Category Archives: Guides

Bluetooth 5.0

Custodians of the Bluetooth standard are a flexible lot, considering the enhancements the popular short-range 2.4 GHz wireless technology has been receiving. The Bluetooth SIG or Special Interest Group has allowed it to evolve in ways not envisioned by the inventors. Their foresight will be allowing this technology to expand beyond three billion shipments beginning next year. The latest incarnation of the technology is the Bluetooth 5.0. This indicates the seriousness with which SIG wants to entrench Read more [...]

Choosing a Regulator – Switching or LDO

Unlike AC circuits where a simple transformer can change the incoming voltage to a different level, DC circuits need an active device to change the voltage to the desired level. In general, there are two types of circuits to do this—switching and linear. Switching regulators are highly efficient and work on buck, boost, or buck-boost technology to change the voltage level. On the other hand, linear regulators such as LDOs are ideal for powering very low power devices or applications where the difference Read more [...]

Charlieplexing on the Raspberry Pi

If you suddenly find the need to control many LEDs and do not have the requisite electronics to do so, you can turn to your single board computer, the Raspberry Pi (RBPi) and use it to charlieplex the LEDs. Charlieplexing is named after Charlie Allen, the inventor of the technique. Charlieplexing takes advantage of a feature of the GPIO pins of the RBPi, wherein they can change from outputs to inputs even when the RBPi is running a program. Simply setting a GPIO pin to be low does not allow enough Read more [...]

Dimming LEDs with PWM Generator

nlike incandescent bulbs, dimming Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) is not an easy task. Incandescent bulbs operate on alternating voltage supply, whereby using Triacs, one can control the effective RMS voltage applied to the bulb. Moreover, since the incandescent bulbs are resistive elements, a simple reduction is voltage is sufficient to reduce the current through it, thereby reducing its light and heat output. LED operation is different, as they work on direct voltage. Each LED requires an optimum Read more [...]

Replacement for Flash Memory

Today flash memories or thumb drives are commonly used as devices that store information even without power—nonvolatile memory. However, physicists and researchers are of the opinion that flash memory is nearing the end of its size and performance limits. Therefore, the computer industry is in search of a replacement for flash memory. For instance, the National Institute of Technology (NIST) conducted research is suggesting resistive random access memory (RRAM) as a worthy successor for the next Read more [...]

Difference between AC, DC, and EC Motors

People have been using different types of motors for ages. Primarily, motors can be broadly classified into AC and DC types, depending on the power source they require to operate. However, the basics of operation remain the same for all types of motors. Current running through a wire generates magnetic fields around it, and if there is another magnetic field present such as from an external magnet, the two interact to generate a mechanical force on the wire capable of moving the wire. This is the Read more [...]

How Do Piezoelectrics Work?

Piezoelectrics, found almost everywhere in modern life, are materials that are able to change mechanical stress to electricity and back again. One can find them in sonars, medical ultrasound, loud speakers, computer hard drives, and in many more places. However popular piezolectrics may be as a technology, very few people truly understand their way of working. At the Simon Fraser University at Canada, and the National Institute of Standards, researchers are working on understanding one of the main Read more [...]

Monitoring Sound & Vibration for Process Control

In a production environment, one can always find two common themes for the successful application of acoustical or vibrational monitoring. Usually, workers judge the noise or vibration event as being the start or end of a particular process. Initiated by such an event, an automated control system can easily minimize any loss of production. On the production floor, control of manufacturing processes have used continuous monitoring of sound and vibration for the past several years. For instance Brüel Read more [...]

What is PID Control and How Does it Work?

We use control loops all the time. For instance, it is much easier to place an object on a tabletop with your eyes open than it is with the eyes closed. The eyes provide us with visual feedback to control the hand to place the object in the required position on the tabletop without error. In the same way, modern industrial controls regulate processes as a part of a control loop. The user sends a set point request to the controller, which then compares it to a measured feedback. The difference between Read more [...]

Raspberry Pi and Automated Greenhouse

Many people set up greenhouses to grow tropical plants that need plenty of warmth and moisture. Usually these areas are enclosed in steel bracings holding glass/plastic panels that allow sunlight in and prevent moisture from going out. Greenhouse owners control the temperature by opening panels to allow ventilation. In winter, maintaining temperature could be difficult without use of heaters. Manually controlling temperature and humidity could be a tedious task taking away from the actual task of Read more [...]