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WIN O

OF T NE
H
MICR REE
MPLA OCHIP
MIX-IT! B PIC
Starte 24H
r
• Audio mixer with four unbalanced inputs Kits

• Bass, mid and treble controls


• Choice of power options
• Flat frequency response, low distortion/noise

USB Breakout Box


No need to break out the cash, monitor
those ports for less than £10!

Jump Start
Simple Radio Receiver

PIC/AVR PROGRAMMING
ADAPTOR BOARD – pART 2
INGENUITY UNLIMITED, INTERFACE,
Net work, Circuit Surgery, readout, JUNE 2013 £4.40
techno talk

JUNE 13 Cover V2.indd 1 18/04/2013 10:14:02


MIKROELEKTRONIKA JUNE 13.indd 1 18/04/2013 10:09:49
ISSN 0262 3617
 PROJECTS  THEORY 
 NEWS  COMMENT 
 POPULAR FEATURES  INCORPORATING ELECTRONICS TODAY INTERNATIONAL

VOL. 42. No 6 June 2013


www.epemag.com

Projects and Circuits


Mix-It! 10
by Nicholas Vinen
Outstanding performance from our simple and cheap-to-build 4-channel mixer
PIC/AVR Programming Adaptor Board – Part 2 22
by Nicholas Vinen
Building and using our highly versatile new programming adaptor board
A Handy USB Breakout Box 31
By Jim Rowe
Build this useful troubleshooting device in 10 minutes
Converter For Neon Lamp Experiments 34
By John Ellis
Neon lamp oscillator and multivibrator circuits from the early days of electronics
INgenuity unlimiteD 56
by Alan Pugh
Watch the birdie! – Electronically

Series and Features


Techno Talk by Mark Nelson 20
From intra-body experiences
Jump Start by Mike and Richard Tooley 38
Simple Radio Receiver
PIC n’ MIX by Mike Hibbett 46
Real-time clock and calendar
CIRCUIT SURGERY by Ian Bell 50
Slew rate and amplifiers
INTERFACE by Robert Penfold 54
VB Express lives on
max’s cool beans by Max The Magnificent 65
Mock electronics... Vacuum tubes... Jetson TV
NET WORK by Alan Winstanley 66
Retiring a TV and Dave

Regulars and Services


EDITORIAL 7
Stalwart retires... In this issue
NEWS – Barry Fox highlights technology’s leading edge 8
Plus everyday news from the world of electronics
subscribe to EPE and save money 19
Microchip reader offer 37
EPE Exclusive – Win a Microchip MPLAB Starter Kit for PIC24H MCUs
READOUT – Matt Pulzer addresses general points arising 60
CD-ROMS FOR ELECTRONICS 62
A wide range of CD-ROMs for hobbyists, students and engineers
EPE back issues Did you miss these? 67
DIRECT BOOK SERVICE 68
A wide range of technical books available by mail order, plus more CD-ROMs
EPE PCB SERVICE 70
© Wimborne Publishing Ltd 2013. Copyright in all PCBs for EPE projects
drawings, photographs and articles published in ADVERTISERS INDEX 71
EVERYDAY PRACTICAL ELECTRONICS is fully
protected, and reproduction or imitations in whole or Next month! – Highlights of next month’s EPE 72
in part are expressly forbidden.

Our July 2013 issue will be published on Readers’ Services • Editorial and Advertisement Departments 7
Thursday 6 June 2013, see page 72 for details.

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 1

Contents Jun 2013.indd 1 18/04/2013 12:14:29



 
 
 
 
 

 
 






 
  

 
 
 
 
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
 
  
 
 
  
  
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
  
  

Quasar AUGUST 2012.indd 1 21/06/2012 13:10:22


  
 

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

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
  
 
 
 
  
 
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
 
 
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
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Quasar AUGUST 2012.indd 2 21/06/2012 13:10:39


Featured Kits in
Everyday Practical Electronics June 2013
Everyday Practical Electronics Magazine has been publishing a series of popular kits by the acclaimed
Silicon Chip Magazine Australia. These projects are 'bullet proof' and already tested Down Under.
All Jaycar kits are supplied with specified board components, quality fibreglass tinned PCBs and
have clear English instructions. Watch this space for future featured kits.

Soft Start Kit for Power Tools Ultrasonic Antifouling for Boats
Marine growth electronic antifouling systems can cost thousands. This project uses the same ultrasonic
waveforms and virtually identical ultrasonic transducers mounted in a sturdy polyurethane housings. By building
POPULAR! it yourself you save a fortune! Standard unit consists of control electronic kit and case, ultrasonic transducer,
potting and gluing components and housings. The single transducer design of this kit is suitable for boats up to
10m (32ft; boats longer than about 14m will need two transducers and drivers. Basically all parts supplied in the
project kit including wiring. Price includes epoxies.

Stops that dangerous kick-back when you first • 12VDC


power up an electric saw, router or other mains- • Suitable for power or sail Now includes
powered hand tool. This helps prevent damage to • Can be powered by a £90.50* pre-built
the job or yourself when kick-back torque jerks the solar panel/wind generator transducer at
power tool out of your hand. Kit supplied with PCB,
silk screened case, 2m power cord and specified
• PCB: 104 x 78mm no extra cost
Cat. KC-5498
electronic components. The mains power cord will
Featured in EPE September/October 2012
need to be replaced with a UK type.
Also Available Pre-built:
• 240VAC 10A
Dual output, suitable for vessels up to 14m (45ft)
Don't Just Sit There...Build Something!

• PCB: 81 x 59mm £18.25* YS-5600 £309.25*


Cat. KC-5511 Quad output, suitable for vessels up to 20m (65ft)
YS-5602 £412.25*
High Energy Ignition Kit for Cars
Use this kit to replace a failed ignition
module or to upgrade a mechanical
ignition system when restoring a vehicle.
Use with virtually any ignition YS-5600
system that uses a
single coil with points,
hall effect/lumenition, YS-5602
reluctor or optical
sensors (Crane and Kits for Households
Piranha) and ECU.
Features include adjustable Tempmaster Fridge Controller Kit Mk II Temperature Switch Kit
dwell time, output or follow input option, tachometer Turn an old chest freezer into an energy-efficient fridge or This kit operates a relay when a preset
output, adjustable debounce period, dwell beer keg fridge. Or convert a standard fridge into a wine temperature is exceeded and drops-
compensation for battery voltage and coil switch-off cooler. These are just two of the jobs this low-cost and easy- out the relay when temperature
with no trigger signal. to-build electronic thermostat kit can do drops. Ideal as a thermostat, ice
without the need to modify alarm, or hydroponics
• Kit supplied with silk-screened PCB, £18.25* internal wiring! Used also to applications, etc. Adjustable
diecast enclosure (111 x 60 x 30mm), control 12V fridges or freezers, temperature range of
pre-programmed PIC and PCB mount as well as heaters in hatcheries approx -30 to
components for four trigger/pickup options and fish tanks. Short-form kit +150 degrees
Cat. KC-5513 contains PCB, sensor and all Celsius. Kit
specified components. You'll includes NTC
need to add your own 240V GPO, thermocouple.
Mains Timer Kit for Fans and Lights switched IEC socket and case. 12VDC required.
This simple circuit provides a turn-
off delay for a 230VAC light or a • PCB: 68 x 67mm • PCB: 56 x 28mm
fan, such as a bathroom fan set Cat. KC-5476 £12.00* Cat. KG-9140 £9.25*
to run for a short period after
the switch has been turned
off. The circuit consumes
no stand by power when USB Power Monitor Kit Theremin Synthesiser Kit MkII
load is off. Kit supplied with PCB, Plug this kit inline with a USB device to display the Create your own
case and electronic components. Includes current that is drawn at any given time. Check the total eerie science fiction
100nF capacitor for 1 min to 20 mins. See website power draw from an unpowered hub and its attached sound effects by simply
for a list of alternate capacitors for different time devices or what impact a USB device has on your moving your hand near the
periods between 5 seconds to 1 hour. laptop battery life. Displays current, voltage or power, antenna. Easy to set
• Handles loads up to 5A is auto-ranging and will read as low as a few up and build. Complete
• PCB: 60 x 76mm microamps and up to over an amp. Kit supplied with kit contains PCB with
Cat. KC-5512 £14.50* double sided, soldermasked and screen-printed PCB overlay, pre-machined
with SMD components case and all specified

Garbage and Recycling


presoldered, LCD
screen, and £21.75* components.

components. • PCB: 85 x 145mm


Reminder Kit • PCB: 65 x 36mm Cat. KC-5475
Easy to build kit that reminds you when to put which
bin out by flashing the corresponding brightly Cat. KC-5516 Featured in EPE March 2011
coloured LED. Up to four bins can be individually set Note: Laptop and USB thumb drive not included £27.25*
to weekly, fortnightly or alternate week or fortnight
cycle. Kit supplied with silk-screened PCB, black
enclosure (83 x 54 x 31mm),
ATTENTION KIT BUILDERS
pre-programmed PIC, battery
and PCB mount components. Can’t find the kit you are looking for?
• PCB: 75 x 47mm Try the Jaycar Kit Back Catalogue
Cat. KC-5518 £11.00* Our central warehouse keeps a quantity of older and slow-
moving kits that can no longer be held in stores. A list of kits can
be found on our website. Just go to jaycar.co.uk/kitbackcatalogue

For more details on each kit visit our website www.jaycar.co.uk

FREE CALL ORDERS: 0800 032 7241

Jaycar JUNE 13.indd 1 18/04/2013 10:07:28


Arduino - Compatible Products
Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It can be used
to develop interactive objects, taking inputs from a variety of switches or sensors, and controlling a variety of lights, motors, and
other physical outputs (includes Jaycar stepper motors). Arduino projects can be stand-alone, or they can be communicated with
software running on your computer. These Arduino development kits are 100% Arduino compatible. Designed in Australia and
supported with tutorials, guides, a forum and more. A very active worldwide community and resources are available with many
projects, ideas and programs available to freely use. Learn more at www.jaycar.co.uk/arduino
Arduino Experimenters Kit
Servo motor, lights, buttons,
Arduino Compatible Boards - Pre Built
switches, sound, “Eleven” Arduino-compatible USBDroid, Arduino-compatible
sensors,
breadboard, £32.75* Development Board with USB-host Support
wires and An incredibly versatile programmable board for This special Arduino-compatible board supports the
more are creating projects. Easily programmed using the free AndroidTM Open Accessory Development Kit,
included Arduino IDE development environment, and can be which is Google’s official platform for
with a connected into your project using a variety of analogue designing AndroidTM accessories.
Freetronics and digital inputs and outputs. Plugs straight into your
Eleven Arduino Accepts expansion shields AndroidTM device and
compatible board in and can be interfaced communicates with it via
this extensive hobby with our wide range of USB. Includes a built-in
experimenter and starter kit. sensor, actuator, light, phone charger.
HOT and sound modules.
• Comprehensive instructions included • USB host controller chip
• Size: 340(W) x 165(H) x 36(D)mm
SELLER • 8 analogue inputs • Phone charging circuit built in
Cat. XC-4262 Cat. XC-4210 £14.50* • 8 analogue inputs
Also available: • microSD memory card slot
£25.50*

Don't Just Sit There...Build Something!


ProtoShield Basic (XC-4214 £1.75*) Cat. XC-4222
30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius
This is a practical project oriented book describing
lots of projects based around the Arduino LeoStick (Arduino Compatible) Large Dot Matrix Display Panel
microcontroller. Be warned, there is nothing A huge dot matrix LED panel to connect to your
A tiny Arduino-compatible board that's so small
intrinsically evil about this book. Freetronics Eleven, EtherTen and more! This large, bright
you can plug it straight into your USB port without
The title is a catchy marketing 512 LED matrix panel has onboard controller circuitry
requiring a cable! Features a full range of analogue
department trick. It does have, designed to make it easy to use straight from your board.
and digital I/O, a user-controllable RGB LED on the
however, 30 practical projects
board and an on-board Piezo/sound generator. • 5V operation
which specify components all
most of which are available from • ATmega32u4 MCU with • 32 x 16 high brightness Blue LEDs £32.75*
Jaycar. Hours & hours of evil fun. 2.5K RAM and 32K Flash (512 LEDs total) on a 10mm pitch
• 6 analogue inputs (10-bit ADC) • Viewable over 12 metres away
• Soft cover, 191 pages. • Controller IC’s on board, simple
with digital I/O, 14 extra
220 x 275mm clocked data interface
digital I/O pins
Cat. BM-7134 £14.00* Cat. XC-4266
• Arduino-compatible
library, graphics functions
Also available: LeoStick Prototyping and example support
Shield (XC-4268 £3.00*) £11.00* • Size: 320(W) x 160(H) x
Practical Arduino 30(D)mm
A much larger and detailed
book. It takes you beyond USB Li-Po Charger Cat. XC-4251
basics quite quickly and Charge Li-Po cells from any
shows you how to make up USB source, USB plugpack,
a typical application/design. laptop or PC. Temperature Modules
• 3.7V output for a single Li-Po cell
• Soft cover, 422 pages. • Micro-USB jack Humidity & Temperature
235 x 190mm • “Charge” and “Standby” LEDs
• Size: 27(W) x 16(H) x 10(D)mm
Sensor Module for Arduino
Cat. BM-7132
£18.00* Cat. XC-4243
Measure temperature and relative humidity using a
simple interface that requires just three wires to
£4.75* the sensor: GND, power, and data. Supported by an
NEW Arduino Compatible Boards & Modules Arduino library that makes it very easy to read
values into your project, so with a single I/O line
from your microcontroller you can read both
StepDuino Arduino Compatible USB-Boost temperature and humidity.
A self-contained board with onboard stepper motor Takes a power input of 1.2 to 4.5V, and boosts it to a
drivers, servo interface, microSD card slot, and 20x4 regulated 5V output up to 500mA. Perfect for powering • -4°C to +125°C temperature
character LCD. Perfect for building robots or other Arduino projects from batteries, such as a single 3.7V range with +/-0.5°C accuracy
mechatronics projects: just connect up Li-Po cell. Can even be used to charge USB devices • 0-100% relative humidity
stepper motors and go! such as mobile phones from a low-voltage source. with 2-5% accuracy
Includes status outputs so your microcontroller can • 3 to 5V operation
• 2 x 4-wire stepper motor controllers • Blue power LED
• 1 x servo interface actively monitor the status of the power supply.
• Size: 31(W) x 23(H) x 4(D)mm
• Serial communications • USB output jack
header £54.25* • Low-input automatic cut-off to protect battery Cat. XC-4246
£7.25*
• Compatible with
the Arduino IDE
• Configurable low-input level of 1.17V, 2.33V, or 3.75V
• Size: 46(W) x 21(H) x 10(D)mm
Temperature Sensor
• Size: 113(W) x Cat. XC-4239
Module for Arduino
74(H) x 25(D)mm Sprinkle these around your house to collect
temperature data using your Arduino. This 1-wire bus
Cat. XC-4249
£4.75* temperature sensor module is easy to connect and
use. You can even daisy-chain several together on the
same wire. 0.5°C accuracy and fast response.
• -55 to +125°C temperature range
HOW TO ORDER NOW SHIPPING VIA DHL • +/-0.5°C accuracy
• Selectable 9 or 12 bit precision
PHONE: 0800 032 7241* 5 - 10 day working delivery • Size: 23(W) x 16(H) x 6(D)mm
FAX: +61 2 8832 3118*
• FAST DELIVERY • TRACK SHIPMENT Cat. XC-4230
EMAIL: techstore@jaycar.co.uk
£6.25*
POST: P.O. Box 107, Rydalmere NSW 2116 Australia
*Australian Eastern Standard Time (Monday - Friday 09:00 to 17:30 GMT + 11 hours)
*UK Greenwich Mean Time (Monday - Friday 24:00 to 08:30)
*All prices in Pounds Sterling. Prices valid until 30/06/2013

*ALL PRICES EXCLUDE POSTAGE & PACKING

O R D E R O N L I N E : w w w. j a y c a r. c o . u k

Jaycar JUNE 13.indd 2 18/04/2013 10:07:38


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ESR - JULY2011 - Copy.indd 1 25/05/2011 14:53:24


EDI T OR I AL
VOL. 43 No. 06 JUNE 2013
Editorial Offices:
EVERYDAY PRACTICAL ELECTRONICS
EDITORIAL Wimborne Publishing Ltd., 113 Lynwood
Drive, Merley, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 1UU
Phone: (01202) 880299. Fax: (01202) 843233.
Email: enquiries@wimborne.co.uk
Website: www.epemag.com
See notes on Readers’ Technical Enquiries below
– we regret technical enquiries cannot be answered
over the telephone. Stalwart retires
Advertisement Offices: After very long service to the electronics fraternity, Dave Barrington has
Everyday Practical Electronics Advertisements finally retired. Straight out of school aged 15, Dave started his career in
113 Lynwood Drive, Merley, Wimborne, Dorset,
BH21 1UU publishing with George Newnes – the original publisher of the Practical
Phone: 01202 880299 Fax: 01202 843233 magazines. He first worked as a copy boy on Practical Motorist, Practical
Email: stewart.kearn@wimborne.co.uk Householder and Practical Wireless; transferring to Practical Electronics on
Editor: MATT PULZER
its launch in November 1964. He continued to work on PE/EE, and then for
Consulting Editor: DAVID BARRINGTON EPE when the magazines were merged.
Subscriptions: MARILYN GOLDBERG
General Manager: FAY KEARN
Graphic Design: RYAN HAWKINS
Dave officially took retirement as a full-time staff member some years ago,
Editorial/Admin: (01202) 880299 but continued to work for the magazine on a freelance basis until March of
Advertising and this year – nearly 50 years dedicated to the electronics hobbyist.
Business Manager: STEWART KEARN
(01202) 880299
On-line Editor: ALAN WINSTANLEY For many years, Dave has been responsible for maintaining the accuracy
of your magazine with his unerring eye for detail and his fastidious and
Publisher: MIKE KENWARD patient checking of diagrams, component lists, page layouts and all the other
READERS’ TECHNICAL ENQUIRIES important sections of a magazine devoted to building and understanding
Email: techdept@wimborne.co.uk complicated electronic circuits.
We are unable to offer any advice on the use, purchase,
repair or modification of commercial equipment or the
incorporation or modification of designs published Thank you Dave, for your dedication and commitment over so many years.
in the magazine. We regret that we cannot provide We wish you well for a long, happy and well-earned retirement.
data or answer queries on articles or projects that are
more than five years’ old. Letters requiring a personal
reply must be accompanied by a stamped self- Mike Kenward
addressed envelope or a self-addressed envelope and Publisher, EPE
international reply coupons. We are not able to answer
technical queries on the phone.
In this issue
PROJECTS AND CIRCUITS
All reasonable precautions are taken to ensure that We have some useful and elegant projects for you this month. Top of
the advice and data given to readers is reliable. We the list is a superb Four-Channel Audio Mixer. It’s not difficult to build
cannot, however, guarantee it and we cannot accept and can be easily adapted for extra inputs. Next, we conclude our highly
legal responsibility for it.
A number of projects and circuits published in capable, two-part programmer project for 8/16-bit PICs and 8-bit Atmel AVR
EPE employ voltages that can be lethal. You should microcontrollers. Plus, we have a very handy USB Breakout Box that will let
not build, test, modify or renovate any item of mains- you monitor your computer’s port activity.
powered equipment unless you fully understand the
safety aspects involved and you use an RCD adaptor.
Last, but not least, we have an article looking at that fascinating, but often-
COMPONENT SUPPLIES
We do not supply electronic components or kits for
ignored optical component – the neon lamp. ‘Neons’ may be golden oldies,
building the projects featured, these can be supplied harking back to the time of valves, wiring looms and Bakelite radios, but they
by advertisers. have some unusual properties that present opportunities for experimentation
We advise readers to check that all parts are still
available before commencing any project in a back-
and fun, a phrase that pretty much sums up EPE.
dated issue.
I couldn’t sign off this month without adding to Mike Kenward’s
ADVERTISEMENTS
Although the proprietors and staff of EVERYDAY appreciation of Dave Barrington. Dave’s great experience, helpful suggestions
PRACTICAL ELECTRONICS take reasonable and good humour were invaluable when I first became editor, and he has
precautions to protect the interests of readers by continued to be a source of great support ever since. I too wish him all the
ensuring as far as practicable that advertisements are
bona fide, the magazine and its publishers cannot give best for a relaxing and rewarding retirement.
any undertakings in respect of statements or claims
made by advertisers, whether these advertisements
are printed as part of the magazine, or in inserts.
The Publishers regret that under no circumstances
will the magazine accept liability for non-receipt of
goods ordered, or for late delivery, or for faults in
manufacture.

TRANSMITTERS/BUGS/TELEPHONE
EQUIPMENT
We advise readers that certain items of radio
transmitting and telephone equipment which may
be advertised in our pages cannot be legally used in
the UK. Readers should check the law before buying
any transmitting or telephone equipment, as a fine,
confiscation of equipment and/or imprisonment can
result from illegal use or ownership. The laws vary from
country to country; readers should check local laws.

EPE Editorial_100144WP.indd 7 18/04/2013 09:37:20


NEWS
A roundup of the latest Everyday
News from the world of
electronics

Audio file upgrade call for action… eventually – report by Barry Fox
T he record companies are
belatedly waking up to the need
for something better than MP3 –
But this will only be seen by
someone browsing record company
websites. Reporting on the event,
in a new high-quality, consumer-
friendly digital format? Should the
music industry invest… Or has the
which they adopted after failing UK music industry trade paper, moment passed?’, see the poll at:
to agree a secure high- http://tinyurl.com/bm2to8f
quality system.
There is already an Waiting for Dolby
audio-only version of Blu- Dolby Labs’ long-term
ray, but it has not been work on administering pat-
adopted or promoted by ents and trademarks puts
the record companies; the company in pole posi-
there are several high- tion to know what formats
quality download systems, are on offer and have some
like lossless FLAC, but concrete proposals. But
these are mainly promoted Dolby also did not issue
by specialist independent any press release.
sites such as HDTracks: ‘Invites for the audio press
www.hdtracks.com to attend had to be very
limited. We relied mainly
Evangelical on Dolby Labs to suggest
campaign names,’ UMG’s spokesman
The Universal Music explained.
Group (UMG) recently Working on the principle
hosted an open day at that a technology company
Abbey Road studios, at which employs an evange-
which a panel, including list who calls for ‘a big edu-
Mercury president of mu- cation campaign’ would be
sic, Mike Smith, Abbey anxious to educate, I asked
Road engineer Jonathan Dolby Labs for some fac-
Allen, record producer tual flesh to add to the bare
Ben Hillier and Dolby bones generalities.
Labs ‘evangelist’ Jonathan ‘JJ’s comments should be
Jowitt, called on the mu- Music is largely consumed as computer files, but is the quality good enough? understood as a call to ac-
sic industry to ‘use and tion to the industry at this
promote a higher-than-MP3-quality Music Week, said the panel agreed stage’ said Dolby’s spokeswoman.
audio file called something like HD ‘it’s time for labels and services to Asked what kind of action, by whom
Audio’. be brave and market a new format’, and based on what technology and
Dolby evangelist Jowitt suggested ‘a and warned that the record compa- nomenclature, she replied: ‘We have
big education campaign to show hi-fi nies ‘could be missing out on a big nothing more to add at this stage.’
quality is out there’. payday by failing to invest in mar-
UMG has no concrete suggestions, keting a new high-quality, consum-
either on a higher-quality format, or er-friendly digital format’.
format name, a UMG spokesman ex-
plained later. Poll
‘We are not working on anything Music Week is now polling the mu- If you have some breaking news
specific’ he said. ‘We just wanted to sic industry on the questions: ‘Could you would like to share with our
inspire debate. We have not issued a the music industry have missed its readers, then please email:
press release but are posting a blog Blu-ray moment? Do you think it’s
editorial@wimborne.co.uk
on our website’: www.umusic.co.uk time the music industry invested

8 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

News Jun 2013.indd 8 18/04/2013 12:31:31


Pocket pico projector HP comes clean
nice companion for iPhones, iPads,
smartphones or tablets.
S ome of the most stylish and
up-to-date electronic devices
use materials that are sourced from
Its 35 ANSI lumens of brightness gruesome, decades-old conflicts,
means this little gadget projects an such as in the Democratic Republic
image up to 150cm across (from a of Congo. Minerals are traded by
distance of two metres – 4:3 aspect ruthless combatants to fund war, and
ratio) onto any living room or office some of the largest companies in the
wall. The VGA resolution is 640 × electronics industry have come in
480 pixels; the contrast ratio is 800:1. for heavy criticism for ignoring the
Thanks to the latest LED technology human cost of their products.
the projector has a lifespan of 10,000 Now, Hewlett-Packard has an-
hours. Weighing in at just 129g, this nounced that it is making public a
is a projector that can be taken pretty list of the 195 ore smelters across the
much anywhere, making it handy for world that supply minerals for the
Rollei’s projector works with smartphones presentations when out and about, or company’s products. By revealing the
as a mobile home cinema at a friend’s source of their minerals, HP are hop-
G one are the days when
projectors were expensive,
power-hungry, chunky and not very
place. The minimal heat generation
needs very little cooling – there is no
annoying fan noise.
ing that a combination of their pur-
chasing clout and trading transparen-
cy will result in conflict-free sources
portable. Rollei, in collaboration As well as phone/tablet devices, the for its raw materials.
with SK telecom, has launched Innocube connects easily to a lap-
the Innocube IC200T/IC200C top or a general device meeting the Next wonder material?

G
pico projector. The cube-shaped, HDMI standard. Focus adjustment is raphene could soon face
portable pico projector is just 45 × manual and the device includes in- competition as the next great
45 × 46mm in size, has a lithium- ternal speakers. wonder material, according to a report
polymer battery (2300mAh/120 The recommended retail price is from website Gizmag. Associate
minutes running time) and makes a 299.95 euros. Professor Darren Sun and a team of
researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang
Cave radio opportunity for electronics enthusiasts Technological University have

C ommunicating between a cave


and the surface is a formidable
challenge, yet it’s a common
by the British Cave Research Asso-
ciation (BCRA), is essential reading.
And with the recent introduction of
developed applications for a material
known as ‘Multi-use Titanium Dioxide’
(MUTD).
requirement for underground online access, costing just £4.00, it’s The researchers used MUTD to pro-
explorers and it plays a vital role in never been cheaper to learn about duce hydrogen and clean water from
coordinating cave rescues. With the sub-surface communication. wastewater, double the lifespan of
growth of interest in low frequency If you want to get a better feel for batteries, create antibacterial wound
radio in recent years, radio amateurs the sort of articles published in the dressings ... and more.
and electronic enthusiasts are well CREG Journal, just head to http:// The material is made by converting
placed to make a contribution in bcra.org.uk/pub/cregj where you cheap titanium dioxide crystals into
this area. Indeed, the cave radio can see a contents list for the cur- nanofibres, which are then incorpo-
currently used by many of the UK’s rent and previous issues. You can rated into flexible filter membranes.
rescue teams was developed by also sign up there for a year’s sub- Depending on the application, the
radio amateurs. scription (normally four issues) for membranes can also include mixtures
If you’d like to get involved in this either the new online access or to of carbon, copper, zinc and/or tin.
unusual yet fascinating realm of ra- receive the paper edition in the post. Sun’s team have also created a black
dio, and perhaps make a contribu- CREG Journal is produced on a version of the material, in which the
tion to the state-of-the-art, the jour- non-profit basis, the motivation be- titanium dioxide is in crystalline
nal of the Cave Radio and Electronics hind it is purely the dissemination form. This was used in a functioning
Group (CREG Journal), published of useful information. flexible solar cell.

Phone-charging camping stove


U S company BioLite
developed a camping stove that
lets you cook with simple, easy-
has a patented thermoelectric generator,
converting heat to electricity. It also
contains a small microprocessor,
to-find fuels, while also providing which manages the flow of power
electricity to charge mobile phones both to the in-built fan that regulates
and LED lights off-grid. air (oxygen) to the fire and the electri-
The stove cooks food and drink with cal output.
nothing more than natural found fuel The stove provides electrical power
(wood, leaves, twigs), eliminating the through a USB port, delivering up to
need for heavy, expensive, polluting 2W of power at 5V for charging USB-
petroleum or bottles of gas. It’s quick compatible devices.
to light, fast to boil and clean to use. The stove costs $129.95, plus p&p,
The clever bit is the incorpora- more information at the Biolite web-
tion of a power module that houses site: www.biolitestove.com Charge your phone in the great outdoors

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 9

News Jun 2013.indd 9 18/04/2013 12:31:44


Constructional Project

An early prototype of the Mix-It!


4-channel mixer – some components
have been moved or changed since this
photo was taken.

How it works relatively low value RF filtering ca- current with only a small increase
Each of the four identical inputs, pacitors (100pF) were chosen for the in noise.
CON1-CON4, can be fitted with ei- same reason. The gain for these op amps is set
ther a terminal block or preferably, While most of the coupling capaci- by the two resistors at their outputs.
a PCB-mounting shorting-type RCA tors in the circuit have been increased In the circuit we have used ‘middle of
socket. We say preferably, because un- compared to the original design, here the road’ values of 1.8k and 220,
connected inputs are then shorted to we have used a lower value since the resulting in a gain of about 9.2 (18dB).
ground and therefore don’t introduce input coupling capacitors need to be Gain is calculated using the formula:
any noise or hum into the circuit. non-polarised. This is because the 1.8k + 220
Each input has an RF filter, consist- signal source could potentially have 220
ing of a ferrite bead and 100 resistor a high DC bias, or the input might be
in series with the signal, and a 100pF accidentally shorted to a power rail. This is about half that of the origi-
capacitor to ground. These act as low- We also wanted to use an ‘MKT’ nal design, which could not handle
pass filters with a cut-off frequency of (polyester) capacitor, because they line-level input signals without clip-
16MHz, while the ferrite beads greatly are more reliable and linear than non- ping. This one can – up to 900mV
improve the rejection of signals above polarised electrolytics, which also RMS, or more with reduced gain.
a couple of hundred kilohertz. vary greatly in size. These values can be changed to suit
We mentioned ‘ground’ a moment Before each op amp is a 100 resistor, various input devices, as we shall see
ago. In this circuit, it’s important to note which acts as an additional RF stopper. shortly.
that there are two different ‘grounds’. IC1a-IC2b are TL072 low-noise The feedback capacitors (nomi-
The first is the ‘power’ ground and JFET- input op amps. Due to the high nated as 220pF) roll off the op amp
uses the conventional ground sym- value bias resistors, the LM833s used closed-loop gain at high frequencies
bol ( ). The second is the ‘signal’ in the original design are not suitable. to improve stability, reduce noise and
ground and it uses a different symbol They would have an excessive output provide a further degree of RF rejection.
( ). We’ll explain these a bit more DC offset due to their relatively high The op amp outputs are AC-coupled
when we look at power supplies shortly. input bias currents. JFET-input op via 10µF electrolytic capacitors to 10k
The audio signals are then amps have a much lower input bias log volume pots (VR1-VR4). These
AC-coupled to op amps capacitors are polarised, to
IC1b, IC1a, IC2b and IC2a minimise size and cost. We
via 470nF capacitors with Specifications can get away with this be-
1M biasing resistors. • Input range for line-level output: 18-900mV cause the op amp input bias
This high value is neces- • Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz, +0,-1.2dB (see Fig.3) currents (small though they
sary if the mixer is used • Signal-to-noise ratio: –75dB @ 32dB gain; –92dB @ 0dB may be with JFET inputs)
with electric guitars, as gain cause the op amp outputs
their frequency response • THD+N (for 20Hz-20kHz 0.015% @ 32dB gain to have a slightly positive
changes when driving bandwidth): 0.003% @ 18dB gain DC bias.
lower impedances due 0.002% @ 0dB gain The pot wipers then con-
to loading effects on the nect to four 10k mixing
inductive pick-up(s). The resistors, which are joined

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 11

Mixit -June12 (FROM MP).indd 11 18/04/2013 09:38:45


Constructional Project

+15V

L1 100nF
6.8k
BEAD
CON1
100 470nF 100 8 4
1 5 3 –15V
10F 33*
2 7 1
IC1b IC3a
INPUT 6 2
C1 CHANNEL 100F 6.8k 470F
1 CON1a 100pF 1M 1 GAIN 25V
1.8k 220pF 16V
VR1 10k
10k SUPPLY RAIL SPLITTER
LOG
–15V
R1
+15V 220
47pF
IC1: TL072
100nF
L2 39k
BEAD
CON2 –15V
100 470nF 100
1 3 4
10F
2 1 9
IC1a 10F
INPUT 2 47F 8
C2 CHANNEL IC3c
2 CON2a 100pF 1M 10
1.8k 220pF 2 GAIN
VR2 10k 11
10k
LOG
R2 –15V
220
MIXER/AMPLIFIER
STAGE
L3
BEAD +15V
CON3 R1-4, C1-4 CAN BE ALTERED TO CHANGE GAIN OF EACH
100 470nF 100 8
1 5 CHANNEL AND THEREFORE SUIT DIFFERENT INPUTS –
10F SEE TABLE
2 7
IC2b
INPUT 6 R5,R6 INSTALLED FOR USE WITH CONDENSER MICROPHONES
3 CON3a C3 CHANNEL ON INPUT 4 ONLY
100pF 1M 1.8k 220pF 3 GAIN
VR3 10k
10k
+15V LOG
R3 = SIGNAL GROUND = POWER SUPPLY GROUND
470
220
100F R5
PHANTOM R6
POWER 1.8k
L4 IC2: TL072 100nF Adjustments to input R & C for various devices
BEAD R1-R4 C1-C4 Stage Gain Overall Gain Suits
CON4 –15V
100 470nF 100
1 3 4
10F 120  100pF 16x (24dB) 62x (36dB) Low-sensitivity mics
2 1
IC2a
INPUT 2 150  150pF 13x (22dB) 50x (34dB) Medium-sensitivity mics
4 C4 CHANNEL
CON4a 100pF 1M 220  220pF 9x (18dB) 38x (31dB) Mics/guitars
1.8k 220pF 4 GAIN
VR4 10k
390  330pF 5.5x (15dB) 22x (27dB) Guitars
10k
LOG 910  470pF 3x (10dB) 12x (21dB) iPods, Mp3 players etc
R4
220 1.8k 560pF 2x (6dB) 8x (18dB) Line level sources
Omit 1nF 1x (0dB) 4x (12dB) CD/DVD/Blu-ray players

MIX-IT! FOUR
SC MIX-IT!
2012
CHANNEL
FOUR CHANNELMIXER
MIXER
Fig.1: the circuit diagram consists of four near-identical input stages, the outputs of which are mixed and amplified before
being fed into a tone control stage and output buffer. Any of the four inputs may be altered from that shown to account for
different audio devices – anything from a microphone to a Blu-ray player can be accommodated (see table above).

together at the other end. This is the A 47pF feedback capacitor limits 100k linear potentiometers, VR5-
‘virtual earth’ point and is held at signal the bandwidth again, and the output is VR7, adjust the feedback around op
ground potential by op amp IC3c. AC-coupled to the active tone control amp IC3d, which is in an inverting
Its non-inverting input (pin 10) is at stage with a 10µF capacitor, oriented configuration.
signal ground potential and it is config- so that it will have the correct DC bias. The combination of capacitors
ured as an inverting amplifier with a gain The tone control stage is a tradi- across VR5 and VR6 with the ca-
of –3.9, as set by the ratio of the 39k tional Baxandall-style arrangement pacitors at the wipers of VR6 and
feedback resistor to the 10k mixer resis- (named after Peter Baxandall, the VR7 means that each pot controls
tors. The overall maximum gain of the man who first described this cir- the feedback over a different audio
unit is therefore 3.9 × 9.2 = 36 (or 31dB). cuit) with three bands – bass, mid ‘band’. Thus, they each boost or cut
The resulting output signal is the and treble. We have copied this un- a different range of frequencies. Refer
sum of the four input signals (from changed from the original design as to Fig.6 to see the effect of these pots;
the wipers of the pots). there is nothing wrong with it. Three this shows the frequency response of

12 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Mixit -June12 (FROM MP).indd 12 18/04/2013 09:38:55


Constructional Project

REG1 78L15

®
+22V DC INPUT
+15V
OUT IN
K K
CON7 D3 100F GND 100F D1
*RESISTOR FITTED ONLY WHEN 1 1N4004 25V 50V 1N4004
USING A SINGLE DC SUPPLY A A CON6
2 15V
1.8k
REPLACE THIS CAPACITOR WITH 3 K K AC
A WIRE LINK WHEN USING A IN
SPLIT DC OR AN AC SUPPLY D4 100F 100F D2
1N4004 25V GND 50V 1N4004
A A

®
–15V OUT IN 0V DC INPUT
22nF
A

®
REG2 79L15 –22V DC INPUT
POWER
10k 100k LIN 10k  LED1

®
CON6, D1 AND D2 ARE NOT
K FITTED WHEN HIGHER SPLIT
VR5 DC SUPPLY VOLTAGES ARE
10k BASS FED IN THIS WAY

2.2nF

10k 100k LIN 10k 10F


OUTPUT
VR6 LEVEL IC3: TL074
10nF MIDRANGE VR8 470nF
5
10k 100 10F CON5
LOG 7 1
6.8k IC3b
100k LIN 6.8k 6
100k 2
VR7 100k OUTPUT
TREBLE CON5a
1.5nF OUTPUT BUFFER
47pF

13
14
IC3d LM78L15Z LM79L15Z LED
12

TONE D1–D4: 1N4004 COM –Vin


K
CONTROL
(EQUALISER) A K IN OUT –Vout COM A
STAGE

s WIRE LINK WIRE LINK


REPLACING REG1 REPLACING REG1
+15V
+15V NC
K K K
CON7 D3 100F D1 CON7 D3 100F
50V 1N4004 25V 1.8k
1 1N4004 1.8k 1 1N4004
+15V IN
2 A A 2 A
30V 0V IN A
DC POWER
3 A 3 K
IN –15V IN 
WIRE LINK D4 100F LED1
REPLACING LED1  POWER CON6 1N4004 25V
D4 K
A
–15V K –15V NC

SINGLE DC POWER SUPPLY CONFIGURATION +/–15V DC POWER SUPPLY CONFIGURATION


(REG1, REG2, D2, D4, THE LOWER 100F/50V (REG1, REG2, D1, D2 AND BOTH 100F/50V
CAPACITOR & NEITHER 100F/25V CAPACITOR FITTED) CAPACITORS OMITTED, ALSO CON6)

Inset at the bottom of the main circuit are two variations for powering the mixer – two are shown on the main circuit diagram
above (15V AC and ±22V DC). Each of these is further illustrated on the component overlay. R5, R6 and the 100µF capacitor
on the main circuit are only needed if your microphone requires phantom power (see text).
the mixer with the controls set at their simply buffers the signal to provide a Power supply
maximum extents, as well as centred low-impedance output. Like the original design, this unit can
(blue trace). The 100 resistor at the output of be powered from a ±15V regulated
Having been inverted twice, once this op amp isolates it from any cable DC supply, via CON7. If the mixer is
by the mixer and once by the tone capacitance which could otherwise installed in a case with a preamplifier,
controls, the signal at output pin 14 cause oscillation. As with the inputs, there is a good chance that such rails
of IC3d is in phase with the inputs. output connector CON5 is either a will already be present.
This is coupled to the master volume terminal block or RCA socket. A final But if not, or in cases where the
control pot, VR8. The output is taken 10µF AC-coupling capacitor is used mixer is used as a stand-alone unit,
from the wiper and then coupled with so that the output DC level is at 0V, the mixer can be run off low-voltage
a 470nF MKT capacitor to the non- regardless of the signal ground po- AC or DC. An unregulated split sup-
inverting input of op amp IC3b, with tential, with a 100k DC bias resistor ply can also drive the unit in some
a 100k DC bias resistor. This op amp setting this DC level. cases, as will be explained later.

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 13

Mixit -June12 (FROM MP).indd 13 18/04/2013 09:39:05


Constructional Project
THD+N vs Frequency, 80kHz BW 03/22/12 11:21:15
0.1
Mixer Frequency Response (1kHz) 03/22/12 10:57:01 THD+N vs Frequency,Gain
80kHz BW 03/22/12 11:21:15
+1 = 32dB
0.1
0.05
Gain = 24dB
-0
Gain
Gain==32dB
18dB

Total Harmonic Distortion Plus Noise (THD+N) %


0.05
Gain
Gain==24dB
0dB
-1
Gain = 18dB

Total Harmonic Distortion Plus Noise (THD+N) %


Gain = 0dB
-2 0.02
Amplitude Deviation (dBr)

-3 0.02
0.01
-4
0.01
-5
0.005

-6
0.005

-7
0.002
-8
0.002
-9 0.001
20 50 100 200 500 1k 2k 5k 10k 20k
Frequency (Hz)
-10 0.001
10 20 50 100 200 500 1k 2k 5k 10k 20k 50k 100k 20 50 100 200 500 1k 2k 5k 10k 20k
Frequency (Hz) Frequency (Hz)
Fig.2: frequency response of the mixer with the tone controls Fig.3: performance with a 15VAC supply. At high gain settings,
set to their mid positions and gain at maximum. Roll-off is noise and 50Hz hum field pick-up dominate the distortion
only 1.2dB at 20Hz and –0.75dB at 20kHz, while the –3dB graph; the dip at 50Hz is when the test signal cancels some
points are at 10Hz and 45kHz. of the mains hum.

For low-voltage AC, 15-16V RMS is connected to CON7, bypassing the clipping), the regulators are bypassed
is supplied to CON6. Diodes D1 and regulators and powering the circuit (linked out) so that the full voltage,
D2 act as two half-wave rectifiers, directly. less D1’s forward voltage, is available
charging the 100µF 50V capacitors If an unregulated split supply is to to the op amps. D2 is also linked out
alternately as the AC signal swings be used, then it can be connected via and power is applied via CON7.
positive and negative to provide un- the pads for D1 and D2, bypassing In this case, since there is no
regulated rails of approximately ±22V the rectifier and feeding the regula- negative supply, the signal ground
DC. ((16 x√2) – 0.6V). tors directly. potential must be positive. This
This is then regulated to ±15V by The situation for a single DC supply bias is generated by op amp IC3a.
REG1 (78L15, +15V) and REG2 (79L15, is a little more complicated. In this The two resistors connected to its
–15V). The output voltages are filtered case, the supply voltage is usually non-inverting input (pin 3) form
with 100µF capacitors. Diodes D3 and well below 30V.
D4 prevent them from being reverse- So, to maximise the available head-
biased during operation, which could room (the amount by which the
cause REG1 or REG2 to ‘latch up’ when signal can be amplified before
power is first applied. This can happen
because one rail starts to charge up
before the other due to the half-wave
rectification.
If the unit is to be run from a
regulated split supply, then this

Another view of the completed


mixer, once again with input
terminal blocks. PCB mounting RCA
connectors could also be used. As noted
earlier, this is an early prototype, with
several component changes made to the final
version (including a double-sided board).
The PCB component overlay on the opposite
page shows the final version – use that when
constructing rather than this photograph.

14 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Mixit -June12 (FROM MP).indd 14 18/04/2013 09:39:21


Constructional Project

BEAD
CON6

+
CON1 CON2 CON3 CON4 –15V 0V +15V78L15 CON5
REG1 470F*

D1
100pF BEAD

100pF BEAD

BEAD

47pF
1.8k
+
1.8k

IC3 TL074
4004
100F 50V

+
CON7

100pF
R6 100F
100

100

100

100
+
100k

D4

D3
100pF REG2 100
A

D2
4004

4004

39k
1M

1M

1M

1M
LED1

470

+
+

+
470nF 100F POWER

4004
100F 50V

+
100nF
100

100

100

100
220

220

220

220
K
R5 100F
79L15
470nF

470nF

470nF
R1 R2 R3 R4 100F 10F

+
(25V) 33*

6.8k
6.8k
C2 10F
C4 220pF 100k
220pF
TL072

TL072
1.8k 1.8k 10nF
IC1

IC2
1. 8k 220pF 1.8k

+
220pF

10k

10k

10k

10k

10k

6.8k

6.8k
+
+

+
C1
+

C3
10F 10F 10F 10F 47F
47pF 1.5nF 10F 470nF
GND
10k 10k 10k 10k 22nF 2.2nF
VR1 10k LOG 100nF VR2 10k LOG POT CASE VR3 10k LOG VR4 10k LOG VR5 100k POT CASE VR6 100k VR7 100k VR8 10k LOG
100nF
EARTHING EARTHING
WIRE WIRE

COMPONENTS IN COMPONENTS IN PCBS FROM SILICON


RED MAY BE CHANGED BLUE REQUIRED ONLY CHIP WILL BE DOUBLE-
TO ADJUST GAIN – FOR MICS NEEDING SIDED SO ORANGE LINKS
SEE TABLE PHANTOM POWER WILL NOT BE NEEDED.

Fig.4: the complete component overlay for the Mix-It! mixer. In this case, we have shown 220 resistors and 220pF capacitors
in the R1/C1...R4/C4 positions, which would make it suitable for guitars and many microphones. However, you can change
these resistors to suit other input devices (see the table on the circuit diagram) or even add switching to one or more channels
to allow the input(s) to be switched at will (see Fig.8). R5, R6 and the associated 100µF capacitor on input 4 are provided for
microphones requiring ‘phantom power’. If you don’t need this, you can leave these components out.

a divider across the supply rails, That’s plenty for most microphones sided boards (they’re shown on the
producing a voltage of roughly half and musical instruments, but line level PCB overlay).
the DC supply. For example, if the sources are generally at least 500mV Now insert the resistors. It’s best to
DC supply is 12V, this point is at and so they will clip unless they are at- check the value of each with a digital
about 6V. It is filtered using a 100µF tenuated somehow (or the input stage multimeter before fitting it.
capacitor, to remove supply noise. gain is reduced; more on that later). The 1N4004 diodes go in next, with
IC3a buffers this voltage, providing The foregoing explains why sepa- the striped (cathode) ends towards the
a low output impedance, and this is rate signal grounds and power supply top of the PCB. If you’re using IC sock-
filtered further using a 33 resistor grounds are required when a single ets, mount them now, with the notches
and 470µF capacitor. The 33 resis- rail DC supply is used. But when an oriented towards the bottom of the PCB,
tor prevents op amp instability due AC or split supply is used, the signal as shown. Otherwise, just solder the
to the large capacitive load. The RC ground is connected directly to power ICs into place, taking care that they are
low-pass filter formed by the 33 supply ground to ensure the polarised oriented with pin 1 towards the bottom
resistor and 470µF capacitor is impor- coupling capacitors are correctly bi- of the board. IC sockets do make it easy
tant to achieve good performance, as ased. This is achieved by omitting the to place and remove ICs, but we prefer
even a tiny amount of supply ripple 33 resistor and replacing the 470µF to solder them in permanently, as long
coupling into the signal earth will be capacitor with a wire link. as there is no mistake!
greatly amplified and coupled into All these options may seem confus- If installing the regulator(s), bend
the output, dramatically reducing the ing, but we have provided diagrams the leads to fit the pad spacings on
signal-to-noise ratio and increasing showing which components to install the board and solder them in place.
the distortion. in each case. Don’t get them mixed up and ensure
We would normally use a 100 re- that the flat side faces as shown on
sistor at the op amp output, to isolate Construction the overlay diagram. The LED can
it from a capacitive load, but experi- The mixer is built on a PCB coded 903, be installed next, flat side also fac-
mentation shows that 33 provides 198mm × 60mm. Refer to the overlay ing down, followed by the ceramic
better hum rejection, presumably due diagram (Fig.4). If you are not using an and MKT capacitors, from smallest
to the fact that higher values increase AC supply, refer also to one of Figs. 5, to largest.
the output impedance of the buffer 6, 7 or 8 to see the changes required Solder 3-way terminal block CON7
stage too much. to suit your particular situation. in place, with the wire entry holes
To quantify the loss of headroom The PCB can be double-sided with facing the top edge of the PCB. If
when running from a single supply, plated-through holes, so there will be you are using terminal blocks for
12V DC can be considered equivalent no need for links. However, the PCBs the inputs and outputs, fit them now
to a ±6V split supply. Considering the supplied by our PCB Service are not too. Follow with the DC socket and
limited op amp voltage swing, this gives double sided. then the electrolytic capacitors, all of
a maximum signal handling of about Because it is also unlikely stu- which have the longer positive leads
(6V – 1V) / √2 ) = 3.5V RMS. With a dents (and some readers) will make a inserted in the hole closest to the top
fixed gain of 10 at each input, the maxi- double-sided board, six tinned copper edge of the PCB (stripes towards the
mum input level is then 350mV RMS. wire links will be needed for single- bottom edge).

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 15

Mixit -June12 (FROM MP).indd 15 18/04/2013 09:39:34


Constructional Project

CON6 CON6

+
LINK
–15V 0V +15V78L15 –15V 0V +15V
REG1 LINK 470F*

D1

D1
47pF

47pF
1.8k

1.8k
+

+
IC3 TL074

IC3 TL074
4004

4004
100F 50V 100F 50V
+

CON7 CON7
100F
+

+
100

100
D4

D3

D3
REG2

LINK
A A
D2
4004

4004

4004
39k

39k
LED1 LED1
+
470

470
100F 100F
POWER POWER
4004

100F 50V
+

K K
100F
79L15

+
(25V) 33*
10F 10F
100k 100k

AC SUPPLY SINGLE DC SUPPLY


DC INPUTS
DC INPUTS

+22V LINK LINK


–15V 0V +15V78L15 –15V 0V +15V
REG1 LINK

47pF
47pF

0V

1.8k

IC3 TL074
1.8k
+

IC3 TL074

+
100F 50V CON7
+

CON7 100F
100F

100
100

D4

D3
D4

D3

REG2 A

4004

4004
A

39k
4004

4004

39k

LED1 LED1
470 100F
470

100F POWER
POWER

+
100F 50V
+

K K
100F 100F
79L15
–22V

+
+

(25V) (25V)
10F 10F
100k 100k

SPLIT DC SUPPLY, +/–22V SPLIT DC SUPPLY, +/–15V


Fig.5: four variations on a theme . . . the mixer is quite versatile as far as power supply goes – simply wire yours according
to the power supply you are going to use.

Ensure the correct type of capacitor, them for soldering, hold gently in a thin layer of solder over the surface
as shown on the overlay diagrams, is vice and file away a patch of the pas- of the pot where you just removed the
placed in each location. sivation layer on the top of each pot passivation.
If you are using RCA sockets for the (otherwise the solder won’t take). If Now solder one end of the tinned
inputs and outputs, mount them now, your pots have long shafts, now is also copper wire to the pad marked ‘GND’
checking that they are pushed down a good time to cut them to the length to the right of VR8, bend it over the
all the way onto the PCB, and that the you require (don’t forget to take into top of VR8 and then solder it to the
sockets are parallel to the board and account any case or cabinet width). top of VR1, so that the wire passes
perpendicular to the edge. Solder the pots in place, ensuring across the top of each pot. Once it is
To minimise noise, all of the pot that you note the difference between held tightly in place, solder it to the
bodies are connected together and the three 100k linear types and the top of the remaining pots and trim
then to the PCB with a 250mm length 10k log types. While you have the the excess.
of tinned copper wire. To prepare soldering iron in your hand, run a If you are using them, fit the nylon
spacers to the four mounting holes
Mixer Tone Control Extents 03/21/12 13:09:04 and then, if you are using sockets,
+20 Fig.6: the
+17.5 operation of the insert the ICs. They must be oriented
+15 tone controls. with their pin 1 dots at the same end
The blue trace as the notches on the sockets, ie, to-
+12.5
is the same as wards the bottom of the board. If not
+10
Fig.2, but with using sockets, carefully solder in the
+7.5
a different ICs, again noting orientation.
Amplitude Deviation (dBr)

+5 scale. The tone


+2.5 controls allow Housing it
+0 a boost or cut The mixer should ideally be housed in
of around 10dB
-2.5 an earthed steel case, although it can
for each band,
-5
with the centre be used inside an amplifier or guitar
-7.5
frequencies amplifier/speaker case.
-10 around 30Hz for If you are using a case, the pots
Flat are all 25.4mm (1 inch) apart, so you
-12.5 bass, 1kHz for
Max. Bass/Treble
-15 Min. Bass/Treble mid-range and will need to drill a horizontal row
-17.5 Max. Midrange above 20kHz for of eight 8mm-diameter holes in the
Min. Midrange treble. front panel. The board can then be
-20
20 50 100 200 500 1k 2k 5k 10k 20k
‘hung’ behind the front panel via the
Frequency (Hz)
potentiometers.

16 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Mixit -June12 (FROM MP).indd 16 18/04/2013 09:40:08


Constructional Project

You may need to snap off the small


locating spigots on each pot with
small pliers (or, preferably, drill small
Parts list – Mix-It! Four Channel Mixer
pilot holes to accommodate them. 1 PCB, code 903, size 198mm × 60mm available from the EPE PCB Service
The spigots stop heavy-handed users 5 2-way mini terminal blocks (CON1a-CON5a) OR
trying to twist the pots on the panel). 5 PCB-mount switched RCA sockets (CON1-CON5)
While not really necessary, you can 1 PCB-mount DC socket (CON6)
also attach the PCB to the bottom of 1 3-way mini terminal block (CON7)
the case using the tapped spacers – 8 small knobs, to suit VR1-VR8
although this method of mounting 4 small ferrite beads
might be preferable if poking the 1 plugpack or other power supply
pot shafts through a thick (eg, guitar 1 250mm length tinned copper wire (or 400mm if wire links are used)
speaker box) panel. 4 M3 nylon tapped spacers
The most common input connec- 4 M3 × 6mm machine screws
tors for guitars, microphones and 2 8-pin DIL sockets (optional)
so on will usually be 6.35mm jack 1 14-pin DIL socket (optional)
sockets and/or XLR sockets. The PCB Semiconductors
is designed to accommodate RCA 2 TL072 dual low-noise JFET-input op amps (IC1, IC2)
sockets ‘on board’, but this may not 1 TL074 quad low-noise JFET-input op amp (IC3)
be the most convenient to use. 1 78L15 +15V 100mA linear regulator (REG1)
The altenative is to mount the 1 79L15 –15V 100mA linear regulator (REG2)
sockets on a case panel – often they 1 green 5mm LED (LED1)
are mounted on the front panel or 4 1N4004 diodes (D1-D4)
adjacent vertical panel next to their
respective controls. If so, you will Capacitors
need to run shielded cable from 1 470µF 16V electrolytic
the sockets to the input connectors 2 100µF 50V electrolytic
4 100µF 25V electrolytic Reproduced by arrangement
(CON1-CON4).
with SILICON CHIP
The output can then go to an RCA 1 47µF 50V electrolytic magazine 2013.
socket on the rear panel, or to an inter- 7 10µF 50V electrolytic www.siliconchip.com.au
nal power amplifier. Either way, use 5 470nF MKT
shielded cable for this connection too. 3 100nF MKT
When using chassis-mount jack 1 22nF MKT
sockets, use switched sockets and 1 2.2nF MKT
wire them to short out the input sig- 1 1.5nF MKT
nal when nothing is plugged in, to 4 220pF ceramic
minimise noise and hum. See Fig.7 4 100pF ceramic
for details on how to do this. 2 47pF ceramic
The power supply wiring can then Resistors (all 1%, 0.25W)
be run. Wire split supplies (+15V, 0V, 4 1M 2 100k 1 39k 9 10k 4 6.8k
–15V) up to CON7. Single DC supplies 6 1.8k 4 220 9 100 1 33
or low voltage AC go to CON6. The 5 10k logarithmic 16mm potentiometers (VR1-VR4, VR8)
overlay diagrams show how the wires 3 100k linear 16mm potentiometers (VR5-VR7)
are connected.
If you want a front-panel power
indicator, it is possible to mount LED1 volume controls to check that the supply or the input cabling. You
off-board and connect it up with flying output sound is undistorted. might need to experiment a little with
leads and optionally, a pin header. Note that since there is a fair bit of earthing arrangements for best results.
gain available, if you use a line level
Testing source, you won’t have to turn the Changes for MP3 players
Turn all the volume knobs, including volume knobs up very far. Some constructors may wish to exper-
master volume to their minimum (ie, Check each of the four inputs in turn iment with some component values.
fully anti-clockwise) and set the tone and also check that the tone controls By doing so, you can adapt tthe mixer
controls to their centre positions. have the appropriate effect on the signal. to your particular requirements.
Switch on the power supply and If you hear a lot of hum or noise, it’s For example, the feedback resistors
check that LED1 lights. probable that it’s being induced into the for IC1 and IC2 can be changed to give
Plug the output of the mixer into sensitive input stages from whatever different maximum gain settings for
a suitable amplifier and turn that on amplifier you’ve teamed the mixer each input. You could, for example,
– with level controls at a minimum with – in which case, you might need reduce the gain of inputs 1 and 2 so
you should hear nothing! It’s then to house the unit in an earthed metal that they can accept signals up to 1-2V
just a matter of applying a signal to box inside the amplifier case. RMS, suitable for use with a CD or DVD
one input, then slowly turning up Alternately, hum may be caused by player, while leaving inputs 3 and 4
the corresponding input and master a hum loop, either from the power with a high gain to suit microphones

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 17

Mixit -June12 (FROM MP).indd 17 18/04/2013 09:40:04


Constructional Project

PANEL However, an input modified in 150pF


1
this manner will no longer work 330pF 2 TO PIN7
6.5mm IC1b
MONO with some microphones, guitars and TO PIN6 560pF 3
JACK SOCKET SHORT
LENGTH OF other devices with a high output IC1b 1
150
SHIELDED impedance (normal 600 ‘dynamic’
CABLE
390 2
microphones will not be too badly
1.8k 3
affected).
(SIGNAL
2 1 GROUND)
(PC BOARD) Phantom power for Fig.8: adding input switching to one
CON1 condensor microphones or more channels is really easy and
(OR CON2/3/4)
It would arguably be fairly unusual makes the mixer much more versatile
Fig.7: how to wire a standard switched for condensor microphones to be (but does complicate construction a
phono jack as a shorting jack and used with a mixer such as this, but little). Here we’ve shown a 2-pole,
connect it to the PCB. This is highly it is possible. 3-position switch capable of selecting a
recommended, otherwise, unconnected microphone (1), guitar (2) or line-level
The difficulty is that condensor
inputs may contribute noise and hum (3) source. 2-pole rotary switches with
microphones require a DC supply on up to six positions are also available
to the output of the mixer. their output (known as ‘phantom’ if you want more switchable inputs.
power), normally around 16-48V at
or a guitar. Or you could increase the 1-2mA and use the microphone cable For most applications, the input
gain of one channel above the nominal to power the microphone. bias resistors will be satisfactory.
31dB to suit a microphone with a very Because the inputs to the op amps However, you could bring these all
small output signal. are AC-coupled, feeding DC ‘up the down to 100k if you really want to.
The easiest way to change the gain line’ will have no effect on the mixer. Small double-pole (or ‘changeover’)
of each input is to change the values Phantom power can, therefore, easily slider switches are available with
of R1 and C1 for channel 1, R2 and be achieved by connecting a bypassed up to four positions, so you could,
C2 for channel 2 and so on. Smaller DC supply between the positive sup- in theory, fit four different values of
values for these resistors increase the ply and the ‘hot’ side of the micro- R and C on the switch (again, as per
gain and larger values decrease them. phone input. the table on the circuit) and then be
The associated capacitor is changed at We have made provision for this on able to select the input level required
the same time, to keep the frequency one channel only, channel 4, with R5, according to the device being con-
response constant. The table on the R6 and a 100µF bypass capacitor. If nected and, of course, its signal level.
circuit diagram shows various op- you do not require phantom power, (See Fig.8).
tions for these components, but other you can simply leave out these three Alternatively, small rotary switches
combinations are possible. components. can be configured to have two poles
You can also alter the gain for all In fact, you should not connect and six positions, so most of the vari-
inputs by changing the 39k resis- phantom power to a microphone ations shown on the circuit diagram
tor between pins 8 and 9 of IC3c. A that doesn’t need it. Putting a DC could be accommodated.
higher value resistor will give you bias on a dynamic microphone’s The resistors and capacitors could
more overall gain, but will also in- voice coil, for example, will usually be wired directly to the switch and
crease the noise and distortion. So, result in a lower (or no) output and three wires (eg, rainbow cable) run to
for example, if you change the 39k may even permanently damage the the appropriate positions on the PCB
resistor to 82k you will double the microphone. (ie, the positions which would have
overall gain, while changing it to been occupied by R1, C1...).
22k will halve it. Making inputs truly versatile
It may be possible to gain a slight im- We designed this mixer to be as Want more than four
provement in performance by replac- simple as possible to build, with channels?
ing the TL072 and TL074 op amps with everything ‘on board’. This assumed Getting greedy, aren’t we! Seriously,
OPA2132/2134 or similar. However, that constructors would nominate the adding additional channels to a design
the benefits will be marginal, as other input device required for each chan- of this type is easy – you simply build
factors already limit the performance. nel and fit appropriate resistors and additional input circuits – up to and
It is possible that some devices capacitors for R1, C1, and so on (as including the 10k resistor after the
such as iPods and MP3 players may per the table on the circuit). individual channel ‘gain’ pots (VR1-4).
not work with the mixer as published But what if you need to regularly The ‘mixed’ output of the four new
because there is no DC path for the swap inputs with devices that have channels is simply connected to the
input signals to flow to ground. This different signal levels? It happens of- negative side of the 47µF capacitor
can easily be solved with the addition ten in, for example, a band – or where before the existing IC3c, just as hap-
of a resistor (eg, 100) connected various microphones are required to pens now.
across the input for that channel. suit vocals or instruments. Power (ie ±15VDC), can be taken
Probably the easiest way to do this It would be quite simple to fit a from a suitable point on the existing
is between the terminals of CON1a, multi-pole switch to any or all of the mixer – the supply will handle it – and
CON2a, etc – even if there other cables input op amps and so switch various signal and supply grounds are also
going in there. values of R and C. connected to suitable points. EPE

18 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Mixit -June12 (FROM MP).indd 18 18/04/2013 09:40:21


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DECEMBER 2012 Cover.indd 1 17/10/2012 14:56:12 FEB 13 Cover.indd 1 17/12/2012 16:18:19


JAN 13 Cover.indd 1 21/11/2012 14:45:01

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Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 19

Subs page.indd 19 18/04/2013 09:40:59


From intra-body
experiences Mark Nelson
Many people ‘have had an out-of-body experience’, a feeling of extra-corporeal floating. The
sensation may arise from psychological factors, intoxication or even electrical stimulation of
the brain. Now researchers are finding applications for electronics within the human body.
There’s no Frankensteinian involvement, but Mark cannot help feeling a slight queasiness.

I
n-body electronics are not naturally occurring in the human body Spoof story?
new. Experiments with artificial or in its direct environment. You could be forgiven for assuming
pacemakers date back to 1899, last month’s news story about using
although all the early trials used Bio-batteries are here the human body as a comms channel
external devices. The first clinical Or rather not here, but in Poland. was an April Fool’s joke, but in fact
implant was in 1958 in Sweden. Researchers from the Institute of Physical this announcement was made in
Although the device failed after three Chemistry in Warsaw have created an February. That was when Arizona-
hours, the patient, Arne Larsson, went organic bio-battery that has direct in- based Microchip Technology revealed
on to receive 26 different pacemakers body potential. What’s more, it promises its BodyCom technology – the first in
during his lifetime, dying at the age of comparatively high voltage and long the world to employ the human body
86 and outliving the inventor as well as useful life (relative to other biofuel cells as a secure, low-power communication
the surgeon. Excellent as these devices at least). It uses oxygen from the air, plus a channel. The company describes it
are, they require electrical power and cathode composed of an enzyme, carbon as providing short-range, low data-
patients face regular operations (at nanotubes and silicate. It’s by no means a rate communication for connecting
five to seven-year intervals) to replace competitor for the batteries that you and securely to a wide range of wireless
worn-out batteries. For this reason, I use for cellphones or torches, but for applications. According to Microchip,
a longer-lasting power source for powering internal body implants such as when compared to other wireless
pacemakers would be welcome news. heart pacemakers it offers considerable technologies, BodyCom offers
promise. lower active and standby energy
Perpetual motion machine? Of course, organic bio-batteries are usage, increased security through
A development under examination in not new, as the Institute’s Dr Martin bidirectional authentication, and
the US is to use power generated by Jönsson-Niedziółka, reminds us. ‘One simpler circuit-level designs.
the heart itself to recharge batteries of the most popular experiments in The press release is as clear as mud,
using piezoelectricity – an electrical electrochemistry is to make a battery but fortunately the product video
charge generated mechanically. This by sticking appropriately selected (https://www.youtube.com/watch
is a particularly benign use of energy electrodes into a potato. We are doing ?v=dTuXAGUjnQA) translates better
harvesting, a technology we have something similar; the difference is into plain English. The gist of the
discussed many times in this column. that we are focusing on biofuel cells demonstration is that in situations where
This application, in which human and the improvement of the cathode. you need to prove you are authorised to
heartbeats generate electricity to And, of course, to have the whole do something (open a locked doorway,
recharge the battery of the electronic project working, we’d rather replace start a piece of machinery or anything
pacemaker, might appear to be the potato with a human being’. similar), you can do this just by putting
perpetual motion, but of course this is your finger on a touch pad. The enabling
not the case. Pacemakers require only Nothing noxious device is a keyfob that remains in your
small amounts of power to generate the Body-function applications are pocket; it sends and receives data
electrical impulses that help the heart becoming more ambitious. Today, through your body, using capacitive
maintain a normal heartbeat, and the they include cardiac pacemakers coupling. It’s a lot easier to understand if
energy harvester actually generates or hearing aids; tomorrow it will be you watch the video!
more than ten times the power required contact lenses that change focal length According to the manufacturer,
by modern pacemakers. automatically or computer-controlled its implementation is simpler than
The research at the University of displays generating images directly in comparable products, plus, it has a
Michigan is led by Dr Amin Karami, the eye. These devices will only work if lower overall bill of materials and
who said his team’s findings suggest coupled to an efficient and long-lasting power consumption measured against
this kind of patient-power could power supply. existing technologies. The system
eliminate the need for replacements Standard types of battery are complies with (American) FCC Part
when batteries are spent. ‘Many of the unsuitable for powering implants 15-B regulations on radiated emissions.
patients are children who live with inside the human body, as they use Because a wireless transceiver is not
pacemakers for many years. You can harmfully strong alkalis or acids, used, a significant cost component
imagine how many operations they unless the battery housing is absolutely is eliminated and no radio antenna
are spared if this new technology is impervious. Their size and weight are design work is necessary. At the same
implemented,’ he stated. He added generally too great too. Biofuel cells time, battery life is extended and there
that piezoelectricity might power other offer an essential advantage in that to are no high-power inductive fields that
implantable cardiac devices such as generate power, it is enough to insert might endanger health.
defibrillators, which also have minimal the electrodes into the body. So far, the As well as the keyfob security devices
energy needs. Polish team has successfully powered used for BodyCom, Microchip provides
However, piezoelectricity is not a lamp composed of two LEDs, using a development board that can be used
the only solution under examination, a stack of four batteries connected in to build prototypes and a Windows-
especially for body devices that need series. There is still a long way to go, friendly software development
greater power. For these, the best and researchers must solve the problem environment. More about BodyCom
solution seems to be miniaturised of relatively low electric power that is at: www.microchip.com/pagehandler/
biofuel cells consuming substances common to all biofuel cells. en_us/technology/embeddedsecurity.

20 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

TechnoTalk new font sizes.indd 20 18/04/2013 09:41:26


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©2013 Microchip Technology Inc. All rights reserved. ME1033BEng/04.13

JUNE 2013.indd 1 18/04/2013 15:35:04


Constructional Project


By NICHOLAS VINEN

PIC/AVR Programming
Adaptor Board – Part 2
Last month, we described our new programming adaptor board
which works in conjunction with an In-Circuit Serial Programmer
(ICSP) to program most 8-bit and 16-bit PIC and 8-bit Atmel AVR
microcontrollers. Here, we give the details of how to build it and
how to use it.

A
s noted last month, virtually The double-sided PCB supplied by mask and with component overlay; the
all the semiconductor devices the EPE PCB Service is not through- cost is approximately £30 per board
in the PIC/AVR Programming hole plated and will require all vias including postage to the UK – order
Adaptor are surface-mount, apart from to be wired and soldered through from the Silicon Chip website at www.
the diodes and LEDs. This approach has before any components are fitted – siliconchip.com.au.
been taken because otherwise the PCB there are numerous vias. It will also Fig.4(a) and Fig.4(b) show the com-
would have been impractically large. be necessary to solder a number of ponent overlays for both sides of the
Even so, the double-sided PCB is components, including a number of PCB. Install the surface-mount parts on
fairly densely populated on the top-side pins on the 40-pin production DIL the top first. You can refer to the panel
and has quite a few SMDs underneath socket, on both sides of the board. later in this article for a step-by-step
as well. However, we have specified This is not an easy task and some procedure on hand-soldering SMDs.
SMDs with a ‘reasonable’ pin spacing, readers may prefer to purchase a PCB Note that most of the SMD compo-
so they should not be too challenging from Silicon Chip in Australia which nents are static-sensitive, and so you
to solder. is through-hole plated, with solder should ideally build it on an anti-static

22 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

PIC-AVR ProgrammerAdaptor Pt2 0612 (FROM MP).indd 22 18/04/2013 09:42:01


Constructional Project

Fig.4: the overlay diagrams for both CON4 – +

GND
PGC
PGD

VDD
CON3

33pF x2
CON1

VPP
+ VDD GND

sides of the PCB. Install the parts as USB 10F 1 PIC 1

100nF
shown here, paying close attention to VCC MOSI RST SCK MISO
100nF
REG1
the orientation of the ICs, MOSFETs 7805
REG3
2.5V X1 CON2 AVR D6
4 3 100nF
and electrolytic capacitors. Pin 1 is POWER 1 2
100F 4.7k D7 100nF BAT54S

4051B
BAT54S
shown with a dot in one corner of the

+
+

IC3
4004 1M
D5 100F 100F REG2
1 100nF D8
IC, but in some cases there may be no 3.3V
IC13 1 BAT54S

100nF
47F
dot and instead, a bevelled edge on 74HC04D

2N7002P
Q17
25V Q29 Q26
ON 40-PIN ZIF
the IC package indicates the side with

LK2

4x
POWER SOCKET

1k
0.1Ω

Q22
pin 1.

Q28

Q27
OFF S5 LED1

Q16

100nF
47k

4148
68k

D2
1k
100nF

Q3
MICRO LED2

Q1
OP07
IC15
10F

470nF
POWER 100nF
ON ON 10F

100nF
100nF
mat or using some other method to pre- MICRO LED3 1
100nF

Q12
vent damage to the MOSFETs and ICs.

LM393
POWER

IC16

Q4
4028B
IC17
OFF O/C
100nF
100nF

Q7
Starting assembly

Q24
Q11
RESET 1
Start with the three small dual diodes D3

4013B
220nF

IC14

47k
4148
(D6-D8) and then fit the four 2N7002P S1 MODE 10F

Q23
47k
MOSFETs. These diodes and MOS- 100nF

Q25
100k

FETs look virtually identical, so be 2.2k 220nF


47k
careful not to get them mixed up. 100nF

Q15
2.2k
4148
D4

Follow with the 13 FDS6912A dual LK1 16V


RN1 8x100k 2.2k
+ – 47F 25V 47k
MOSFETs that go on the top of the D1
© 2012
board. They are in 8-pin SOIC pack- L1 5819
+

470pF
ages and are not all oriented in the 220H
1 1 1 1 1
24105121
4028B

same manner, so check carefully that


4081B

4081B
REG4
1.1k

4071B

4069B

4075B
13k

IC6

IC10

IC11

IC12
IC7

IC9
34063
each one is the right way around before
+

100nF 1
soldering it in place. These MOSFETs 100F
220
usually have both a bevelled edge on 100nF 100nF 100nF 100nF 100nF 100nF
1
one side of the package and a dimple PIC/AVR Programming Board Q1-Q25: FDS6912A

(TOP OF BOARD)
to indicate pin 1 – the position of both
is shown on the overlay diagram. PIC ICSP (ABOVE) AVR ICSP (ABOVE)
+2.5V 24105121
There are also 13 ICs (including GND
VDD
GND
VCC
GND

PGC

REG4) on the top of the PCB and they go


PGD
VPP
VDD

SCK
MISO

RST

MOSI

in next. Again, their orientations vary,


VIN
so you should check each one care-
4051B

4051B

4051B
IC4

IC1

IC2

+3.3V
fully. Some of the ICs may have a dot or
1 1 1 GND
dimple indicating pin 1, but some will
only have a bevelled edge, and that is
the most reliable way to tell which way
+5VSW
they go in. Many of the ICs are in identi-
Q9

cal packages, so take care that each type


Q18

goes in its designated location.


Q13

Regulators REG2 and REG3 can now 100nF


Q19

Q6

1
be fitted. Solder the three pins and
4051B
Q10

then the tab. Don’t get the two mixed


IC5

Q20

up. Then you can fit the passive SMD


10F
components, which consist of eight
Q5

Q2

Q21

100nF ceramic ‘chip’ capacitors, two


220nF ceramic capacitors, three 10µF
Q14

1
DIP SWITCHES (ABOVE)
ceramic capacitors and one 0.1Ω SMD Q1-Q25: FDS6912A
4071B
IC8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
100nF
100nF
resistor/shunt.
It’s now time to fit components to
Q8

the other side. First fit the four tapped


spacers at each corner on the top side +16V

of the board, using M3 × 6mm screws.


That done, flip it over and it will rest
flat and level on the spacers rather than GND
the components you have just finished +5V

soldering.
Refer now to Fig.4(b). There are a PIC/AVR Programming Board © 2012
further 12 FDS6912A dual MOSFETs, (UNDER SIDE OF BOARD)

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 23

PIC-AVR ProgrammerAdaptor Pt2 0612 (FROM MP).indd 23 18/04/2013 09:42:14


Constructional Project

This view shows the completed prototype. Right: the underside of the PCB also
Take care to ensure that the SMDs are all carries quite a few SMD ICs, plus a
mounted with the correct orientation (see 10μF SMD capacitor and two 100nF
Fig.4). An accompanying panel describes SMD capacitors
how the SMDs are soldered in.

so fit them now. Again, be careful with shakeproof washer and a nut. Do it up The DC and USB sockets go in now.
orientation as it varies. Follow with tight, then solder and trim the leads. In each case, ensure they are aligned
the five remaining ICs and then the Fit the 9-pin resistor network next, with the edge of the PCB before solder-
three passive SMD components: one with its pin 1 (usually indicated by ing their pins. Attach the USB socket’s
10µF and two 100nF ceramic capaci- a dot) towards the righthand end of tabs to the mounting pads before sol-
tors. You can then remove the tapped the PCB. The 8-way DIP switch can dering the smaller pins.
spacers and refit them on the reverse then go in, with the text right-side up, You can now mount the tactile
side of the board, in preparation for as shown in the photos. That done, pushbuttons after pushing them down
the next step. solder the three LEDs in place with firmly onto the top of the board. Ori-
their anodes to the right (flat sides to entate them so that the pins are on the
Through-hole components the left), followed by the MKT and left and right sides.
Now we come to the resistors. Check ceramic capacitors.
each value with a DMM before solder- Bobbin inductor L1 is next. There is Testing
ing them into place. Follow with the an extra pad on the PCB so that you First, check that the power supply is
five diodes, oriented as shown on the can fit different-sized chokes. If you’re operating properly. Move all the DIP
overlay diagram. There are three dif- using the smaller type, make sure it is switches to their lower (off) positions.
ferent types, so be sure to put them in soldered across the bottom two holes. The two pads for LK1 (below the DIP
the correct locations. You can then fit slide switch S5, which switches) must not be shorted together.
Mount the 40-pin production (or can go in either way, although you may If you have a current-limited bench
dual-wipe) IC socket next, with the wish to mount it with the stamped supply, set it for 9V and 100mA and
notch at the top. Check carefully that ‘ON’ text at the top. connect it between a convenient
its edges are parallel to the edges of the Now solder in the 2-way, 3-way and ground point and the anode of D5.
PCB before soldering more than a cou- 6-way pin headers (CON5, LK2 and Otherwise, you can use a 9-12V DC
ple of pins, otherwise the ZIF socket CON1 respectively). Follow with the plugpack. Leave S5 in the ‘off’ position
will be crooked when it is inserted IDC socket (CON2) and then crystal – and then switch on the power supply.
Bend the leads of REG1 down 90° X1. You can then fit all the electrolytic Check the output of REG1 at its
6mm from the plastic body and then capacitors with the longer lead though right-most pin. You can use the tab or
mount the tab onto the PCB using the the hole marked with a ‘+’ symbol in mounting screw to connect the ground
remaining M3 × 6mm machine screw, a each case. probe. You should get a reading very

24 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

PIC-AVR ProgrammerAdaptor Pt2 0612 (FROM MP).indd 24 18/04/2013 09:42:26


Constructional Project

connected to each other. You may get


a brief beep out of the multimeter with
the probes between VDD and GND due
to power supply bypass capacitance.
There should not be continuity be-
tween PGD, PGC and VPP.
Assuming that your DMM also has
a capacitance mode, measure the cap­
acitance between pins 6 and 8 of the
ZIF socket. This should be around 10µF.
Much less than that indicates a fault.
If that all checks out OK, chances are
good that your programming adaptor
board is working properly. You could
test other modes in a similar manner,
referring to the relevant microcon-
troller data sheets, but it would take a
while to check all the various modes.
It’s now time to install the ZIF
socket, with the lever towards the top
of the board. Support the PCB under-
neath the socket and press it down
hard. Its large pins are a tight fit, but
they should go in with some effort and
it won’t easily come off again unless
you really need to remove it. The unit
is now ready for use.

Using it
Fig.5 and Fig.6 provide the instructions
you need to operate the unit. These
can be copied and laminated to keep
with the unit. Note that it’s generally
not a good idea to change the positions
close to 5V. Assuming that’s OK, switch pushbutton. The yellow LED should of the DIP switches while the unit is
on S5 and check that the green power light up. If the red LED lights up, switch switched on as the design assumes that
LED lights up. off and check for faults in the power all the logic is static. This also avoids
There are two small round pads supply circuitry. the possibility that you might acciden-
to the right of LK1, below the DIP Check the voltage at pin 32 of the tally change to the wrong mode while
switch bank, labelled ‘+’ and ‘–’. ZIF socket (adjacent to pin 9), rela- a microcontroller is in the ZIF socket
These allow you to check the output tive to a convenient ground point, and powered up.
of REG4, which should be close to eg, the tab of REG1. You should get Note that some PICs require 5V for
+16V. However, since they are quite a reading of around 3.3V. Check that programming even though they can
close together, you may find it easier pins 8 and 31 read very close to 0V. run at 3.3V (eg, PIC12F675). For this
to measure between TP1 (the positive They should not be floating, which reason, it’s generally best to program
test point) and the same ground point normally gives a reading somewhat with a 5V supply if the micro is rated
you used earlier, eg, REG1’s tab. above 0V. to operate at 5V, which may require
Confirm that REG4 is providing Now set your DMM to continu- different DIP switch settings than those
around 16V. If not, then switch off and ity mode and check that there is a shown in Fig.5. If in doubt, check the
check it and the surrounding circuitry good connection between pin 1 of data sheet.
for faults such as incorrectly oriented the ZIF socket and the VPP pin of Generally, LK2 can be left in its
components or bad solder joints. As- CON1 (right-most). Check this in both default position, with the jumper
suming that it’s OK, measure the output directions, ie, swap the multimeter shunt across the bottom two positions.
of REG2 at its tab, relative to the same probes around and ensure that there That way, the in-circuit programmer
ground point you used earlier. You is a connection either way. You can receives power at the same time as the
should get 3.3V. then perform the same test to check micro, and so it won’t try to ‘probe’ it
You can now disconnect the power that ZIF socket pin 40 (upper-right) is when it is unpowered.
supply and short LK1’s pads together connected to PGD (CON1, third-from But, if the programmer is to provide
using a small blob of solder. Set up the left) and that socket pin 39 connects power for the micro and you want to
DIP switches for the PIC18F2xJ5x series to PGC, the second-from-left pin of be able to switch it using the on-board
of microcontrollers, as shown in Fig.5. CON1. power on/off buttons, you can move
Apply power, turn power switch S5 on Now use the DMM to check that the the shorting block to the other position.
and then press the ‘Micro Power On’ five right-most pins of CON1 are not In this case, the programmer’s VDD pin

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 25

PIC-AVR ProgrammerAdaptor Pt2 0612 (FROM MP).indd 25 18/04/2013 09:42:35


Constructional Project


PIC/AVR Programming Adaptor Board Step-by-Step Guide

1 Set power switch in "off" position

2 Look up device to be programmed in Device Selection sheet and set DIP switches as shown.

Lift ZIF socket level and insert microcontroller with pin 1 at upper-left.
3
Hold microcontroller steady and push lever down until it locks.

Launch PC software, select correct target device and connect programmer to CON1 or CON2.
4
Do not connect both PIC and AVR programmers at the same time.

5 Switch on power to programming adaptor board. Check that green LED is lit.

Press “Micro Power On” pushbutton. The yellow LED should light up. If red LED lights instead, press “Micro Power Off”
6
button and re-check DIP switch positions.

7 If providing external microcontroller power (eg, from PICkit3), enable it now.

Check device signature using PC software. This is automatic with Microchip MPLab. Assuming it is correct, you can then
8
proceed to program, read and/or verify the flash memory in the target microcontroller as required.

9 If providing external microcontroller power (eg, from PICkit3), switch it off now.

10 Press “Micro Power Off” pushbutton and switch board power off.

11 Lift ZIF socket lever. The microcontroller can be safely removed.

39 39

10F
6 10F
7 34

32 10F 32

12

Insert a wire link in the ZIF An extra 10F tantalum or An extra 10F tantalum or An extra 10F tantalum or
socket as shown here to ceramic capacitor is required ceramic capacitor is required ceramic capacitor is required
program PIC18F2331 or to program PIC18F44J10 or to program PIC24FVxxKA301 to program PIC24FVxxKA302
PIC18F2431 micros in PIC18F45J10 micros in but not PIC24FxxKA301 but not PIC24FxxKA302
mode C . mode D . micros in mode K . micros in mode K .
Fig.6: here are the instructions for using the unit, along with the special case devices which can be programmed with
an extra wire link or 10µF capacitor inserted in the ZIF socket. Ensure that this extra component is well clamped at
both ends before applying power, and take care with tantalum capacitor orientation.

Fig.5: this diagram shows the supported devices along with the relevant is the source of voltage for the micro
DIP switch configuration. Look up the part series in the table at the top, power supply circuitry, including the
then find the letter code for the particular suffix and set the DIP switches to electronic fuse (although in-circuit
the corresponding configuration. There may be some parts not listed here programmers normally provide some
that can be programmed in one of the modes. form of current limiting too).

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 27

PIC-AVR ProgrammerAdaptor Pt2 0612 (FROM MP).indd 27 18/04/2013 09:42:57


Constructional Project

    
Soldering the surface-mount devices (SMDs)
nudge it until it is. Wait a few seconds
between each attempt. When the part
is correctly lined up, all its pins will be
centred on their pads.
(11) Once you are happy with the align-
ment, re-check that the component ori-
Installing an SMD IC: (A) place a small amount of solder on the top-right pad; entation is correct, then rotate the board
(B) re-melt the solder and slide the IC, then solder the diagonally opposite 180° and solder the pin at the opposite
pad; (C) solder the remaining pads (ignore solder bridges); (D) remove the corner. It shouldn’t move much during
excess solder using solder wick and clean up using isopropanol. this step but if it does, reheat the joint
If you don’t have a solder reflow oven, and adjust it as necessary.
touch the pad with the soldering iron
you can solder the SMDs one at a time, and add a dab of solder – just enough (12) Now solder the rest of the pins.
by hand. With a little practice, this isn’t so that you can see smoke from the The components used here can be
too difficult, especially since the parts flux – then quickly remove the iron. successfully soldered one pin at a time
used in this project have a relatively without forming bridges.Don’t worry if
You should now be able to see a small
large spacing between pins. you do get bridges, as they are easily
solder bulge on that pad (check with a
You will need a temperature-con- removed later. It’s more important to
magnifying glass if unsure).
trolled soldering iron with a medium- make sure that solder has flowed onto
size or smaller conical tip, a magnifying (4) Clean the tip of the iron with a damp all the pins and pads.
glass (preferably a magnifying lamp), sponge to remove any excess solder.
(13) Even if you have no bridges, it’s
angle-tip tweezers, some desoldering (5) Place the component next to (but not recommended that you apply a thin
braid (or solder wick) and a syringe on) the pads. If you are right-handed, layer of flux paste along both rows of
of no-clean flux paste. Don’t try to place it slightly to the left of the pads pins, towards the outside. A thin layer
attempt the job without these basic and vice versa. should be enough (you can always add
tools, otherwise you could wreck (6) For leaded components (ICs, more later if necessary). You can now
both the ICs and the board. MOSFETs and diodes), check that the remove any excess solder.
You don’t need to use a very thin tip leads are resting on the PCB surface. That’s done by placing a length of
on the soldering iron. In fact, using a Capacitors and resistors should lie flat solder wick immediately alongside
thin tip can make the process more on the board. For resistors, keep the (but not on top of) some of the pads.
difficult when it comes to applying label side up. Now place the soldering iron on top of
enough heat to the solder wick and the solder wick, pressing it down onto
(7) Check that the component orienta-
getting the solder to reflow properly. the board, while gently sliding the wick
tion is correct. For ICs, ensure that the
The standard tip supplied with most towards the solder on the pads.
corner dot/dimple or bevelled edge is
good irons should be sufficient and a As the wick heats, it will start to melt
on the lefthand side. Note that SOT-23
medium-to-fine conical tip works well. the flux and the excess solder, creating
FETs and dual diodes have a triangular
Be sure also to use fine, good qual- visible smoke. At that point you can
pin layout, so the necessary orientation
ity solder (0.71mm diameter solder is slide it right up against the pins. Most
should be clear. Other components
ideal). of the excess solder should then be
(resistors, capacitors) are not polarised
Step-by-step procedure and orientation is not important. sucked into the braid. Finally, slide the
The step-by-step procedure for solder- wick along the board away from the
(8) Grab the part by its sides using a
ing each SMD is as follows: pads and lift it and the soldering iron
pair of angled tweezers.
off the board.
(1) Remove one part from the tube (9) Use the soldering iron to melt the At all times, you should be pressing
or tape packaging. With tape, peel solder on the top right pad, then gently down onto the PCB only while sliding
back the clear layer using tweezers slide the part along the board and into the wick along it. The whole process
to expose one device at a time. Take place. Remove the soldering iron im- should take no more than about 5-6s.
care not to drop the smaller devices mediately it is in place. Don’t worry if some solder bridges are
because they can be impossible to find This process should only take a couple left behind – rather than applying the
if they land on the floor. of seconds, to avoid overheating the heat for too long, it’s better to remove
(2) Find the component’s location pad and the component. what’s left with a second pass. When
on the PCB. Place the board flat on Don’t worry about getting it in exactly you are finished, the pins should be left
the workbench with the right side up the right place the first time. Just try to with a near-perfect amount of solder
and oriented so that pin 1 will be at avoid getting any solder on the other and no bridges.
upper-left. pins. As long as you do that, reposition- The reason we recommend that you
(3) Apply a tiny amount of solder to the ing the part is easy. do this, even if there are no visible
top-right pad for the device (or top left if (10) If the part is not exactly lined up with bridges, is that it virtually guarantees
you are left-handed). To do this, briefly the pads, simply re-melt the solder and good solder joints by reflowing the sol-

28 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

PIC-AVR ProgrammerAdaptor Pt2 0612 (FROM MP).indd 28 18/04/2013 09:43:08


Constructional Project

der with the additional flux. Otherwise,  


it’s possible to get a joint that a cursory Current-Limit Adjustment
check suggests is OK, but on closer
inspection the solder has adhered to Once you have finished programming a chip, by default, it will
the component pin but has not flowed immediately begin executing the new program code. However,
down onto the pad below it. while the electronic fuse current limit has been chosen to supply
(14) Repeat the above process for the sufficient current for programming the micro, in some cases it may
not be enough once it starts operation, especially with high-speed
other side of the component.
parts such as dsPIC33s. In this case, the micro power will trip off
(15) Inspect the part using a magnifying immediately after programming is complete and you will lose the
glass to check for any solder bridges or ability to perform further operations, even if you reset the micro
bad joints. If there are solder bridges, power supply.
apply a little flux and then use the solder There are two solutions to this. The first is to set the in-circuit
wick to clean it up. programmer to hold the micro in reset once programming is com-
(16) If you are using no-clean (non- plete. This can be done in Microchip MPLAB via the Programmer
corrosive) flux (ie, the recommended
menu using the ‘Hold In Reset’ option. However, this option is only
available when the programmer is operating normally, so you have
type) then you theoretically don’t need to do this first.
to clean off the flux residue. However,
since this board won’t necessarily be
The other option is to increase the current limit to allow the micro
to operate once it is programmed. This can be done by reducing
installed in a housing, it’s a good idea the value of the 68kΩ feedback resistor across IC15 (adjacent to D2
to clean the sticky flux off it using pure on the PCB). For example, substituting a 47kΩ resistor increases
alcohol (eg, isopropanol). the current limit to around 130mA. Avoid increasing it much more
Finally, if you do get flux on your than this; if the current limit is high enough, you risk damage to the
hands, be sure to wash them as it can micro under fault conditions.
be toxic.

Programming dsPIC30s
We last published a PIC programmer in the May 2010 SHERWOOD ELECTRONICS
issue. This was called a Low-cost Programmer for
dsPICs and PICs and it connected to the PC via a serial Buy 10 x £1 Special Packs and choose another one FREE
port. That project required the now-defunct WinPIC SP1 15 x 5mm Red Leds SP131 2 x TL071 Op-amps
software, which is still available but is not being SP2
SP3
12 x 5mm Green Leds
12 x 5mm Yellow Leds
SP133
SP134
20 x 1N4004 diodes
15 x 1N4007 diodes
updated to suit newer micros or the latest Windows SP5
SP6
20 x 5mm 1 part Led clips
15 x 3mm Red Leds
SP135
SP137
5 x Miniature slide switches
4 x W005 1.5A bridge rectifiers
operating systems. SP7
SP8
12 x 3mm Green Leds
10 x 3mm Yellow Leds
SP138
SP142
20 x 2.2/63V radial elect caps
2 x Cmos 4017
Most constructors would be better off with the new SP9
SP10
20 x 3mm 1 part Led clips
100 x 1N4148 diodes
SP143
SP144
5 Pairs min. croc.clips (Red+Blk)
5 Pairs min. croc. clips (assorted
design described here because it can handle a larger SP11
SP12
30 x 1N4001 diodes
30 x 1N4002 diodes SP146
colours)
10 x 2N3704 transistors
portion of the PIC range, works with up-to-date software SP18
SP20
20 x BC182B transistors
20 x BC184B transistors
SP151
SP152
4 x 8mm Red Leds
4 x 8mm Green Leds
and is easier to use. The one thing the previous unit can SP23
SP24
20 x BC549B transistors
4 x Cmos 4001
SP153
SP154
4 x 8mm Yellow Leds
15 x BC548B transistors
do that this one can’t is to program dsPIC30F micros. SP25
SP26
4 x 555 timers
4 x 741 Op-amps
SP155
SP160
6 x 1000/16V radial elect. caps
10 x 2N3904 transistors
While a small range of dsPIC30s is still available, they SP28
SP29
4 x Cmos 4011
4 x Cmos 4013
SP161
SP164
10 x 2N3906 transistors
2 x C106D thyristors
have essentially been made obsolete by the dsPIC33F SP33
SP34
4 x Cmos 4081
20 x 1N914 diodes
SP165
SP166
2 x LF351 Op-amps
20 x 1N4003 diodes
and dsPIC33E/PIC24E series. SP36
SP37
25 x 10/25V radial elect caps
12 x 100/35V radial elect caps
SP167
SP168
5 x BC107 transistors
5 x BC108 transistors
As a result, we don’t expect many people still use them. SP38
SP39
15 x 47/25V radial elect caps
10 x 470/16V radial elect caps
SP172
SP173
3 x Standard slide switches
10 x 220/25V radial elect caps
If you need to program one, you could use the May 2010 SP40
SP41
15 x BC237 transistors
20 x Mixed transistors
SP174
SP175
20 x 22/25V radial elect caps
20 x 1/63V radial elect caps
programmer, or alternatively, build a programming jig SP42
SP47
200 x Mixed 0.25W CF resistors
5 x Min. PB switches
SP177
SP178
8 x 1A 20mm quick blow fuses
8 x 2A 20mm quick blow fuses
on stripboard. SP49
SP102
4 x 4 metres stranded core wire
20 x 8 pin DIL sockets
SP181 5 x Phono plugs – assorted
colours
SP103 15 x 14 pin DIL sockets SP182 20 x 4.7/63V radial elect caps
SP104 15 x 16 pin DIL sockets SP183 20 x BC547B transistors
USB power SP109
SP112
15 x BC557B transistors
4 x Cmos 4093
SP186
SP192
6 x 1M horizontal trimpots
3 x Cmos 4066
If you are going to run the board from USB power, it gener- SP115
SP116
3 x 10mm Red Leds
3 x 10mm Green Leds
SP195
SP197
3 x 10mm Yellow Leds
6 x 20 pin DIL sockets
ally draws less than 100mA. However, depending on the SP118
SP124
2 x Cmos 4047
20 x Assorted ceramic disc caps
SP198
SP199
5 x 24 pin DIL sockets
4 x 2.5mm mono jack plugs
exact configuration and the micro being programmed, it SP130 100 x Mixed 0.5W CF resistors SP200 4 x 2.5mm mono jack sockets

could draw more, so it’s best to run it from a computer host


port or a powered hub, especially since it has no circuitry to Catalogue £1.25 inc. P&P or
negotiate power allocation from the host computer. EPE FREE with first order.
P&P £2.50 per order. NO VAT
RESISTOR PACKS – C.Film
RP3 5 each value - total 365 - 0.25W £3.65 Cheques and Postal Orders to:
RP7 10 each value - total 730 - 0.25W £4.95 Sherwood Electronics,
Reproduced by arrangement RP10 1000 popular values - 0.25W £7.00
RP4 5 each value – total 305 - 0.5W £4.65 10 NEWSTEAD STREET,
with SILICON CHIP RP8 10 each value - total 610 - 0.5W £7.40 MANSFIELD, NOTTS.
magazine 2013. RP11 1000 popular values - 0.5W £10.15
NG19 6JJ
www.siliconchip.com.au

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 29

PIC-AVR ProgrammerAdaptor Pt2 0612 (FROM MP).indd 29 18/04/2013 09:43:17


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Pocketmags ad.indd 47 18/04/2013 09:46:22


Constructional Project

+ +
returning from the device. This will let
MEASURE MEASURE you see what’s happening (or not hap-
Vbus – – Ibus*
CON1 JP1 CON2 pening, when it’s supposed to).
(USB TYPE B 1  1% (USB TYPE A
SOCKET) Vbus SOCKET) There are a few software USB protocol
1
2
D–
2
1 analysers currently available, which can
TO USB
FROM PC D+ DEVICE
be very handy for this ‘deeper’ level of
3 3
4
GND
4 troubleshooting. As the name suggests,
these are basically software programs
SCREEN

SCREEN
which run on the PC and ‘keep an eye’
GND D– D+ GND
on the activity at any designated USB
port, so that they can either display it in
MONITOR MONITOR
D– D+ ‘real time’ or save all of the information
in a log file, which you can open later
* WHEN JUMPER and examine in detail.
USB BREAKOUT One of these software USB protocol
SC USB
2011BREAKOUTBOX
BOX SHUNT IS REMOVED
(1mV = 1mA) analysers I can recommend is USB-
Fig.1: with jumper JP1 in place, all four USB lines basically connect straight Trace, developed and marketed by a
through. The current is measured by removing JP1 and monitoring the voltage firm called SysNucleus. A free 15-day
across the 1Ω resistor (1mV = 1mA). evaluation copy of USBTrace can be
downloaded from their website at
D– signal line waveforms with an varying sporadically or cyclically – ei- www.sysnucleus.com and although
oscilloscope. As you can see from the ther of which are indications of prob- it’s a bit restricted in terms of the data
scope grabs (Fig.3, Fig.4 and Fig.5), lems. It’s not easy to get much more it can save during a single session, it’s
these signals take the form of bursts information than this because of the still quite handy.
or ‘packets’ of data at 1ms intervals. differential NZRI encoding. If you want the full version, this can
The data is encoded using a dif- Fig.2 shows the assembly details. be purchased online for US$195.00.
ferential NZRI (non-return-to-zero It’s just a matter of installing the parts Also available for free downloading
inverted) format, with the D+ and as shown, not forgetting the wire are software decoders for the various
D– lines pulsing in synchronism, but link. The four 2-way pin headers are USB device classes, so USBTrace can be
with reversed polarity. To conform to snapped off an 8-way header. more informative about their operation.
the USB specification, both data line The corners of the board can be fitted There’s also a Microsoft ‘USB Device
signals should have a peak-to-peak with rubber feet or it can be mounted in Viewer’ software tool called UVCview.
amplitude of between 3.0V and 3.7V. the base of a standard UB-5 zippy box. exe which can be quite handy when
Note that while the outer screens In use, jumper shunt JP1 is removed you’re troubleshooting USB device
of CON1 and CON2 are connected if you want to measure the voltage operation. It’s part of Microsoft’s Win-
together, to preserve the continuity across the 1Ω resistor, to determine dows Driver Kit (WDK), which can
of the USB cable screen, they are not the current drawn by the attached be downloaded for free from www.
connected to the USB cable ground (ie, USB device. microsoft.com/downloads/
pin 4) inside the breakout box. This is The latest version at the time of writ-
necessary to make sure that the box Protocol analyser ing is V7.1.0, which comes as a 618MB
doesn’t disturb the operation of the Like most tools, the breakout box is ISO file. This must be burnt to a CD-R
screen in USB 2.0 cables. handy for what it does, but inevitably before UVCview can be installed. EPE
I should note here that the main has its limitations. For examining USB
Reproduced by arrangement
information you’ll be able to get from bus operation in more detail once you’ve with SILICON CHIP
the D+ and D– waveforms is their peak- checked the basics, you really need a magazine 2013.
to-peak amplitude, whether they are USB protocol analyser, which can look www.siliconchip.com.au
switching in the correct differential at all of the control and data packets fly-
fashion and whether they’re both fairly ing back and forth along the bus, identify
constant in amplitude, rather than those coming from the host and those Parts List

X O B TU OKAER B BSU
1 PCB, code 901, size 76mm x
1102 © 11160140 Fig.2: the PCB will only 45mm, available fron the EPE
take about 10 minutes to PCB Service
USB IN GND D– D+ GND USB OUT
CON1 CON2 assemble. Don’t forget to 1 PC-mount USB type B socket
4
solder the earth lugs on the (CON1)
3 2
3 sides of the USB sockets. 1 PC-mount USB type A socket
4 1
2
The board can be fitted with (CON2)
1  1% 1
rubber feet at the corners, or
JP1 1 1Ω 1% 0.25W resistor
– + + – you can cut out the corners
and fit the board into the 1 SIL 8-way pin header strip
Vbus Ibus (1mV = 1mA)
WITH SHUNT base of a UB-5 zippy box. 1 jumper shunt
REMOVED 4 self-adhesive rubber feet

32 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

USB Breakout Box0611.indd 32 18/04/2013 09:47:40


Constructional Project

Imagine
this...

Fig.3: a single USB control packet showing the differential NZRI encoding (D+
in yellow and the D– in blue). The frequency reading is not relevant, but note
how the two waveforms have approximately equal P-P amplitudes.

Fig.4: another capture of the D+ and D– signal waveforms, at a slower time­base


rate. Here we see a control packet, followed by a much longer data packet.
Again, the frequency reading is not relevant.

Fig.5: this third capture of USB signal waveforms is at a much slower rate
again, and shows the way the D+/D– data packets are sent at intervals of 1ms.
Again, the frequency reading is not relevant.

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 33

USB Breakout Box0611.indd 33 18/04/2013 09:47:49


Converter For
Neon Lamp
Experiments By John Ellis
Readers, who are generally more familiar with LEDs, may be interested in
experimenting with neon lamps because of their unusual negative-resistance properties.
Circuits to make flashing neon lamps were once quite common, from a basic
relaxation oscillator, with three components, to the intriguing neon lamp multivibrator
which uses a total of just five components.

A
T one time, manufacturers such power is applied it will charge
as GE and Osram/GEC provided through R1. When the striking voltage
a number of neon bulbs with is reached, the neon lamp will light.
different levels of brightness. The However, once lit, the impedance of R1 R2
classic ‘beehive’ lamp is now rare, the ionised neon gas is much lower 120k
C1
120k

and an unused one can fetch £60 on than the more-or-less open circuit that 10µ
V1
eBay. Today, only the wire-ended it was before striking. This allows the 90V

neon lamp is widely available; such capacitor to discharge quickly, giving a LP1 LP2
NEON NEON
as the one stocked by RS components short current pulse. 60V 60V
(part no. 105-017). Most other styles of As the capacitor voltage falls,
neon lamp, if available, tend to use a the neon lamp current becomes
wire-ended type hidden inside a glass too low to sustain the discharge,
envelope of some kind. Neon lamps and the neon extinguishes. Once Fig.2. Neon lamp multivibrator
are still used in electrical equipment as extinguished, the capacitor charges
indicator lights, and while the standard up again until the striking voltage is In this circuit, the capacitor is
low brightness lamp offers 25,000 reached, and so on. The waveform on initially uncharged. On applying
hours of life, many higher brightness the neon lamp is an exponentially power, the voltage across the neon
types have shorter lifetimes. rising ‘sawtooth’. Typical flash rates lamps increases. No two neon lamps
The reason a neon lamp can be used in for this circuit can be from less than are identical, so one will strike before
a relaxation oscillator is that it requires one per second up to about 10kHz. the other. (This is a relatively safe
a higher voltage to strike, or turn on, Above this frequency, the neon gas assumption, there is often a spread of
than is needed to sustain an electrical does not de-ionise quickly enough a volt or two between their striking
discharge once lit. Typical values for for reliable oscillatory action. voltages – even if closely matched
standard neon lamps are 60V striking – and random ionisation events,
and 55V operating voltage; and when including cosmic rays, might trigger
running, they typically consume 0.6mA. one rather than the other.) So, the
Circuits using these lamps can be R1 voltage across one neon lamp, say LP1,
operated from 90V. The high brightness 10M
will drop to its sustaining voltage. At
types are unsuitable for experimentation V1 this point, the voltage on the other side
because they generally have higher 90V
of the capacitor drops too, causing the
striking voltages, around 130V. C1
LP1 voltage on the other neon lamp (LP2) to
NEON
In the past, 90V batteries were 0µ1 60V fall to a lower value.
available for portable valve radios, if The capacitor then charges through
such a thing can be imagined today.
NEON2APR13 R2, and LP1 conducts current from both
Today, a DC-DC step-up40mm xconverter
1 COL can R1 and R2. When the voltage on LP2
readily provide a suitable power supply, Fig.1. Neon lamp relaxation oscillator reaches the striking voltage of that neon,
which can operate from 6V batteries, it will turn on, causing the capacitor
and if this article has any real novelty, it If an output voltage is required, a voltage to fall, and thus forcing LP1
is in the new converter design, as neon low-value resistor, such as 1kΩ, can be below its sustaining voltage, so turning
oscillators are almost as old as neon wired between the earthy side of the it off. Now the capacitor charges in the
lamps! neon and the ground (negative) lead, opposite direction with LP2 conducting,
and used as a pulse take-off. until LP1 strikes again, and so on. The
Neon oscillator waveforms across the neon lamps are
The basic neon lamp oscillator circuit Neon multivibrator half sawtooth in profile, possibly best
is shown in Fig.1. In this circuit, high The circuit shown in Fig.2 is a described as ‘Z-tooth’
value resistor R1 and capacitor C1, fascinating type of multivibrator. It
typically 10M and 0.1µF respectively, uses just five components: two neon Waveforms
provide a low-frequency time constant. lamps, two resistors and one capacitor The graphs in Fig.3 show the waveforms,
Initially, C1 is uncharged, but when (plus the power supply). as simulated using voltage-dependent

34 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Neon Lights.indd 34 18/04/2013 09:48:28


switches (with 1GΩ off-resistance, 1kΩ order to allow the flyback, or magnetic the collector current stops increasing
on-resistance and 5V hysteresis) to discharge, to occur. One approach is to when the feedback winding can no
represent the neon lamps. allow the ferrite core to saturate, which longer provide enough base current
The capacitor only has to operate was a widely used technique once, but to support it. While this approach
on a voltage difference between the this is grossly inefficient because the can work well, it generally requires
striking and extinguishing voltages of effective or differential permeability, an adjustable potentiometer to suit
the neon lamps, and thus a 63V rating controlling the inductance, falls to zero, a particular transistor, to allow for
is adequate. The capacitor should, allowing the current to spike to a high different gains between individual
however, be a non-polarised, metallised value immediately before switching devices, and so is not very convenient.
plastic film type for low leakage – not an off – although, if the transistor gains Consider the circuit shown in Fig.4,
electrolytic one. The capacitor voltage were falling with increasing current, as Here a second transistor is used as a
is close to a triangular wave, but has a they do, perhaps the spikes were not so simple current monitor. By connecting
slight curvature due to the exponential great because the transistors would not the second transistor to a resistor
nature of the charging voltage. A linear conduct enough! wired in series with the emitter of the
triangular wave could be generated if Another approach requires the main converter device, it will begin to
the resistors were replaced by current base current to be limited by using conduct once the voltage reaches about
sources, such as a high voltage PNP a suitable resistor in series with the 0.6V or so. Once this sense transistor
transistor, eg, the MPSA92. feedback winding, and, in this case, conducts, it progressively shunts
base current away from the switching
70 transistor, and therefore has the effect of
66 stopping the feedback signal at a level
primarily set by the base voltage of the
S1-CP / V

62

58
sensing device and value of the resistor.
54
In this way, a non-saturating core can be
50
designed, and no adjustment is needed
for individual transistor gains.
66 A fourth winding is added to the
S1-CP / V

62 transformer to provide voltage regulation


58 and efficiency savings when the output
54 is lightly loaded.
50 The winding details of the ferrite core
0 1 2 3 4 5
Time/s 1s/div
are shown below.

Fig.3 (above). Waveforms across the two


neon lamps in a multivibrator – see Fig.2
FEEDBACK

ON/OFF
SK1
PRIMARY

D3
HT+
Fig.4 (right). Neon lamp 90V converter k
UF4004
a k (90V)
D2
UF4004 T1
a 1:5
90V converter R3
330Ω
R3
10Ω
R6
56k
To operate neon lamp circuits, a 90V C2 +

SECONDARY

supply at a few mA is needed. A simple C1


33n
150V
LP1
NEON
flyback converter running from a low 250V
60V
SK2
voltage supply can provide this. The 6V
4x C or
HT–
simplest type of flyback circuit would 4x D CELLS
b
c
NEON LAMP
use a ferrite-core transformer with INDICATOR
TR1
RECOVERY

a
three windings: one for the primary; D1 ZTX851 e
ENERGY

UF4004
TR2
a secondary for the 90V output and a k
c
BC337 R4
10Ω
feedback winding to generate a free- b
running oscillation. e R5
There are some considerations R2 0R68
100Ω
regarding such a simple circuit. The
first is that some means of stopping
the positive feedback is needed in

Transformer design and construction


1. Use an RM8 core with power bobbin. (This is larger than of the bobbin so as not to fold back as before. Insulate this
strictly necessary, but is easier to wind than the smaller winding with another layer of tape.
RM6 core.)
6. Secondary: 100 turns of 0.19mm-diameter (38 SWG)
2. Use N27, N41, N47, N87 or equivalent material; eg, EPCOS insulated copper wire for the output, followed by two
B65811-JR047 or Ferroxcube equivalent (3C90). layers of insulating tape to hold and protect the coils.
3. Primary: 20 turns of 0.46mm-diameter (26 SWG) insulated
NEON4APR13 7. Important – the primary and feedback windings must
75mm x 2copper
COL wire, in just over one layer (16 turns per inch) be wound in the same direction. The secondary and
4. Energy recovery: 8 turns of 0.46mm-diameter insulated energy recover windings are both wound in the opposite
copper wire wound in the remaining second layer. Insulate direction to the primary (as indicted by the dot symbols
the primary using electrical tape (polyester) so that the flying on the diagram).
leads can be taken down and back across the primary winding For each coil, note the start and end connections
without risk of shorting, and use another layer of insulation because the polarity is important for correct operation of
tape after completing the energy recovery winding. the circuit. Assemble the core halves with a 60µm spacer,
which can be made from standard polyester electrical
5. Feedback winding: 5 turns of 0.19mm-diameter (38 SWG) insulating tape (not the thick PVC type) to provide a
insulated copper wire, bringing the leads out at opposite ends 0.12mm air gap.

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 35

Neon Lights.indd 35 18/04/2013 09:48:38


Relaxation oscillator with wire-ended efficiency obsessed, a capacitor should be
neon built on Veroboard. A circuit connected across the power supply, and
like this must be mounted in an possibly a small choke fitted in series with
insulating box before running the power supply rail. This will smooth out
the battery current, and enable the returned
charge to be stored efficiently.
Component selection The original transistor line-up
Capacitor C1 and resistor used a 2N3054 for TR1 and a
R3 damp oscillations due 2N3053 for TR2. Neither
to leakage inductance in the of these transistors is
transformer. The energy recovery very common these
winding acts as an overvoltage limit; days, but NTE sell a
excess output not taken by the secondary 2N3054 – available from
should be diverted back into the power Farnell – which seems
supply. However, in this circuit, where the to work well using a
flyback voltage on the collector of the switching 100Ω resistor for R1.
transistor is quite high (design target 20V) the margins The original 2N3053
between the secondaries are not so well defined. As the specifies a saturation
theoretical energy recovery winding should be 7.5 turns, voltage of 1.4V at
using 8 to account for the voltage drop needed by D1 150mA, which may
means that it is possible that the output voltage falls restrict the ability in this circuit where the collector
short of 90V. voltage needs to run below 0.6V to bypass the base
The unit was designed to deliver up to 1W output, current of TR1. However, the majority of devices sold
corresponding to a total load resistance of about 10kΩ. If today seem to be built using collector epitaxial layers
the voltage is lower than 90V on full load, the number of offering a saturation voltage of around 200mV, so these
turns on the secondary could be increased to compensate. old workhorse transistors could be used – with care.
If higher, then some turns can be taken off. The improved 2N3053A transistor could be specified
Although the energy recovery winding can return to reduce the risk of finding a genuine (poor) 2N3053
power to the power supply, batteries are not efficient from new old stock. Otherwise, it may be better to use the
at converting this back into chemical energy. For the newer types of transistor specified in the diagram. EPE

Left – Neon relaxation oscillator using an MES neon lamp and


components wired directly to the MES lamp holder. (Note:
the lampholder is normally rated at 50V maximum, but the
neon works between 50-60V. Be aware that voltages above
50V are not considered safe and any exposed metal should
be insulated. The units shown should be assembled into a
suitable box. Although, in this case, the high voltage side of
the resistor is sleeved and any current flow from the resistor
is limited to a safe value, there might still be a possibility of a
high current pulse from the capacitor.)

Below – Views of a neon lamp multivibrator built into a


small plastic container. These photos with the neon lamps
illuminated are with the lid removed

36 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Neon Lights.indd 36 18/04/2013 09:49:01


Jump Start Simple Radio Receiver

Jump Start
By Mike and Richard Tooley
Design and build circuit projects
dedicated to newcomers, or
those following courses taught
in schools and colleges.

W
elcome to Jump Start – our series of seasonal • Design notes – has a brief explanation of the circuit,
‘design and build’ projects for newcomers. Jump how it works and reasons for the choice of components
Start is designed to provide you with a practical • Circuit Wizard – used for circuit diagrams and other
introduction to the design and realisation of a variety of artwork. To maximise compatibility, we have provided
simple, but useful, electronic circuits. The series has two different versions of the Circuit Wizard files; one for
a seasonal flavour, and is based on simple, easy-build the education version and one for the standard version
projects that will appeal to newcomers to electronics, as (as supplied by EPE). In addition, some parts will have
well as those following formal courses taught in schools additional files for download (for example, templates for
and colleges. laser cutting)
Each part uses the popular and powerful ‘Circuit
Wizard’ software package as a design, simulation and
• Get real – introduces you to some interesting and often
quirky snippets of information that might just help you
printed circuit board layout tool. For a full introduction
avoid some pitfalls
to Circuit Wizard, readers should look at our previous
Teach-In series, which is now available in book form from • Take it further – provides you with suggestions for
Wimborne Publishing (see Direct Book Service pages in building the circuit and manufacturing a prototype. As
this issue). well as basic construction information, we will provide
you with ideas for realising your design and making it
Each of our Jump Start circuits include the following into a complete project
features: • Photo Gallery – shows how we developed and built
each of the projects.
• Under the hood – provides a little gentle theory to
support the general principle/theory behind the circuit In this month’s Jump Start we shall be
involved preparing for the summer months with
a project that is ideal for use away from
home in the shape of a simple radio
suitable for receiving local stations
Coming attracti on the medium waveband. The radio
Issue ons operates from a 9V PP3 battery and is
Topic ideal for camping and hiking and can
May 2012 Notes
Moisture alarm also be used with the iPod speaker that
June 2012 Get ready for a we featured in the Jan’13 instalment of
Quiz machine British summer!
July 2012 Revision stop! Jump Start.
Battery voltage
August 2012 checker
For all your port
Solar mobile ph able gear Under the hood
September 2012 one charger
Away from home The simplified block schematic of our
Theft alarm /school
October 2012 Protect your pr Simple Radio is shown in Fig.1. The
Wailing siren, fla operty!
November 2012 shing lights circuit comprises just four stages; a
Halloween “spook
Frost alarm y circuits” radio frequency (RF) tuned circuit, an
December 2012 Beginning of wint RF amplifier, a demodulator and an AF
Mini Christmas er
January 2013 lights
iPoOD
Christmas amplifier. The RF tuned circuit provides
IP d spsp
eaea
keke
rr
February 2013 Portable Hi-Fi tuning and selectivity, and incorporates
Logic probe a ferrite rod for reception of strong local
March 2013 Going digital!
DC motor cont stations without the need for an external
April 2013 roller
Ideal for all mo wire antenna. For more distant reception,
Egg Timer del makers
May 2013 Boil the perfect an external wire antenna (just 4m to 5m
Signal injector egg! of insulated wire) will help to bring in
June 2013 Where did that
Simple radio signal go? signals from further afield.
July 2013 Ideal for camping The RF tuned circuit is followed by a
Temperature ala and hiking
rm single-stage RF amplifier. This increases
It ain’t half ho
t …
the signal from the tuned circuit from
a few tens of microvolts to several

38 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Jump Start - Part 14.indd 38 18/04/2013 09:49:58


Jump Start Simple Radio Receiver

Fig.1. Simplified block schematic of our Simple Radio Receiver


hundred millivolts. The output of the RF amplifier is then fed particular radio signal we simply need to ensure that the
to a demodulator stage. This stage recovers the modulation (ie, resonant frequency of the tuned circuit is the same as that
the audio signal) from the amplitude modulated RF output of the wanted signal. The tuned circuit will then accept the
produced by the RF amplifier and presents a filtered audio signal that we want and reject those on other frequencies.
frequency (AF) signal to the volume control and AF amplifier. The two forms of tuned (resonant) circuit shown in Fig.2 are
Finally, the AF amplifier provides more voltage gain and an classified according to whether the two reactive components
output impedance suitable for feeding to headphones or an are arranged in series or in parallel. Fig.2(a) shows a series
external audio amplifier. tuned circuit while Fig.2(b) shows a parallel tuned circuit. In
the former case, the circuit will have minimum impedance
Design notes at resonance and, as a consequence, it will pass the greatest
We’ve not met tuned circuits before in our Jump Start series, current at the resonant frequency. Because of this, the series
so it’s worth taking a little time to explain their properties. circuit shown in Fig.2(a) is often referred to as an ‘acceptor
Tuned circuits are essential in radio circuits as they provide circuit’. In the latter case, the circuit will exhibit maximum
us with a means of selecting a signal that is transmitted impedance at resonance and, as a consequence, will pass
on a particular frequency. If you take a look at the two least current at the resonant frequency. As a result, the
forms of tuned circuit shown in Fig.2 you will see that
they both comprise of a combination of inductance, L, and
Jump Start Formulae
parallel circuit shown in Fig.2(b) is often referred to as a
‘rejector circuit’.
capacitance, C. In such circuits, there will be one particular The resonant frequency, f0, of the two tuned circuits
resonant frequency at which the inductive and capacitive shown in Fig.2(a) and Fig.2(b) is given by the relationship:
reactances will be equal and opposite and, as a consequence,
will effectively cancel each other out. In order to select a
1
f0  (Hz)
2 LC
where L is the inductance (in henry), C is the capacitance
(in farad) and f0 is measured in hertz.
2 f 0 L
Q -factor: Q 
Q-factor and bandwidth
R
In practice, there is always some loss resistance present in
any tuned circuit. This resistance is usually attributable
to the resistance of the coil winding used in the inductor,
which we have shown this in Fig.3. The Q-factor (or quality
factor) of a tuned circuit provides us with a measure f 0 of the
Bandwidth:
‘goodness’ of a tuned  f 2 of
circuit. Thef weffect  the
f1  additional
series loss resistance is that it reduces the Q-factor Q of the
circuit. In other words, the lower the series loss resistance
the greater the Q-factor.
As the Q-factor of a tuned circuit increases, the frequency
response curve becomes sharper. As a1 consequence, the 1
f0 
2 400  10 6  100  10 12 2  2  10
7

0.159
 7
 0.795  106 795 kHz
2  10

Fig.2. Series and parallel tuned circuits 2 floss


Fig.3. Series 2  795  103  400  106
L resistance
Q  0

R 10
Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 39
1
 199.7  10  19.97

Jump Start - Part 14.indd 39 18/04/2013 09:50:09


1
f0 
2 LC

Jump Start 2 f 0 L
Simple
Q -factor: Q 
Radio Receiver
R

bandwidth of the tuned circuit is reduced and the circuit In order to receive strong local signals without the need
f
becomes more selective and therefore the receiver in which
it is used will become less susceptible to signals that are Jump Start
for an externalBandwidth:
Formulae
antenna we have
Jump Start Formulae
 f 2 an
f used
a ferrite rod. This arrangement wis shown
 inductor
f  0 wound on
in1 Fig.5(a),
Q together
close in frequency to the ones that we want to listen to. with its corresponding frequency response in Fig.5(b). Note
We have illustrated the relationship between Q-factor and
JumpJump
Start Formulae
that maximum RF voltage is developed across the parallel
bandwidth in Fig.4.
Start Formulae
tuned circuit at resonance (f0) and that the resonant frequency
can be varied by changing the value of variable capacitor
 Jump Start Formulae
VC1. The bandwidth
f0 
f0 1  of the tuned1 circuit arrangement is 1
defined as the range
 LC 21frequencies
of
400  10that 6 extend either
 100 2of 2  107
 10 12 side
02
the resonant ffrequency to the points at which the RF output
voltage has fallen2to  70.7%
LC of its maximum value (if you
aref wondering1 why this 1value is used it corresponds to a
0  f 0  by a factor of two, ie, the ‘half power
reduction2in RF LCpower
points’ on1 the frequency 2 response
0.159 LC characteristic).

 relationships
f 0 The 2 0f 0.795
L  106 795 kHz
Q
2 LC-factor: 
between

2  10 Qby
Q 7 2 
frequency
f 0 L response, Q-factor
and bandwidth Q -factor:
are given Rthe following relationships:
R
2 f 0 L
Q -factor: QQ-factor: Q  2 f 0 L
2 f 0 L R R
Q -factor: Q
Bandwidth:   f 2 2 f1 7950 10
f
R2f fw0 L f 3  400  106
 Bandwidth:
Q f w  f 2  f1Q 0
R Q10
f f 0 Q-factor
Bandwidth:
As an example,f let’s
w  f 2  f1 fw  f 2  f1 
Bandwidth:
0
find the resonant frequency,
and bandwidth of a 400µH 1 inductor
Q with aQseries loss
 199when .7  10 1  f 019 .97 1 set
 Bandwidth:
resistance of 100 f
  f  f 
tuned by a variable capacitor
to a value f 0 of 100pF w 2
(these values1
Q 1 are similar to those used17
 in our Simple  
f 02Radio): 400  10  100  10  6  12 2  2  10
2 400  10 6  100  10 12 2  2  10
7

1 1 1 1
  The 
f 0 resonant frequency will be:
f0 
2 400  10 6
12f 0 400 795 3612
100  10  100 110 3
 2   2
1210 7
2  2  107
0.159 f   39 8  10

Fig.4. Relationship between Q-factor and bandwidth
f0 
Jump
2 2400  1010
Start
 6Q0.100
0w.7159

795
0 .
Formulae
19
795
10
10
6
.97  795
12
 10 6 2kHz
 795
.
 10–7 correction
 2kHz
2  107
Tuning 0.159 0..8159 36
To be able to cover a range of frequencies we need to be able  7 
  039 .795 10 10  039 .8 kHz
795
.795 kHz
106 795 kHz
to vary the value of either (or both) of the two components. 2
0.159  10 2  10 6  7
In practice, it is easier to make the capacitor variable and  The Q-factor 7
 0will .795 be: 10  795 kHz
keep the inductor fixed. Using common types of variable 2  10 2 f 0 L 2  7953 103  400 3 6 10
6
capacitor it is usually possible to cover a frequency range  Q 2  f L 22f0 L 795210  795
 400 10 10  400  106
of about 3 to 1. In the case of our Simple Radio we have  Q  Q R 0
10
chosen values that will enable a frequency coverage that R R 100 10 6
extends from about 550kHz to around 1.6MHz (ie, covering  2 f 0 L 22 795 f L  102
3
 
 400
795 10
103  400  106
Q   
199 . 7Q  10 
 1 0
 19 . 97
most of the medium wave AM band). 3 10
97  10610
1
2 199f0 LR.7 199 10
2.7 795 19
10R.97 1
 10 19 .400
 Q 
R 10
 199.7  10 1199  19 .7.97  10 1  19.97
 199.7  10 1f 19795 .97  103
f 0
f 795  10393
.8  103 3
w
f
wQ  0
19 . 97  39.8  10
Q 3 19.97
f 0 795  10 f 795 10 3
3 1
f  f 3  0 39 . 8 10
 39.8  103
w
 Q39.8 1910.97
w 3 Q39 . 8 kHz
19.8.97
f 0 795  39.810 10  393
kHz
f
w   39.8  103
Q 19.97
 39.8  103  39 39.8.8kHz103  39.8 kHz
 39.8  103  39.8 kHz

Fig.5. Variable tuned circuit and characteristic frequency response

40 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013


1
1

1 1
Jump Start - Part 14.indd 40 18/04/2013 09:50:19
22 ff00LL 22795 1033400
795310 1066
40010
QQ2 f
 2  795  10  400  10 6
0L 10
Q  RR 10
R 10
Jump 199..77Start
  199 10
10   19
1
11
19..97
97 Simple Radio Receiver
 199.7  10  19.97

The bandwidth will be: Fig.6 shows the AF amplifier section Next, you will need to set the graph
ff00 795 1033
795310 of the Simple Radio modelled in Circuit properties that Circuit Wizard will use
f w f0 
fw  795  10   39 1033
39..88310 Wizard. When checking the operation when it displays the waveform at the
f
w QQ 19 .97
19.97 39.8  10 of this circuit you will need to set the test probe connected to the output of
Q 19.97 signal source to an appropriate voltage the AF amplifier. To do this you simply
level and frequency. We have chosen need to right click on the graph itself
  39 1033   39
39..88310 39..88 kHz
kHz a typical signal of 10mV RMS and a and then select Properties from the
 39.8  10  39.8 kHz frequency of 1kHz as typical values Graph Properties menu, as shown in
Get real
that we might expect as an output from Fig.8. The values that we have chosen
It can be difficult to simulate RF
the demodulator circuit. If you right allow us to view a voltage range
circuits using Circuit Wizard so, this
click on the AC voltage source you will extending from –2V to +2V, and a time
month we will simply concentrate on
be able to enter these values as shown scale of 1ms.
the operation of the AF amplifier of our
in Fig.7.
Simple Radio, showing how this circuit
can be quickly and easily tested.

Fig.7. (right) Setting the AC voltage


source properties in Circuit Wizard

Fig.6 (below). AF amplifier section


modelled in Circuit Wizard

Fig.8. Setting the Graph Properties


11
1
A note regarding Circuit
Wizard versions:
Circuit Wizard is available in several vari-
ants; Standard, Professional and Educa-
tion (available to educational institutions
only). Please note that the component
library, virtual instruments and features
available do differ for each variant, as do
the licensing limitations. Therefore, you
should check which is relevant to you
before purchase. During the Jump Start
series we aim to use circuits/features of
the software that are compatible with
the latest versions of all variants of the
software. However, we cannot guaran-
tee that all items will be operational with
every variant/version.

Simple Radio Receiver – using Circuit Wizard

F ig.9 shows our complete radio circuit


ready for PCB conversion. Note that
we have used three-pin terminal blocks
in place of potentiometers VR1 and VR2
as Circuit Wizard does not offer an off-
board option during the PCB conversion
wizard process and we intend these to
be case mounted. Note that the ‘tuned
circuit’ is also to be mounted off-board
(refer to Fig.11).
Our example PCB design is shown
in Fig.10. If you’re creating your own
PCB design, take some time to lay the
components out neatly, allowing the
most efficient routing. You may also
wish to use smaller track widths and/
or spacing, as this is a more complex

Fig.9. Circuit schematic ready for PCB


design

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 41

Jump Start - Part 14.indd 41 18/04/2013 09:50:27


Jump Start Simple Radio Receiver

ideas and needs. For this month’s example we have decided to


pay homage to the era of the beautiful early valve radios. Back
in the days before television, families would have gathered
around their wireless set glued to the latest music, news and
entertainment. Valve radios were invariably large and were
often built into ornate wooden cases. Just as everyone now
wants the latest flat screen TV home cinema system, in those
days people wanted the smartest radio set to grace their living
room. Our enclosure design is based on a 1930s Pye Model-Q
radio with its ‘sunrise’ speaker grille (see Fig.16). This was a
very early battery-operated radio that used four vales and was
intended for portable use (although it’s very far from what we
would consider portable these days).
We used CAD software (TechSoft 2D Design) to re-
draw the grille shape and design a simple interlocking
case that could be laser cut from 3.6mm plywood. The
two slots on the base locate with the two feet on the front
grille supporting the main controls. We used a dark wood
exterior ply in this case, as it gave us the hard-wood
veneered look to match the original 1931 radio. This
could also be stained, varnished or lacquered to gain your
desired finish. Alternatively, MDF or acrylic could also be
used. There are some wonderful early radio designs; why
not do some research and create your own retro radio case
design?
Our CAD design for the radio enclosure can be found in
the Jump Start folder at www.epemag.com.

Controls
We incorporated three controls
on to the front panel of the
Simple Radio; power/gain,
tuning and volume. The
first of these is a dual
switch/potentiometer
device with the switch
interrupting the power
supply connection
and the potentiometer
Fig.10. PCB design example (from top to bottom); PCB art- connected as VR1.
work; PCB real-world view; PCB silk screen A miniature variable
circuit. Alternatively, you can purchase a PCB from the EPE capacitor (Rapid part
PCB Service (order code 902) and spend your time creating 12-0255) was used
a really cool case/enclosure! as part of the tuned
As with all of our Jump Start projects, we encourage you circuit arrangement
to design your own projects and enclosure to meet your own connected to CN1 (see
Fig.11). This is a dual
component, designed
for use in ‘superhet’
radios that have both Fig.12. The finished ‘retro’ radio!
antenna and local
oscillator tuned circuits. In the Simple Radio we only
need to use the larger component, which has a maximum
value of 141.6pF, but for a wider frequency coverage the
two capacitors can be connected in parallel to provide a
maximum value of 200pF.

Fig.13 (left). Connections


to the Rapid ferrite rod
antenna

Fig.14 (right). Coil winding


details for winding your own
ferrite rod antenna. Wind
Fig.11. Tuned circuit ‘off-board’ components both coils the same way

42 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Jump Start - Part 14.indd 42 18/04/2013 09:50:43


Jump Start Simple Radio Receiver

The ferrite rod antenna that forms of headphones. At maximum gain sensitivity is obtained (see Fig.13 for the
the inductive part of the tuned circuit setting (corresponding to minimum position that we used).
was mounted using two spring clips resistance of the gain control, VR1) the A great extension of this project
and grommets to the base plate. This RF stage can be prone to oscillation would be to connect the output of the
component can be supplied as a ready and the optimum setting of the radio to the amplifier circuit that we
wound transformer (Rapid part 88- gain control is the point just before featured in the Jan’13 edition of Jump
3099 – see Fig.13) or can be wound on a oscillation starts. This will provide Start and attach a loudspeaker. Note
small ferrite rod recovered from an old maximum gain and greatest selectivity that our sunrise grille is therefore only
radio. When winding your own ferrite (ie, the ability to reject signals on for aesthetic reasons on our prototype
rod antenna it is advisable to wind the frequencies close to the wanted signal). project and we simply glued a piece of
coil assembly (T1) on a tube so that Oscillation usually manifests itself as a dark card behind it to give the illusion
it can slide along the rod in order to loud whistle when the gain control is of a classic speaker grille!
locate the optimum position for the advanced too far. However, in practice, The rear view of our radio design
required frequency coverage. You will the gain control can usually be set to is shown in Fig.19. Note that radio
need at least 85 turns of insulated wire the minimum level needed to produce circuits can be rather sensitive and it
for the main (tuned) winding and 10 a good quality signal, well before the is worth experimenting with the best
turns over-wound for the secondary onset of oscillation. Note that less position of the off-board components
winding, as shown in Fig.14. You must gain will usually be required when (in particular the ferrite rod and tuner
wind both coils with the same sense. an external antenna is connected, and components) to achieve the best
We have specified the 1N914 diode consequently gain adjustment is less results without unwanted feedback or
for use in the Circuit Wizard model, critical in such circumstances. instability. Short leads should be used
but better results can be obtained with Once the correct value of gain has wherever possible and inputs should
a BAT443 silicon Schottky diode (eg, been found, the volume control can be kept well separated from outputs.
Rapid part 47-2904). This diode is not be adjusted for a comfortable listening Radio enthusiasts quite rightly
available within Circuit Wizard, but it has level. Note that the gain control will consider receiver design an art!
a much smaller forward voltage drop and need re-adjustment for different stations
‘in turn’ this will result in a significant and it can be useful to experiment with
increase in the receiver’s sensitivity. If a the optimum position of the windings For more info:
BAT443 device is unavailable, a 1N914 on the ferrite rod antenna. This can be
will give acceptable results but with accomplished by simply sliding the coil www.tooley.co.uk/epe
reduced sensitivity. until a satisfactory tuning range and
In order to provide the external
connections (aerial, ground and head-
phones) we mounted a small bracket
with two 2mm female connectors. This
permits the attachment of a ground You will need...
(black) and external antenna (yellow) as
well as a 3.5mm headphone jack socket. Simple Radio Receiver
An aerial can be easily made from a piece
of insulated stranded wire and a length
of about 4m to 5m should be sufficient
1 PCB, code 902, available from the 1 10kΩ variable potentiometer with
to give good results. In testing (from the
EPE PCB Service, size 52mm × double-pole switch (VR1)
West Sussex area) we were able to pick
99mm 1 4.7kΩ variable potentiometer (VR2)
up several local/national radio stations
1 8-pin low-profile DIL socket
at good strength, including Radio 5
3 2-way PCB-mounting terminal blocks Inductors
Live, Talk Sport and Virgin AM. Table 1
2 3-way PCB-mounting terminal blocks 1ferrite rod radio aerial (e.g. Rapid 88-
(shown on our website – www.epemag.
1 5-way miniature tag strip 3099) (T1) (see text and Fig.13)
com) shows a list of stations in the UK
1 yellow 2mm socket (SK1) (see 1 390µH min. axial lead inductor (e.g.
that can be heard in your area.
Fig.15) Rapid 88-2836)
1 black 2mm socket (SK2) (see Fig.15) 1 3.3mH min. axial lead inductor (e.g.
Using the Simple Radio
1 3.5 mm jack socket Rapid 88-2843)
The Simple Radio will give reasonably
loud and good quality sound on a pair
Semiconductors Capacitors
1 BC548 NPN transistor (Q1) 1 142pF AM variable capacitor (e.g.
1BAT443 Schottky diode (D1) (e.g. Rapid 12-0255) (VC1)
Rapid 47-2904, see text) 1 10nF min. polyester (C1)
1 741 operational amplifier (IC1) 1 4.7nF min. ceramic (C2)
2 100nF min. polyester (C3, C4)
Resistors 1 1µF 50V radial electrolytic (C5)
1 68kΩ (R1) 1 10µF 35V radial electrolytic (C6)
1 22kΩ (R2) 1 100pF min. ceramic (C7)
1 1kΩ (R3) 1 47nF min. ceramic (C8)
1 2.2kΩ (R4) 1 100µF 25V radial electrolytic (C9)
2 4.7kΩ (R5, R6) 1 47pF ceramic capacitor (C10) (see
1 220kΩ (R7) Fig.11)

Fig.15. Rear bracket with antenna,


ground and headphone connectors

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 43

Jump Start - Part 14.indd 43 18/04/2013 09:50:44


Jump Start Simple Radio Receiver

Photo gallery...
The Gallery is intended to show readers some of the techniques that they can put to use in the practical realisation of a design,
such as PCB fabrication and laser cutting. This is very important in an educational context, where students are required to
realise their own designs, ending up with a finished project that demonstrates their competence, skills and understanding.
The techniques that we have used are available in nearly every secondary school and college in the country, and we
believe that our series will provide teachers with a tremendously useful resource!

Fig.16. Pye Model Q radio at the Washford Radio Fig.17. Laser cutting the retro-design radio
Museum in Somerset (www.wirelessmuseum.org.uk/) enclosure

Next month
In our final Jump Start after a long
cold winter and ever hopeful of some
warmer weather this summer we
shall be getting ready for hot days
with a Temperature Alarm that will
provide you with an audible and
visual warning that things are getting
too hot for comfort!

Special thanks to Chichester College


for the use of their facilities when
preparing the featured circuits.

Fig.18. Assembled case parts


awaiting the electronics fit Fig.19. Rear view of radio showing our com-
ponent layout

Looking to advertise?

Contact Stewart Kearn on:

01202 880299

or email

stewart.kearn@wimborne.co.uk

44 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Jump Start - Part 14.indd 44 18/04/2013 09:50:58


PIC Training Course Grow Light Kit £45
The LEDs are soldered together in groups of 3 LEDs and
one resistor, and assembled together like spokes of a wheel.
There are full instructions in the book but you will need good
soldering skills.
150 off 5mm LEDs
+ 50 off 5% resistors
+ tinned copper wire & leads
+ 12 volt 2 amp PSU........ £45.00

Heater & Moisture Kit £6.80


The 12 volt 3 watt flower pot heater is made by soldering
15 resistors together then insulating the assembly using
heat shrink sleeving. Thermistors are used to monitor
soil and air temperatures. The thermistors need to be
soldered to leads and waterproofed with araldite. The soil
moisture probe is made using 1.2mm tinned copper wire
and heat shrink sleeving. Full instructions are in the book.
15 off 5% resistors
+ heat shrink sleeving & leads
PIC Controlled Propagator + 2 off thermistors & leads
+ Tinned copper wire & sleeving
The use of LED lighting for plant propagation is relatively new. This extension + connecting leads........ £6.80
to our PIC training course is an opportunity for you to further your knowledge of
PICs while experimenting with this fascinating subject. The book starts with an
introduction from first principles of which wavelength of light is best for growing P206 PIC Training Course
plants and how an adequate brightness can be achieved at reasonable cost. Our P206 PIC training course offers the same training
The P206 grow light control system uses a 28 pin PIC with real time clock and as our P931 course. The P206 hardware is modular. For
temperature measuring routines. An alphanumeric LCD displays the real time, soil example the P206-28 module is the plug in test bed for
and air temperatures, and soil moisture, and four high current MOSFETs are used 28 pin PICs. When detached it is a self contained project
for light control, flowerpot heater control, automatic watering and to drive a cooling circuit which can drive LCD/keypad/P206-IO (4 × power
fan. These are low cost circuits so two or more can be used if more controls are MOSFETs and i/o). See website for details.
needed.
Looking at the picture you may be tempted to think the tomato plant will not Ordering Information
survive as the grow light is too small. But the tomato plant in the picture has spent Our P206/P931/P942 programmers connect directly to
its entire life under that very light. Yes it is true that now a bigger light is needed but any USB port on your PC. All software referred to operates
this light was particularly designed to raise strong healthy seedlings. The light from correctly within Windows XP, NT, 2000, Vista, 7, 8 etc.
144 LEDs is concentrated into a 50mm circle. It is as bright as sunlight. Telephone for a chat to help make your choice then go
to our website to place your order (Google Checkout or
If you DO NOT already have a Brunning Software programmer you will need the PayPal), or send cheque/PO, or request bank details for
following..... direct transfer. All prices include VAT if applicable.
P206 USB powered 16F & 18F programmer module
+ P206-28 experimental module with PIC18F2321
+ P206-IO input/output module
+ 16 char 2 line plug in LCD
+ Plug in keypad
+ Book experimenting with PICs & Plant Propagation
+ PIC assembler and C compiler software on CD
+ USB cable...................................£ 93.00

If you DO already have a Brunning Software 16F & 18F programmer you
will need the following.....
P206 to P928/P931/P942 adaptor
+ P206-28 experimental module with PIC18F2321
+ P206-IO input/output module
+ 16 char 2 line plug in LCD
+ Book experimenting with PICs & Plant Propagation
+ BSPWAv9.82 software on CD......£ 59.00
White LEDs and Motors
Experimenting with PICs Our PIC training system uses a very practical approach.
Towards the end of the PIC C book circuits need to be built on
& Plant Propagation the plugboard. The 5 volts is supplied from the programmer with a
This book is not intended for absolute beginners but we do start with a current limit which ensures that even severe wiring errors will not
chapter of revision to make sure you understand how a PIC is used to control be a fire hazard or damage PICs.
external circuits. Then we jump in and load the library code to drive the LCD We use a PIC16F1827 as a freezer thaw monitor, as a step
and for the real time clock. We learn how to create a 3 watt heating element up switching regulator to drive 3 ultra bright white LEDs, and
for a flowerpot, study the requirements for making a grow light, consider the to control the speed of a DC motor with maximum torque still
problems of automatic watering, and think about how to improve the simple available. A kit of parts can be purchased (£31) to build the
grow light. (90 pages 240mm by 170mm with wiro binding to open flat.) circuits using the white LEDs and the two motors. The P206 kit
(£38) includes a plugboard and connecting lead. See web site
Web site:- www.brunningsoftware.co.uk for details.

Mail order address:


138 The Street, Little Clacton, Clacton-on-sea,
Essex, CO16 9LS. Tel 01255 862308

Brunning JUNE 13.indd 1 18/04/2013 09:51:40


case helps solve a (deliberate, honest!)
blunder in our earlier pinout choices –
we can map the INT1 interrupt input
to the pin RC2 where one of our keys
is connected.

Re-mappable peripherals
With over twenty peripheral output
signals, eighteen peripheral inputs
and nineteen pins that can be used,
it’s easy to be confused at first viewing
as how to make sense of this all. There
are over thirty control registers pro-
vided to control them all. Fortunate-
ly, these break down into two simple
groups, RPINRxx and RPORxx. Each
peripheral input feature has an RPIN-
Rxx register; you write into it the pin
number that you wish to connect it to.
For peripheral output signals, each
physical pin has an RPORxx register.
You write into the register, which cor-
responds to the pin you are interested
in, the output peripheral number that
you want to assign to it.
As we want to connect pin RP13
(which is the same as pin RC2) to the
INT1 input signal, we simply issue the
instructions:

movlw .13 ; Pin number. Pin RC2 is Fig. 2. Updated Schematic


also re-mappable pin RP13

movwf RPINR1 ; RPINR1 is the con- it is possible to notice such a change. is no different. The board is supplied
trol register for INT1 A lower value will, however, result in a in a strong anti-static bag and two
slight increase in current consumption manuals, a DVD (full of software tools
To ‘turn off’ this mapping and return due to leakage through the input pin, and examples) and a high quality USB
the port pin to an ordinary I/O port but not by much. Nonetheless, in our cable complete the contents.
pin, we write a value of 31 decimal circuit we have gone with 10k pull-up It’s unusual to see a printed user
into the register: resistors to keep the power consump- guide and here we get two – a beauti-
tion as low as possible (Fig.2). fully detailed user guide, with full co-
movlw .31 ; Pin number. 31 is ‘no pin’ Next month, we look at the software lour images of the various components
in some detail, and move from assem- described clearly for the complete
movwf RPINR1 ; disable peripheral bly language to the (slightly) higher novice (but still a joy to read for the
function on pin RC2 level language ‘C’, demonstrating how more experienced hobbyist) and a full
higher level languages make writing schematic with explanations of each
We will use both of these sequences and maintaining the software easier. section of the board.
in our code, as the input pin will need Reading and understanding the user
to operate differently depending on Commercial development board guide is essential. The versatility of this
what state the microcontroller is in – In this series of articles we are working board means it is quite complicated,
with the display off and the processor towards a simple development board and with dozens of headers and doz-
in low-power mode, the pin will func- that can be put to many different uses. ens of jumpers it can take a while to get
tion as an interrupt. When the key has While this will result in a cheap and the board configured correctly for your
been pressed and the interrupt wakes easy-to-use board, it won’t suit ev- required processor and application.
the processor, it will be turned into a erybody. There are some occasions Fortunately, the manuals explain this
normal input pin to allow for the user where a pre-built general purpose de- clearly. The complexity of the board is
interface control. velopment board is necessary, and we a natural consequence of its flexibility,
thought it might be interesting to take supporting over 250 different PIC pro-
Pull-ups a break from our own development cessors on a single board.
The final point of the hardware design efforts to look at one of the many The board is quite large, measuring
worth discussing is that of pull-up boards available on the market. 10.5 × 8.5 inches, as shown in Fig.3. It
resistors on the input pins connected There are literally dozens of differ- can run from an external power supply
to the buttons. Any pin configured as ent companies offering general pur- (DC or AC, 9V to 30V) or through a USB
a digital input must be driven either pose PIC development boards, but we cable. The board itself can be config-
high or low by the circuit at all times, take a look at one with a bit of history ured to operate at 3V or 5V, as required
otherwise the pin will ‘float’ around – the EasyPIC board from MikroElek- by whatever processor you fit.
the mid point, causing potentially tronika, based in Serbia. The EasyPIC As might be expected for a board that
large currents to be drawn. The pin board has been in production for over supports over 250 different processors,
will also be more succeptable to static ten years now and is currently at revi- there are eight dual-in-line sockets to
damage if a stray finger should touch sion 7. The board is available directly take your processor of choice. To get
it. The value of the pull-up is not criti- from MikroElectronika or from distrib- you started, the board is supplied with
cal, with values in the range of 1k to utors including Farnell in the UK, who a PIC18F45K22, a very capable part that
10k being typical. sell it for £99 plus VAT. runs at 16 MIPS, and with 64KB FLASH
A lower value will reduce the Ours came direct from the manufac- and almost 4KB RAM it provides ample
amount of ‘key bounce’ that occurs turer and on opening the box the ini- resources for many projects. The chip is
as the button is pressed, which may tial impressions were good. MikroEle- a dual-in-line part, fitted in a socket, so
improve the responsiveness of the ktronika seem to enjoy creating neat, you simply remove it and fit your own
application by a few tens of millisec- strong, durable packaging for their processor choice, which must also be a
onds, though it is debatable whether hardware, and the box for the EasyPIC DIL packaged part.

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 47

Pic n Mix.indd 47 18/04/2013 09:54:04


Development software aside
– we will be taking a close
look at MikroElektronika’s
compilers in a later article –
the board comes with a full
compliment of LEDs, buttons,
variable resistors and head-
ers for all the processor ports,
making access to the hardware
simple, and without the need
to resort to a soldering iron.
Small add on boards, ranging
from graphics LCD panels, Wi-
Fi, GPS, Bluetooth down to
simple real-time clock modules
extend this ‘plug & play’ and
soldering-iron free approach.
They do increase the cost, of
course, but if you need to de-
velop an application quickly
and the cost is not a concern,
this is definitely a tool for you.
Many projects incorporate
a serial UART interface, so
it’s nice to see that the board
Fig. 3 EasyPIC V7 board. includes a dedicated USB-to-
RS232 interface, meaning you
can build UART-based projects, but
Did we mention it supports over sooner than with the EasyPIC board. connect the interface to a PC using
250 PIC processors? These are devic- You would, however, quickly outgrow just a USB cable. For projects making
es from the PIC10, PIC12, PIC16 and a PICDem board, but you are unlikely use of a processor’s on-board USB pe-
PIC18 families. There are some more to outgrow something as flexible as ripheral, a dedicated USB connector
recent parts that are not supported, so the EasyPIC board. is provided too.
if you have a specific part in mind, it’s The lack of a 32kHz watch crystal
worth checking that it is supported. Compilers on-board is a shame, but they had to
This is by far the most flexible Demo versions of the company’s Ba- stop at some point, and the real-time
board that we have seen, and you can sic, Pascal and C Compilers are sup- clock function can be supplied by one
do a lot with this without needing to plied, limited to creating programs of the add-in modules.
solder a single wire; driving an LCD, up to 2K words in size. The pro- Overall, the EasyPIC board would
EEPROM, LEDs, 7 segment LEDs, gramming hardware is built into the be ideal for a student studying em-
buzzer, serial comms, USB comms, board, and a simple USB cable (sup- bedded systems development, who
they are all either supplied on board plied) connects the board to your PC. needs the flexibility over time for
(in the case of LEDs, buzzer, 7-seg- To create and debug larger programs, several different processors and is
ment LED display) or simple plug-in you must purchase a compiler, which prepared to put in a little up-front
parts. cost in the region of £160. Alterna- study to understand the boards com-
The board might be a little too tively, you can disable and bypass plexities.
complex for the complete beginner, the on-board programming hardware The EasyPIC V7 board can be pur-
who may find the much more limit- and connect a Microchip program- chased from Farnell, part number
ed though well supported Microchip mer/debugger unit such as the PICKit 2281646. A PIC32 variant is also avail-
PICKit 2 + PICDem demonstration or ICD, and develop and debug soft- ble. The board can be ordered directly
board easier, although you will need ware using the free (and less limited) from MikroElektronika at www.mik
to resort to the soldering iron much Microchip tools. roe.com.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE


The PCBs available from the EPE PCB Service
for the SoftStarter project in the April ‘13
issue are single sided and are only suitable
for switching loads up to 10A, if you require 20A,
(the maximum the relay is rated for) then two
pieces of 22swg (0.711mm) tinned copper wire
should be soldered to the large PCB lands run-
ning from the relay contacts to the Live In and
Live Out terminals, thus ensuring the PCB can
carry the load.
We apologise for the incorrect information
regarding the PCB in the article.

48 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Pic n Mix.indd 48 18/04/2013 09:54:13


EPE PIC PROJECTS
VOLUME 1
MINI CD-ROM
A plethora of 20 ‘hand-PICked’ PIC
Projects from selected past issues of EPE
Together with the PIC programming
software for each project plus bonus articles
ONLY
£14.75
The projects are:
PIC-Based Ultrasonic Tape Measure
You’ve got it taped if you PIC this ultrasonic distance NOTE: The PDF files on this CD-ROM are G
suitable to use on any PC with a CD-ROM INCLUDIN
measuring calculator VAT and P
&P
drive. They require Adobe Acrobat Reader
EPE Mind PICkler – included on the CD-ROM
Want seven ways to relax? Try our PIC-controlled mind machine!
PIC MIDI Sustain Pedal
Add sustain and glissando to your MIDI line-up with this EPE PIC PROJECTS
inexpensive PIC-controlled effects unit
PIC-based MIDI Handbells
CD-ROM ORDER FORM
Ring out thy bells with merry tolling – plus a MIDI PIC-up, of
course! Please send me ........ (quantity)
EPE Mood PICker EPE PIC PROJECTS VOL 1 CD-ROM
Oh for a good night’s sleep! Insomniacs rejoice – your
wakeful nights could soon be over with this mini-micro under Price £14.75 each – includes postage to anywhere in
the pillow!
the world.
PIC Micro-Probe
A hardware tool to help debug your PIC software Name .............................................................................
PIC Video Cleaner
Improving video viewing on poorly maintained TVs and VCRs Address .........................................................................
PIC Graphics LCD Scope ........................................................................................
A PIC and graphics LCD signal monitor for your workshop
PIC to Printer Interface ........................................................................................
How to use dot-matrix printers as data loggers with PIC
microcontrollers .................................... Post Code .................................
PIC Polywhatsit
A novel compendium of musical effects to delight the creative  I enclose cheque/P.O./bank draft to the value of £ ..........
musician
 please charge my Visa/Mastercard/Maestro £ ................
PIC Magick Musick
Conjure music from thin air at the mere untouching gesture of Card No. ........................................................................
a fingertip
PIC Mini-Enigma Card Security Code ..........
Share encrypted messages with your friends — true (The last 3 digits on or just under the signature strip)
spymaster entertainment
Valid From ........................ Expiry Date .........................
PIC Virus Zapper
Can disease be cured electronically? Investigate this Maestro Issue No. .................
controversial subject for yourself
PIC Controlled Intruder Alarm SEND TO:
A sophisticated multi-zone intruder detection system that
offers a variety of monitoring facilities Everyday Practical Electronics,
PIC Big-Digit Display Wimborne Publishing Ltd.,
Control the giant ex-British Rail platform clock 7-segment 113 Lynwood Drive, Merley, Wimborne,
digits that are now available on the surplus market Dorset BH21 1UU.
PIC Freezer Alarm Tel: 01202 880299. Fax: 01202 843233.
How to prevent your food from defrosting unexpectedly Email: orders@epemag.wimborne.co.uk
PIC World Clock
Graphically displays world map, calendar, clock and global Payments must be by card or in £ Sterling – cheque or
time-zone data bank draft drawn on a UK bank.
PICAXE Projects
A 3-part series using PICAXE devices – PIC microcontrollers that Normally posted within seven days of receipt of order.
do not need specialist knowledge or programming equipment Send a copy of this form, or order by letter if you do
PIC-based Tuning Fork and Metronome not wish to cut your issue.
Thrill everyone by at long last getting your instrument properly
tuned!
Versatile PIC Flasher Order on-line from
An attractive display to enhance your Christmas decorations www.epemag.com
or your child’s ceiling or by Phone, Fax, Email or Post.

BECOME A PIC PROJECT BUILDER WITH THE HELP OF EPE!

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 49

PIC Projects.indd 49 18/04/2013 09:54:48


Circuit Surgery
Regular Clinic by Ian Bell
Slew rate and amplifiers
F or the last couple of months, we
discussed a question about op amp
bandwidth posted on EPE Chat Zone
to this. Therefore, last month’s article
provided quite a lot of detail on how to
use LTspice – for the benefit of readers,
R1

by bowden_p. like bowden-p, who are new to analogue


3k

circuit simulation. Another topic

Vp
R4
U2
I wish to put a 200kHz sawtooth mentioned in the Chat Zone thread – +

waveform through several stages of op was slew rate, which along with small
1k
OutF

amp processing with reasonable fidelity. +


signal bandwidth, may be significant –
LT1817

Vp
The incoming amplitude is up to about

Vn
in amplifier design issues such as that + V2
0.5V p-p at about 3:1 rise/fall ratio, and faced by bowden_p.
the op amps then apply up to ×3 gain. Last month, we started to address
– 5
R2

What op amp gain-bandwidth product slew rate by performing a transient 3k


(GBP) would be needed for this task? simulation of the circuit in Fig.1, + V3

Vp
I believe a sawtooth waveform has
R3
U1
with the input source (V1) configured – 5 – +
both even and odd harmonics, so if to produce a 500mV peak to peak
OutS

In
1k
V1
say the 6th harmonic is to be passed sinewave. The input signal and the +

Vn
+ –
without much loss, then 200kHz × 6 response of the two op amps is shown
AC 0.25m 0 LT1001

Vn

× 3 is the signal bandwidth = 3.6MHz. again in Fig.2. This demonstrates that
The op amp open-loop gain required to the slower amplifier (the LT1001) is
.ac dec 20 1000 100Meg

pass this without much loss would then unable to reproduce the correct output
be, say a minimum of 10, so the overall waveform shape. However, last month Mathematically we write
Fig.1. Circuit for LTspice simulation com-
GBP comes to 36MHz! we saw that the LT1001 could output paring a fast (LT1817) and slow (LT1001)
(The op amps would have feedback op amp dV
applied to limit gain to the required ×3 Mathematically
an undistorted we write at much
sinewave s o ,
lower amplitudes. The distortion in the response to a change in x (time,dtt, max in
or less.) LT1001’s output in Fig.2 is due to slew dVocase). The change dx (or dt) is very
this
1. Is this a good estimate of the GBP rate limiting. where dy/dxs is small
the , used
dt notation
(tending in calculus
to zero) so thatfor wethe have“differential”, or ra
required? slew rateV, in the
This month, we will look at(voltage, max
this instantaneous
case) in response ratetoofachange
change at x (time, t, in this ca
in any
2. How does this relate to the unity-gain in more
where dy/dxdetail
is theand will used
notation againinperform
very calculus forgive
small (tending point.
theto zero) so that we
“differential”, haveofthechange
or rate instantaneous rate ofycha
of a quantity
frequency quoted in data sheets? LTspiceV,simulations to in
compare thetotwo We can write this formula in a less
(voltage, in this case) response aWe
change in x (time, t, in this case). The change dx (or dt) is
Is this true, or have I lost the plot op amps. After discussing slew rate in canprecise write this
andformula in a lessway
more ‘wordy’ precise
as and more “wordy” wa
very small (tending to zero) so that we
general, we will simulate the amplifiers have the instantaneous rate of change
If the demand (ie, input to the circuit) at any give point.
somewhere?  output voltage c
All comments welcome; my forte is usingWe bowden_p’s
can write thisrequired
formulatriangular
in a less precise and
slewmore
rate“wordy”
 maximum way as value of 
not in analogue electronics, but I am waveform and assess the two amplifiers’  time taken for tha
trying to understand this area more. capabilities in performing this task.  output voltage change 
slew rate  maximumIfvalue of  (i.e. input to the circuit) requires
the demand  the output to cha
time taken for that change 
Quick recap Slew rate then the circuit will fail to do so, that is, it will fail to “keep up” with wh
CS1MAR13 The voltage (or current) at thetooutput of requires theoutput
output to change
This is the third and final article in If the demand (i.e. input todo. theThis mayrequires
circuit) be beneficial
the or detrimental
to change fasterfaster
depending thanon thetheslew
situation
rate in
66mm x 1.5 COL
response to this question. In the first any circuit can only change at a certain than the slew rate, then the circuit will
then the circuit will fail to do so, that is, it will
Slew ratefail to “keep up” with what the demand factor; that is, it
is requiring
article, we looked at the relationship maximum rate. This is determined by fail iftooften
‘keepaup’ performance
with what limiting
the demand the m
to do. This may be beneficial
factors such as the currentbetter,or detrimental depending
because istherequiring
available on the situation
demand isit faithfully in which it
responded
to do. This occurs.
may too, be implying an u
between feedback and frequency
response, the meaning of the term to drive
Slew rateinternal slew rate limiting
if often a performance limiting is probably
factor; that most
is, thewell
moreknown
slew in ratetheyoucontext
have oftheamp
capacitive nodes. amplifiersresponded
as we havetoo, seenimplying
in figurean 2. undistorted output. Unwanted
gain-bandwidth product (GBP), and better, because the demand is faithfully
found that bowden_p’s implied GBP The maximum rate
slew
of rate
changelimiting
of istheprobably most wellThere known areinoccasions
the context whenof itamplifiers,
is necessary including operational
to specifically limit sl
specification is 3.6MHz (assuming amplifiers
that six harmonics is sufficient, so the output as we haveV seen
voltage, o
, in figure 2. is used (for example) to reduce electromagnetic interference
limiting
required bandwidth is 1.2MHz with a is called
Theretheare slew
occasions when frequency energytoinspecifically
it is necessary a signal, reducing
limit slewvoltage spikes induced
rate. Deliberate slew rateby str
gain of 3). rate, s.is used (for example) to
limiting mechanical parts moving within
reduce electromagnetic safe acceleration
interference (EMI) bylimits reducingwhenthe driven
highby e
In the second article, we concentrated frequency energy in a signal, reducing voltage spikes induced by stray inductance, and keeping
Mathematically we For amplifiers, including operational amplifiers, slew rate limits th
on using the LTspice simulator to mechanical parts moving within safe acceleration limits when
investigate the frequency response (and write: swing at high frequencies duedriven
to thebydistortion
electronicthatcontrollers.
occurs if the output
hence Mathematically
GBP) of a couple weof different op where dy/dx is the follow the required waveform shape. When an
For amplifiers, including operational amplifiers, slew rate limits the maximum available amplifier is slewoutput
rate limi
write notation used in
amps (a ‘slow’ one and a ‘fast’ one) in swing at high frequencies due to the distortion that occurs if the output cannot move fast enough toexam
manner. In extreme cases very high levels of distortion occur, for
order to determine their suitability for follow the required waveform shape. resultWhen
in ananoutput triangular
amplifier is slew wave. This is
rate limited exactly in
it behaves what we observed
a non-linear
dVo
handling signals such as those defined manner. s In extreme discussed
,cases very high levelslast month andoccur,
of distortion which for
shown again an
example, in figure
input 2.
sine wave will
by bowden_p. The circuit shown in result in andtoutput triangular wave. This is exactly what we observed in the final simulation we
max
Fig.1 was used in these simulations and discussed last month and which shown again For an amplifier with a maximum output voltage, Vm, the freque
calculus for the in figure
undistorted sine wave2.of magnitude Vm is the called full-power bandw
will be used again this month.
where dy/dx is the notation used in calculus for the “differential”, or rate of a quantity yfrom Gain Bandwith Product, but
change ofcharacteristic
The Chat Zone discussion following ‘differential’, or different “bandwidth”
For an amplifier with a maximum output voltage, Vm, the frequency at which it can output an
(voltage, V, in this case) in response to
from bowden_p’s question included undistorted a change in
rate of change x (time,
sine wave
t, in this
of a of magnitude case). The
someVapplications.change dx (or dt) is
m is the called full-power bandwidth (FPBW). This is a very
very small
posts (tending
related to zero)simulation,
to LTspice so that we have the “bandwidth”
quantity
different instantaneous
y (voltage, rate of change at any give point.
characteristic from you
GainknowBandwith Product, but may
and bowden_p mentioned being new some V, in this case) in Fig.2. TransientIfsimulation ofcalculus youinwill
the circuit recall
Fig.1. abe0.5V
withthat more
the ptpsignificant
differential of ainsine
applications.
We can write this formula in a less precise and more “wordy” way we
200kHzrealise as can
sinewave use the slew rate definition above to work out the relations
input
50 If you know calculus yourate,
willamplitude
recall that and
the frequency.
Everyday differential If you have
PracticalofElectronics,
a sine not studied
function
Juneis2013
calculus
a cosine anddon’t wor
realise we can use the
output voltage
slew rate change
paragraph
definition above full
to theto power
work out bandwidth defining
the relationship equation
between below.
required slew
slew rate  maximum value of  frequency. If you have not studied
rate, amplitudeand
 calculus
 time taken for that change
For a sine output signal Vo with peak amplitude Vmnext
 wave below.
don’t worry about it, just skip the and freq
paragraph to the full power bandwidth defining equation
write V = V sinωt so dV /dt = ω V cosωt. Thus a slew rate of
o m 0 m
If the demand (i.e. input to the circuit)For
requires the output
a sine wave to change
output signal faster
Vo with peak than the slew
amplitude rate
Vm and frequency ω (in radians), we can
Circuit Surgery.indd 50
dV 18/04/2013 12:11:30
beneficial or detrimental depending on where f is the (sinewave) signal
the situation in which it occurs. frequency in hertz, s is the slew rate
Slew rate is often a performance- in volts per second and Vm is the peak
limiting factor; that is, the more slew rate signal amplitude. Many operational
you have the better, because the demand amplifiers can produce output voltages
is faithfully responded to, implying an close to the supply rail voltages, so Vm
undistorted output. Unwanted slew rate is typically similar to the supply voltage
limiting is probably most well known (for a split supply around ground),
cally we write in the context of amplifiers, including or half the supply voltage for a single
operational amplifiers, as we have seen supply configuration.
cally we write in Fig.2. dVo At low frequencies, the maximum
s
There are occasions when, it is necessary peak undistorted output swing of an
dt maxrate. Deliberate
dV
to specifically s limit oslew , amplifier is limited by the power supply
slew rate limitingdt is used (for example) voltage. At high frequencies it is limited
notation used in to calculus for the “differential”,
reduce electromagnetic max
interference or ratebyof thechange
slew rate. of a quantity y
case) in response(EMI) to bya change
reducinginthe x (time, t, in this case).The
high frequency The slewchange ratedxof(orthe dt) is
notation used in calculus for the “differential”, or ratetypically
of change of a quantityLT1001 y is
to zero) so thatenergy
we have in the instantaneous
a signal, reducingrate of change
voltage at any give point.The formula for
0.25V/µs.
case) in responsespikes to induced
a change byin x (time,
stray inductance, t, in this
and case). The change
full-power bandwidth dx (orgives dt) isus FPBW
to this
te zero) so thatkeeping
formula wea have
in the instantaneous
lessmechanical
precise andparts more
moving rate
“wordy” of change
within way=asat any give point.= 2.8kHz at its
250000/(2×π×14)
safe acceleration limits when driven by maximum output swing of ±14V (14V
te this formula electronic
in a less precise
controllers. and
 more “wordy”
output voltage change way as sinewave).
peak  Below this frequency
lew rate  maximum value ofincluding
For amplifiers,  operational the LT1001  is supply limited and can
amplifiers, slew  rate timeoutputtaken
limitsvol for
tage
the thatchange
change
output a sinewave
 with peak amplitude Fig.3. Independent Voltage Source win-
lew rate  maximummaximum value of  output swing at
available 
at the device’s maximum swing. dow with settings for creating a triangular
nd (i.e. input tohighthefrequencies
circuit) requires due timeto the
the taken
output fortothat
distortion change
change faster
Above  the
than FPBWthe slew rate
frequency the waveform
that occurs if the output
fail to do so, that is, it will fail to “keep up” with what cannot move available
the demand maximum undistorted
is requiring it output Taking up our LTspice tutorial theme
nd (i.e. input tofasttheenough
circuit) torequiresfollow the theoutput
required to change faster than
amplitude drops. theFor slew therateLT1001 to again, this immediately raises the
beneficial or detrimental depending onanthe situation in which it occurs.
fail to do so, that is, it will
waveform shape. failWhen
to “keep up” with
amplifier is what the demand
achieve a 200kHz is requiringundistorted it sine issue of how we obtain a triangular
slew rate limited, it behaves in a non- output signal, the amplitude must be less wave in LTspice. We need the
beneficial
f often a or detrimental
performance depending
limiting on the
factor;
linear manner. In extreme cases, very
thatsituation
is, the inmore which slewit occurs.
rate you have the
than 200mV peak (= s/2πf). The 750mV voltage source V1 in the simulation
demand is faithfully
high levels responded
of distortiontoo, implying
occur.is,For an undistorted
peakslew sinewave output. idealUnwanted
output
f often a performance limiting factor; that the more rate you have thefrom the schematic shown in Fig.1 to produce
is probably most well known
example, an inputin the context
sinewave of amplifiers,
will result LT1001including
(V(outs)) in the operational
simulation shown this waveform.
demand is faithfully
in 2.an outputresponded triangular too,wave. implying This an is undistorted
in Fig.2 (ie,output.three times Unwanted
the 250mV peak
ve seen in figure In LTspice, right clicking the V1
s probably most wellwhat
exactly known in the context
we observed in the of final amplifiers, includingVoperational
input sinewave, (in)
) is clearly beyond voltage source (and clicking the
ve seen inwhen
occasions figure it2.is necessary
simulation to specifically
we discussed last month, limit slew thisrate.
and Deliberate
accounts for slew rate
the distortion seen advanced button if necessary) opens
or example) toand whichelectromagnetic
reduce is shown again ininterference Fig.2. in Fig.2.
(EMI) by reducing the high the Independent Voltage Source
ccasions when it is necessary to specifically limit slew The rate. slew
Deliberate rate ofslew therateLT1817 is window (see Fig.3). This provides
n a signal, reducing voltage spikes induced by stray inductance,huge and 1500V/μs
keeping – in fact,
or example) toFull-power bandwidth
reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI) by reducingat the
comparatively high a number of methods for defining a
oving within safe Foracceleration
an amplifier with limits when driven
a maximum outputby electronic
this is a key controllers.
capability of this device and waveform (such as sine and pulse).
n a signal, reducing voltage spikes
voltage, Vm, the frequency at which it
induced by stray inductance, and keeping
is a headline figure on its datasheet. Its At first, things do not look very
oving within
including safe acceleration
operational amplifiers, limits
can output an undistorted sinewave of when
slew rate driven
limits by electronic
the maximum controllers.
available
maximum output swing is output
around ±3.8V, promising as there is no ‘triangle’
uencies due to the distortion
magnitude V m that occurs if the output cannot move fast enough to
is called the full-power which gives a FPBW of 63MHz. As this option. However, a pulse waveform
including operational
bandwidth amplifiers, slew rate
is alimits the ismaximum availablethan output
waveform shape. When an(FPBW). amplifier Thisis slew verylimited
rate significantly
it behaves inhigher a non-linear 200kHz we can be configured to produce the
encies due to the distortion
different that occurs
‘bandwidth’ if the output cannot
characteristic move fast
do not observe enough
any slew rate to
limiting in required triangular signal.
e cases very high levels of distortion occur, butfor example, an ofinput sine wave will
waveform shape. from When an amplifier
gain-bandwith is slew
product, rate
may limited it behaves
output in a non-linear
the LT1817 in Fig.2. Bowden_p’s requirement is for 0.5V
triangular wave. This
be levels moreis exactly
significant what inwe observed some in the final simulation we peak-to-peak amplitude and we will
cases very high of distortion occur, for example, an input sine wave will
h and which shown again in figure 2.
applications. Bandwidth limitations assume this is centred on 0V. This
triangular wave.If you Thisknow is exactly
calculus, what
you we will observed
recall in the final bandwidth
Full-power simulation we limitations means our ‘pulse’ starts at –0.25V
hlifier
and with
whicha shown
maximum
that the again in figure
output
differential of2.a sine
voltage, Vm, function
the frequency at which confound
sometimes it can output an
inexperienced (the pulse ‘off’ or initial voltage) and
ave of magnitude is a Vcosine and realise we can use the
m is the called full-power bandwidth (FPBW). This is a very
circuit designers. The LT1001’s datasheet switches to +0.25V (the pulse ‘on’
lifier with a maximum
slew rate outputdefinition above V
voltage, tom,work
the frequency
out at which
states that itsitGWP can outputis around an 800kHz, voltage). These are values used for the
th” characteristic from Gain betweenBandwith Product, but may be more significant in
ave of magnitude Vm is the called full-power bandwidth (FPBW). This is a very
the relationship required slew implying a bandwidth of 270kHz at Vinitial[V]: and Von[V] parameters of
th” characteristic rate,fromamplitude and frequency.
Gain Bandwith If youbut may
Product, a gain beofmore 3 (whichsignificantwe confirmed
in in the pulse waveform.
have not studied calculus, don’t worry simulation last month). So, if one is The required frequency is 200kHz,
w calculus you will aboutrecallit, justthatskipthethe differential
next paragraph of a sine function
unaware is of a cosine
slew and
rate limitations, it is an which means each cycle of the
he slew rate definition above to work
to the full-power bandwidth out the relationship
defining easybetween
mistake required
to assumeslew that an amplifier waveform lasts 1/200,000s = 5μs.
w calculus you will recall that the differential of a sine function is athecosine and can output a
frequency. If you have below.
equation not studied calculus don’t worrybuilt about usingit, just skip
LT1001 the next Thus the Tperiod[s]: parameter in
he slew rate definition above tooutput
For a sinewave work out signal theVrelationship
with 14V between
sinewave required
at 200kHz. slew The FPBW of should be ‘5u’. The pulse waveform
l power bandwidth defining equation below. ω (in o
frequency. If you peakhave not studied
amplitude Vm andcalculus
frequency don’t worry2.8kHz aboutand it, just skip the
the results in next
Fig.1 show us settings include the rise time and fall
l power
wave radians),
bandwidth
output signal we can
Vdefining write
equation Vobelow.
= VmVsinand ωt sofrequencythat this ω is(innotradians),
the case.we can time of the pulse edges. If we make
o with peak amplitude m
dV0/dt = ω Vmcosωt. Thus a slew rate of: Bandwidth, as opposed to FPBW, these add up to be exactly equal to the
so dV0/dt = ω Vmcosωt. Thus a slew rate of
wave output signal Vo with peak amplitude Vm and frequency is definedω (infor radians),
arbitrarily we can small-signal period, the pulses will not have any
so dV0/dt = ω Vmcosωt. Thus amplitudes. FPBW is not always quoted flat bottom or top sections – we will
dVo a slew rate of
 s  Vm on operational amplifier datasheets get a triangular waveform.
dto max
dV because it is dependent on the supply The requirement for a 3:1 rise/fall
 s  Vm voltage used (the LT1817 datasheet ratio, corresponds to ¾ of the period
pace’ with the isfastest
required part dt
to of
‘keepthe pace’ with the fastest
quotes 80MHz at 3V peak signal, rather
maxsinusoid and distortion will occur if ωVm > s.
spent rising and ¼ of the period spent
than 63MHz at 3.6V). However, using falling. A quarter of the period is 5/4 =
part of the sinusoid and distortion will
apace’ with the
full power fastest part
bandwidth of of the sinusoid and distortionthe
occur if ωVm > s.
formula
will occurgiven if ωVyou m > s.
can always work 1.25μs, so the rise time is 3.75μs and
it out from the slew rate, which will be the fall time is 1.25μs. These are set via
a full power bandwidth This gives of a full powers bandwidth of: stated. the Trise[s]: and Tfall[s]: parameters in
FPBW  , So far, we have looked at the the pulse waveform setup.
2sVm performance of these op amps with The waveform definition can be
FPBW  , respect to sinewave inputs, however, displayed on the schematic, if desired,
wave) signal frequency in Hertz, s2is Vthe m slew rate in Volts per second
bowden_p requires andaVtriangular
m is
wave. as here:
litude. Many operational amplifiers can produce output voltages close to the
wave) signal frequency in Hertz, s is the slew rate in Volts per second and Vm is
Everyday Practical
litude. Many operational Electronics,
amplifiers June output
can produce 2013 51voltages close to the

Circuit Surgery.indd 51 18/04/2013 09:57:03


Fig.4. Transient simulation of the circuit in figure 1 with a triangu-
lar wave input. The LT1817 produces the correct output, but the
LT1001 is significantly slew rate limited and fails to reproduce the
correct waveform shape
Fig.5. Repeat of the simulation shown in figure 4 with the input
amplitude reduced by a factor of 1000. The V[outs] signal is now
PULSE (–0.25 0.25 0 3.75u 1.25u 0 5u) just bandwidth limited, as the op amp slew rate has not been
exceeded
While discussing the parameters of the triangle
waveform, it is useful to consider the slew rate requirement
it presents. We require a gain of 3, giving an output of some of the concepts, calculations and simulations which
1.5V peak-to-peak. The fastest part of the waveform is the might be applied when selecting a suitable op amp. These
falling input edge, which takes 1.25μs. Thus, the amplifier two devices were chosen somewhat randomly in order to
output must change 1.5V in 1.25μs, which is a slew rate provide examples with very different characteristics. We
of 1.2V/μs. do not have full details of the target application, so we
The slew rate of the LT1001 is 0.25V/μs, so we would cannot conclude that the LT1817 is the most appropriate
expect it to struggle with this signal. The output can only device in this case – it is one of many potentially suitable
change by about 310mV in 1.25μs. The slew rate of the high speed amplifiers on the market.
LT1817 is 1500V/μs; and at this speed a change of 1.5V
would take just one nanosecond, so the LT1817 is well
within its slew rate limits here.
We can now run a transient simulation similar to the one
in Fig.2, but with the triangular input. The results are shown CRICKLEWOOD
in Fig.4. The first trace is the input signal, Vin, defined as just
described. ELECTRONICS Established 1981
The second trace is the output from the fast LT1817
op amp, Voutf. Right clicking the trace title to activate Frustrated with your supplier?
suppier?
a double cursor (as described last month) we can Visit our component packed
measure the amplitude. The value is 1.5V peak-to-peak website for a vast range of
as required. The triangle waveform appears reversed parts - old and new,
because the amplifier is inverting. The LT1817 is doing many unavailable elsewhere!
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a good job amplifying the sharp triangle waveform, as
might be expected from our earlier discussions on its 1000
1000’s OF PRICES REDUCED!
gain-bandwidth product specification with respect to the
requirements for this job. Alternatively phone us on
020 8452 0161 with your
The situation is not so good for the LT1001 op amp. requirements.
This is a high-precision amplifier aimed at high accuracy,
but low frequency applications. The third trace, V[outs],
clearly shows that the LT1001 is unable to reproduce
the output signal and the result is very similar to that
produced by the sinewave input (as shown in Fig.2). The
overall shape of the LT1001 output waveform in Fig.4 is
due to slew rate limiting, but the rounded corners of the
triangle are due to bandwidth limiting attenuating the
higher harmonics of the input signal.
We can see what happens to the triangle wave if it is
just bandwidth limited rather than slew rate limited by
reducing the amplitude of the signal, but keeping the same
basic shape. The result is shown in Fig.5, in which the
input amplitude is 1000 times smaller than for Fig.4. Here
we see that the LT1001’s output is a rounded version of
the required shape, while the LT1817 produces a sharp
waveform, as before. However, as we saw with the low
amplitude sinewave the LT1817 suffers from a significant Visit our Shop, Call or Buy online at:
DC offset in comparison with the LT1001. www.cricklewoodelectronics.com
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In this article, and the one last month, we have compared Visit our shop at:
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bowden_p’s application, with the purpose of demonstrating

52 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Circuit Surgery.indd 52 18/04/2013 09:57:13


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Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 53

PIC Projects Volume 2.indd 53 18/04/2013 09:57:44


By Robert Penfold

VB Express lives on

A
s those who have followed this Microsoft periodically updates its The general Windows 8 version and
series over the years will be all programming languages, including the the one for Windows desktop appli-
too aware, improvements in PC free Express versions. In the past these cations seem like good choices in the
hardware and programming languages changes have often been unhelpful current context. Since it is desktop
have, in many cases, not actually been for PC add-on enthusiasts, and at best applications that are needed for op-
improvements for those using simple have been largely irrelevant. Towards eration with user add-ons I eventually
methods of interfacing their own add- the end of last year there was a com- opted to download Express for Win-
ons to a PC. In fact, they have made sim- plete revamp of this range of software. dows Desktop.
ple interfacing progressively more diffi- The bad news is that the standalone One downside of having to down-
cult. Easy-to-use-and-access ports, such version of Visual BASIC Express is load Visual Studio Express, rather than
as the serial and parallel printer types no longer available as a download. just the Visual BASIC Express compo-
have become obsolete, and computing The good news is that it is possible to nent, is that the download is relatively
languages seem to become ever-more download a new version of Visual Stu- large. In addition to Visual BASIC Ex-
complex. Modern PCs are more secure dio Express, and this includes Visual press, the download includes the com-
than those of a few years ago, but short- BASIC Express. panion C# and C++ programming lan-
cuts that used to work are not accept- As far as I have been able to ascer- guages. At over 600MB, the download
able with modern versions of Windows. tain, it is no longer possible to down- is over four-times larger than the last
Everything has to be done ‘by the book’ load the older versions of Visual BASIC standalone version of Visual BASIC Ex-
or your program grinds to a halt, assum- Express. All is not lost if you are using press. This is probably not a practical
ing that you managed to get it to com- a PC that is incompatible with the lat- proposition with a dial-up connection,
pile properly in the first place! est version, since some of the earlier but should not take too long with any
versions of Visual Studio Express are form of broadband link.
Express results still available as free downloads. At The Microsoft servers are normally
There is no longer a genuinely simple the time of writing this piece, it was very fast, and the download speed is
and straightforward way of interfacing possible to download versions back usually close to the maximum that
your own gadgets to an up-to-date PC. to Visual Studio Express 2005, but the your Internet connection can handle.
The main choices available to the PC older downloads might be withdrawn It downloaded in a few minutes on my
add-on enthusiast are to use an old PC before too long. Anyway, whether you mobile broadband link, but used well
and computing language, use a micro- need a new version or an older one, it over ten percent of my monthly data
controller instead of a PC, or use a vir- seems that you have to download and allowance in the process!
tual serial port on a USB port. It is the install Visual Studio Express. This version will run under Win-
latter that has been pursued in this se- dows 7 with Service Pack 1 installed,
ries of articles over the past few years, Spoilt for choice or with Windows 8. An earlier version
and it works quite well in conjunction The revamp of Microsoft’s program- of the program is needed for opera-
with Microsoft’s Visual BASIC, or even ming languages has produced sev- tion under Windows XP or Vista. The
the free Visual BASIC Express. In the eral different versions to choose from. hardware requirements are not too
current context it is unlikely that the These versions are aimed at different stringent for a standard installation.
free version is any less suitable than the areas of interest, and are as follows: The main requirements are a 1.6GHz
normal commercial versions. Since the • Express for Web or faster processor, 1GB of RAM, 5GB
commercial versions are quite expen- • Express for Windows 8 of hard disc space, a 5400 RPM or fast-
sive, the availability of a suitable free • Express for Windows Desktop er hard drive, and a DirectX-9-capable
version is no doubt essential to many • Express for Windows Phone video card running at a resolution of at
who use this method of interfacing. • Team Foundation Server Express least 1024 by 768 pixels.

Fig.2. Three programming languages are available via the


Fig.1. It can take a while to get the program installed and reg- left-hand column of this screen, including Visual BASIC.
istered, but this is the initial window once it is ‘up and running’ Windows Form Application is selected from the main panel

54 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Interface.indd 54 18/04/2013 09:58:13


Burning issues a few hundred pounds. Although it is to draw on the screen using traditional
The downloaded file is an ISO im- an evaluation copy prior to registration, programming rather than the visual ap-
age type, and the idea is for this to be once registered you have to observe a proach, but designing things such as vir-
burned to a CD-ROM. The finished few legal niceties, but are licensed to tual meters and controls is usually very
CD-ROM contains a program file and distribute the software produced using much quicker if the required elements
a folder that holds all the source files any of the three Express programming are dragged onto the form and then ‘fine
needed for installation. If the CD-ROM languages in the package. tuned’ in the Properties window.
is not set up to auto-run, it is just a mat- The basic drawing elements are
ter of running the program file in order Business as usual lines, rectangles, and ovals, although
to get installation under way. Things Installing a major piece of Windows the latter are actually ellipses rather
then follow along the normal lines for software never seems to be particularly than ovals. The rectangles and ovals
installing a Windows program. quick, and in this case it could take an have separately defined outlines and
However, things did not go accord- hour or more to install the program, fills, and various fancy fills including
ing to plan with my installation, which register it, and complete the final set- gradient types can be used (Fig.4). It
came to a halt with an error message ting up and installation. Eventually, the is possible to simply use the drawing
about half way through. This was pos- program produces an initial screen like elements for decoration, but they are
sibly due to an error in the writing the one in Fig.1. There are numerous normal components that can be used
process when burning the CD-ROM, options here, but to create a new Visual in an active fashion if required. For
although the program did not report BASIC program it is the New Project instance, the colour of a circle can be
any issues. Anyway, extracting the files link in the Start section on the left that altered so that it can be used as a virtu-
from the ISO image to the hard disc is selected. At the next window (Fig.2) al LED indicator light, and clicking on
and then running the program file re- you select Visual BASIC in the left-hand a drawing element can be used to trig-
sulted in the broken installation being column, Windows Forms Applications ger an action of some kind. This makes
repaired and completed successfully. in the main panel, and choose a name it easy to use them in things like vir-
This would suggest that there is no and folder for the project in the bottom tual rotary switches and panel meters.
need to use the CD-ROM route unless section of the window.
you would like to have an installation Operating the OK button then End class
disc. Simply extracting the installa- launches Visual BASIC Express, which Everything seems to operate much as
tion files and then running the instal- looks much like the previous version. before, and I had no difficulty in load-
lation from hard disc is quicker and There are the usual menu and toolbars ing and running some simple programs
easier. There is an alternative instal- at the top of the screen, a space for the written using the previous version of
lation method, which is to download form in the main section, the Solution Visual BASIC Express. This did not re-
and run a small program which will Explorer and Properties windows on quire the conversion process that in the
then perform an online installation. the right, and a tab to expand the Tool- past always seemed to be required when
This is potentially the more conveni- box on the left. The latter provides loading a program written using an ear-
ent way, but it does not leave you with the usual range of visual components, lier version. It is still early days, and I
the files needed for reinstallation, or such as buttons, labels, textboxes, and have not used Visual Studio Express
for installation on a second computer. scrollbars (Fig.3), plus non-visual ones for Windows Desktop very much, but
such as the Timer and the all-impor- it still seems to be a good choice if you
Registration tant SerialPort component. need a free programming language for
As with the previous versions of Ex- controlling add-ons via a virtual serial
press software, registration of the pro- Power Packs port. From the simple interfacing point
gram is effectively compulsory. The One welcome change in the new version of view it appears to be fully compatible
program is only a 30-day evaluation is that it is no longer necessary to down- with the previous version. However, it
copy until the registration process is load and install the latest Power Pack in seems a shame that you have to down-
completed. Registration can be com- order to obtain basic drawing compo- load and install several hundred mega-
pleted online, and it involves going nents. These used to be a standard part bytes of additional software, even if you
through the usual questionnaire-type of Visual BASIC, but were omitted when have no use for it.
form. The process should be quicker VB.Net was introduced. They could be
and easier if you are already registered reinstated by installing a semi-official Details of Visual Studio Express for
as a Microsoft customer. download called the Visual Basic Power Windows Desktop can be found at this
While registration is not popular Packs. However, these components are web page, which also includes a link
with everyone and unpopular with now included as part of a standard Vis- to the download page:
many, bear in mind that until a few ual BASIC Express installation, and are www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/
years ago, Microsoft sold roughly at the bottom of the list of Toolbox com- products/visual-studio-express-for-
equivalent versions of this software for ponents. Of course, it is still possible windows-desktop

Fig.3. Once into the program, it appears to be much the same Fig.4. The Visual BASIC Power Packs are now included as
as the previous version. The usual range of components is avail- part of a standard installation. These provide an easy way
able from the Toolbox, including the all-important SerialPort type of adding lines, rectangles and ovals (ellipses) to a program

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 55

Interface.indd 55 18/04/2013 09:58:29


We pay between
£10 and £50 for all
depending on len material publishe
gth and technical d,
for novel applicatio merit. We’re lookin
ns and circuit de g
mechanical, electr signs, not simply
ical or software
be the reader’s ideas. Ideas must
own work and mu
published or submit st not have been
ted for publication
The circuits sho elsewhere.
wn have NOT be
Ingenuity Unlimited en proven by us.
is open to ALL ab
consideration in this ilities, but items for
column should be
processed, with typed or word-
a brief circuit de
100 and 500 words scription (between
maximum) and inc
diagram showing lude a full circuit
all component val
all circuit schem ues. Please draw
atics as clearly
your circuit ideas as possible. Send
to: Ingenuity Unlim
Publishing Ltd., 11 ited, Wimborne
3 Lynwood Drive,
Dorset BH21 1UU. Merley, Wimborne,
Email: editorial@
epemag.wimborn
Our regular round-up of readers’ own circuits Your ideas could
earn you some ca
e.co.uk.
sh and a prize!

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any standard pH electrode • Sockets for external sensors • Digital outputs to control external
devices • USB connected and powered • Use up to 20 USB DrDAQs on a single PC .
If you have a novel circuit idea which would be of use to other readers, then a Pico Technology
USB DrDAQ Data Logger PH Kit could be yours. After every 20 published IU circuits, the best
entry will be awarded a USB DrDAQ Data Logger PH Kit worth £139. In addition, a runner up will be
awarded with a USB Dr DAQ Data Logger woth £99.

Watch the birdie! – Electronically

S
ome time ago, I built a system to
enable me and my wife to watch
activity inside a garden nest box.
A small colour CCTV camera module
(Genie GC400) was placed inside a die
cast box (Fig.1 and Fig.2), which was
in turn, mounted inside the nest box.
The nest box was mounted on the
outside of the garden shed, as shown in
Fig.3. You can see in Fig 4 that the garden
shed is some distance (about 15m) from
the house, so it was not practical to
run cables to the shed, which meant
that battery power and radio-based
communication with the camera became Fig.1. The diecast box open showing Fig.2. The diecast box sealed ready to
important design considerations. the CCTV circuit and wiring be put in position

5V LINEAR 433MHz 433MHz COMMANDS 5V 7.5V POWER


REGULATOR COMMAND RX COMMAND TX REGULATOR ADAPTOR

TX RX
COMMANDS
12V PIC
FSK FSK DATA PIC TO ALL
12F675 CCTS
DATA GENERATOR DEMOD 12F687
A/D IN
PC

AUDIO AUDIO
5V SWITCH-MODE 2.4V GHz 2.4V GHz RS232 COM
REGULATOR AUDIO/VIDEO TX AUDIO/VIDEO RX TX/RX PORT

CCTV VIDEO VIDEO


CAMERA

VIDEO USB
GRABBER PORT

Fig.5. Circuit diagram

56 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

IU_100144WP.indd 56 18/04/2013 09:59:04


Fig.3 (left).The nest box in position, on
the garden shed
Fig.4 (below).The shed is some dist-
ance from the house, which is why a
radio-based system was used

Fig.6. The battery-powered transmitter


PLL, where it is used to control the
frequency generated by the PLL’s
VCO (voltage controlled oscillator)
to generate a frequency-shift signal.
This was done so that the (otherwise
unused) audio channel of the A/V
module could be used to transmit the
information.
Fig.6 shows that the TX PCB is
mounted in the lid of a die cast box.
This gives ease of access to the PCB,
Brief description of system When the 433MHz receiver (IC4) gets and as shown in Fig.7, allows the
There are two parts to the system, the a data byte, it passes it to the PIC, which antennae to be plugged in through the
video transmitter (marked ‘TX’) and, decodes it and checks it for errors. If it top of the box.
the video receiver (‘RX’). is a command to turn the camera on,
The system shown in Fig.5 was used the PIC closes a switch (the PVN012), RX, the video receiver
to enable the camera video output to be which connects the battery to a switch- This is powered from a mains adapter.
viewed and the camera to be controlled mode power regulator, which in turn, To allow control of the camera or
remotely. supplies 5V to the 2.4GHz audio/ request data by a PC, IC6 (Fig.9.)
The camera’s datasheet specifies that video transmitter module (IC2) and to provides an RS232-to-5V-logic-level
the power supply must be 12V ±10% a phase-locked loop (PLL) (IC6). conversion. The resulting signals are
(10.8V to 13.2V). The system needed to The switched 12V supply is also
be battery powered, so a low-dropout taken via a potential divider to an A/D
voltage regulator was included in input of the PIC to measure the battery Fig.7 (below). External view of the
the system. This regulator used was voltage; and, if this falls below 10.5V, transmitter
an LM2937, which can handle a the 12V switch is
maximum input voltage of 26V and opened to prevent
has reverse polarity protection, so it deep discharge of
can protect the camera module against the battery.
power supply mishaps. However, If the push button
to ensure stability, it requires a low- (SW2) is pressed
ESR (less than 3) capacitor at the and held while the
output of at least 10µF. These can be TX is switched on
rather expensive (for a capacitor) but (by operating SW1),
I decided it was worth spending £6 or the PIC will turn
so for a good regulator and capacitor everything on so
to protect a £45 camera module. The that the camera and
video transmitter circuit mounted in a video link can be
diecast box is shown in Fig.6. tested without using
a remote command.
TX, the video transmitter To send data
This is battery powered, and to keep the (at present only
consumption as low as possible when battery voltage) and
the camera is switched off, a low-power command responses
5V regulator only feeds a 433MHz back to the RX, the
‘command receiver’ and a PIC12F675, PIC feeds a logic-
see Fig.8. level signal to the

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 57

IU_100144WP.indd 57 18/04/2013 15:31:28


58

IU_100144WP.indd 58
C5

2 SK3

4
C4 1
220µ

+
CAMERA
POWER
IC4
AM-HRR6-RX L1 L2
100µH 47µH
CHARGER ANT2

RF +VCC
RF GND
ANTENNA
RF GND
AF +VCC
AF GND
AF +VCC
TP
DATA OUT
AF +VCC
k + +
8
2mm C2 C3
SK5 1 2 3 7 10 11 12 13 14 15 D2 220µ 10µ
PLUG IC3 +12V IC1 7
PVN012 LX a
MAX738A
SK4 1 6 1 5
SHDN OUT
3 2 1
2 4 C6
REF CC
5 330p
SW1 SS GND
ON/OFF 2
3 6
R6 3 4
620R C8 C7
D2 10n 100n
a k 1 IC5 3
BATT+ IN LP2950Z OUT
B1 R4
12V + GND ANT1
C13 1k5
10µ 2 C12
10µ

+
BATT– 1 8 R2 2mm
VDD VSS 22k PLUG
2 7
BATT GP5 GP0 SK2
CON R8 IC7
5k1 3 6
GP4 PIC12F675 GP1
4 5
GP3 GP2
R9
5k1

C16 C14 +5V


10n 100n VR3
500R 16
VDD
C9
14 470µ
15 R10 R3

Fig.8. The video transmitter circuit


25V
+

SIG IN ZENER JP3 8 9


10k 2k7
3 2 CH3 BYPASS
COMP IN PC1 OUT JP2 7 10
C15 4 13 JP4 CH2 GND
2n2 VCO OUT PC2 OUT JP1 6 IC2 11
6 1 JP5 CH1 AWM630TX GND
C1A PCP OUT C1
C11 5 12 470µ
VR1 R7 7 9 JP6 680p AUDIO/L IN GND 16V
+

100k 200k C1B VCO IN 4 13


11 10 AUDIO/R IN VIDEO IN
R1 SF OUT 3 14
12 IC6 5 GND GND
VR2 R5 R2 HEF4046B INH 2 15
50k 100k RF OUT DC +5V
SW2 1
VSS 16
GND GND 1 3 2
8
C17 R1 C10
MANUAL 10n 2k2 10n
CAMERA ON SK1

VIDEO IN

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013


IU2JUN13
260mm x 3 COL

18/04/2013 09:59:21
fed to the UART interface of the PIC,
which feeds the command bytes to

MOUNT
PANEL-

D9 SKT
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
SK5
the 433MHz transmitter (IC1). There
are also two buttons fed to PIC input
lines to provide manual camera on/off
control.

100n
C12
The video signal from the TX and the

100n
command responses are received by

C7

14

13
the 2.4GHz A/V module (IC3), which

8
+

C8

T1OUT

T2OUT
+10V

–10V

R1IN

R2IN
is designed for use with the 2.4GHz TX
module.

MAX202
The audio output from IC3 is fed

GND
VCC

16DIL
IC6
16

15
to a PLL (of the exact same type as
the one on the TX system), where it

R1OUT

R2OUT
T1IN

T2IN
C1+

C2+
C1–

C2–
is demodulated, filtered (to remove
some ripple) and fed to an input of

11

10

12

9
the PIC, which has been configured
as an analogue comparator, with

100n
ANT1

C13
some positive feedback to give a little
hysteresis. The resulting data can be
PLUG

SK2
2mm

PANEL-MOUNT

SW2

OFF
the battery voltage or a response to a

100n
C14
data request or a command (to confirm

BUTTONS
that the TX system has received and
4

SW1

ON
understood the command).
GND AM-RT4-433 ANT

RX
TX
DATA IN

The block diagram (Fig.5.) shows


3

13

12

10
11

6
the system linked to a PC – which
RB7

RB6

RB5

RB4

RB3

RB2

RB1

RB0
can issue commands and receive data
VCC
IC1

– so that pictures can be recorded.


PIC16F87
VDD

VSS
However, the composite video can also
IC5
14

5
be taken to a TV monitor and the on/
2

off buttons used for control so that a


RA7

RA6

RA5

RA4

RA3

RA2

RA1

RA0

PC need not be used. The same PCB


16

15

18

17

mounting scheme used for the TX was


C2 OUT

C2 IN+
C2 IN–

also used for the receiver.


The camera on/off control works fairly
reliably, but the data communications
5k1

C11
10n
R8

270k

link, which uses a very simple serial


R10

data system, appears to suffer from


interference, and is not as good as it
R11
39k

8k2
R9

could be. There is also interference


on the 2.4GHz band (which causes
patterning on the video signal), so in the
100k

2n2
C3
R6

near future I intend to redo the system


using a better communication system
100k

2n2
C5
R7

operating with 5.8GHz audio/video


modules, which are becoming available
10k
R5

at reasonable cost.
470µ, 25V

I don’t claim copyright for the


15

13

10
2

+
JP1

JP2

JP3

hardware design or the firmware used


PC1 OUT

PC2 OUT

PCP OUT

SF OUT
ZENER

VCO IN

INH
C6

in the PICs, so readers who do not


20

19

18

17

16

15

14

13

12

11

HEF4046B

want to build the whole system are


VDD

VSS
CH1

CH2

CH3

GND

GND

GND

GND

+5V

BYPASS

GND

welcome to use any of the ideas in


IC2
16

8
VCO OUT
COMP IN

their own projects. The software for


SIG IN
AWM634

C1A

C1B

the PC was written in C# using ‘MS


R1

R2
IC3

VIDEO OUT

Visual Studio Express’. The software


AUDIO-R
AUDIO-L

14

11

12

used in this project, and a video can


RF IN
GND

GND

GND

GND

GND

GND

2n2
C1
1n

C4

be downloaded from the EPE website


1

3
4

10

(www.epemag.com)
120k

100k

+
R4

R3
C10 +
3 +5V

Alan Pugh, via email


470µ

470µ
16V

25V
C2
ANT2

VR1

VR2
50k

50k
OUT
1
3
2
PLUG

SK1
2mm

SK3

7805
GND
IC4

2
IN
k +9V 1

C9 +
470µ
25V
11DQ04
D2

a
2
3
1

260mm x 2 COL
SK4

IU3JUN13

Screen grab of Blue Tits feeding in the


Fig.9. The video receiver circuit nesting box

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 59

IU_100144WP.indd 59 18/04/2013 09:59:30


READOUT
Matt Pulzer addresses some of the general points
readers have raised. Have you anything interesting to say?
WIN AN ATLAS LCR
ANALYSER WORTH £79
An Atlas LCR Passive Component Analyser,
kindly donated by Peak Electronic Design
Ltd, will be awarded to the author of
the Letter Of The Month. The Atlas LCR
automatically measures inductance from 1mH
to 10H, capacitance from 1pF to 10,000F
Drop us a line! and resistance from 1 to 2M with a basic
accuracy of 1%. www.peakelec.co.uk

All letters quoted here have previously been replied to directly Email: editorial@wimborne.co.uk

 LETTER OF THE MONTH 


SMD soldering impossible to mount without more adequate to maintain the 0.1-degree
sophisticated equipment. resolution of the display.
Dear editor Fortunately, all was not lost. I have The substitute MMA 8452 I used
I thought that the Digital Spirit obtained a mounted device of the same is sold as a Sparkfun SEN-1095,
Level (March 2013) design from generic type, the MMA8452. This available from SK Pang and various
Andrew Levido was excellent and has a 12-bit ADC instead of the 14- sources on eBay.
I was tempted to build one since bit device in the 8451; also it doesn’t
the hardware looked to be fairly have a FIFO, but this isn’t used in Ken Naylor, by email
simple. Using the EPE PCB produced the design so that is not a significant
an insurmountable problem with issue. 
I have constructed the design Matt Pulzer replies:
mounting the 3mm square sensor. I substituting this device and have
am quite able to solder SMDs (surface- found it works fine. The chip comes I’m sorry to hear the SMD presented
mount devices), given a good PCB on a small PCB so it can be mounted problems, but relieved to hear you
with a solder-resist layer and an separately from the main board. There found a workaround – thank you
appropriate soldering iron. However, is obviously some loss of resolution for taking the time to pass on your
with the specified chip, I found it with this device, but I believe it is still solution.

Remembering EE Alan Winstanley replies: depending on pressure of work; also,


assembling files from multiple sources
Dear editor It’s great to hear your feedback and I’m is a complex task.
I grew up in Hull, NE Yorkshire and really pleased that EE magazine is re- You will be pleased to learn that back
started to buy Everyday Electronics in membered with affection. issues from 2012, 2011 and 2010 have
1977 when I was 12. The recent talk of I suspect the problem was the 2N2646 now been uploaded. The rest will fol-
mains switching issues reminded of unijunction transistor, a flakey device low as a matter of course. Thank you
Alan Winstanley’s Mains Delay Switch that formed a simple oscillator – I’m for your continued interest.
project in Everyday Electronics (April glad it didn’t put you off electronics!
1978). It had a weird unijunction I wish you every success in your en- Code for old projects
transistor and I just couldn’t get it to deavours over in Texas and would like
work. I remember my mother spending to thank you for dropping me a line. Our Dear editor
a lot of money on me to get the parts. forum at www.chatzones.co.uk is one I am looking for the source code
Despite my frustration with the way of keeping in touch or exchanging for your (May 2000) Multichannel
unijunction device, a year later I passed views. Transmission System. If possible, I
the radio amateurs exam and started to would like to purchase a set of the
become more interested in electronics. EPE online updates programmed PICs.
Moving on a few years I became
an avionics technician at British Dear editor Peter Lock, via email
Aerospace, Brough, where I worked in I’ve been a subscriber for several
a lab and built aerospace simulators. years and had no difficulty in getting Alan Winstanley replies:
I have worked as an engineer, a downloads from the site. I’ve started
technician, and now as an industrial to make the Interplanetary Voice This is a very old PIC-based project
electrician around the world, so it has project and the Digital Spirit Level. I and the legacy source code is therefore
not been a bad career. can’t find either the ‘front panel’ for hosted on the separate website EPEMag.
I am now programming Ardunio the Interplanetary Voice project, or Net: www.epemag.net/microcontroller-
microcomputers to start my own the files for the Digital Spirit Level. code.htm
business, although I still work full time This month’s issue doesn’t appear on Unfortunately, we cannot supply pre-
at Campbell’s Soup in Texas. I recently the website. Where are the files? programmed MCUs, and you should
graduated from Texas A&M university Also, can we have the site updated check that all parts are readily available
with a bachelors degree (I already had with back issues. It appears to have before commencing construction of old
an HNC from Hull, 1986) and now I am been dormant for some time. projects. Further help from PIC users
in an MBA program and have applied Very disappointing. may be available in our forum: www.
to a PhD program next autumn. chatzones.co.uk.
I liked Everyday Electronics, its sister Ray Drury, via email
magazine Practical Electronics seemed Soldering iron questions
to run its projects over too many issues Alan Winstanley replies:
and, at the time, I had very little money. Dear editor
Back then, most of my parts came from Thank you for your comments and I am I bought a soldering station for
a surplus shop in Hull or Watford sorry to learn of your disappointment electronics as a means of rehabilitation
Electronics by mail. with the website. The update schedule following an injury. I searched and
rotates around the date the hard copy searched for useful information and
Darren Cunningham, by email is published, but this will vary slightly then I found your (Alan Winstanley’s)

60 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Readout - New layout v2.indd 60 18/04/2013 09:59:59


soldering guide. I thought I would take a chance and
write, hoping that you may be able to answer a couple
of questions for me.
What I want to know is what the numbers and letters
R mean when shopping for a tip – eg, 900M-T-2C. I have
79 just bought a Toolcraft ST80-D 80W digital soldering
ser, station from a company named Conrad Electrical Ltd,
gn but I’ve had so much trouble with them (it took 11 emails
R
1mH
F
to get help) that I really can’t deal with them any more.
I also don’t know what tips are suitable or safe for my
80W iron. WORLD’S FIRST
USB 3.0
asic
Graham Beland, via email
uk
Alan Winstanley replies

I was sorry to learn of the problems you are experienc-


ing with obtaining data for your soldering station. I be-
lieve the Toolcraft iron is an own-brand model marketed
by Conrad in Germany (www.conrad-uk.com). I looked
at the Conrad website, and the part codes have no real
meaning, so I wouldn’t attach any significance to the
OSCILLOSCOPE
numbering sequence.
A number of soldering iron tips are marketed for this
soldering station, and their website gives details and
drawings under the ‘Accessories’ tab of the product’s
web page. They are available in both chisel and bevelled
shapes of various diameters, and my advice is to settle on
the one that suits you best. A chisel has a wedge-shaped
‘screwdriver style’ end, while a bevelled one is chopped
at an angle to produce an elliptical working face instead.
I don’t enjoy using a pointed tip because they lack a de-
cent working surface.
For general hobby electronics use you usually don’t
need to change tips all the time, but I find it handy to
have a small, medium (general use) and large tip to
cover most eventualities. You will have plenty of spare
capacity in your 80W station to handle larger sol-
der joints. As I explain in my online Basic Soldering
Guide (www.epemag.wimborne.co.uk/solderfaq.htm),
the higher rating doesn’t mean that the iron gets hotter
than, say a 25W one, but it simply has more power in
reserve to make it more ‘unstoppable’ when soldering
larger work pieces that would otherwise cool down the
tip too much (because larger volumes of metal tend to
suck all the heat out of the tip).
The accessories listed by Conrad for this iron are as fol- PicoScope 3207A 3207B
lows, and they are all said to be suited for this 80W iron. Bandwidth 250 MHz 250 MHz

Chisel / Conrad Part No. Sampling 1 GS/s 1 GS/s


0.8mm 588189-89 Memory 256 MS 512 MS
1.2mm 588203-89
2.4mm 588216-89 Signal generator Function generator AWG
3.2mm 588228-89 Price £1099 £1199

Pencil-point (supplied with iron) Power supply From USB port


0.2mm 588240-89 Compatibility USB 2.0 & 3.0
Bevelled (slanted tip) ALL MODELS INCLUDE PROBES, FULL SOFTWARE AND 5 YEAR WARRANTY. SOFTWARE
1.0mm 588252-89 INCLUDES MEASUREMENTS, SPECTRUM ANALYZER, FULL SDK, ADVANCED TRIGGERS,
2.0mm 588264-89 COLOR PERSISTENCE, SERIAL DECODING (CAN, LIN, RS232, I²C, FLEXRAY, SPI), MASKS,
MATH CHANNELS, ALL AS STANDARD, WITH FREE UPDATES.

I hope the above is of use in helping you choose a suitable


tip for your new iron, and wish you best of luck with your
soldering and rehabilitation

IF YOU HAVE A SUBJECT YOU WISH TO


DISCUSS IN READOUT
PLEASE EMAIL US AT:
editorial@wimborne.co.uk
www.usb3scope.com/PS200
Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 61

Readout - New layout v2.indd 61 18/04/2013 10:00:41


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62 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

CD-ROMs Pages.indd 62 18/04/2013 10:01:16


PICmicro TUTORIALS AND PROGRAMMING
HARDWARE
PICmicro Multiprogrammer
Board and Development Board
Suitable for use with the three software packages
listed below
This flexible PICmicro microcontroller programmer board and
combination board allows students and professional engineers
to learn how to program PICmicro microcontrollers as well as
program a range of 8, 18, 28 and 40 pin devices from the 12, 16
and 18 series PICmicro ranges. For experienced programmers
all programming software is included in the PPP utility that
comes with the multiprogrammer board. For those who want to
learn, choose one or all of the packages below to use with the
hardware.

• Makes it easier to develop PICmicro projects


• Supports low cost Flash-programmable PICmicro devices
• Fully
 featured integrated displays – 16 individual LEDs, quad
7-segment display and alphanumeric LCD display
• Supports PICmicro microcontrollers with A/D converters
• Fully protected expansion bus for project work
• USB programmable £161 including VAT and postage, supplied
• Compatible with the E-blocks range of accessories with USB cable and programming software

SOFTWARE
ASSEMBLY FOR PICmicro ‘C’ FOR 16 Series PICmicro FLOWCODE FOR PICmicro
V4 Version 4 V5 (see opposite page)
(Formerly PICtutor) The C for PICmicro microcontrollers CD-ROM is Flowcode is a very high level language programming
Assembly for PICmicro microcontrollers V3.0 designed for students and professionals who need system based on flowcharts. Flowcode allows you to
(previously known as PICtutor) by John Becker to learn how to program embedded microcontrollers design and simulate complex systems in a matter of
contains a complete course in programming the in C. The CD-ROM contains a course as well as all minutes. A powerful language that uses macros to
the software tools needed to create Hex code for a facilitate the control of devices like 7-segment displays,
PIC16F84 PICmicro microcontroller from Arizona
wide range of PICmicro devices – including a full motor controllers and LCDs. The use of macros allows
Microchip. It starts with fundamental concepts
C compiler for a wide range of PICmicro devices. you to control these devices without getting bogged
and extends up to complex programs including
Although the course focuses on the use of the down in understanding the programming. When used
watchdog timers, interrupts and sleep modes.
in conjunction with the Version 3 development board
The CD makes use of the latest simulation PICmicro microcontrollers, this CD-ROM will
this provides a seamless solution that allows you to
techniques which provide a superb tool for provide a good grounding in C programming for
program chips in minutes.
learning: the Virtual PICmicro microcontroller, this any microcontroller.
is a simulation tool that allows users to write and • Complete course in C as well as C • Requires no programming experience
execute MPASM assembler code for the PIC16F84 programming for PICmicro microcontrollers • • A llows complex PICmicro applications to be
microcontroller on-screen. Using this you can Highly interactive course •
Virtual C PICmicro designed quickly
actually see what happens inside the PICmicro improves understanding •Includes a C compiler • Uses international standard flow chart symbols
MCU as each instruction is executed, which for a wide range of PICmicro devices Includes• • F ull on-screen simulation allows debugging and
speeds up the development process.
enhances understanding. full Integrated Development Environment • • F acilitates learning via a full suite of
•Comprehensive instruction through 45 tutorial •
Includes MPLAB software Compatible with most
sections • Includes Vlab, a Virtual PICmicro PICmicro programmers • Includes a compiler for
demonstration tutorials
microcontroller: a fully functioning simulator • all the PICmicro devices. • P roduces ASM code for a range of 18, 28 and
Tests, exercises and projects covering a wide 40-pin devices
range of PICmicro MCU applications • Includes • 16-bit arithmetic strings and string manipulation
MPLAB assembler • Visual representation of a • Pulse width modulation
PICmicro showing architecture and functions • • I2C.
Expert system for code entry helps first time users Features include panel creator, in circuit debug,
• Shows data flow and fetch execute cycle and has virtual networks, C code customisation, floating
challenges (washing machine, lift, crossroads etc.) point and new components. The Hobbyist/Student
• Imports MPASM files. version is limited to 4K of code (8K on 18F devices)

Minimum system requirements for these


items: Pentium PC running, 2000, ME,
XP; CD-ROM drive; 64MB RAM; 10MB
hard disk space.
Flowcode will run on XP or later
operating systems

Hobbyist/Student . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £58.80 inc VAT


PRICES Professional (Schools/HE/FE/Industry) . . . . . . . . . . . £150
Professional 10 user (Network Licence) . . . . . . . . . . . £499
plus VAT
plus VAT
Prices for each of the CD-ROMs above are: Site Licence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £999 plus VAT
(Order form on next page)
Flowcode Professional (Schools/HE/FE/Industry) . . . £199 plus VAT
Flowcode 10 user (Network Licence) . . . . . . . . . . . . . £599 plus VAT
(UK and EU customers add VAT to ‘plus VAT’ prices) Flowcode Site Licence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £999 plus VAT

Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 63

CD-ROMs Pages.indd 63 18/04/2013 10:01:26


CIRCUIT WIZARD GCSE
Circuit Wizard is a revolutionary software system that
combines circuit design, PCB design, simulation and ELECTRONICS
CAD/CAM manufacture in one complete package. Suitable for any student who is serious about studying and
Two versions are available, Standard or Professional. who wants to achieve the best grade possible. Each program’s
clear, patient and structured delivery will aid understanding of
By integrating the entire design process, Circuit Wizard provides electronics and assist in developing a confident approach to
you with all the tools necessary to produce an electronics project answering GCSE questions. The CD-ROM will be invaluable to
from start to finish – even including on-screen testing of the PCB anyone studying electronics, not just GCSE students.
prior to construction!
*the Contains comprehensive teaching material to cover
* Circuit diagram design with component library (500 components National Curriculum syllabus
*
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Standard,1500 components Professional) Virtual instruments
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circuit diagram simulation
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Provides sample
* Simulation of component destruction PCB Layout Interactive
* * examination ques-tions with model solutions Authored
*
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PCB layout simulation Automatic PCB routing Gerber export
* by practising teachers
*
Covers all UK examination board
* Multi-level zoom (25% to 1000%)
*
Multiple undo and redo
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syllabuses Caters for all levels of ability Useful for self-
* *
Copy and paste to other software Multiple document support
tuition and revision
SUBJECTS COVERED
Electric Circuits – Logic Gates – Capacitors & Inductors – Relays
– Transistors – Electric Transducers – Operational Amplifiers –
Radio Circuits – Test Instruments
Over 100 different sections under the above headings

This software can be used with the Jump Start and


Teach-In 2011 series (and the Teach-In 4 book).

Standard £61.25 inc. VAT Professional £91.90 inc. VAT

Minimum system requirements for these CD-ROMs: Pentium PC, CD-ROM


drive, 32MB RAM, 10MB hard disk space. Windows 2000/ME/XP, mouse, £12.50 inc. VAT and P&P
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Please send me: CD-ROM ORDER FORM


 Assembly for PICmicro V4 ORDERING
 ‘C’ for 16 Series PICmicro V4 ALL PRICES INCLUDE UK
 Flowcode for PICmicro V5 (DOWNLOAD + CDROM)
 Flowcode for PICmicro V5 (DOWNLOAD ONLY) POSTAGE
 Flowcode for AVR V5 (DOWNLOAD + CDROM) Version required:
 Flowcode for AVR V5 (DOWNLOAD ONLY)  Hobbyist/Student Student/Single User/Standard/Hobbyist
 Flowcode for ARM V5 (DOWNLOAD + CDROM)  Professional
Version price includes postage to most
 Flowcode for ARM V5 (DOWNLOAD ONLY)  Professional 10 user
 Site licence countries in the world
 Flowcode for dsPIC V5 (DOWNLOAD + CDROM) EU residents outside the UK add £5 for
 Flowcode for dsPIC V5 (DOWNLOAD ONLY)
 Flowcode for PIC24 V5 (DOWNLOAD + CDROM) airmail postage per order
 Flowcode for PIC24 V5 (DOWNLOAD ONLY)
 Flowkit
Email: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Professional, Multiple User and Site
Username: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . License Versions – overseas readers add
Note: The software on each version is the same, only the licence for use varies. £5 to the basic price of each order for airmail
postage (do not add VAT unless you live in an
 PICmicro Development Board V4 (hardware) – currently unavailable. EU (European Union) country, then add VAT
at 20% or provide your official VAT registration
 Circuit Wizard – Standard number).
 Circuit Wizard – Professional
 GCSE Electronics Send your order to:
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Full name: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wimborne Publishing Ltd
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64 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

CD-ROMs Pages.indd 64 18/04/2013 10:01:35


Max’s Cool
Beans
By Max The Magnificent
In my previous column, I talked about the fact that store disappeared into the gloom, ferreted around for a
I’m going to be presenting a paper at an embedded sys- while, and reappeared triumphantly brandishing the
tems conference. The topic of this paper is how radiation compatible base sockets. These would have made my life
(both ionising and non-ionising) can affect electronic so much easier had I known that such a thing existed, but
components and systems. As part of this talk, I’ve cre- unfortunately I’d already glued my light covers into the
ated a ‘stage prop’ that looks a bit like a Steampunk suit- case (bummer).
case equipped with antique-looking lights and switches
and so forth. This really is rather tasty. It’s sitting on my Vacuum tubes
desk in front of me as we speak. As an aside, if you are ever constructing electronic-look-
ing artifacts whose sole purpose is to look ‘cool,’ then
Mock electronics lighting old vacuum tubes (valves) from underneath us-
The point is that I required some rather eclectic compo- ing tri-colored LEDs whose color values you dynami-
nents – the sort of things that are hard to find in a mod- cally vary using a microcontroller can look outstanding.
ern electronics parts store. What I wanted was the sort of Sad to relate, old tubes can be hard to find these days.
store we had in my youth, jam-packed with boxes and Fortunately for me, the folks at Mock Electronics don’t
shelves containing all sorts of esoteric delights from yes- throw anything away, and they sold me a huge bag of
teryear. Amazingly enough, after moaning and groaning failed vacuum tubes for just a few dollars.
about the lack of such a store for the past 23 years since Now, I don’t know about you, but I LOVE old elec-
I moved from England to Huntsville, Alabama, USA, tronics things like vacuum tubes. The reason I mention
it turns out that there is just such a store here in town. this is that, while rooting around in the nether regions
Called Mock Electronics (www.mockeletronics.samsbiz. of the store, I discovered the most amazing vacuum
com), this emporium is located (hidden might be a better tube, spring-mounted in a metal transportation rack. I
word) in the farthermost back corner of a run-down strip don’t know what this tube was originally intended for,
mall in downtown Huntsville. The outside of the store but I’m guessing something like a very high-power am-
has a strange chameleon-type ability to fade into the plifier. Just to provide you with a sense of scale, I stood
background. It’s almost as if it were equipped with a Doc- a 12inch wooden ruler against the front-left part of the
tor Who-style perception filter, because – even though I transportation rack, as shown in the photo.
now know where it is – it’s easy to drive by without it The four-way spring assemblies holding the bottom
registering on the conscious mind. But I digress... and top of the tube to the metal frame allowed it to be
Mock Electronics is deceptive on so many levels. transported without being jerked or vibrated to pieces.
From the battered and faded appearance of the outside I simply couldn’t help myself. I had to have this for my
of the store you really don’t expect to find much of in- collection, and it now has pride of place in my office.
terest inside. Also, for some reason, the front facade
leads you to believe that the interior of the store will be Jetson TV
somewhat on the small side. Well, appearances can be But wait, there's more… do you remember the Ameri-
deceiving, as they say, because when you open the front can animated television sitcom called The Jetsons that
door you are presented with aisles and shelves that fade was first produced in the early 1960s? Well, hidden
away Matrix-like into the distance, laden with all man- away in an ‘odds and sods’ corner of the store, my eyes
ner of tempting treats. fell on a little portable television set which I am guess-
And that’s just the half of it, because when you even- ing is circa the mid-1970s. This little retro beauty looks
tually make your weary way to the massive L-shaped just like something you might have seen on The Jetsons.
service counter at the far end of the store, you realise The amazing thing is that this little rascal still works.
that there’s a magical world of mystery behind the coun- Of course the VHF signals it requires are no longer trans-
ter in the form of narrow, dimly-lit walkways between mitted, but (with the help of my friends) I’ve come up
numerous shelves, with a workaround. It starts with a little Wi-Fi TV box
jam-packed with myr- that allows me to stream programs from the Internet and/
iad little drawers and or from a USB memory stick. I take the composite video
boxes containing a output from this box
veritably treasure trove and feed it into an
of antique and modern old games controller,
components. and then take the VHF
Goodness only output from the games
knows what delights controller and feed it
are hidden back there. into my ‘Jetson's TV.’
I do know that when I It works like a charm
showed them my Ste- and it looks über- cool
ampunk suitcase fea- sitting on a shelf in my
turing the three antique office presenting old
faceted light covers, science programs from
the lady who owns the the 1960s.

47
Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013 65
Everyday Practical Electronics, November 2012

Blog - JUNE 2013.indd 47 18/04/2013 10:02:06


Retiring a TV and Dave
I
n recent months, I described the use of Wi-Fi ‘range There comes a point where you can lose faith in a website,
extenders’, devices that are marketed as simple plug and but before ordering from Amazon instead, I visited my local
play solutions for wireless deadspots around the home – but Argos store. Happily the price matched the website’s and of
are they ‘simple’? Regular readers will recall my early efforts course I could take one away in the car.
were thwarted before I opted for a Billion 3100SN Wireless I had settled for a Samsung Smart TV sporting a misnomer
Access Point (AP). This Wireless-N wall-plug Ethernet AP of an ‘LED screen’, which has an Ethernet port next to its
(access point) is somewhat brittle (see Net Work, December aerial socket. The next question was how to connect it to my
2012), but apart from one PC that stubbornly refuses to connect broadband. As a Samsung Wi-Fi dongle (not included) adds a
to the AP, there have been no further network problems. hefty 10% to the retail price, I connected the TV to the ethernet
After the digital TV switchover in the UK, I covered some port of the Billion 3100 Wireless Access Point nearby, sat back
popular personal video recorders (PVRs) which have Ethernet and waited.
connectivity that enables TV channels and ‘On-demand TV’ The Samsung Smart TV found my network straight away
to be received via broadband. Homeplug-type adaptors can and proceeded to update itself rapidly, adding a range of apps
provide Ethernet via the ring mains (provided everything is in a completely troublefree and seamless setup that was a
on the same phase), or use 802.11n wireless networking, or as joy to behold. On-demand TV, Netflix and many other apps
a last resort use a direct cable connection to the router. Some were soon accessible and the superb Samsung Smart TV is
devices, such as the Pure Avalon PVR mentioned last month, proving a delight to use, with iPlayer and YouTube loading
have Wi-Fi built in. Other models are very fussy about the very rapidly. A spare USB keyboard works with it as well.
choice of wireless adaptor and a dedicated
Wi-Fi dongle can be an expensive hidden Three cheers for Dave!
cost. I’d like to close with a personal tribute
An ongoing issue is the fact that some to EPE’s retiring assistant editor, David
PVRs only offer limited extras, perhaps Barrington. It was Dave who coined the
YouTube and BBC iPlayer at most. Users ‘Net Work’ title for this Internet column
are tantalised by promises of updates and back in August 1996, but over the years
improvements that have yet to appear. The Dave has also honed into shape many of
new YouView broadband TV service (see my constructional articles and former
Net Work, April 2013) offers on-demand columns such as Ingenuity Unlimited,
TV using a YouView decoder which leaves Build Your Own Projects, Circuit
owners of current generation PVRs feeling Surgery and Teach-In, ensuring they
even more short-changed. With this in mind, ‘scanned’ properly when read and often
I decided to look at other ways of accessing making me look better in print than I
these services and my attention turned to maybe deserved. Being a magazine for
the TV set itself – a 10-year old boulder of a hobbyists does not detract from the need
Sony Trinitron with analogue tuner that had to be professional, and Dave’s expertise
become increasingly annoying to use. surely ranks among the very best in the
business, having evolved in the British
Smart TV for ever hobby publishing scene and playing
The Internet has reshaped our shopping a substantial role in giving Everyday
experiences for ever, making it easier Practical Electronics a quality edge over
to review products, compare prices Anyone for tennis? A young Dave B the decades.
and drive the best deal. When it comes discovers early Smart TV in June 1977’s Dave’s editing and production
to buying a new TV, I would prefer to Practical Electronics – well, playing the skills, relentless cross-checking and
use a bricks and mortar outlet and it PE TV Sportcentre anyway! A secretary unswerving attention to every detail
is interesting to see how retailers are helped with the photoshoot ensured that EPE readers enjoyed
adopting the Internet, with websites such a consistently high standard of
as catalogue-based Argos (www.argos.co.uk) offering a likely- presentation from cover to cover. It has been a great privilege
looking TV online at a best price, with free delivery. I added and pleasure working with Dave and his incisive red pen
one to my shopping cart only to find that delivery was being and witty side-headings in Net Work will be greatly missed.
charged extra. Checking the local store prices by phone, there Dave enters his well-earned retirement with flying colours,
was also a £20 price hike that made Amazon cheaper with and on behalf of all appreciative readers and myself, I wish
free delivery too. Online orders aren’t confirmed until goods David a very peaceful and relaxing life in the years ahead.
are despatched: that gives the store breathing space to cancel I hope you enjoyed this month’s Net Work. Readers can email
any pricing errors. Read the terms carefully: Argos famously me at: alan@epemag.demon.co.uk or write to the Editor at:
listed a £300 TV for £2.99 online, and more legal details are editorial@wimborne.co.uk for possible submission in Readout,
on: www.out-law.com/page-6079. which could win you a valuable prize!

66 Everyday Practical Electronics, June 2013

Network - New layout.indd 66 18/04/2013 10:03:05


DIRECT BOOK SERVICE
ELECTRONICS TEACH-IN BUNDLE – The books listed have been selected
SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICE £14 FOR PARTS 1, 2 & 3 by Everyday Practical Electronics
editorial staff as being of special
FREE interest to everyone involved in
Electronics Teach-In 2 CD-ROM CD-ROM Electronics Teach-In 3 electronics and computing. They
Using PIC Microcontrollers A Practical The three sections of this book cover
Introduction a very wide range of subjects that will are supplied by mail order direct to
This Teach-In series of articles was originally published
in EPE in 2008 and, following demand from readers, has
interest everyone involved in electronics, from hobbyists and
students to professionals. The first 80-odd pages of Teach-In 3
your door. Full ordering details are
now been collected together in the Electronics Teach-In 2
CD-ROM.
are dedicated to Circuit Surgery, the regular EPE clinic dealing given on the next page.
with readers’ queries on various circuit design and application
The series is aimed at those using PIC microcontrollers
problems – everything from voltage regulation to using SPICE
for the first time. Each part of the series includes breadboard
layouts to aid understanding and a simple programmer
project is provided.
circuit simulation software.
The second section – Practically Speaking – covers the FOR A FUlLL DESCRIPTION
Also included are 29 PIC N’ Mix articles, also practical aspects of electronics construction. Again, a whole
republished from EPE. These provide a host of practical
programming and interfacing information, mainly for
range of subjects, from soldering to avoiding problems with
static electricity and indentifying components, are covered.
OF THESE BOOKS AND
Finally, our collection of Ingenuity Unlimited circuits provides
CD-ROMS SEE THE SHOP
those that have already got to grips with using PIC
microcontrollers. An extra four part beginners guide to using over 40 circuit designs submitted by the readers of EPE.
the C programing language for PIC microcontrollers is also The free cover-mounted CD-ROM is the complete Electronics
included.
The CD-ROM also contains all of the software for the
Teach-In 1 book, which provides a broad-based introduction to
electronics in PDF form, plus interactive quizzes to test your ON OUR WEBSITE
Teach-In 2 series and PIC N’ Mix articles, plus a range knowledge, TINA circuit simulation software (a limited version –
of items from Microchip – the manufacturers of the PIC
microcontrollers. The material has been compiled by
plus a specially written TINA Tutorial), together with simulations
of the circuits in the Teach-In 1 series, plus Flowcode (a
www.epemag.com
Wimborne Publishing Ltd. with the assistance of Microchip
Technology Inc. limited version) a high level programming system for PIC
The Microchip items are: MPLAB Integrated
Development Environment V8.20; Microchip Advance
microcontrollers based on flowcharts.
The Teach-In 1 series covers everything from Electric Current All prices include UK postage
Parts Selector V2.32; Treelink; Motor Control Solutions; through to Microprocessors and Microcontrollers and each part
1
16-bit Embedded Solutions; 16-bit Tool Solutions; Human includes demonstration circuits to build on breadboards or to
Interface Solutions; 8-bit PIC Microcontrollers; PIC24 simulate on your PC. There is also a MW/LW Radio project in
Micrcontrollers; PIC32 Microcontroller Family with USB the series. The contents of the book and Free CD-ROM have
On-The-Go; dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers. been reprinted from past issues of EPE.
CD-ROM Order code ETI2 CD-ROM £9.50 160 pages Order code ETI3 £8.50

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