Gas station without pumps

2017 January 8

Applying for Mini Maker Faire 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:41
Tags: , , , ,

I’m submitting an application for the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire 2017 (2017 April 29), since last year’s Mini-Maker Faire went well (see Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire went well).  This year I’m getting my application in early, rather than dithering about it for months as I did last year.  I have less free time to prepare the display this year, but I have a better notion what I want to do, so it should not take long to get ready.

Last year's banner, which I can reuse this year. I might also make a shorter one that will fit on the front of the table.

Last year’s banner, which I can reuse this year. I might also make a shorter one that will fit on the front of the table.

The “non-public” description of my display is straightforward:

I’ll bring a tabletop full of electronics projects, as last year (see https://gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/santa-cruz-mini-maker-faire-went-well/ ).

Laptops demonstrating free software to turn cheap microprocessor boards into data-acquisition systems suitable for home labs and science-fair projects.
Homemade LED desk lamp and stroboscope.

Several of the projects will be interactive (an optical pulse-rate monitor, oscillators that can be adjusted to change Lissajous figures on an oscilloscope, …).

A few changes from last year: a more reliable pulse-monitor design and a new USB oscilloscope.

The public blurb is similar to last year’s:

See your pulse on a home-made optical pulse monitor!
Record air pressure waveforms using free PteroDAQ data acquisition software!
Play with a bright custom-design LED stroboscope!
Control fancy Lissajous patterns on an oscilloscope!

I removed mention of an EKG, because I decided that it was too much trouble to tether myself with EKG leads all day.

My “Maker bio” is a bit boring, :

Kevin Karplus has been an engineering faculty member at UCSC since 1986, but has done hobbyist electronics on-and-off since the 1960s. For the past few years he has been working on a low-cost textbook to make hands-on analog electronics accessible to a wider range of students.  Several of the projects on display are from the textbook.

2017 January 7

Book draft 2017 Jan 7

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:03
Tags: , , ,

I’ll be releasing an updated version of the Applied Electronics for Bioengineers text on LeanPub today.  I’ll probably raise the minimum price next week, to reflect the improved quality, but I’ll give people a few days to get the book at the old price.  (Remember that the LeanPub model allows you to get all future editions of the book free, as long as I continue publishing through them, so there is no reason to wait until a new edition comes out.)

I’ll list the changes in two sections: changes that were made since the October 2016 release, then changes that were made in the Oct 2016 release (because I don’t seem to have posted those to the blog).

Changes since October 2016

  • Fleshed out assignment schedule and moved to Preface.
  • Rearranged several of the early chapters (without significant content change) for better ordering of assignments.
  • Added mention of Analog Discovery 2 to oscilloscope chapter, replaced some Bitscope traces with Analog Discovery~2 traces.
  • Added bonus frequency response activity to pressure sensor lab.
  • Added Lego-brick pictures for the optical-pulse-monitor lab.
  • Revised all chapters and labs from the microphone chapter to the EKG lab (the second half of the course).  Many of the changes were minor revisions (typo fixes, indexing, changing to numbered exercises, spell check).
  • Added exercises to the microphone chapter and moved some exercises from the microphone lab to the microphone chapter.
  • Moved some of the oscilloscope introduction from the microphone lab to the sampling lab.
  • Rewrote DC analysis of microphone to use function generator, rather than potentiometer, for variable voltage.
  • Added R+L figure to loudspeaker chapter, rather than referring to impedance chapter.
  • Moved inductor description to new chapter just before loudspeakers.
  • Added RMS power exercise and R-L plot exercise to loudspeaker chapter.
  • Moved some intro amplifier material from preamplifier lab to pressure-sensor lab, reflecting change in order of labs.
  • Moved some instructions about color coding wiring from preamplifier to an earlier lab.
  • Added mention of using earbuds instead of loudspeakers for preamplifier lab.
  • Redid Miller plateau oscilloscope trace using Analog Discovery 2, using smaller gate resistor to get higher speed.
  • Added cross-section of a power nFET (still needs to be redrawn)
  • Fixed clipping on several schematics (the Vdd power symbol gets clipped if at the top of the schematic—a known bug in SchemeIt).
  • Put inductive load in the single-nFET driver schematic, including flyback diode.
  • Added explanation of why the crude model for computing slew rate is so far off.
  • Removed most references to obsolete AOI514 nFETs (using NTD4858N nFETs instead).  This required gathering new data to characterize the transistors.
  • Redid the section on open-collector outputs for LM2903 comparators.
  • Added table of conductivity for NaCl solutions.
  • Added section on 4-electrode conductivity measurements.
  • Moved information about nulling ohmmeters when measuring resistance from electrode lab to loudspeaker lab.
  • Reiterated some of the EKG safety info in the EKG lab.

Changes between April 2016 and October 2016

  • Added more background to first chapter (logarithms, picture of complex plane) and started chapter numbering at 1 instead of 0.
  • Rearranged chapters for new lab order, with all the audio labs after the pressure sensor and optical pulse monitor.
  • Updated information on using lead-free solder.
  • Added a generic block diagram to lab report guidelines, and added definition of “port” to the block diagram discussion.
  • Added subsection on Thévenin equivalent of voltage divider.
  • Added section on series and parallel connections to resistance chapter, to reflect lower prerequisite expectations of course.
  • Moved some gnuplot exercises into thermistor lab from sampling and aliasing, to reflect new lab order, also moved PteroDAQ installation instructions.
  • Added picture of metal thermometer to thermistor lab.
  • Added voltmeter connection schematic to DAQ chapter.
  • Moved details of PteroDAQ out of DAQ chapter to separate appendix.
  • Added potentiometer schematic and photo to resistance chapter.
  • Split data acquisition from sampling and aliasing into separate chapters.
  • Improved figure showing aliasing and Nyquist frequency.
  • Added pictures for wire stripping and flying resistors to sampling lab.
  • Added scaffolding for oscilloscope probe exercise.
  • Hysteresis measurement changed to use function generator.
  • Moved multi-stage amplifier discussion to beginning of amplifier chapter and beefed it up.
  • Added introduction to differential amplifiers before instrumentation amps and op amps.
  • Added pH meter block diagram to beginning of amplifier chapter.
  • Moved discussion of clipping to the end of the instrumentation amplifier section.
  • Added active low-pass filters to amplifier chapter.
  • Added chapter on transimpedance amplifiers with section on log-transimpedance amplifiers and rewrote pulse-monitor lab to use logarithmic current-to-voltage conversion.
  • Added discussion of absorbance of melanin, fat, and water to blood section.
  • Moved the instrumentation amplifier internals to new chapter, before the EKG chapter.
  • Simplified the sensitivity calculation for LEDs and phototransistors, making the exercise more productive.
  • Added text to caption of microphone preamp photo.
  • Moved loudness section from the amplifier chapter to the microphone chapter.
  • Added notes at end of loudspeaker lab to improve student reporting of models.
  • Added more safety information to EKG chapter
  • Made all exercises be numbered, and changed most of the prelab questions into numbered exercises.
  • Added equipment-needed lists to the beginning of each lab.
  • Redrew several block diagrams using draw.io, and added captions to several figures to indicate what drawing tool was used.
  • Changed caption formatting to be more distinctly different from body text.
  • Cleaned up several schematics.

2017 January 2

LM2903 open-collector comparator characterization

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 18:02
Tags: , , , ,

In Last power-amp lecture, I posted an I-vs-V plot for the LM2903 comparator’s open-collector output, which I had made sometime in 2013, I think:

There are two regions of operation for the open-collector output of the LM2903. In the saturation region, the current goes up slowly with voltage (as about V^0.15, while in the "linear" region, it goes up as about V^1.5). The transition occurs when VOL is about 0.25 V, so we are almost always in the saturation region.

There are two regions of operation for the open-collector output of the LM2903. In the saturation region, the current goes up slowly with voltage (as about V^0.15, while in the “linear” region, it goes up as about V^1.5). The transition occurs when VOL is about 0.25 V, so we are almost always in the saturation region.

I decided to redo the plot using the Analog Discovery~2, as I now include the open-collector curve in the textbook (in an optional section, since we no longer use open-collector comparators). I used a 12V wall-wart and both the function generator and oscilloscope functions. I used the “custom channel” and XY plot features to get the I-vs-V plot on the screen (though I saved the data and replotted with gnuplot, to superimpose different runs). I also averaged 10 sweeps to reduce noise.

R1 was 56Ω for testing high voltages and currents, and R1 was 2.2kΩ for testing low voltages and low currents.

R1 was 56Ω for testing high voltages and currents, and R1 was 2.2kΩ for testing low voltages and low currents.

The triangle-wave generator and the nFET makes a variable load for the comparator, from slightly more than R1 up to about 1MΩ.

Even up to 11V, the LM2903 collector stays below the 20mA maximum current, but I'd want to make sure that there was some current-limiting resistor for any power-supply voltage above 12V.

Even up to 11V, the LM2903 collector stays below the 20mA maximum current, but I’d want to make sure that there was some current-limiting resistor for any power-supply voltage above 12V.

The results with the Analog Discovery 2 are much cleaner than my old results, which were most likely done with an Arduino, which has a very low resolution ADC.

2016 December 31

Twentieth weight progress report

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:52
Tags: , , , , , ,

This post is yet another weight progress report, continuing the previous one, this being the 20th since I started in January 2015.  This has not been a good year for maintaining my weight:

My weight has trended up by over 5 lbs this year, and it is currently 5 lbs above the top of my self-imposed "ideal" range.

My weight has trended up by over 5 lbs this year, and it is currently 5 lbs above the top of my self-imposed “ideal” range.

My weight only stayed in my desired range for about 6 months at the end of my diet.

My weight only stayed in my desired range for about 6 months at the end of my diet.

Because of the problems with my bicycle seat plus a week-long trip to Boulder to visit my Dad, I don’t have good records of exercise for the past few months—I think it was less than normal, because fall quarter I only went to campus 3 days a week.  I’ll be back to daily commuting for the next few months, though. I’ll have to find some more reliable form of exercise during summer and fall of 2017, as the beginning of summer seems to have been when my weight jumped the most.

My goal for this quarter is to get my weight back down to 158, an 8-pound loss that will take me most of the quarter to achieve, assuming I can stick to the strict diet as I did two years ago.

2016 December 30

Ultrasonic rangefinder with Analog Discovery 2

In Loudspeaker impedance with Analog Discovery 2, I looked at the impedance of  various loudspeakers including an ultrasonic transducer. Today I looked at shaping pulse bursts for driving an ultrasonic transmitter to get shorter received pulses with an ultrasonic receiver.  I’ve done this before using custom programs on a Teensy 3.1 board (see Ultrasonic rangefinders arrived), but I wanted to see what I could do using just the waveform generator on the Analog Discovery 2.

I measured the magnitude of the impedance of the transmitter (using either a 120kΩ resistor or a 1nF capacitor as a known impedance), then looked at the transmitter+receiver characteristics for frequencies around the resonances.  I’ve marked the peak received resonances on the impedance plot.

The impedance is approx 2.2nF, with 3 apparent resonances.

The impedance is approx 2.2nF, with 3 apparent resonances.

The primary resonance is around 40kHz, and is the frequency that the transmitter is designed to operate at.

The primary resonance is around 40kHz, and is the frequency that the transmitter is designed to operate at.

There is a secondary resonance around 54kHz, though it is considerably weaker than the 40kHz resonance.

There is a secondary resonance around 54kHz, though it is considerably weaker than the 40kHz resonance.

The third resonance, around 330kHz does not provide a very strong signal for the receiver.

The third resonance, around 330kHz does not provide a very strong signal for the receiver.

I tried two tests using the 40.445kHz resonance. In one, I used the simple waveform generator to produce a 40445Hz square wave, then used an 8ms wait and a 148.3µs run time, to produce bursts of 6 square waves. I set the idle output to the offset (0v) and used a 5V amplitude.

In the other test, I used the same wait and run times, but used the “custom” waveform to set up a signal that inverted the last 3 of the 6 periods (so that the half periods were +-+-+--+-+-+. This was fairly easy to set up by generating the 6 periods, then altering them by multiplying by a single period of a square wave. I could have created much more complicated bursts, but this pattern was enough to see the capabilities of the scope.

By triggering the scope on the signal sent to the transmitter (using channel 1), I could average 1000 sweeps to get a very low-noise view of the signal. (I can trigger on the waveform generator itself, freeing up one of the scope channels, but then I can’t average—I think that the averaging relies on interpolating get precise timing of the trigger.)  For plotting, I subtracted off the DC bias (fitted before time 0), as 60Hz interference caused a moderate offset to the signal even after averaging.

The bursts start out the same, but the simple 6-cycle burst results in the received waveform growing for 14 or 15 cycles, while the 3+,3- burst grows for 6–7 cycles and decays very quickly.

The bursts start out the same, but the simple 6-cycle burst results in the received waveform growing for 14 or 15 cycles, while the 3+,3- burst grows for 6–7 cycles and decays very quickly.

I tried some longer and shorter bursts, with the expected result that longer bursts resulted in stronger signals with a longer received burst width. Doing 8 cycles followed by 8 cancelling cycles seemed to produce a reasonable length burst with a fairly strong signal, but I did not explore variants much.

I still think it might be possible to use the phase information to get higher resolution than the approx 7.9mm wavelength, but identifying which pulse of the return waveform is which remains a problem, particularly if there is a complicated reflecting surface that superimposes several differently delayed pulses.

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: