Tag Archive for Project

Upgrade & Experiments with an Agilent 8445B Auto Preselector – Giveaway! (April 2020)

In this episode Shahriar retrofits a vintage HP 8445B Auto Preselector for testing and characterization of high-performance data converters and oscilloscopes. The Preselector is in essence an electronically tunable band-pass filter with exceptional tuning range and quality factor.

After examining the schematic and block diagram of the instrument the unit is equipped with additional potentiometer, low-band, high-band switch and a voltmeter LCD screen which displays the center frequency. The modifications are applied to the front panel as well as internal circuitry to enable manual control of the preselector without the need for any external devices.

The modified instrument is used to measure the harmonic improvement of a 20GHz synthesizer. Several oscilloscopes are then characterized using the new preselector to determine the absolute performance of their internal data converter.

Finally, it is also time for a new giveaway! A brand new Keysight DSOX1102G scope! Patreon supporters are automatically enrolled.

Sindoh 3DWOX 1 Review, Experiments & 3D Microwave Component Printing Techniques

In this episode Shahriar reviews his new 3D Printer Sindoh 3DWOX 1. This printer offers several attractive features. The fully enclosed design is quiet and equipped with a HEPA filter. The unit is also equipped with a webcam and internal lighting. The printer has several automatic capabilities such as auto filament load from a cartridge, bed-leveling and print parameter optimization. The printer is also completely compatible with off-the-shelf filaments.

This comprehensive review is organized as follows:

01:57 – Model comparison and Sindoh website
02:26 – Printer design and overview
04:16 – Internal construction and features
07:03 – Cartridge design and filament auto-load
09:31 – Printing bed auto-leveling procedure
11:53 – 3DWOX desktop software overview and features
16:32 – First print example and procedure
17:53 – Mobile app and remote camera monitoring capability
18:51 – Print example: Objects with extreme aspect ratios
22:03 – Print example: Objects with moving parts and joints
25:27 – Print example: Objects with many holes and thin features
28:24 – Print example: Large objects with >24 hour print time
30:12 – Analyzing internal print features using an X-ray machine
32:46 – Printing microwave and mm-wave components and filters
38:27 – Concluding remarks

You can purchase a 3DWOX 1 printer from here or visit the manufacturer’s website for more information.

Rohde & Schwarz RTB2004 10-Bit, 2.5GS/s MSO Oscilloscope Review, Teardown & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the Rohde & Shwarz RTB2004 10-Bit oscilloscope. With its high-resolution touch-screen, intuitive and capable GUI as well as excellent analog/digital performance this scope competes very well against other 2000 series instruments from Tektronix and Keysight. This extensive review includes instrument teardown, overview and dedicated experiments as follows:

01:17 – Model comparison and R&S scope lineup.
02:20 – Front panel, rear panel and overview.
05:01 – Instrument teardown and analysis.
13:37 – Power on and basic functions including intensity grading, XY mode.
26:29 – Multi-tone behavior, FFT and ADC performance.
33:17 – Experiment with ambient light follower: Analog and RS232 digital serial capture, triggering and analysis.
48:03 – Experiment with external DAC: Analog and I2C data capture and search using remote web interface.
57:19 – Built-in arbitrary waveform generator behavior and performance.

Tutorial and Experiments with ESP8266 SoC, Blynk App, Arduino and Internet of Things (IoT)

In this episode Shahriar explores the functionality of the popular ESP8266 SoC chip. This IC incorporates a full ISM radio as well as the physical/MAC layer for 802.11b/g/n network communication. Furthermore it includes a uC core for code execution making it a low-cost candidate for Internet of Thing applications. This video uses a Sparkfun Thing evaluation board which also includes a LiPo batter charger, voltage regular, flash memory and all the I/O pins which are accessible to the user. The block diagram of the ESP8266 is reviewed as well as the schematic of the complete Sparkfun Thing board.

By using an Arduino library and the Blynk iOS application, a cell phone and the ESP8266 can simultaneously communicate with a server running the Blynk application and transfer data between the application and the module. In this demo various components such as NeoPixel (WS2812), OneWire temperature sensor and battery monitoring functionality are implemented. The code is available here.

Tutorial on the Design & Implementation of an FPGA RGB LED Matrix Driver

In this episode Shahriar and Timo demonstrate the design methodology of an FPGA based 32×32 RGB LED matrix driver. Timo has kindly devoted some of his time to describe the block diagram and the thought process which goes into designing this type of FPGA display driver. The various components of the overall system (PLL, UART, and Display Controller) are shown along with the simulation data. The outputs of the Spartan-6 FPGA board are then measured using a Keysight S-Series oscilloscope. The design of the RGB matrix is also demonstrated using a custom clock interface sent wirelessly to the unit via Bluetooth. All the FPGA design files can be downloaded here.

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