Archive for category: Blog

Let’s connect on element14

What does Silicon have to do with Social Media?  Silicon’s Atomic Number is 14.  Wait what?  Oh… element14 is, basically, a social media site for electrical engineers, embedded designers, makers, and hobbyist.   Forums, blogs, videos, and all kinds of resources from “celebrities” around the EE world.

It’s one of the most active communities and, in my opinion, one of the cleanest layouts.  Over the past few months I’ve been becoming more active there.  If you’re there, check out my activity feed and add me as a contact!  It’s a great way to stay in touch.

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Teach your Arduino to listen with µSpeech

When most people say “Arduino” they mean an ATmega328 based board like the Uno.  This means a simple 8-bit microcontroller with only 2K of RAM.  That’s 2,048 bytes of memory to work with.  So when someone asked me if the Arduino could do speech recognition, to be honest, I laughed.  Then my jaw dropped when I saw µSpeech.  A speech recognition library for the Arduino Uno’s ATmega328.

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Arduino: Assignments != Comparisons

There is one mistake that all C programmers make, regardless of experience.  You’ll do it often when you get started, but never completely stop.  The mistake?  Confusing the “assignment” operator with the “comparison” operator.  Take a look at this line of code:

if (something = 0) {

Notice the problem?  If not, then you might fall into this common trap.  The most annoying part?  A C-Compiler won’t give an error.  That code is legal C.  Legal code doesn’t mean you’ll get the results you expect.  In fact, this is probably not even close to what you wanted.   This simple mistake and why it “works” is explained below.

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April Fools’ 2014 Jokes for Enginerds

Each year it is fun to see who gets “got”.  With Twitter fever getter hotter each day, people can’t help but spread juicy news details.  Here’s a running list of the April Fool’s Gags I ran across in 2014 (updated links at top of list)

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AddOhms: Questions and Answers #1

In the past couple of months, AddOhms has caught a little bit of a following….

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9V Batteries Suck — Any why you shouldn’t use them.

Smoke detectors beep when their backup battery dies, which always seems to occur in the middle of the night (at least for me.) These backup batteries are usually a small rectangular 9V. They have become popular choices for electronics projects. If you need your Arduino project to last longer than a day, this isn’t the battery you want to use.  Here’s why.

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Options for Keeping Track of your Parts

As your electronics hobby grows, so does your parts collection.  Eventually the growing number of Mouser boxes with crudely written labels just won’t cut it.  Also, you’re tired of re-ordering parts you had but forgot about.  Here’s a couple of ways to keep track of your parts like a pro.

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AddOhms #8: LEDs and Current Limiting Resistors

The idea for AddOhms #8 has been around for quite some time.  I’m always trying to find ways to explain why current limiting resistors are necessary.  So while working in the shop one day, I decided to play with some LEDs and a bench-power supply.  Then I decided to record what happens.

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Stuff from Tokyo

It’s been a little quiet on the blog because I spent the last three weeks in Asia.  There’s some electronics enginerd stuff coming next week.  Until then, I hope you’ll excuse this rare off-topic post.  While in Tokyo I saw a number of awesome things and thought I’d share 2 of them:  ASIMO at the Miraikan Museum and  a dinner show at the Robot Restaurant.  Click Read More to check out some pictures and videos. Read more

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EAGLE Trivia Challenge: Why the ratnest?

EAGLE_GND_Plane_Ratsnest_Challenge
Your challenge, if you chose to accept it, is to determine why EAGLE is showing a ratsnet connection on the far left of the PCB layout. The pads shown with the yellow unrouted line are both GND. They are both surrounded by a ground plane, which is also connected to GND.
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