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1  Community / Bar Sport / Re: What do you do while building? on: June 27, 2013, 10:06:29 pm

If I'm working on a prototype, I want silence. No music, no noise. Just the hum of machines, computer servers, scopes. I need to concentrate.

If I'm doing rote "assembly line work", i.e. assembling the products I sell, I have a movie playing on my iPhone in front of me (Youtube, Amazon Prime, Comcast, etc). I've built hundreds of these units and pretty much can do it without much thought/thinking on my part... the movie playing helps with the boredom and let time pass by quickly.
2  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Oscilloscopes are insanely expensive on: June 27, 2013, 10:00:36 pm
Personally, I think a better *entry* scope is a used Tektronix on eBay (like a 2445A).

You can get one for 1/3rd the price, with 3x the bandwidth, and 2x the number of channels (4ch vs. 2ch) vs. the Rigol. 

Of course, it doesn't have a fancy LCD display, and cursors and things like that. But it will also teach you the basics of how to read the scope without relying on automatic readouts.
3  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Re: Engineering questions? on: June 24, 2013, 11:09:45 am
4  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Programming in Arduino is SO linear. on: June 18, 2013, 01:20:33 am
That's weird. I can and have been in one form or another since about 1981. But then I wrote self-modifying code in 1980 before I came up with a better way that I was later told is called a state machine. I had a job to do and that's what fit. It certainly wasn't linear.

Dang. You must be a genius.

BTW, have you programmed in VB? Maybe we're thinking about different things when I say "event programming." Based on your IF examples above, it seems to be.
5  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Programming in Arduino is SO linear. on: June 17, 2013, 08:58:47 pm
GFS, thanks for adding to the discussion.

I know FSM and use it in the firmware for my products. Yes to the user, It kinda "acts" like multitasking but you know behind the scenes, it's still a linear flow. 

Use of interrupts is also another way to simulate multitasking. Again, to the user it seems the microprocessor is doing many things all at once, but behind the scenes, you're just switching single tasks quickly.

I think what the OP was talking about is VB being event-driven in its programming.
6  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Programming in Arduino is SO linear. on: June 17, 2013, 02:14:58 pm
Actually, before Visual Basic, every program was linear smiley   Start to Finish ... then optionally loop back to start if you want. 

But when it comes to Arduino you will be like "what the heck? why is it so cumbersome to set up a timer?" or "damn I cant do this while im doing that... what the heck is an interrupt!!!!!!??????"
But don't forget, you're doing all of these in a 32K memory space. (or less!)

You're also programming very very close to the hardware. i.e. there is no BIOS, no operating system, no runtime library, between your program and the chip.
7  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Re: Have you ever asked for a sample and gotten an OBSCENE amount of packaging? on: June 17, 2013, 02:08:26 pm
When I order chips from Mouser (100pcs), they'll send them in tubes of 50 chips each.  They'll pack it in a long big box, and then fill the empty space with pink anti-static bubble wrap.  I look forward to these as I use it as packing materials when I ship products to customers.  Same with Digikey. They'll fill the empty space with their tissue/kraft paper. 

Ordering samples is a great show in waste. They'll ship the samples to me Fedex Next Day Air! And I didn't have to even pay for any of it.
8  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Re: Have you ever asked for a sample and gotten an OBSCENE amount of packaging? on: June 17, 2013, 01:52:24 pm
You basically paid them to ship their trash to you.  And as a thank you, they sent you 5 chips.
9  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Patenting arduino shields? on: June 16, 2013, 09:13:40 pm
Can I patent self made Arduino shields??

You can patent a unique process or circuit or idea.
You can copyright your shield design and PCB design.
You can trademark your logo and company name/art.

But you just can't patent a shield you self made (not unless it has a truly unique idea, circuit or process).

I think the real costs of patents is not applying for a patent (expensive depending on the country you live) but to chase others that violate your patent.

100% correct. Same with copyrights.  If you own a patent, and don't DEFEND your patent against someone who copied it, it's the same as giving up possession/interest in your patent.  If a second company copies your product, and then you decide to sue that 2nd company, the 2nd company's defense can be you didn't sue the 1st company that made the same product/idea -- effectively giving up your patent claims.

... and this is the reason why big, giant companies sometimes has to sue the little guy. It's not the big companies are being mean... but they're protecting their patents.  If another big company copies/use their patent, they can't claim you gave up your patent when you didn't sue that small mom-and-pop shop. 

If you're a small shop, patenting is a waste of money. Just run like hell, quick and fast and produce/manufacture as much as you can of your product, be the first to market, and be the "authority" or known supplier for such-and-such product. 
10  Community / Bar Sport / Re: AVR to ARM Fanboy! on: June 15, 2013, 10:51:08 am
You sell it for as much as the buyer/market is willing to buy it.  It's simple.

If it's not selling, or too much competition, or introducing a new product -- you lower the prices.
If supply is low, or you have a hold or "monopoly" on a niche market,  -- you can raise your prices, and they'll still buy it.

11  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Re: check out the soldering on this! on: June 11, 2013, 12:46:05 pm
And no modern, fancy "digital" scopes too!

He's a big fan of tektronix scopes too.
12  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Re: Implementing 5V on-board transformer correctly on: June 11, 2013, 10:34:31 am
I see. Thanks for the explanation.

Common mode choke, 20mh
13  Topics / Science and Measurement / Re: HELP me with buying a Digital Oscilloscope. Bandwidth selection on: June 11, 2013, 10:27:11 am
I have an inexpensive DSO and an old Tektronix analog and I use the Tek far more than the DSO. The reason? Mainly because the persistence of the analog scope allows me to see the spikes and glitches in much better detail. DSOs with persistence are coming down in price but you're looking at about 7-800$. You can find a good analog scope, e.g., Hameg or Tektronix 2-ch 50-60MHz for less than 100$ and you'll learn a lot about how scopes work.

This ^^^. I 100% agree.

The "cheap" digital chinese scopes out there (Owon, Rigol etc.) can't match the speed/performance of an even old analog scope in this aspect.
14  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Re: Implementing 5V on-board transformer correctly on: June 11, 2013, 10:20:04 am
Why can't you use a wall wart? 
15  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Electric blanket design on: June 11, 2013, 09:39:18 am
I've never used an electric blanket. Somehow in the back of my mind, irrational or not, I'm afraid to get electrocuted or something while sleeping.

But I absolutely love my goose down feather comforter. The more you stay underneath it, the more the heat builds up generated by your own body heat and keeps it under there.
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