PCB Checklist – What to check before you submit

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Recently I’ve been expanding my retro game collection to include game cartridges imported from Japan. The problem is that I don’t have Japanese game systems (yet). So I’m creating an open source adapter to convert Famicom carts to the NES. Before I submit the PCB to OSH Park, I’m going to run through this PCB Checklist to make sure I don’t forget something silly.

This PCB checklist is something I’ve built over my years of creating boards. If you’ve got tips from your own list, don’t forget to leave a comment letting us know.

PCB Production Checklist

The concepts on this list will apply to almost any PCB software. The tips I give relate to EAGLE, since that is what I use most often. Feel free to comment to add tips for other design software like upverter.com or KiCad.

Keep reading to see the list.

Check out a SDR based on the Teensy

Open Emitter

Teensy SDR Panel from Open Emitter

Teensy Panel from Open Emitter

Several months ago I used my first software defined radio (SDR). This was a USB Dongle that did the digitizing and used Gqrx and GNU Radio for the actual decoding. Playing with an SDR is really fun. At the time I thought about using my Pi as the decoder, but found some performance issues. Imagine my surprise when I saw this project.

On rheslip’s Open Emitter blog, he has a project which turns a Teensy into a SDR. His latest update includes an enclosure for the project, making it a nice all-in one package.

At only 87mA it is slightly more power efficient than my PC-based or Pi-based setup. (more…)

ECN’s 14 Best Engineering Shows on Netflix


Your Netflix might have some hidden gems buried inside of the growing list of streaming TV shows. It is probably well-known that Mythbusters is available on Netflix, but did you know about these 13 other shows? Not only does this list contain shows like Modern Marvels, there are also a couple of stream-able movies like the  Andromeda Strain. Which, for me, was the first non-Star Trek or Star Wars Sci-Fi I remember watching.  Which is interesting, because it is directed by Robert Wise, the director of the first Star Trek movie.

Anyway, the ECN Engineering Show list is pretty good and should have at least a few shows to add to your Netflix queue.

Question: Check it out and let me know what other engineering/technology shows you like available on streaming media. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

If you like this list, you might also like this post on the 5 Engineering Podcasts worth subscribing to.

The most well-known Olympic-Class ship is the famous Titanic. While known for his maiden voyage’s epic fail, the Olympic-class ships were amazing feats of engineering. Bill Hammock breaks down the engineering and construction of the RMS Olympic, the first of the class.

Hammock is one of the Author’s of Eight Amazing Engineering Stories, which I already reviewed here. He gives his usual excellent treatment on a subject. I included his Podcast/Video series on my 5 Electrical Engineering Podcasts you should subscribe.

I’m always amazed to learn more about these grand ships and his video doesn’t disappoint. The information comes from his university’s library, which now houses the 1909 to 1911 edition of the London-based journal, The Engineer.

5 (Electrical) Engineering Podcasts You Should Subscribe

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Podcasts are an amazing way to extend your knowledge in any subject. This (generally) free content is updated often, comes in a variety of formats, and covers nearly every subject.

Your definition of Podcast might vary from mine. So for this list it means: content regularly produced with the intention of informing on a particular subject which is available either as audio, video, and ideally a RSS feed.

Keep reading to see the different electrical engineering podcasts I listen to.

In the mood for some retro game music?  Check out D Wave’s YouTube Channel for a fresh take on some retro game tunes.  The PacMan melody is good.  You might also like his take on the SMB Theme.

Help Adafruit test their #RaspberryPi Bootstrap

Adafruit's Blog

When you first get started with a Raspberry Pi, there are a number of operating system images already available.  The one most people start with is Raspbian, which is based on Debian Linux.



Adafruit created a fork of Raspbian which they called Occidentalis.  Their aim, of course, was for hardware hacking with the Pi.  Included are some patches that help make accessing the breakout pins easier.

Their latest project is the Adafruit Pi Finder, which makes it easier to configure a Pi over a network.  Check out the details on Adafruit’s blog.

In this “Will It Blend?” Tom takes on neodymium magnet balls.  This is a fun one to watch because the balls spark up while flying around.  Some really good slow motion replay work here.

If you aren’t familiar with “Will It Blend”, it is a video series presented by the blender maker Blendtec.  Tom Dickson attempts to bend various items.  Not only the star of the clips, Tom is also the Founder of Blendtec.  You can find all their videos at willitblend.com.


Karl and Corey run The Spark Gap Podcast which is focused on embedded electronics. On Episode 25 they interview me about Capacitors. We covered all the major types of caps, plus some application bits. Check out their show notes for an impressive array of links on the subject.

Also, my favorite episode of theirs so far is episode 18.  The guys talk about different serial protocols like SPI, I2C, CAN, etc.  Really good stuff.

Date: January 28, 2015
Appearance: Capacitor Questions Answered on The Spark Gap Podcast
Outlet: The Spark Gap Podcast
Format: Podcast