Parker talks LED patterns on the MEP SAO, Stephen uses a CNC machine, and RadioShack returns?
Chris Gammell of Contextual Electronics and The Amp Hour join Parker and Stephen for a second time!
Guests Scott and Eric of The Idea Tank Podcast join Parker and Stephen.
Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.
In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.
In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.
Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.
Stephen Kraig began his electronics career by building musical oriented circuits in 2003. Stephen is an avid guitar player and, in his down time, manufactures audio electronics including guitar amplifiers, pedals, and pro audio gear. Stephen graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.
Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!
Hello, this is the amp hour. We are your guests, Parker Dillman
and Steven Craig.
And this is also the macro fab engineering podcast and I am your guest Chris gamble. Well, yeah,
that was awesome.
cool podcast. Yeah,
that's right. Yeah. So this is a second time that I've done this. We did this once with we had embedded on. And we did kind of a mash up thinking, Dave is that electronics? And so he couldn't make it this week and I was actually supposed to be on your guys's podcast anyway. So why not? Do a little crossover aired on both channels? If there are any listeners out there that do that we're expecting two episodes like an episode of the amp hour, and an episode of Macro fab engineering podcast. Sorry, you only get one but only one one super episode. One Super Episode. That's right. But on the bright side, the people that don't know about macro fab, the engineering podcast then they learn about it. And if you guys have any listeners that don't know about the amp hour, then vice versa.
I highly doubt that but
they could have gotten sick of us they could have been like, I need a new I need a new jam, you know? So what's going on? So you guys are down in Texas, right? Yeah, Houston,
Texas. All right.
How's How are things going on? There's it's still, like, living in a bowl of soup. Or
it's, it's it hasn't been that bad. This past now.
It's been it's been kind of uncannily good. And we've been we've been spending time outside actually, which is, which is very different.
And we say Good. Because it's like it's hovers around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Oh my god.
Yeah. It's ridiculous. I
mean, it feels great. Like when your shoes aren't sticking to the pavement kind of thing.
Exactly. That's when you know, it's, it's nice outside.
We had a brutal summer. This summer was was rough. Yep. Yep. But it's this feeling nice now.
Alright, let's good. So you guys have a format. Normally I was we were talking a little bit before the show as well. So you guys have like an actual format. And behind it kind
of half and half, half and half format. So we basically like talk about, you know, if we have a guest on we just talked about the guest and then we go into rapid fire opinion. But you know, it doesn't really matter.
Now with a mash up like this?
No, no. Well, you got more format than we do. So that's fine with me. We have one more thing. Yeah. One more thing was that? Well, you know, we used to have that stuff we used to do Workbench of the week. And what else was there? Ship of the week? And
oh, yeah, got about that. I don't remember what else there was? Is there's just not enough new chips out there now.
No, we just kind of stopped doing it. You know? I guess I hear about them. How do you guys find out about new chips? I mean, what are you? What are your sources?
The subreddit? Was it nice chips?
Nice chips? Yeah. Yeah, I like that one a lot borrowed from them once in a while.
And then I subscribe to all the major manufacturers. So always gonna hold their stuff
well, and then if you go to E web or electronic news weekly, they have advertisements that usually have some cool stuff on it. So I pick up a lot of stuff from there. You know, I
was really surprised about I was talking to Mike Harrison about that. And I know he worked for an ad company. But he was talking about he's like, you know, I find out about new parts in the ads. And I'm like, what? But yeah, I mean, like people do that, like it does. I guess it does happen. And that's great. I mean, like that is that is a source for it. Obviously, it's you know, there's only so many chip companies out there. And they're all putting out new parts all the time. So
well, yeah, there's because everyone keeps buying each other out. Well,
an ad with an electrical engineer, or even an engineer in general is so different. Because you can just post the specs as your ad and the guy's like, Oh, that looks great.
Yeah, yeah. Schematics always catch catch my eye for sure. I'll be at least take a look and be like, What is this thing doing? Have I seen it before? If not, you know, if you get like that block where you're like, not sure what the blob is in the middle, and you're like, Okay, I'll check out more go check the datasheet or whatever. Yeah, I guess you're right. Right. Yeah, that's good.
So So engineering ads for parts should just link directly to the PDF.
Yeah, that's good. Yeah, well, yeah, I guess. So. A lot of them go to like those product pages, though, too. They go to like, because like that, the one key pricing stuff like that. That's not too bad. Well,
it actually on E web in their product section, which I guarantee is all just ads, they have blog posts, and the blog post is like maybe two paragraphs about that chip, and you can go see the price and you can go to the datasheet directly from that blog post. Yeah, that's cool. So yeah, they do.
Well, that's, that's, that's good. But like, I think the real thing is, you know, I think about all of this stuff is usually me just kind of filing away in the mental inventory kind of thing. And what I really need to know is, what is this part normally used for? Like, which industries, you know, if it's like an automotive part, I probably can't afford it right? Or if it's a consumer level part, I might not like the specs or whatever, you know what I mean? Like having those kind of filters around around the industries or whatever, that's usually the most helpful. And then I'd love to know, like the, you know, like when prescriptions go off, off label, and they're like, like, Oh, this is a psychotropic but you use it for migraines, or whatever, you know. Oh, yeah. Right. I want to be that doctor who's prescribing the weird chip for, you know, something else
that 10 secret tips that you need to know about this, this certain chip? For what?
Yeah, yes. I don't know. I just, I just think there's always like, so like, I remember, there was an audio part that I saw someone used, it was like, an A B class, a B driver, you know, pretty standard, but it was used for like, like a power amp for a power supply. You know, like, those kind of things where it's like, I guess you could do it by genre in general. But I was just thought that those kinds of things are interesting. So, yeah, yeah.
I just keep a giant spreadsheet of like, am I, you know, I find a cool part, put the part number in. And then I type in like a short description what it is, I can search later.
And you share this with us? Come on, man. Yeah, I go, I can put it out there. That's that sounds that sounds like. I mean, it'd be nice if I guess that's kind of what nice chips works. The nice ship subreddit kind of works as a repository for that stuff. But it would be nice to have like a generalized. You know, what is it? You know, like, kind of like a snap lookup kind of thing? Yeah,
yeah. And I think we've actually talked about this on the neck fab podcast a couple times, but maximum chips on their data sheets have like 800, application schematics on there. And it's like, you can use this chip in these like, 50 different ways. And it's like, Oh, I love their data sheets because of that.
Yeah, yep. Yeah, those are really nice to have those because that is that always catches the eye too, when you're scrolling down the down the datasheet page or whatever. Yeah, they said these, for me, it does? Well, let's take a step back, I know that we're kind of gonna be interviewing each other and just kind of chatting, whatever. But you guys are obviously macro fab. What what is macro fab.
So macro fab is a basically an operations replacement for basically, for engineers, I guess. We basically do low volume OEM manufacturing for anyone that wants it. And the, what sets us apart from most contract manufacturers is, we basically do everything from buying the parts, putting it together, inventory it and also drop shipping to your customers directly.
But we all do this with the aid of a web interface. Correct. That allows you to handle the inventory purchase PCBs. Do the entire thing top to bottom, including giving us instructions on how to build your product. It's it's a it's an end to end application all over the web.
And everything is also has an API endpoint. So you can write your own software if you want to, to also interface with your, like, if you have your own web web store, you can do everything through that as well. Explain that more. So like if you let's say, someone orders, some boards, and you need to, you know, fulfill those boards, you can have the API endpoint automatically just click basically fill this order through my inventory at macro fab.
Oh, okay. So tying it into like a, what's it called
ERP system? I think? Yeah,
I was thinking there's a there's a WordPress based one
ecommerce, something like that commerce
stuff. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, exactly. Cool. That's really cool. And so you guys hold inventory, too. Yeah, we hold inventory. Right. And so Parker, you and Chris were on almost a long, long time ago. Yeah. A year and a half ago. Okay. Okay. Yeah, that was
when we had like four employees. What do you guys that now? 20 something?
Whoa. What's, what's the split on that? Is it like a lot of people working the line? Or is it a lot of software? What? It's about
half and half? Okay. That's great. About half the people work r&d. And the other half is operations.
Okay. Yeah. And I think you guys even moved places, right? Or you were moving when we talked last time? Yeah, we
had just moved to our current location, but we're actually moving again. And like, three, four weeks.
Live in a good sign, right? Yeah. Should maybe get a little bit more space this time than you need. But you know,
yeah, our new shop is over doubled size. So it's from 5000 square feet to 11,000. Yeah.
Nice. That's great. That's really great. You guys gonna double up the lines or anything or
not at the moment? It's mainly because it's, it's the air conditioning.
Our current shop, Stan Yeah, our
current shop has air conditioning, but it is not insulated. Well, okay,
so you're blowing money at the cracks of the building and
Exactly, I think it'd be like 94 outside and like 86 inside the shop.
That's crazy. It gets boring. You're and you're still paying hundreds of dollars a month for the for the privilege, right?
Yes, exactly. Well, at the same time we have a reflow oven that's just dumping heat into that.
Oh, that's true. It's actually not really the reflow oven because the reflow ovens really well insulated. It's the fact that the reflow oven sucks about 1000 cfm of nice AC air out your roof. Yeah,
yeah. Nice. Wow. That's crazy. Yeah, it's crazy. What I I'm always surprised by places like in the Midwest, or, you know, I just moved to Chicago I bet in Cleveland to like, and like these old factories. It's obviously the opposite. It's winters the big problem here, but you know, they just got that single pane glass. And, you know, it's like that the winters are obviously miserable in their in the in the lines, but at least they sometimes have the industrial waste heat that can at least you know, they're paying for it a different way. You know what I mean?
Yeah, I've seen up north I've seen like, for, like mechanic shops and stuff where they just take the used oil and have a used oil heater. Oh, like a barrel Fire? No, no. design that burns off the used oil.
Oh, that's not a bad idea. Actually. I mean, if it if it's, you know, self contained, whatever. Well, that is cool. I'm glad that you guys are expanding. That's a good sign. What about the what about the counties called Map? Is that cool? Yeah, maps.
That's what we call it.
Okay. All right. So how long's map been going on?
This is episode 33. So we're an order of magnitude less than than the amp hour?
Run 315. Yeah. So yeah. But you know, everybody's got to start somewhere. So that's great. I mean, there's obviously a lot of back back episodes, people can listen to stuff like that so. Well, I think the reason I wanted to get to that is because we were talking about finding new chips. Are you allowed to do guys like peek at that? I think it has lameness to it from OSH park when he was on, but like, do you peek at the designs when they come through? No,
I don't at least Are you allowed to?
I mean, like, I don't know. I don't I don't even know how that works honestly. Like,
so. You know, I so I guess I just don't look them. I actually don't know, if we would be allowed to I just from like a, I guess the whole nine thing? Well, no, just from a moral standpoint, it's like, that's their own thing. There's no reason I should look at it. You know? We okay,
we do have, you know, a standard privacy.
No, no, I'm not worried about me. I'm sure that that's I just mean that like, I would be so curious, just about like how people do you know what I mean? Like, there's some there's some like aspect of like voyeurism in electronics? Oh, yeah, I kind of do that with contextual atronics. A little bit to where it's like, you kind of just want to see how people are thinking and what their designs like, obviously, I get I get that privacy piece. So I don't I that's actually good that you guys don't do that. But I just mean, in general, like, you know, we're talking about finding new parts and finding new ways of doing things. Oh, sure.
Well, there's, there's certainly a high level of curiosity that goes into this kind of stuff. In fact, I was I was seeing the quality control checking some some boards earlier today. And it's one of those things where I've got it under a microscope, and I'm sitting there the whole time. It's like, what why did he do that? You know,
sometimes there's really good tricks. You know, like, that's, and that's the other thing too, like you learn these tricks from like, senior engineers. And if you don't have that, then where do you where do you really learn these things? They're gonna mean, yeah, sure. You guys should like, ask if you can publish some of them at some, you know, like, very above board. At some point, I would love to see that where it's just like, hey, they said, it's cool. Check this out.
You know, I actually was thinking is would be cool. If like, you check out on macro fab. Like, there's a button at the bottom that says, Do you want to? Like, can we use your your board as like, you know, advertisement for like social media? Yeah.
So for the developers here are some people might actually get benefit from it. That kind of thing. Yeah, exactly. But,
um, our developers haven't gotten that far down the list yet. Right.
Step one, get the software to work properly. Step two, you know, 7422, add a checkbox. Right. Great. Cheers, Twitter.
It's pretty actually standard to see some panels and some boards walk by and park and be like, what does that do? And we sit there for a second and try to figure out what that board does. That that is that is absolutely that happens every day.
Yeah, that's great. Now that that's got to be one of the perks, I would think, Oh, yeah. Just being around the being around hardware like that is like the variety of hardware, right? Because you guys are like, low volume high mix. Like that kind of stuff is always interesting. With like, high volume. There's a there's a real big difference, right? I mean, like, there's a difference in problems. Definitely. Yeah, has problems. So but it's a different set of things. Yeah.
Yeah. The big thing with with with a high mix, low volume is just it's a it's all QC. It's really easy for when you do like really big manufacturing runs is you're looking at the same board, you know, 1000 times a day, you can automatically make sure that everything's right. But if when every single board is different, yeah, that's when it's hard.
Every single one's fresh, you got to treat it fresh, you got to look at it. You can't memorize patterns, because there are no patterns.
Right? Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that it is interesting to like, I remember, I remember, I used to work with some really good techs. And those guys would have like the eyes for like, their pad, their pattern recognition was just like spot on, they could look at a board and diagnose it in like 10 seconds, just because like, they would scan through it, you know, it had, like, you know, maybe 1200 components on or whatever it was, it was a very complicated board. But it scan through it, they knew there was like, five problematic spots, they, their eyes would Dart to each of those. And it'd be like, Bob, there it is. Right. And like, if they fix that one, and it didn't quite work, then they would just move on. And usually there's other things, whatever. But that's just the life of a good repair tech is like, being able to kind of key in on something and then and then quickly rectify the situation, because time is money, right?
Well, yeah. And it's it's one of those things where most of the time for a repair technician, the actual physical action of repairing something is 10 minutes, or even less, but it could take three hours to figure out the problem. So all of the work is in the diagnosis.
Yeah, like house or other. You know,
yeah, right. Right. Yeah.
And so trying to figure out what it is and five minutes of actually curing the problem.
Right, exactly. It's lupus. It's lupus. It's never late and everything one, it always starts off as
lupus. But it never is later on.
It's gotta be a solid or short. It's gotta be
it's gotta be No, no, it's gotta be it's gotta be the firmware. Come on. Let's that's gotta be. It's gotta be the right word. Hardware guys here.
ESD damage ESD damage. Oh,
they're No, no, no.
It's never. It's never
mind is like, it's only ever ESD damage if you know, I've already dropped on the floor three times. And yeah, it's bent in half. And then oh, it also is ESD damage. All right. So you guys had some stuff on your list? Do you want to go through some of those things? Or?
Yeah, sure. Um, well, I guess our first section then. Rapid Fire opinion. So this would be the first time you've ever done this, Chris?
I think so. Yeah. So
how does it work? So easy. You just have a couple articles will read them off. Have a little short description. And then you basically give like a like your opinion, if you have one or thoughts, you know, try to keep each one about five minutes. Each lot of times it just runs over doesn't really matter. Okay. So yeah, intercell got bought out. I think you know that.
Yeah, we actually we mentioned that. I think last week, two weeks ago, something like that. Yeah, yeah,
um, $3.2 billion.
It's crazy. This year has been like the year of buyouts for the electronics industry. It's just been nuts.
Yeah, I think there has, I think out of the 33 episodes of MIP. We have mentioned a buyout and probably 25 of those.
Yeah. Because it's been non stop.
Well, how many? How many we should speak about and more generally, what are you guys feeling about that? In general? I mean, do you? Do you lament it? Do you care?
Um, I, like always seen more variety of manufacturers. But looking at how difficult it is to actually make semiconductors, it makes sense to kind of consolidate fabs. I think going forward, we'll see a lot more fabulous companies like Silicon Labs and that kind of stuff, where they don't actually have to have all their ops stuff, you know,
oh, don't get yourself into cells already like that. So it was Renesis says, I think some fab capabilities, but these guys, I mean, no one's doing any more anyway, so
it doesn't you just farm it all out?
Mm hmm. I so so my rapid opinion is, this is the NBA playbook. This is basically companies that can't get any more margin out of what they're doing. Understandably, it's like, it is a tough business, like you guys mentioned, but let's just, they can't do anything else. And so it's like, well, we're gonna buy our next set of profits, you know, and part of me dislikes it, especially because I know what the result of it's going to be like this choice, more layoffs, right. All the all the bad stuff. And then the rest of me says whatever. I don't really care.
But it's kind of like the the analog and linear that just happened what a month ago two months ago.
Yes, please don't bring that up. That's yeah, yeah.
Sorry. Yeah. Huge competitors and they're just like, Ah, now not anymore.
Right. And so I think the if my real opinion is is that the SEC is not the FCC sec, it's the FTC rather the ones who do the antitrust stuff. They're just the Federal Trade Commission's they're sitting on their asses and I can't stand it. That's Let's, I mean, I know that that gets into like political stuff as well. But like, there should be more competition in general. But since no one's gonna do anything, it's like, alright, well, what the hell am I gonna do? Well,
yeah, it's also you gotta think about is you is you try to force competition then at that point.
And is that a good thing? That's that's literally their job. Yeah.
Yeah. But is that a good thing and all that other stuff? Well, okay. Yeah. And that
gets into if there's a difference between forcing competition and preventing monopoly. There's a very different thing there.
Yeah, yeah, that's true. That's a good point.
I could see if like, let's say, that makes sense. It's like, let's say, was it a nasty Renesis? rendus Renesis. So for instance, was doing like a hostile takeover? I could see like preventing a monopoly that way? Sure. But what if like, into souls, like, Please buy us out? We're going out of business
kind of thing. Yeah, I guess. So. I think what it really comes down to is that they look at I think the the, the large scale things, look at it as like, you know that so that the the big anti monopoly stuff is looking at this. They're also looking at like at&t merging with Verizon type stuff, right, like huge carriers, right? Where there's these huge categories. Whereas here, they're like, oh, Chip companies buying chip company, there's still a lot of chip companies. And it's like, but we know, as you get down into the sub genres of an subcategories of chips, it's like, well, there's actually not that many in certain areas. And that's really where that's really where I have problems with it. You know, so like, there's just fewer and fewer analog, and then the fewer and fewer, you know, in maybe our systems and stuff like Yeah, exactly, exactly. So I don't know, it. Like I said, it probably kind of gets into the political realm. So we don't need to do that. But it did bugs me, but what am I gonna do?
Yeah, exactly. Start your own chip company, Chris.
Well, start, he would start digging into me too. So yeah. So what's next? Next is
the we've all heard about that USB killer, right?
Yep. Ah, I have, but maybe you should explain what it is. So the USB
killer is a device that plugs into your USB port. It has some capacitors and a little microcontroller on it, and basically it Buck boosts up a couple capacitors charges up to 200 volts, and then zaps your data lines multiple times a second.
Okay, so So here's the piano get, why does this exist? Like?
It's the same reason why, like, Why does viruses exist? Why does Why does graffiti,
it's a hardware attack.
Graffiti is art. I'm sorry. This, it's
It's art. If the person who owns the building says it's okay.
I think we're getting into rough territory. Yeah,
I think I think that Okay, anyways, yeah, so
I did that because this is a direct hardware attack. And in fact, I was watching a video oh, gosh, the other day on this. And and they showed it actually happening, bam, it zaps your your data lines. And Windows completely crapped itself when that happened. And it just, it refused to start afterwards. So it's a way to absolutely just lock out someone out of their machine. So it's
actually it's essentially is a it's vandalism. So, yeah, okay. Well, yeah. I guess I guess. Well, basically, going forward is like, don't put, you know, public facing USB ports on devices.
The the apple method of remove Remove everything. I guess. So. Yeah. Maybe Apple was on to something doubtful. I don't think they're going to 3.5 millimeter jack. So the question you were you posted was, how do you defend? Yeah, how do you defend against? So there's, um, don't hang out with eight holes. That's the answer.
They don't reward facing USB ports on like an ATM. I don't know why the ATM would have one. But it wouldn't surprise me if that existed.
Yeah, right. Right. Yeah.
But But honestly, because of this, we're probably going to see some kind of protection devices that are fast energy dissipation devices that you can put right on your data lines.
Yeah, that somehow don't load down the, you know, differential signaling.
Yeah, some kind of like super fast zingers that can they can just dump it all out.
I mean, if it goes fast enough, wouldn't it eventually start affecting? I mean, there's not like a lot of current behind data signals. But like, if you had if you had a diode on there, I mean, obviously, you know, they're, they're there for transient protection. It's yeah, they transience and stuff like that, you know, you stick those on there. But if they're really fast, aren't they gonna start impacting the signals at some point, or is that is that way off? No, I
yeah, I think would start harvesting, I guess, if you could, if you could detect that kind of event, like if it happens multiple times. So it's like, I guess like a smart ESD device, you know, so you can detect that's not a normal ESD event. That's something trying to attack that bus and turn it off.
It's just just More money, we have to drop into this crap. Yeah,
cuz I can see people who get harmed the most will be like public libraries and stuff that got, you know, computers that anyone can use. Yeah. And it's something you know, that comes with it
the, the way that I would solve this is actually not with electronics, I would solve it with a lock. I mean, you basically you put some hooks in there, or you put some some mounting holes in the side of the USB connector, right. So like, on the left and right side, you put holes there, and then you do it like where you have, you know, plastic device that inserts in there, then you have a key that rotates and it puts some, not tumblers, but whatever they called, like, like bars into those holes. And then you can't, you know, that basically prevents you from removing the lock or inserting USB device like that would be the that'd be the way that I would do it. Now that you can't pick a lock, but at a certain you know, it's that same thing with like, any kind of security thing where eventually, you know, it's just it's locks on a door if someone wants to get in and if they really want you they're gonna bring a sledge hammer, and you know, yeah, that's your stuff. Yeah, if they
really wanted to mess up the computers at the library, they just toss them off the desk.
So, I don't know. Like I said, don't hang out with eight holes. That's probably the best way.
Yeah, it just seems like a really discreet and simple way for damaging hardware.
It definitely is. Yep.
Alright, so next on the list is the Samsung Note Seven exploding this that's been going
on exploding this. Yeah. And this got expensive, too, is a billion dollar recall. I think we had that honor. Yep. Our list of stuff, too. Yep. So there's What about it?
Yeah. So there was some official word from what Samsung has been doing. So Samsung says it's basically they're squishing the batteries too much, is what they're saying. Oh, and it goes bad mechanical design. Yes. That's what they're saying.
But like, wait, wait, if you have it in like your back pocket and you sit down? No. So
all the things that when they blow up, they blow up because they've been prolonged charging for long periods of time. That's why they're blown up
that kind of like the way everyone charges their phones. Yeah, overnight. Yeah.
And so what's interesting that Samsung says it's a bad mechanical design or something like that. But then Samsung pushed out a firmware update. That limits charging to 60% of the battery. So like, so if it was a mechanical issue? It's not like if you charge the battery 100% It somehow gets bigger.
Right, right. It's not a balloon. Yeah, it doesn't fill up, is it? There's more electrons in there now. So it gets a little bigger. Maybe Maybe we have
mechanical firmware nowadays? Yeah. I don't know. Samsung invented it.
Yeah. So there's this guy that was on the, I think it was the Ask electronics subreddit, on on on Reddit. His name is one David, he. And he actually his description is battery management systems and connectors. So I guess he knows the stuff about batteries. And maybe he was wondering, yeah, maybe he was the person that brought up the 60% charge thing. And so he thinks is just bad battery management, which makes sense.
Oh, you mean like the the chipset that's actually trolling it? Yeah. Yeah. So it's doing the, the gauge the fuel gauge stuff and actually seeing, you know, how full is it? Because yeah, you actually, that is actually a pretty interesting topic of like, battery gauges aren't actually they're not directly they're measuring voltage, and as current comes through, but really, it's just doing it over time and averaging, you know, just recording data as it goes along. And then estimating based on how the acceleration of or deceleration of the charging happens,
right. But a lot of times, it actually takes physical readings too, because it's reading the temperature of the battery as that's happening. Along with that, which kind of gives a better gauge of where you're at.
And so what's what's interesting is, if it was a truly, like, it was truly a mechanical issue. You know, Samsung couldn't do anything, you know, that's part of why they're also recalling all these phones. But the firmware updates interesting is they're not living, you know, they're not letting that go up to 100% charge. And it might be the battery management is not set up, right. And it might be something they can't actually update the firmware to, you know, they can make the course until
you get down to that level, but it might be so ingrained that it's like, well, it could be a bad chip, you know, they're not going to tell what that actually is, right?
Yeah, it could just be like, the cut off like the, like on the battery management chip. There's like a cut off and like the resistor value is off, or something like that.
Either. Either that or they've calculated the exact amount of energy that it takes in order to ignite a fire and they're preventing that much energy that's could be
true yeah, yeah. Yeah, cuz these are I mean, these are big phones, right? These are like the the fabric Yeah, ginormous. Yeah. Yeah,
What a Fab Lab. What
are dry numbers? Well, I have a tablet. That's awesome. Yeah, yeah. So it sounds as stupid as they look.
I kind of like the the note.
Love. Yes. This is the Note Seven. Yeah. So that thing's about this big.
Yeah, right. Huge. You know, we're
on you know, we're an audio guys. It was this big.
Imagine a square about the size of a Note seven. That's how big it is.
Yes. very descriptive. Yeah, that's, uh, you know, it's it's a tough problem to like, I don't even know. I mean, this is a consumer level, right? So I obviously Samsung is gonna weather the storm monetarily but like, man, that's just so much hardware in the world. Yeah. To like, with, with a recall. Like, they'll actually give new ones you think or what
I would I would think or at least get your you know, 100% your money back? I think there's like, a million devices, something like that.
Really that many? Yeah.
Something like that's some crazy number. Well, they're saying like a billion dollars recall. And you got think what? $600? iPhone?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get Yeah. $600. A phone would be great. Because then yeah, the rest of it just be overhead and dealing with the waste disposal, stuff like that. Because, I mean, that's a lot of electronics waste, too. But let's
use the phones and like China or something.
Yeah, maybe. I mean, it's possible they could refurb them. But those things aren't exactly made to be disassembled. Right? I mean, like, that's no, they're not. That's my that's my frustration. A lot of phones these days, I miss. Just removable batteries. I know, I know why they started doing that. But it's It's just frustrating. To me. It's actually
really funny because I have a one plus two. And it does not have a removable battery. But the back comes off so you can change what color the back is. Oh, isn't that? Yeah, it's like, Why? Why isn't the battery not removable? At that point?
Right? Well, that's just because consumers care more about the look and feel of stuff than they do about the the specs because they're just gonna upgrade in a year or two anyways.
Well, yeah. But yeah, and I think there might be a little bit of malicious thought in there at the same time, where if you don't have the chance to change out your battery, once your phone starts to degrade, then you just go buy a new one. Instead of just upgrade your battery.
I always hoped that it's not that case. But I'm sure that's part of it. Yeah, unfortunately.
Well, yeah, cuz what lithium batteries have about 500 to 700 recharges before they start to notice really low. So you gotta think is you have to recharge your smartphone once a day. That's about a year and a half.
Right? That sounds right. Yeah. And I've been. So I was at IMTS yesterday, and the end of the day was coming around, and I knew my phone was low and battery. And I was like ready to call an Uber. And the same thing happened was like, Oh, you have 10% your battery dead? I was like, I don't have a car anymore. I don't know where I am.
You know, you know, so I'm sure they do this. But phone companies that report the the level of your battery. If they could just make a better algorithm that's more linear with the discharge rate? Because it seems like it seems like oh, man, I think my phone hangs at like 80% for a while. And then from 80 to zero is like 20 minutes. Well, so
what happens is it will notify you got 10% Absolutely. Check it every two minutes to make sure you have charge.
Yeah, I see. You're artificially accelerating. Yeah, cuz
it's like the screen is like 90% of the battery of that phone. Yeah. I wonder too.
Like, I mean, you guys have seen the the discharge curves of lithium ion batteries before right? Yeah, it has it definitely has that clip at the end. But I just want about repeatability too. So like I mean, controlling for you know nominal current draws whatever like like like you said if it if it is someone checking the phone all the time then that yeah, it's gonna obviously change things, but I don't even know it must be somewhat consistent, right? I don't I've never actually designed a fuel gauge chip in I don't think so.
I haven't designed a fuel gauge ship either. So I wouldn't know.
Maybe I'll have to do that. I think I think that would just might be the best solution is to just go design one and see what happens because I don't know. Like it's well, there. There are I've seen what the series is like the TAs got one series The BT q 24,000. Series. I think they have fuel fuel gauge in there.
I've used the PQ four seven something something something before I think it's four seven. It's a lithium battery management chip.
Yeah, it's yeah, it's exactly it's not just the charger anymore. It's like the it's got other a bunch of other bells and whistles.
Yeah, so and it actually reports what level you're
at. Huh? That one doesn't they have some that do though? Oh, yeah. Okay. And it kind of guess, but yeah,
yeah. And it must be me. Maybe it's also tied in because it's a it's a buck boost type of thing to where you know the The you know, it's it's trying to switch modes as well, you know, trying to boost it up or whatever towards the end maybe that changes things but I don't know it just seems like a tough problem especially since this is such a critical piece of, of technology over time. Yeah. You know, like we're lithium ion is not going away or whatever it is, you know might be
life EPO, sir. fusion cells monomers.
Yeah. microwaves. So how does it work? See you said 500 to 700 charges, but what about like? What about like on electric vehicles?
I think it's about the same. Right? No, how
could that be possible will be a year and a half?
That's a full cycle. Okay. So yeah, the charge is talking there is a complete discharge and a complete recharge. It drastically decreases when you're doing partial charges.
Like the even you get more total cycles. If it's part that's correct,
correct. Okay, so yeah,
if you're just hammering the battery on and off, full discharge charge, it's 500 to 700.
Right. And I guess that's how people use phones too, because they're, you know, there's just less capacity overall, whereas someone might, you know, drive to the store and back and then top it up kind of thing. Yeah. Did you guys see that article? I actually didn't post it anywhere. Do you see that article about it was a really cheeky title. It was like, the the car that Elon Musk dreamed of is finally coming to fruition. It's just not being made by my Tesla. No, I didn't see that one. Yeah, cuz Chevy. So Chevy is putting on a new a new Evie. Like a, you know, it's like a hatchback, tiny little thing, but it's got like, I think they said 230 plus miles of range on it. How expensive is that? 30,000 after rebate? That's not bad. No, I mean, like it really I mean, like that really is like the that is what they've been talking about a long time. And that's what the I think the model threes like, as well. So yeah, interesting things happening with the automotive industry right now. I think, especially on that side. I
wonder where they're going to get their batteries from? I wonder if they're just gonna buy them from Tesla.
No, they said that LG tech, so I assume as part of LG Electronics, but that's to their battery supplier is LG tech. So it'd be
from overseas on
a yes. I don't know if there's, I guess there was that a 123 was in Michigan, right. I think that was at one point. But they shut down. Yeah. So yeah, that's honestly I'm basing it all on a single New York Times article that I read and will post obviously, but unless you guys want you guys wanna do the notes this time? You can look at your notes. Alright, sweet. Yeah. Send people over to the microphone. Think? Well, I have it somewhere, though. Yeah. Just always, always doing the notes. You know, you guys are Yeah.
Actually, you talked about the IMTS. Right. Yes, I guess I was actually looking through your pictures. What's with all the people with VR goggles on and that one picture?
Okay, so that virtual line I could? Yeah, so. So IMTS is a trade show that happened here in Chicago at McCormick Place, which is the one of the main there's McCormick Place down south of the city and then there's Rosemont which is out by the airport by O'Hare. And so it's a machining show. It's you know, machining and robots and just industrial automation around around metalworking, and 3d printing and all this crazy stuff. So yeah, so I was there yesterday, I took some pictures and that so the picture you're talking about, is I forget who did it. It was I think it must have been. I think that was Haas maybe, but it was like a virtual, it was a virtual show floor or as a virtual shop floor. Rather. It was really gimmicky though, like so all these people were there's like four people in a row wearing headsets or like VR goggles. And they were just like, looking around and there was like machining operations and robots doing their thing internally. I don't think there's any interaction. So
so it was like it was it was exactly like the show floor like this machine's around doing stuff. Except that it was in virtually
no, like a shop floor like an actual like, okay, the machine
was like, it was like The Sims factory in VR. Yeah.
Right, exactly. Yeah. So but here's what I will say about that because I did want to talk about this as well. We have the most boring conferences in the electronics industry compared to that holy crap. So So you saw you saw the pictures right? Yeah. So there was this one I think it was a lady that must been like a lathe station or something. But like you look at the scale of it and like you're like oh, it looks like just you know like a you know like horizontal lathe with like the big closing cabinet whatever. And then you kind of like you kind of look a little closer and you realize the bottom of the cabinet is at the top of people's heads because this thing is so huge Yeah. That it's making parts for I don't know no like engines or something you know dreams or Yeah, yeah, it must Yeah, it
camshaft for shipping. Like diesel engines and shipping boats. Yeah,
exactly. I, I literally had shortness of breath yet, like I was drinking a bunch of coffee. So I'm sure that was part of it too. I literally was having trouble breathing walking around the show, just because it was just like so much sensory overload. And it was just like, you're in the middle of, you know, it's a it's a conference, right? It's, it's, you know, the, the padded carpet everywhere, and everybody's in suits. And then there's a five axis mill next to you cutting, you know, a propeller and doing its thing. You're like, what is going on here? And it's not one of them. It's like, you know, and there was just like, the Haas station was probably 30 machines, all different all doing their own thing. You know, it was so, so, so insane. And, and I've been on electronics conferences. And we're so boring. Compared to that, you know, like, how do you compete with that?
Lots of blinking LEDs?
You still? I don't know,
I, you know, a couple 100 million dollars would would help you compete? For sure.
Yeah, that was and that was the other thing, like just the scale of like, I mean, you must, it must have taken them days to move these things in there. They're huge, huge machines and like, you know, Chicago's union labor, so it's probably really expensive to move that crap in.
Can you imagine how much power they'd have to route for that place?
Exactly. It's all three phase. It's like, yeah, it was it was nutty. And so let me pull up these pictures too, because I can talk to I mean, obviously, you know, we'll link it in you need to look at the pictures blah, blah, blah. But
imagine a picture of a giant lathe. Yeah, cuz maker fairs like, you get 3d printers and sometimes you get like a, you know, DIY, you know, axis machine like CNC but
yeah, exactly. Exactly. You know, and actually, I was thinking that too, like, I have never felt that much. Because I had been using my 3d printer in the morning I never felt that much like imposter syndrome where like, you go in you're like, Oh, I've got my three axis littles you know
so before you know what your printer before your Chris, you're gonna put giant tires and lift your 3d printer up.
I don't think that would help. Even like this is this is just like the scale of like, you know, they've got like the super, you know, they've got like 20 horsepower motors driving these, you know, driving the spindles and stuff like that. It's just, it's insane. Wow. Let's see what else is on here? Oh, yeah. I mean, like, obviously, there's just the scale of the conference itself as well. What else did I want to say? Well, we Oh, did you see that the first picture of the big robot of the big the big arm? Yeah. So I say for nuke. But I don't think that's right. I think it's FANUC. Or I'm not actually sure how you say the company name. But the reason I took a picture of that is because I wasn't allowed to take a picture when I went to the Tesla factory. Alicia and Chris were kind of take me on a tour of the Tesla factory when they went and I did talk about on the show. But we weren't allowed to take any pictures in there. However, I can say that this is the robot arm that lifts the car up off the assembly line puts it up onto a tray. And then another one takes it off the tray and puts it down in the next assembly line. And it keeps going all in all in order just to let traffic go by these cars in order to reverse line.
What's interesting is I got to or the Tesla factory and I got to take pictures.
Maybe I should have just asked nicer maybe how did you get to take
it? I didn't ask I just start taking pictures.
You know you might get sued by Tesla like that's like an Insta suing you know like that's like a button somewhere yeah,
the only Yeah, it's the suit is like I opened up my bank account. It's like negative $4 billion.
You owe Elon Musk. Yeah.
The only thing we couldn't do when we were at the Tesla factory was we couldn't go to the battery area Boileau like they're stuffing the battery boxes. They go underneath of we could not go into that room. That's the only proprietary thing that was the only thing they wouldn't let us go look at
so maybe it When did you go maybe like it was maybe they've changed their policy since
that was to make your fares ago? Two or three
years ago. All right. Well, maybe maybe you just got lucky. Or maybe you're gonna you're gonna go on
on day. Like where they work in the floor. Yeah. Oh, we went on a weekend. So we did there was no one there. Okay, so
that's probably why that is. Yeah, I bet Sure. Maybe like business intelligence how the line work stuff.
Yeah, it was probably that because all the machines were the only things that were on were like the six axis machines. They were like cutting out like the rear housing for the axes for the axles. And that was the only thing that was running, but everything else was shut down.
Makes sense that I guess
that's probably why
Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, so otherwise at the show, though, I mean, like the robotics as well, like, you know, this is, this is like a different like so like, you know, we see a lot of robots these days, kind of moving into the maker space. as well. And this is not that this is like industrial like Nachi. And who's the other big one? Yak salah or something like that. But yeah, these are just like crazy, crazy industrial robots, obviously Folker I don't know how to say any of these names, apparently. But it's obviously a lot of work holding and stuff like that. So it's a kook as well. I knew them. Yeah. So it's just fun to I don't know, I could watch that stuff all day long. So yeah, there's a really cool, highly recommend.
Oh, yeah, there's a really cool video of one. It's like, it's one that Japanese companies that makes us big robot arms. And they have to samurai swords are touching just the tip. And they're like, in their life moving around. Yeah, yeah. Check the description below to see that video.
Yeah. Every year here in Houston, we actually have the, the turbo machinery show. And it's
turbo machine. Yeah, that
sounds awesome. I need to go.
It's, it's the power generation industry. So cool. Cool. So it's a lot of steam generation turbines, it's pumps. It's all the machinery that goes along with that. And I have a previous job I used to go every year I had to go every year and represent but we got to walk around. And it was it was the exact same kind of thing. They had like 3d Sand printers that were printing, the turbine blades for, you know, a coal power plant. And it was just the machines the size of the room. And it's just mesmerizing, to sit there and watch it. And and one year, Siemens actually showed up with a $3 million turbine and just set it in the middle of the room, you know, and they had, they had the whole rotor blade lifted out. And they on their stand, they actually had a hologram where you went and you would walk into this certain area, and the hologram would project all around you. And this entire steam turbine would explode into all of its parts. And it was just, it was just like, oh my god, like all of these turbine parts are all around you. And it's just like, I wish it could be some other industry that was doing like Siemens has enough money to pull this off. You know, but like, yeah, I was right
then we need more. More awesome stuff at at shows. Oh, yeah.
I mean, yeah, I mean, that's what it comes down to is like their stuff is just naturally all inspiring, just because of the scale and the size and the power of it. Right. Yeah. And
but it really makes you question like, you look at this thing and you like how did they make that? How like, just because it is so big. How is it? It's the
opposite way is something so tiny? How did they make that? Well, we
all live in that world. We live
in that world, right? But humans humans just don't naturally react to that because it's just certain point it just scales down to magic Right? Right. Yeah, I
got it you want we need to make room size just ginormous relay
it looks like like one of those gates closing Yeah, like, like, like a parking gate. Exactly. Set the closes and 10 millisecond. Yeah.
Yeah. And you had to put hearing protection on when it latches. Right. Right. Exactly.
It latches and the the entire room. Well,
it needs to close with like a cannon shell. Yeah. Exploded closed.
That would, that would be impressive. It's just no one was survived to talk about it. That's the only
thing you know, actually. So so funny enough. Another story. I worked for a power company here in Texas. And I was at I was at a nuclear plant actually in in North Texas. And they had to close the contactors for the entire plant. And they were the whole they
were these huge device. Huge knife switch. Yeah.
That's crazy. It looked like a giant conch shell. So it was like this giant spiral thing. And they actually had to load it with these explosive charges, because they couldn't blow the contacts away fast enough with like a spring drive or anything like that. So they had to explode the the switch apart? Or it would well Wow. And it was it was one of those things where like, all the line operators are out there. And they're just like, everyone's All right. And I'm this intern sitting out there. I'm like, what's going on? What's going on? And then I hit this explosion. It's like, earth shattering and everyone doesn't really care. It was like, what is
it in the back of their pickup truck with the bed down open up beer, right? Yeah.
Because to them that's normal to me. It's like oh my god, the world is splitting open. Right? It was it was it was super cool.
And that's the thing so like that actually, that was another thing that like so even walking around, right? You do a couple laps, whatever. And you know, it's crazy because the human brain is very adaptable, whatever and you do start to normalize it. You're like, oh, yeah, like huge, you know, like huge mill, right? Whatever. It's just a turbine blade or whatever. But like I think that's the thing because that I was thinking about that used to happen to me, I remember the first time I saw a bunch of FAB equipment, the first time I went into a fab, it's just like, you're like, holy crap. I've never seen anything this big before, right? Like, like a, like a tog Rafi, the typography machine, right with all these chambers and whatever. And you can watch it all day long. And eventually, you're just like, I gotta get some work done. Now, you know? You just normalized to it because you have to, you know, like, I don't know. So I'm sure it's similar. So maybe the the key thing is just to keep going to conferences that you're not used to. And maybe that's where you you, you really get the most magic magical bang for your buck. constantly having your mind blown. Yeah, right. Exactly. You know, so, yeah, that, but highly recommend machining shows, they love it. That was fun as hell. So it's good to know that there are because the other thing is that our I think our industry is kind of toning down the whole trade show thing as well. So it's nice to know that there are still things like that. Yeah. Cool. I guess there's still electronica. That's a big one. But that's also because that's towards the industrial and automotive sectors, which have a lot of money still in them. So. And it's Germany. So. Yeah, so that was IMTS. What else is going on? You guys?
Ah, that's actually the end of our list. Do you have anything you want to talk about?
Hmm. Well, we do have I will remind people, we do have a subreddit. Obviously, you guys were talking about Reddit already. And we do have our subreddit called the amp hour or slash are slash the amp hour. You know, there's a couple things on here. I was talking to Mike today about it to Mike's dish. ESP 32. What do you guys think about that? Have you been even looking at it? What do you think about the saw about the new specs? And some only
use? It's, I guess, its predecessor only a couple times? Haven't done too much with it. The specs that's most interesting is it's a dual core right now.
I guess so. Yeah.
I think it's got two microcontrollers on its core now. Yeah. So that's gonna be interesting. Um, I think they're also trying to push the company trying to push more openness in terms of its platform, like how do you program it? How do you do this? Because it's got its own auxilary core. Now. Now you can now you don't need your Arduino anymore. Right. Right. It'd be awesome. If you could just, you know, if they made a little tiny board, that's the Wi Fi board that's got a USB plug on it. So you just plug into it, and then load up all your code via you know, the Arduino IDE. That'd be cool.
Right? Right. Yeah. That would be nice. I think that that, you know, that obviously, that's got staying power in terms of, you know, people are comfortable with platform, and they're able to peek and poke around the the registers and the pins and stuff. So I think that that is still something that people are going to want, regardless of how much power it's got. But yeah, I'm just, I keep looking at this thing. And just the, you know, the, the the cost driver, that is almost always the thing, right? When you really think about internet connected operations and having everything connected as a node, it's like, you really get the cost down. And, and this is one of the, at least the accessible things to the, to the community that we're most privy to. So that's, that's usually why I'm most interested in this stuff. Like, especially the ESB family, whatever. Yeah,
I think the last one is like, What $2 And something cents for module now. Yeah, it's
It's definitely not I think this one is $7. Right now for Module.
I like the idea of being able to offload GPIO I think that's super cool. Being able to give give a secondary thing at specially if it's, if it's handling all your internet connectivity, and you need it to just directly do its own thing with its own pins. It's just available right there. That just makes it so much more convenient than having to do all this communication loop between your main processor.
Right, right. Yeah, cuz, well, yeah, exactly. Because when you when you have a loop at all, right, that's, I mean, that's kind of the the downside to a microcontroller in the first place. If you really, if you really start to get if you really start to get heavy into processing and stuff, like you have to go back and check every everything that's in the loop. And, and then you can't have as the same update rates, right. FPGAs for the win, but sometimes it's better to just throw more processors at it in the first place. Right?
Yeah. Especially if there's a clear delineated line that you can draw between the two. If, if this processor can just handle all of this crap, just let it do that. You know,
right. Right. And anyway, you spoke about arduino before to like if you look at like those solutions for what was that one that actually was internet connected? One of the Arduinos was the not to do a the UE whatever. Yeah, yes. I
think that why you? Yeah, I
think yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, exactly. The UE or have you said, Yeah, and that was really just that was just a module that was running Linux and doing its own thing because it needed to have, you know, basically a software stack, but it just kind of sat on its own. Yeah. So talk to us. Just like hey, do this. Yeah. Or get me there connect me to the internet. Right.
So yeah, that, uh, that is definitely the, the easier way to do things. I
think so. And I think I think it really aids in kind of the education and just the ease of everything. If you turn everything into a Lego block, where it's just like, Hey, today, I need the red Lego block, which is equivalent to this chip. And I just place it down. I'm done, you know,
so, so we should make a Twitter chip. That's, you know, the chip that just automatically talks to Twitter.
And you know, like, you could probably just program something and sell that chip, and people would buy it. I guarantee you, because it would, it's just like,
I bet that's, I bet you're right. Actually that yeah, you could just have like a generic Well, you could probably make it out of like an ESP 32. Or whatever, you just slap a label on there, you know, or something. It looks like a Twitter logo because you can't use their logo. And yeah, no, that's actually a really good point. That's kind of like, it's like the if this, then that suffocation of silicon, or silicon,
like on boot, it just sends the chip your login information, and bam, it doesn't.
And it's really kind of not even a question of what power to give it. Nowadays, it's like, everything takes 3.3 volt. It's more about do you choose SPI or I squared C for your communication protocol, you know, and even even within that, it's still like, you choose I squared C, you know, like, that's just the way it goes. Man, I like spy like spy too. I like going fast, but I squared C is just way more readily available.
Right? I thought you were gonna say when you were saying power is like, honestly, the thing that limits all this stuff, right? So like throwing more bandwidth at or more, you know, silicon, even like, at this point, cost isn't an issue. I think one of the limiting things is still battery, right? Because if you're on a battery solution, then and you're just sitting on the network, then that's expensive in terms of in terms of charge, right. So that's often the limiting factor. But Well, true. If we were plugged in, you're fine. You know, or if you don't care or if it's worth it to you, right? Yeah. But I
mean, I mean, look at the sleep power that's on half of these chips. Nowadays. It's like four micro amps, you know, or less, you know, that's even high on a lot of them.
Well, yeah, um, I think he's talking about like, continuous connectivity.
Yeah, right. Right. Right. Yeah. If you're, if you're, yeah, if
you average over all the all the time, right, you know, cuz yeah, the it cost more to transmit and everything like that, but Right, right. Yeah. I don't know. So interesting. Now, we'll see if we see more projects from this. Maybe? I think we will. Yeah,
it's kind of a guarantee. Yeah.
See, that's the kind of thing that I was kind of asking at the beginning. You know, like, I don't need to know what the projects are, or whatever I want like a, just a general report of like, like, oh, ESP. 32 is trending. You know what I mean? Like, that's what, that's what your homework is. Able to do it, whatever. But I'm going to still ask for it. Like, I just want to know, like, what's, what's the hot chip these days? Right? Oh, you should pay attention to this stuff. And I think that that stuff gets a little bit skewed as well, because a lot of people are still, you know, like, a lot of the projects, especially the one offs are probably using like, you know, 320 at night, guys,
I'll say at 320.
Right. But if you just like filtered out the if you filter it out, like the super common stuff, you know, like or you looked at the number three, four or five chips that are out there that that kind of stuff. That's very interesting. What if you could just think that role,
like GitHub, looking for public account? Yeah, looking for parts?
Do you guys use GitHub for your free? Yeah, I
use personally, I have my personal GitHub, and then we actually have a macro fab GitHub for hardware, hardware and software.
Okay. What are you guys building? hardware for yourself? Yeah. First Company.
We have a couple of like, company sponsored projects. Oh, I didn't know about that. Yeah, you should take a look at the the super simple power supply the SSPs. Okay, that's a, okay, what?
It's a 700 watt high current high voltage output. digitally controlled. It, there's nothing simple about it. It's the joke is in the name. Yeah, like it's this mega monster power supply that we've been designing for a year.
So those are, the main thing is it does plus minus 40 volts. So you can actually, you can actually give it a waveform, and it will do that waveform at 700 watts.
Basically what it is, is it's a function generator that has 10, amp output care capability, and plus minus carnival. So you can you can spit out DC or AC or if you wanted to do like 12 volts with a ton of noise on it. You could just program that in and it'll give you that so we're just trying to make like, the one power supply for our bench.
Yep. One Power splatter. Exactly. Exactly.
So so all that stuff's up on GitHub too. So
yeah, and I see Opa 541. Is that should be used
and which is funny because you were actually talking about that earlier about guys using Audio op amps for power supplies. That's exactly what this case you can use that op amp for like 120 Watt output, but we've, we've paralyzed them and reconfigured it so we can get like, up to 700 watts out.
Yep, parallel light. Exactly. parallelizing something is very right. parallelize paralyzing, is what happens to me when I have to make a decision on a new tree. Okay, so yeah, I'm looking at the pictures now too. So the sets use a toroidal transformer, what comes off the transformer? Like 5060 volts off the transformer,
actually. So it's a, if I remember right, it's a 32 volt that's RMS all said and done once it's rectified. It comes out to be 43 volts.
Okay, and then it's kind of rail rail on the on the
actual it's real close to renovate that's not exactly but pretty, pretty close
to you guys not do is there's meant to be a heatsink on this. It's just it's actually water cooled.
Yep. Yeah, we have a full like, what we have a copper block where all because so here's the thing, also Transformers The then then we have a plus minus 35 volt regulators. And then those dump into our op amps. And and all of that's connected to a water block, which is in a closed loop. Radiator system.
So you guys are making it super practical. Oh, yeah.
So the joke is it was originally called the Super, the super, super, super stupid power, super stupid power supply. And we're like, they told us you can't call it that. He said it was the SSPs we had to come up with another.
Right, right, the SSPs. Right. I see. That's nice. That's a nice origin.
And actually, what's what's funny is a lot of it started from something that we've talked about a couple times is I'll go to Mouser or Parker go to Mouser. And every once a while, I'll just go to like op amps. And I'll just search for the most ridiculous op amp I can find. You know, the one like, yeah.
And I put the slider all the way to the right. And you see what comes out. And
I found the OPA five, four ones. I was like, Oh my God, what can we do with this? So it kind of spawned this huge project.
So, okay, so wait, so what do you have two of these? So it's a plus minus 40. Fold.
Okay, yeah, but what output current 1010? MP 10? Epic? Yeah. But one or two of
these things. So there's two channels in the in the, the outflow that's so So technically, you can get 70 volts at 10 amps.
Yeah. Oh, cuz you could put them in, put them down, we actually
actually will have relays built in. And so you just press a button that says I want to serialize the outputs. And it'll go clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, it'll automatically do that for you. Yeah.
That's pretty cool. And it runs on, we actually have 216 bit, Dax, which control everything. One, one of the DAX does 16 bits from zero up to 35 volts, the other one does zero down to negative 35. So we sort of have a positive negative 16 volt, huge rail. And then we have a 16 bit current reading in so we can see what what are our current is for both channels.
How does it do with capacitive loads? I mean, obviously, it has to be a big capacitive load but
right. We haven't gotten that far yet where we've we've kind of we've had the the generalized hardware designed and the proof of concept, but that's kind of the point at which we're
at. Okay, yeah, cuz so I'm guessing it monitors feedback, right at the output. Yes. It doesn't have like remote remote monitoring stuff like that, right?
Yeah. Yeah, like directly as well. This
this is still a fun project, though. I mean, like this is that's great. I mean, that's that's really so like, that's pretty you guys's job like to make funky project? Yeah,
that's that's part of it.
Yeah. Yeah. And it's, you know, it's
Stuff that, you know, we give we give fairly regular updates on the podcast.
Yeah. Yeah, I was looking at the tag. I saw the if you look at the SSPs tag on your blog, it pulls up all the podcasts that are mentioning it.
Yeah. Yeah. And I've been I've been writing blog posts about the design as I go along, and all the crazy stuff I've been running into.
Cool, that's great. This is a that's a that's a great little thing to follow along with, you know, like, like I said, voyeurism, right? Like you want to hear kind of, well, what are some of the issues you ran into? Right? What are the you could find, like everything I ran into? Right, of course, but I mean, like, there's, there's so few ways to actually learn that stuff outside of I mean, I obviously I'm a big proponent of just do it. But you know what I mean? Like, sometimes it's like, it'd be nice to be able to have some prompting beforehand where it's like, well, at least, you know, if someone would have told the House that it wasn't lupus, it wasn't going to be lupus at all. And he would have arrived at that last instead of starting with Ray. Exactly. So like having that for electronics is nice to where you're like, Oh, well, it's it's probably, you know, it might be definitely check your rails of course, but like, you know, like having like this kind of laundry list in your head of things that it could be and you're kind of just like, we just pattern matching again, right? You're just trying to figure out does this does this jive with things that I've seen personally or heard? The BEP guys talking about? You know, like that, that kind of stuff. I think that's really useful. Yeah. So back to GitHub real quick. So what? Now the awkward question, what is what is your QED of choice?
Actually, that's actually really funny. That was a question that we were going to ask, but I didn't write it down. So you talked about EDA tool, right? Okay. I like Eagle gas. Hmm.
Okay, I'm so so I'm probably the odd guy. I am Captain delicious.
No, no, I like I mean, like, I like dip trace, it's probably the closest to like the key bindings of like windows that are used to Yeah. I mean, that the main downside is that it's just, you know, it's a paid license, but that's actually pretty, like, people pay for software too. So that's, that's fine.
You know, and the thing was, when I was I gotcha was years ago, I was looking to purchase an EDA tool, because I wanted to be official. I was actually starting my own business at that time. And I wanted to be official with what I was doing. And I tried to Eagle for like, two minutes. I was like, Well, this is clearly not what I'm gonna buy. So like I searched around, no, oh, yeah. No, no, sorry. I'm just,
I think it's actually what you come in with. I think that's what actually would like. So if you're used to other stuff, too, like people that are eagle or like, they never come to chi CAD because it's, it's so drastically different. And usually, I don't go to dip trace, either, unless they're, you know, like, usually, if there's not some forcing function, then people won't change at all. So I don't I don't hold it. Well, and
I've found that evil guys are like, Eagle guys are Eagle guys. They will they will just tell you all day long. Why eagle is the best. And they think it's the best and like they're just
firmly like a water cooler conversation.
Yeah, no, it's consonant. Parker and I have this all the time. And I will admit, there's a lot of things that eagle does better than dip trace. But there's just so it's just so cumbersome for me, I just just doesn't feel intuitive in any way, shape, or form. It feels like I have to figure out how to do everything. And I like my left mouse button. I like it a lot. Everything else uses it except for Eagle. That's right.
So I come from a I come from like a drafting program background. And eagle is Eagles interfaces, just like let's say Autodesk 2000. And so like I started using Eagle, I'm like you like you like doing the commands? Yeah, I saw using eagle and I'm like, this is just like Autodesk. Does that right
on? Yeah, yeah. And that's
what actually is Autodesk? Yes. Now it is. come full circle.
That's right. And you Chris, what do you use?
You know, I'm undecided guys. I don't know
how you use KiCad. Lisa? Sweet used for
SEO? Yeah, no, it's like what I build. I talk about Yeah, dog. Weight. really confused? Yeah, no. Yeah. So yeah, okay, good. So no, cuz I the reason I wanted to ask about this anyways, it's just because is there any? Yeah, so the dip stuff is all raw. You have to look at the you can't you can actually see any the change it not not that you can really use it for chi CAD anyways. But like, sometimes you can kind of discern like the the changes in the ASCII format stuff. So like, if you're doing a diff between between boards,
you can it's not it's not pretty?
Right? You just mostly know that that file is different. Yeah, that's the main Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so like, I obviously I argue with Dave all the time about about GitHub. I think it's I think it's actually a great solution for for hardware. I love it. Yeah, I think but also, it's the same. I think Dave's argument is the same argument that I have against Eagle. Right. So like, using command line is very unintuitive for Dave Right. I find it very unintuitive for CAD, right for typing actual full commands. And but like some people just like that,
say I just, I just use the kindo the the GitHub Windows app.
Oh, no, no. No, it's well, I'm curious now actually, what is Dave prefer?
Dave uses folders. I think Dropbox. Yes. Yeah. No, we've talked about that a lot. And I like like you said, you know, at the end of the day, what it comes down to with with revision control in general. It's like, if you're doing anything, you're you're beating 80% of the competition, right? Because if you're just like, well, it's, it's still there, so I'm fine or you know, that is not.
And it saves the unused I'm fine.
Right? Exactly. Yeah, that kind of stuff. And so I think that, like, I think Dropbox works fine. You know, for that kind of stuff. It's a little bit cumbersome in terms of like, it's always updating, but like, Yeah, whatever, you know, and it has, it's actually saved my bacon a couple times to where I was, even though I was using GitHub, I was adding a dropbox folder. And, you know, I was able to revert back even though I, because I was learning GitHub, the Git command, so I, you know, I killed something. I was able to back it up. So
So that's actually funny, because I do the exact same thing. For everything that I have on GitHub. I actually have it on a Dropbox account, too.
Yeah, exactly. And like, it's, it's a nice backup to a backup to back.
So yeah, that's good, though. That's, that's nice that you? I think the thing is that you said like, this was kind of the promise of upward as well, like, they always talked about, well, you know, they had a good GitHub, like functionality, but the real problem is that you don't really ever no one really forks hardware, you know, I mean, like some people do, but not enough that it really matters matters to to draw, yeah, to like to have a whole separate system, I think. So. If you do, you're probably gonna be like, well, your v1 is good, but I'm going to make V 1.1. And it's just completely diverging, there's no, there is no chance of it merging back into your, your original.
Maybe that maybe you do that on like an Arduino shield template, or something like that.
Yeah, yeah, I guess you could, but even still, like, if so if, if you had a shield template, I go and modify it, right? I'm not gonna be like, merge my changes back. And I'm going to be like, mine should be the new master. You know what I mean? Like, yeah, that's probably probably the scenario that's gonna happen, it's not going to be like, like, oh, well, you pull my changes, and maybe with so like, if you are on the same EDA tool, then maybe it's like with chi CAD, you can do pages and stuff. Maybe you split it up a page, maybe if you do that dip trace, or Eagle Two. But again, like, it's not worth it, because there's so much interconnected stuff. It's just not built for it. Right?
I that's the thing. I mainly use GitHub, actually, just so that I don't have to copy my files onto a thumb drive. Oh, to go between computers. So like, if I'm at work, I can, you know, save my changes to GitHub. And when I come home, I just go get all my, you know, good stuff. And I'm like, ready to go again? Yeah, don't worry about it.
Right? Yeah, it's more of a workflow thing, just to make sure that you're done at the end of the day. Definitely commit all your stuff, and you're ready to
go well, and we put all of our macro fab libraries and things up there. These are all the stuff that works with our house parts, and everything. So oh, that's super, super convenient. And we have it for the three major EDA tools yet trace Eagle CAD. So you know,
cuz you guys, I hate to tell you those three. Okay, I'm sorry, maybe
the three major three majors for the for the for the hacker maker community. Let's put it that way. Right. Yeah, you're absolutely right. Those aren't better. Yeah.
Yeah. Right. I think the billion dollar companies that are behind the other ones might not billion dollar, but you know, the big companies that yeah, they might argue
in terms of who who is uploading projects into macro fab right now. Those are the major ones.
Oh, actually, that's always a good question, too. Yes. Okay. So those are the big three. Are you still are you seeing? Not from a customer base, but just like, are you seeing Altium stuff? We see a ton of Altium stuff. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Okay, so that is another Oh, yeah. What about any, like super weird ones? Or? Yeah, cuz you guys actually, the X yrs stuff. And you can probably tell from
this this last week, we actually had so funny. We had a guy uploading files from ulti board, if you've ever had experience where Yeah, so So you know, Dino Multisim, from ni instruments, National Instruments. Yeah, and they have that they have the add on package which is ulti board, which is actually the first EDA tool that I ever learned on and I loved it. It was awesome. You know, it was so popular. So So what I really liked about it, and maybe this was just being juvenile as an engineer, but what was cool about it is if you placed a part on a board and you wanted to modify that part, you could access the footprint as it stood on the board and modify it in place and save it right there. You didn't have to go to a separate anything to modify footprint you modified it right there and then saved it right to your file so it's so it was so dangerous it is incredibly dangerous
well then I double clicked in the soI C became an M shop and well I guess that's why our product but
what was really cool is it had like it was all in one package like with all the board you had like you had these days. It was fully integrated. Yeah, yeah, these kind of revision loops that happened all over the place all over your board and I really loved it at the time. Regardless, we actually had a guy tried to upload files from not tried he did upload The files from off the board this week, which that was like, Whoa, no blast from the past for me. Like I didn't know anyone still uses that.
We've seen stuff from fridge sink. Yeah. fritzing
Yeah, I know a lot of people that like that. What's the other one? It's a cat.
Oh, yeah. Free cat. No, it's something like that though. Yeah, they that's not free. I'm talking about
it's not. It's got a cat for a logo can't run what's called?
No, because we talked about a couple episodes ago on the show. And then they contacted us. It was kind of like it was meant to be like a chi CAD type open. Or like open source stuff. Yeah,
I think you're right. Oh, well. I Google it real quick. See, I can come up with something.
Googling cats. It's only a tool actually comes over KiCad. Yeah, I there was one of those. We sometimes see pads. Mm, yeah. Cadence sometimes, God forbid, if you use that software package,
or CAD, it's rough.
Well, I think that's the same thing. Like a lot of those. They're just the same because their customers ask them to be the same, you know, like that. Yeah. I think I think that that's actually like a great example of like, the, you know, the, what was it the Henry Ford. If I would have asked what they wanted, they would have said better buggy whips or whatever. These guys wanted faster horses, faster horses, whatever. Yeah. That's like basically what they're doing. Like they're their internal marketing, product marketing. People are like, you know, what do you want us to change and all of their high paying customers are full of, you know, 30 year CAD engineers who are experts what they do, don't get me wrong, but they're like, don't change anything. They're like, Alright, great. Yeah. We'll
do those are the guys that renew their subscription every month?
Exactly. Yeah. And it's, it's not a small it is not a small check. So yeah. So anything else on this list that we should be talking about here? Let's see. Yeah, Google killed their smartphone, blah, blah, blah, IT tech ITT Tech is closing. That's kind of interesting. That's actually another that's actually a funding thing. But I don't really have any love loss for them for profit education. Yeah, at least in certain forums are sometimes a little shady than they should be.
I've had I've had a couple friends who who unfortunately went through ITT and I've never heard anyone say anything positive.
Yeah, I'm sure there are success stories but yeah, it's I think, unfortunately on the on the larger side it's it's not delivering for early electronics at least the I mean, like I said, I knew some texts that were decent, but I think they would they would have been decent no matter where they went, you know? Exactly. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, I guess that's kind of all we got on the list here guys. I
think so too. Cool.
Are you guys going to be at Maker Faire in New York? Because I think I met Parker there the first time right? Yeah.
Um, I don't think we are going I can check with Chris but I don't think we'll be going
okay. Well, I will be there I found out I'll be coming back from Europe, so I'll be flying through there. But so if anyone is there, seek me out I'll probably be a zombie but I'll be around as at the end of September right? It's yeah, October 1. Yep. Ah,
yeah, we'll be moving and all that good stuff.
Come on, man. Just like you know, hire a moving company and you'll be done with it. Sure.
Sure. That's exactly how it works with a small start.
cool. Well, hey, I'm glad we could do a joint podcast like this isn't this is breaking new ground for the electronics podcast side of things. So yeah, this is a lot of fun. It was awesome. Maybe if Carl and Cory ever come back we can you know I could do one with them to sled a subtle dig towards Carlin Cory the slackers anyways, just good. Talk to you guys. And I'm sure we'll talk soon. Later.
Chris Gammell of Contextual Electronics and The Amp Hour join Parker and Stephen for a second time!
Parker talks LED patterns on the MEP SAO, Stephen uses a CNC machine, and RadioShack returns?