Advanced Circuits Tour - How PCBs are made

Advanced Circuits Tour

Posted by Andrew on June 20, 2011

Last year around mid-November Eric and I (Base2's owners) were in the Denver area and were fortunate enough to be able to visit the circuit board manufacturer that we frequently use - Advanced Circuits. They were kind enough to give us a tour of their facility and explain the manufacturing process every step of the way - and let us take pictures! We'd like the thank Tony, who enthusiastically gave us the tour, and Forest, our sales rep who setup the tour. Advanced circuits has an amazing facility and it was quite an experience to see how the boards we order are made. On with the tour!

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Hacking the PIC 18F1320

opened_state

 I came across this Article and thought the people here would find this an interesting read.

Andrew “Bunnie” Huang is well known for his Xbox hacks.

He wanted to try out some reversing techniques on programmed PIC 18F1320 chips he acquired in order to read the secured FLASH memory.

After having the PICs commercially decapped, he analyzed the silicon under an electron microscope revealing the location of security bits relative to the FLASH memory he sought to read. In this tutorial he reveals the further tedious steps he took to complete hacking the PIC 18F1320 to read the memory data.

 

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Visit website http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?page_id=40

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EEVblog #180 – Soldering Tutorial Part 1 – Tools

Dave at EEV Blog has another great video blog on soldering.  Highly recommended watching.

EEV_Blog_180

Watch the video

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From Embedded Lab: Expanding the number of I/O lines using Microchip MCP23008

Embedded Lab has another great tutorial, thie one on using the MCP23008 port expander.  I've posted about it here before and written a Swordfish module.

Expanding the number of I/O lines using Microchip MCP23008

A microcontroller comes with a limited number of general purpose input and output (GPIO) ports. However, some applications may require more ports than are available on the microcontroller. In such a case, GPIO expanders can be used to increase the I/O capability of the microcontroller. MCP23008 is one such device (manufactured by Microchip Technology) which provides an easy I/O expansion using 2-wire serial interface. This tutorial illustrates how to add an extra 8-bit I/O port to PIC12683 microcontroller (which has only 6 I/O pins) using MCP23008. A seven segment LED display and a tact switch will be connected to the extended port. The PIC12F683 microcontroller will count the switch presses and display the counter value on the seven segment LED  module.

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The Kitsap Mini Maker Faire

On Sunday, my partner Eric and I had a table at the first-ever Kitsap County, Washington Mini Maker Faire, (Maker Faires are sponsored in part by Make Magazine).  It was a gloriously nice day for the Seattle area and one of the few nice ones we'd have this year.  Over 400 people attended which was a nice scale and allowed lots of time for interaction.

We decided that we wanted to present sort of a broad view of "making" - that the technology to go from design to hardware to real-world applications was within everyone's reach.  Eric planned to combine "techie" and "foodie" and demonstrate sous-vide cooking as something that "maker" technology makes possible.

Read more: The Kitsap Mini Maker Faire

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From Embedded Lab - an I2C Tutorial

A number of devices have been decribed on the pages of Digital-DIY that use the I2C interface, including real time clocks, temperature sensors, WII Nunchuks, port expanders and even thermocouple interfaces and a number of Swordfish modules are available to make using these devices simple.  The TAP-20-USB board is based around using I2C for expansion.

Hack-A-Day posted about this tutorial available on Embedded Labs.  It's a nice overview on how to use I2C devices.  Have a look.

Lab 14: Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C) communication

I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit) is a short distance serial interface that requires only 2 bus lines for data transfer. It was invented by Philips in 1980′s, originally to provide easy on-board communications between a CPU and various peripheral chips in a TV set. Today, it is widely used in varieties of embedded systems to connect low speed peripherals (external EEPROMs, digital sensors, LCD drivers, etc) to the main controller. In this experiment, we will cover an overview of I2C protocol, its implementation in PIC microcontrollers, and the method of connecting single and multiple devices on a common I2C bus. We will demonstrate the technique by connecting two I2C EEPROM chips (24LC512) and an I2C compatible temperature sensor (DS1631) with PIC18F2550 microcontroller.

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Mighty Ohm Blog: Announcing the “Soldering is Easy” Complete Comic Book!

Jeff at the Mighty Ohm Blog has announced the Soldering is Easy Comic board available under a Creative Commons 3.0 ShareAlike/Attribution agreement.  Looks like a great reference.

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Check out the details here.

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MikroElektronika's Online Book: PIC Microcontrollers

ME_PIC_bookThis great reference may have been mentioned here before but it's well worth a blog post even if it has been.

MikroElektronika has made PIC Microcontrollers by Milan Verle available online free of charge.  This 394 page reference covers the nitty-gritty of PIC microcontrollers and provides great insite into what goes on inside.  The how and why of hardware functions are clearly explained.


Table of Contents

This book is available for browsing and reading online, absolutely free of charge. To read book free online follow next links:

Read more: MikroElektronika's Online Book: PIC Microcontrollers

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1824-arduino-cubo-led-5121

If you have exceptional patience and good soldering skills, perhaps this is the perfect project for you!

Nick Schulze recently finished an 8x8x8 LED cube (totalling 512 LEDs). Sure it's designed around an Arduino, although it could be adapted to any microcontroller.


Here's a video of the cube:

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From Embedded Lab: A new multi-function power supply unit for my Embedded Lab

Here's a great writeup on a lab power supply with fixed positive and negative 5 volt outputs and an adjustable output.  A nice feature of this setup is the use of a PIC-based circuit to read supply voltage and current.

"One important parameter in embedded system designing is power consumption. This parameter is directly related to the battery lifetime, if the system is to be powered from a battery. In order to determine the power rating of your designed system, you need to know how much current the system draws from the source at a given voltage. While working on my projects, I usually measure current by placing an external ammeter in series with the current’s return path. This is not always convenient to do, and so I thought of making a special power supply unit for my lab that would display both voltage and current information on a LCD screen while prototyping my circuit. This way I can continuously monitor how much power my test circuit is drawing at a specific operating voltage. This power supply unit provides fixed ±5 V as well as a variable dc voltage ranging from 1.25 V to  9 V. A PIC16F689 microcontroller is embedded into the power supply unit to measure the adjustable output voltage along with the load current. Besides, this unit also has a built-in frequency counter to measure the frequency of an external signal. The range is over 50 MHz. However, it has been tested up to 20.0 MHz, and works fine. There are still few I/O ports of PIC16F689 that are not used. So I am thinking about adding one or more features (like capacitance meter) to it. But that would be on my second version..."

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