In this episode Shahriar demonstrates one of the simplest magnetic levitation circuits. First, the basic concept of magnetic levitation is examined. Two different methods of detecting the location of the levitating object is presented and the Hall effect sensor method is chosen. A semi-digital overall system is implemented where a PWM control IC is employed to control the magnetic field strength. The block diagram and functionality of this IC is presented. Finally, the schematic of a dual-Hall effect sensor solution is presented. The circuit is built and tested in both open-loop and close-loop configuration. Magnetic levitation is demonstrated with the capability of adjusting the levitation location. The schematic of circuit can be downloaded here and the electromagnet can be purchased from here.
In this episode Shahriar investigates some state-of-the-art energy harvesting ICs from Linear Technology. The LTC3105 is a highly efficient 400mA Step-Up DC/DC Converter with Maximum Power Point Control and 250mV Start-Up. After exploring the IC’s internal block diagram, the evaluation board for this energy harvesting chip is presented. Various experiments, including the calculation of efficiency, maximum power delivery, start-up behavior and MPPC are presented. As a last experiment, a two stage energy harvesting setup using a solar panel and a super-capacitor capable of charging an iPhone is demonstrated.
The second IC of interest is the LTC3109 which is an Auto-Polarity, Ultralow Voltage Step-Up Converter and Power Manager Energy Harvesting chip. The block diagram and the evaluation board of this IC is presented. The ultra-low voltage capability of the circuit is demonstrated through the use of a Peltier cooler thermo-electric component to generate a 5V output voltage. As a final experiment, several ice cubes are used in conjunction with the thermo-electric generator in order to harvest enough energy to charge an iPhone for 30 seconds.
In this episode, Shahriar presents the theory, design and characterization of Nyquist Digital to Analog Converters (DACs). After a brief overview of DAC operation and theory, the schematic of an 8-Bit R-2R DAC is presented. The R-2R DAC, which is driven by a dsPIC30F6014A Microchip microcontroller is capable of producing ramps and arbitrary waveforms uploaded through an RS232 interface. The static integral non-linearity (INL) and differential non-linearity (DNL) is measured by using a Rigol DM3068 Multimeter through a Matlab interface program. The dynamic performance of the DAC is characterized using an Analog Devices AD6645 105MSps 14-Bit ADC evaluation board coupled with a USB FIFO interface board. By using the ‘Visual Analog’ software, the spectrum of the DAC output as well as the signal to quantization and distortion ratio (SQNDR) is calculated. Finally, the impact of component mismatches, operational amplifier non-linearity and timing uncertainty on the INL/DNL and SQNDR (ENOB) of the DAC is examined.
In this episode Shahriar investigates the cause of failure of a Keithley 220 Programmable Current Source. Despite being manufactured in the mid-1980′s, the Keithley 220 is still a very popular programmable current source. Alongside the repair efforts, the schematic of various analog, digital and power supply boards are also presented. By interpreting the failure mechanism, the fault is traced and corrected. The Keithley 220 is then calibrated and the calibration procedure of the sub-100nA range is explained. Finally, the performance of the calibrated unit is verified using a Rigol DM3068 Multimeter.
In this episode Shahriar goes through the teardown and repair process of a Fluke 196B Handheld ScopeMeter. This unit, which has been purchased as a “dead” unit from eBay, is examined for faults. During the teardown, various PCB components, architecture and design ispresented. The performance and functionality of the unit is verified with a few brief experiments. Finally, the schematic and block diagram of the Fluke 196B is explored for the finer details of its design and operation.
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