Hackaday Links: November 10, 2013


[Henryk Gasperowicz], the wizard of electrons who makes LEDs glow for no apparent reason, has put up another one of his troll physics circuits. We have no idea how he does it (he does say he’s using wireless energy transmission) so a few solution videos would be cool, [Henryk].

Altoids tins make great electronic enclosures, but how about designing your PCBs to fit mint and gum containers? Here’s a Trident USBASP, a tiny Tic Tac ISP thingy, and a Mentos USB to JTAG interface.

By the end of this week, the PS4 will be out, along with the new PS4 camera. It’s a great camera – 1280×800 at 60Hz – but unless someone develops a driver for it, it shall forever remain tethered to a PS4. Luckily, there’s a project to develop a PS4 camera driver, so if you have some USB 3.0 experience, give it a shot.

Multimeter teardowns? [David]’s got multimeter teardowns. It’s an HP 3455A, a huge bench top unit from the 80s. This is, or was, pro equipment and strange esoteric components definitely make a showing. ±0.01% resistors? Yep. Part two has some pics of the guts and a whole ton of logic.

The US Air Force Academy just moved their embedded systems course over to the MSP430. Course director [Capt Todd Branchflower] just put all the course materials online, with the notes, datasheets, and labs available on Github.

18 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: November 10, 2013

  1. Spam meat cans are among the best enclosures for radio frequency and other projects, just the right size and shape for a lot of stuff. Who knew spam had some useful purposes?:)

    The way the guy does solder joints on leds and the switch is definitely wrong. You don’t put solder on the tip before soldering but rather touch the area you want to solder with the tip and when it reaches temperature add solder to it.

    1. Probably trying to have less things (ex. solder) that could be accused as being hidden wires or something. Makes the video clearer. If you see his solutions, you’ll see he solders everything the right way, although his skill is way past mine.

    2. I have seen tuna tins used, but I never have seen a SPAM can used. While spam isn’t anything I consume on a regular basis, but it’s probably worthy of being in a preparedness larder.

      Ye in tech school we where told before solder was applied the connection was to be both electrically and Mechanically secure. Late on we where introduce to printed circuit boards, where neither is the case before solder is applied. Go figure.

    3. When I’m soldering heat sensitive components I put the solder to the tip, then touch it. The fluid surface of the solder helps transfer the heat to a smaller area and transfers less heat to the component since you don’t need to heat the joint as long.

  2. Couple of comments about the HP meter teardown. I was lucky enough to work at HP at the end of the fabled HP-way.

    The author mentions HP-IB as an obscure bus. Perhaps today but in its prime it was a powerful interconnect. Hundreds, if not thousands, of HP products from test instruments, to computers and controllers, to plotters and printers, to mass storage devices could interconnect and work together. Let alone lots of products from other companies.

    He questions the HP part numbering scheme that often say an HP PN on a commodity part. This came out of a time before easy-to-access online databases. HP was really like a bunch of independent but cooperating companies, one per physical location. The part number scheme let engineers at each site pick from a set of standard parts for cost-optimization. It encompassed both custom and standard parts. HP could buy large quantities of standard parts that would be used across the company.

    He also notes the custom CPU chip. HP was definitely known for its NIH (Not-invented-here) mentality and the company really struggled with this as commodity silicon (especially microprocessors) became more capable in the middle and end of the 1970s. There were a lot of battles within the company between groups who designed microprocessors and those who wanted to go with commercial products. My guess is that NIH came out of a time where HP was really innovating and there simply wasn’t any commercial solutions for the products they wanted to develop. So they just created their own internal supply chain that saw several (often competing) IC fab plants at several of their locations. The HP engineering culture was used to simply rolling their own for each project.

    1. I quite agree. The PA-RISC processor that was invented and ran several complete computers away from that system is one example. The processor scheme that ran the HP-85 and HP-86 are others, and the ones behind the HP-IB bus, are others. That bus is now called GPIB and is available on numerous other chips.

  3. ps4 camera doesnt look all that interesting, its basically same thing as Leap Motion.
    “Official PS4 Camera Specifications
    Video Frame Rate:
    1280×800 pixel @ 60fps”

    does that means 60fps per camera ? I dont think so, I think it means two 30Hz cameras :/

    $60 for two 720p webcams is not exactly a great deal.

    1. You are wrong I think, it is 2 times 60FPS.
      You can’t really take 2x 30FPS videos and call them 60FPS, that’s just illogical

      And I quote: Video Pixel: (Maximum) 1280 x 800 pixel x 2
      Note ‘the x 2’, so if they were faking it why not also fake it by saying a resolution of 2560×800?

  4. I was wondering when we’d finally see real USB3 webcams, although I expected them to either be RGB or straight mp4 (or such), not the old style YUV
    Weird to see YUV on a purely digital platform really when you think about it. You’d think handling RGB for depth perception and such would be easie.

  5. I don’t have any specific theories, but I believe it is significant that his left hand is facing up and the back of his hand is pressed to the tabletop. The power for this comes from there I think, and proximity is important.

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