New Picotech 2208B Unboxing Video!

Picotech launched a new set of very compact but powerful 2000 series oscilloscopes just a few weeks ago, and with my long-term collaboration with them (they really rock :) they were kind enough to send me a unit for reviewing! The review will hopefully come quite soon, but meanwhile, enjoy this amazing unboxing video. And with “amazing”, I mean “I did not completely fail the lighting and achieved 90 % intelligible pronunciation”.

The unit in question is the high-spec 100 MHz 2208B with 16 channel logic analyzer unit built in. I knew that this replacement line to the old light blue 2000 series scopes was small, but I was still amazed by the compactness of this beast. Having had a top end 5000 series Picoscope for a few years, I’m seriously considering the “downgrade”, as I mostly use just one or two channels of the scope, and even those are in many cases digital signals. But I’ll return to this in the review later.

Let me know what you think, either here on in the Youtube comments section!

AVRweb 0.1 alpha released

After several months of sporadic coding, I finally got this large project to a point where I can consider making the first alpha release. So without further ado, I present AVRweb, a web-based UI for programming AVR chips.

Basically, it is a self-contained web server that allows you to interface with avrdude to read fuse settings, change them, and in the future, much more. The first alpha release is centered around fuse settings, and should already make the changing of AVR fuse bits a much quicker task – current settings are automatically read from the connected device, so you don’t need to toggle switches anymore to find the current setup. Also, new settings can be changed with a press of a button. See the video demonstration below (note that I’m running AVRweb on a PC, and just using the web interface with iPad, it’s not an iPad application!):

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PCB design with DipTrace

Continuing from part 1 of this ATtiny2313 breadboard header with DipTrace -tutorial, I’ll now go through the PCB design. In DipTrace Schematic Editor, I used File->Convert to PCB (CTRL-B) to get the components and connections exported to PCB Layout tool. Like it’s schematic counterpart, also this tool is quite easy to use.

First I change the grid to 5 mil so each step is half of the 10 mil breadboard hole spacing. I then proceed arrange the components roughly to final layout, and add two 10-pin headers which will plug into breadboard. I then remove some component names which are not sorely needed, and change the location for the remaining ones to the center of the component.

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ATtiny2313 Breadboard Header with DipTrace

Sooner or later there comes a point in your electronics career where it would be nice to have a schematic for the project you are doing. If you have a steady hand and lots of paper to spare, the first option is to draw the schematics on paper. However, computer aided design (CAD) software does have it’s advantages, allowing easy modifications, sharing and later PCB creation.

In this short tutorial, I’ll show how to create a simple schematic using DipTrace, an excellent electronics CAD package that has a free version as well as inexpensive entry-level commercial and non-profit licenses. The circuit I’m doing is a simple ATtiny2313 breadboard header that integrates an ISP programming header, a few capacitors, a reset pullup resistor and a clock crystal, eliminating the need to wire these things every time I start a new project. Additionally, I’m showing how to use DipTrace’s powerful facilities to create new components in literally few minutes. Let’s get started!

Why DipTrace and not Eagle CAD (or some other brand)?

The electronics CAD software, the most often recommended software for beginners is Eagle CAD. The main reasons are probably the rather reasonable pricing and large existing userbase. Also, a lot of open hardware projects share their schematics in Eagle format, and many PCB fabrication shops accept Eagle files directly without conversion to Gerber format.
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