagrams that shows you how to connect various circuits to your Arduino compatible board.

The book is in file folder format, so you can easily remove the sheets you need during your project. While you can normally find pretty much whatever circuits you need on the Internet, ABC book’s diagrams looks very neat, and since it comes with 100 A5 pages of circuit diagrams such as LEDs, decoders, shift registers, 7-segment displays, mux/demux, light bulbs, DC motors, solenoids, relays and so on,  you may discover circuits you did not know you needed. Every page of the book also comes with a 0-1.es/xx short URL redirecting to an online tutorial for the circuit with information about the theory, component list, tips, sample code, etc…

The book has been launched via Kickstarter with a $50,000 funding target. You’ll need to pledge 23 Euros to get the book sometimes in August 2017. Shippings adds 7 Euros to the US, 10 Euros to Europe, and 25 Euros to the rest of the world. While it’s a crowdfunding campaign, I’d assume the risk failure is close to zero for that project.

Visualizing Electronics Manufacturing Price Variation with Volume and Lead Time

May 12th, 2017 No comments

Google Android Things developers announced a production hardware sample based on Intel Edison module:

Android Things is focused on helping developers build production ready devices that they can bring to market. This means building custom hardware in addition to the app software running on the Android Things system-on-module (SoM).

As a part of this effort we have released Edison Candle, the first in a series of production samples designed to showcase hardware and software designed to work together. The code is hosted on GitHub and the hardware design files are on CircuitHub.

That’s what the Edison Candle looks like.
It’s just demo hardware to show how to build a product with a system-on-module (Intel Edison) for Android Things with everything released in Github. You can also purchase the board on CircuitHub, but then I saw the price was around $356 for such a simple board (without Edison).

That’s quite a lot for a single board, clicking on “quote breakdown” showed the following:

As expected, manufacturing just one PCB can be expensive, but we can play with the sliders on CircuitHub page to adjust quantity and lead time to see how to it affects the price. Those are the default settings with one PCB, and 17 week days lead time.

Let’s say we only need one board, but we don’t have 17 days, it needs to be ready within 4 days. The price then jumps to $1,353.15. Now let’s say, we want to order 10,000 boards, and we are in no rush, with a 31 days lead time, the price per board drops to $4.7355.

You can play with the sliders to adjust quantity and lead time, and see how it affects unit pricing. The most surprising part was the effect of leadtime, as even just one day difference can make a massive different in price.

Toaster Breadboard Power Supply Supports 3.3V, 5V, and Variable 5V to 16 V Outputs

March 23rd, 2017 3 comments

YwRobot MB102 is a popular power supply for breadboards delivering 5V or 3.3V to both power rails. Bradsprojects’ Toaster power supply offers similar functionalities but beside outputting just 5V or 3.3V, it also adds a 5V to 16V variable output, and takes 5V from its micro or mini USB port.Toaster board specifications:

  • Input Voltage – 5V via USB Mini and USB Micro port
  • Input Current (max) – 1Amp
  • Output Voltage 1 – 3.3 Volts
  • Output Voltage 2 – 5 Volts
  • Output Voltage 3 – Variable 5 Volts to 16 Volts with potentiometer
  • Protection – 1.1Amp Resettable Fuse
  • Output Connection – Standard Dual Rail Breadboard 2.54mm spacing.
  • Dimensions – 50mm x 25mm

You just need a screwdriver and a multimeter to adjust the variable output to your requirement.The Toaster board can be purchased on Tindie for $10 + shipping.

Categories: Hardware Tags: electronics, power