As many of you know I’ve been busy finishing my latest hardware creation, Myro:Air and as part of a certification process, the USB port on the back of the unit must be able to provide a stable 5V at both 1A and 2.1A loads. Long story short, it’s been quite the process to test the power supply consistently until I found this nice Programmable DC Electronic Load system. It’s marketed under many different brands like TekPower, Circuit Specialists & ProTek but it usually also contains the model number of 3710A and is made by Array. The best part is the price — $349 for the 360VDC/150W and $499 for the 360V/ 300W version.
I purchased the unit from Circuit Specialists and will post a full video review soon. It’s allowed me to easily test different component profiles as well as test the required overload protection of Myro:Air’s USB circuit. The unit also features a built in multimeter that can also measure the voltage of the circuit under load though I still prefer to use my DMM for more accurate measures. I’ll also demonstrate the PC software it ships with in the video.
Feel free to post an questions in the comments and I can answer then in the video.
I purchased the Saleae Logic16 a few months back to “sniff” a SPI bus and since then I keep on using it as my default Logic Analyzer — that’s when you know it’s money well spent. Saleae offers two models — a 8 channel ($149) and a 16 channel ($299). I went for the 16 channel version because it offers a bit more bandwidth (sample 2 channels at 100MHz, 4 channels at 50MHz, 8 channels at 25MHz, or all 16 channels).
The hardware is solid and well made and ships with everything you need — a nice hard case, USB cable and color coded wiring harness with micro-hook probes. The best part, however, is the software — I use a MacBook Pro (also running WindowsXP via VMWare) with 16gb ram and it’s always better to run native apps as much as possible but most companies don’t provide native apps for OSX, hence VMWare. Saleae actually offers ports of their software that runs on all major platforms (Windows, OSX, Linux). The software offers almost endless sample captures but the most useful feature is the protocol analyzer. It currently supports I2C, Async Serial, SPI, 1-Wire, CAN, I2S, PCM, UNI/O, Manchester, and MP Mode — making it easier to see the decoded results along with the waveform So far I have used I2C, SPI, I2S/PCM and Async Serial with it working flawlessly.
– Saleae Logic 16 [ Buy Now @AMAZON ]
I currently have a Weller WES51 Soldering Station that I’ve owned for about 10 years. While it have served me well all these years — I feel like the thermal recovery time can be a lot better. Hand soldering prototype boards with many different types of footprints is the latest challenge my WES51 is having a harder time with. It feels like it cannot keep up and I have to pause a few seconds while the temp recovers — I believe this is caused by the LEAD FREE solder I’m using that requires higher temp than the old LEAD based 60/40.
So I’m asking the readers of Mavromatic for their recommendations of “Best Soldering Iron”. I’m leaning towards the JBC CD-1BC (or the 2012 JBC-CD-1BB) — what do you think?
My dream garage would be filled with Lista Cabinets (as seen on American Chopper) as they offer both of my requirements: American Made and modular cabinets on casters. The only drawback being cost.
Sears Craftsmen’s popped into my mind — thinking everything Craftsmen’s would be American made, right? Uh, nope. Then right next to the Craftsmen benches was this product called Gladiator Garageworks by Whirlpool Corporation. Modular cabinets on casters, check. Made in the U.S.A.? YES! Apparently all their “premium” welded case products are made in the U.S.A. That includes the benches and the gearbox. The ones you need to assemble are not so keep that in mind.
The only design element I’m not too big on is the “tread” or “diamond plate” texture on the doors. I would have liked a smooth finish or options for different colors (silver, red, black, blue, etc) like the Lista Cabinets offer. Not a huge deal and the pattern is growing on me.
Overall, I dig them! The price, the quality and the fact they are Made in the U.S.A. — I couldn’t be happier.
Off to finish organizing the garage!
Here’s a neat add-on that turns your iPhone 4 into a HD video (audio) recording rig at a fairly economical price of $150. The key feature of the Fostex AR4i is that it brings excellent quality stereo audio recording via the dock connector and it’s built-in AD/DA converters. The included microphones can be swiveled and located in many different configurations giving you the best possible audio capture. Built-in LED input level metering, gain control and headphone monitoring, the AR-4i has been designed to turn your iPhone 4 into a high-quality audio and HD video capture device. This little add-on is great for trips and family events where you don’t want to carry another device just for video capture, but want the higher quality audio and video stabilization (via form factor and included handle).
[ via and as seen on MacBreak Episode 261 ]