Diptrace Lib 2014-04-29

Again updated the previous library. This is compatible with current release of Diptrace (ver. 2.3.1). The components are usually not available in standard Diptrace Library.

Enjoy!

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Business Model for Designers

Business model for a designer

Business model for designers

You have a great product idea. You are very confident that it will work in the field. You even have a prototype in hand which can demonstrate the basic functionality. Now you want to market it and sell it in mass market. Suddenly you face a hard reality, how will I send my product abroad? Where to keep the inventory? How to ship the things and keep a record of that? How to fulfill the government regularities and Customs formalities? All this make you feel like a loser. You have completed every required technical hurdle but can not achieve the goal. You have everything but still, nothing.

Here comes this idea of business model for a designer. The idea is to keep the manufacturing and sales in area which is best suited while keeping the R&D and prototyping in hand. For this purpose you will need a trusted and reliable partner who is patient enough. He/she may be at the other side of the country or probably other side of glob to support you. You do the technology research, (continue reading…)

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Efficient Use of Energy

Energy Gap

Courtesy: http://www.paulchefurka.ca/

In very simple terms smart energy is the optimal and efficient use of energy resources. According to an estimate 37% of total energy demand is fulfilled by oil, 25% by coal and 23% by natural gas. Hence 85% of total energy supply is made from Earth’s natural resources. This shows how mankind is “eating up” the mother Earth. Every resource is finite so are these resources on Earth. The studies have shown beginning of the bad times for the human race. For example the picture on the left shows the increasing energy gap between supply and demand of energy. This simple chart shows what mankind is left with and for how many years. Another study shows that by 2050, our planet may expire if mankind continues to waist energy at current rate. So how much do we waste energy? In US alone 66% of generated electricity is wasted, 71% fuel for transportation is wasted due to in-efficient use of transport, 20% electricity is wasted in industrial and house hold users each. (continue reading…)

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Importance of Good Contacts for Embedded Systems Developers

business contactsIf you want to succeed in this field, you got to have some really good contacts. Designing a product idea is one thing, getting it into full blown product and a usable commodity in the field is the other. For that an embedded systems developer needs to do much more than design.

Lets face the fact that most developer or engineers do not have in house prototyping machinery. This includes PCB fabrication and stuffing/soldering. Also we need to source components, which, most of the times can not be found from local market. Therefore, you need someone out there to search and buy electronics components and send to you. You need to know your supplier well.

To know if he is reliable. Ask him if his already sent some components before. If there is an URL of his company. Is there any other guy to cross check what he is telling you. By the way most of the Chinese people I came to know during the process were extremely helpful and honest. The only problem has been communication issues and non-technical nature of their education as for technical marketing you do need to have technical knowledge and experience. (continue reading…)

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Eagle vs Diptrace

eagle vs diptraceI just started to use Cadsoft Eagle for PCB design some weeks ago. I tried many times in past but somehow left in between due to lack of interest. This time, however, I had a project in hand and the client requirement was to do it in Eagle. I am more used to the Diptrace software and I have reasons to like it. But Eagle is also a very popular PCB design software so I desire of using it.

In Eagle, I specially liked the schematic section as it looks very pretty at the end. It looks surely much more professional than drawn in Diptrace. Most of the hobby projects on Internet with pretty looking schematics you will see are designed in Eagle. Eagle saves its library files in XML format. So one can copy/paste a chuck of XML in the file to create a new footprint. Then can edit the part in the library editor of Eagle. (continue reading…)

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PIC USART, I2C, SPI

Two very simple examples for USART + I2C and USAT + SPI. Both developed for PIC18F97J60 microcontroller running at 25MHz with HS+PLL setup.

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lwIP TCP Server on LM3S8962

This TCP server is setup for Stellaris series (LM3S8962) from TI. The TCP/IP stack is lwIP shipped with enet_io app in StellarisWare.

tcp port connectivity test

First create and add a C file “tcp_server.c” at “..\StellarisWare\third_party\lwip-1.3.2\apps\tcpserver” folder. Include the prototype in enet_io.c file.

//*****************************************************************************
//
// External Application references.
//
//*****************************************************************************
extern void httpd_init(void);
extern void tcp_server_init(void);

In the main function, call the tcp_server_init() function.
(continue reading…)

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Testing Modbus-TCP on Mango M2M

Modbus-Mango M2MHere is a very simple example of testing Modbus-TCP with Mango M2M. TCP is a convenient way to transport sensor/control data. The lower layers of TCP insure data reliability. This example only simulates a quick integration of a Modbus-TCP enabled remote terminal unit (RTU) with a SCADA (Mango in this case); it doesn’t give any details of Modbus RTU itself. Modbus data may transported through many other physical media as well, RS485 being the most common. There are several reasons I personally recommend Ethernet over RS485, this post may give you an idea why. This is true not just for Modbus but any communication protocol.

  • The first step is to download Modbus Slave utility from here. The is only a 10 minute demo but will serve our purpose. You can search a better option for yourself. Open up the program and click “Connection”, choose “Modbus TCP/IP”.
Modbus-Mango M2M
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Smart Energy, Who Will Take the Initiative?

smart energyA few years back I was a part of heated discussed in my company about Smart Grid technology. Basically, our company was asked by a government institution in power sector to do all this. I, along-with one of my colleague, were on our way for a survey for a small demo to be presented before some government officials which could show them the “goodies” of Smart Grid. To demonstrate them how it can control billing, have advanced fault indications, energy harvesting, solve our greatest issue the energy theft and other features.

We spent days selecting the platform for demo as well as for long-term production. We prepared a list of several vendors offering solutions of smart meters. Suddenly the whole project got frozen due to lack of interest from the government agency. All our efforts were in vain. We, as a private company, could not invest resources in something which did not seem fruitful, at least for the time being.

(continue reading…)

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Solar Power Calculator

solar power calculatorOften we need to calculate the power ratings of different components in a solar power systems. This may include the battery rating, solar charger rating, number of panels and their ratings. It all depends upon the output load, charging time and resources available. Attached is a very simple excel sheet which helps to calculate these parameters. Just change the parameters on left to see the reflected output calculations on right.

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