Raspberry Pi Helps a Hexapod Robot Walk

Roland Pelayo has used the single board computer, the famous Raspberry Pi or RBPi to help a hexapod robot learn to walk. The RBPi allows the robot to run in an autonomous mode, so it walks without assistance, avoiding obstacles. Alternately, it can also operate in a manual mode, whereby a user with a smartphone can control the robot. Most interestingly, the hexapod walker follows the tripod gait, just as most six-legged insects do. Roland prefers to use servomotors to control the gait of the hexapod Read more [...]

Wash Your Solar Cells

To augment the energy supply, many are installing solar energy systems or residential solar panels. In general, these are flat units, placed at an angle on the rooftop. That naturally leads to the question of keeping them clean, which people equate to cleaning the roof itself. As this cleaning is usually left to the rainwaters, the next question comes as whether we should depend on the rains for cleaning the surface of the installed solar cells as well. Moreover, some also worry about whether water Read more [...]

What is Optane Memory?

Optane is a revolutionary class of memory from Intel creating a bridge between dynamic RAM and storage for delivering an intelligent and amazingly responsive computing experience. For instance, Intel claims an increase of 28% in overall system performance, 14 times faster hard drive access, and two times increase in responsiveness in everyday tasks. However, this revolution is not for everyone. It works only on the 7th generation Intel Core processor based systems that affordably maintain their Read more [...]

Why do you need a Good Grounding?

Grounding is a safety measure for electrical and electronic systems whereby the user is protected from accidentally coming in contact with electrical hazards. For instance, refrigerators at home usually stand on rubber feet, even when operating from the AC outlet. Although electricity enters the refrigerator and runs through most of the electrical components within it, it has no connection to the outer metal body. Rather, the outer metal body of the refrigerator connects independently to a green Read more [...]

Variables in Lead-Free Reflow for PCBs

Reflow ovens often show degrees of variability from profile to profile. This may depend on the distribution of components on the board, especially those that are slow heating, heat-sensitive, or of high mass. In general, reflow systems cannot generate one single reflow profile producing capable thermal results for all products. For instance, a large BGA package on the PCB may not allow more than five degrees of variation near the peak of the reflow profile curve. Therefore, even while the BGA Read more [...]

Storm Glass Lamp: Raspberry Pi Simulates a Storm

Several people have used the versatile single board computer, the Raspberry Pi or RBPi, as many types of educational devices. In fact, the original purpose of conceiving the RBPi was to use it as an educational instrument to further computer programming among children in schools. It has been serving this purpose excellently, and has managed to go even farther. For instance, the RBPi inspired someone to make a weather-simulation lamp for recreating the weather at any place in the world. The RBPi Read more [...]

Lead-Free Reflow for High-Layer-Count PCBs

High-layer-count multilayer printed circuit boards (PCBs) present one of the most difficult cases for adaptation to the lead-free reflow assembly process. Often, these boards have through-hole and hand-soldered components, along with the requirement for two or more rework cycles. The slower wetting and higher reflow temperatures of lead-free solders place an enormous strain on the laminates and copper-plated hole barrels of the vias, with resulting loss of reliability. Restrictions on Hazardous Read more [...]

How Counterfeit Electronic Parts and Components Affect Businesses

Although counterfeiting has been an age-old industry, it is only recently that the impact of counterfeit electronic parts and components has come to be highlighted. The public is slowly gaining the awareness of the implications and risks such counterfeited electronics bring to trusting users. It is difficult for manufacturers to trace the origin of the counterfeited parts compared to the traceability present for the authentic components. It is possible these are older, but legitimate versions Read more [...]

What are Flexible Heaters?

Everyone is familiar with heaters. Although the simplest forms of heaters are sunlight and fire, both are not easy to handle or control. Therefore, people prefer using electricity for generating heat, as this is easy to control, requiring only a switch to shut off or turn on. An electric heater generates heat by driving current through a resistive element. The power this arrangement consumes is the product of the resistance of the element and the square of the current flowing through it. The resistance Read more [...]

How is Solid Insulation Tested?

Engineers test solid insulation using two important test methods, and both use the Direct Voltage. One of the tests involves checking the resistance of the insulation, while the other tests the leakage current through the insulation at high voltages. Insulation Resistance Testing The instrument used for conducting this test is a megohmmeter. The instrument can be hand-cranked, motor driven, or electronic. Regardless of its principle of operation, a megohmmeter generates a direct voltage in Read more [...]