The quest for the right connector for a project! The right of passage for any hardware electrical engineer starts with a connector catalog.
This is the last installment of Stephen's 'Adventures in Injection Molding'. We are going to recap the entire two year sage and close the book on it.
The Jeep Prop Fan project rides again! Well some iteration of it at least. Lets design an open source PCM (Power Control Module) for automotive apps!
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, and welcome to the macro fab engineering podcast. This is episode 54. We're your hosts Parker Dolan and Steven Craig. So we would first take a little moment and like to thank our listeners for a great last year. Yeah, I think we did that last episode, but But yeah, tell us what you think your we would love to hear your current projects that you're working on. And any topics you want us to discuss, especially at the very end of the show where we, you know, talk about like footprints and,
and design practices and that kind of stuff. Or, you know, just tell us Hello,
yeah, we're always open to have a chat with our listeners. If you got anything to say any any kind of requests or topic ideas, please shoot it over to us. What's, where can they go? Park? Our biggest presence is on Twitter. It's at macro fab. So it's pretty easy to remember. Or send us an email at podcast at macro fab calm. Yes,
we finally have an email address so you can send stuff to right and that'll go directly to Parker and myself. And we can we can answer you guys. Exactly. Okay, so with that out of the way. We'll try right away. We'll jump right into the podcast.
The Jeep radio. It just done finally. Whoo. Yeah. So I'm writing an article. It's actually on my personal blog. It's not out yet. And that's the blog is Longhorn engineer calm. We'll probably cross posted on the macro Twitter and all that good stuff. But yeah, it's it's pretty good actually listened to it on the way over. The Bluetooth works really? Well. You know, what the actually the most unique part about this project, in my opinion, was the fact that it worked the first time. Yeah. Did there's there's Rev. One. And it worked. Yeah, just plug it all in turned on. It's like, okay, how often do you have a project that works the first time a one out of how many projects I've done a lot. And I did upload a video to YouTube, showing how it kind of works and, you know, general theory and all that good stuff. So I'll put a link below. Be cool stuff. Yep. And then I know the thing I did that I thought was interesting was I modified my Techtronic TDs 520 scope, which is a mid 90s 500 megahertz two channel scope was really nice code back in the day I've really nice scope because it's all it's mostly analog. It's got some digital stuff, basically using the Joseph to measure stuff. So you get all like, oh, the frequencies this and that. And you know, the Peak Peak is this all that good stuff. But it has a you know, it has a actual CRT in there. It's got an all analog front end. It's pretty nice. The only problem is it uses a floppy drive, which are when I got it, I actually had to find surplus floppies because for pulling data, yep, pulling data and screenshot screenshots and all that good stuff. And I actually found a a USB module. Well, not USB, it's actually a floppy drive module that allows a USB stick to be emulated as a floppy drive. And I tested that out this week, and it worked great. Also though Yeah, I'm it actually looks pretty clean, too. It's right in the slot almost matches the slightly, like yellowed beige front, too. Yeah. So it basically looks like it's meant to be there. Yeah. Yeah, it's pretty nice. Um, it's got some quirks. But, you know, any kind of weird janky hardware like that is going to have quirks basically is like a button thing you got to do on the, on the floppy drive to make it? Well, it's sort of hacked in you basically you plug a USB stick in and press one button. And then the red light will come on, which means I have no idea what it means because all the instructions are in our in Chinese. There's actually no English instructions for this thing. Oh, so you just kind of have to figure it out. Yeah, I actually had no idea. I just kept pressing buttons until I finally was able to get an image off the USB stick. So yeah, you plug it in, press one button, the LED turns red. And then you you can write to it then. And then you press another button and the red light flashes and then the USB stick flashes because it's like subsequent written to it. Okay, and then when it stops, you can pull it out and put it into your computer. And you have the things like T what's TK format? Yeah, yeah, it's there. The image format. It's an old school, old school format early, you know, mid 90s, early 2000s. I don't think anyone uses that format anymore. Man, actually okay, man, the first job that I that I had we had a scope that was fairly new, but for some reason, it still had a floppy drive in it. And it used all TK formats. And so it sucked having to get screenshots which we used to do for presentations and things like that. So yeah, no, I'm I mean, even in that job, I took it in 2009. We were still using floppies to pull our data off. I mean, like Windows still natively can open a te K. It's just, I don't know what kind of format it's probably some raster based format. Yeah, I think it is. But they're very, maybe it's like a compressed bitmap. But the only place I've ever seen it is for scopes. Nah, I used it when I was in high school. For newspaper we had that format. TK Yeah, I can't use the four by remember that extension. Because when Stevens actually gonna look it up on his computer, phone, or phone, is that what they're called? Called now? Oh. I remember seeing it there. And that's when I actually pulled the image off the scope. The first song I'm like, Oh, I recognize that format. So he's looking at right now. You wanna you want to entertain them with something else? Why? Because TK sounds like it would be like a tech Tronic. File.
But it's not. You sure? Pretty sure. Let's see here. There we go. The compressed bitmap Wait, wait, wait, Wikipedia, which is never wrong, by the way. Okay. Versus let me see here.
Speaking of sources, you know, what wiki pedia just banned this week, was it a was a Daily Mail, the UK like publisher or newspaper isn't Daily Mail? Can't remember, it's not a valid source. It's not a valid source on Wikipedia anymore. No, Chris over there has not even said that. Yeah, that's right.
You know, it'd be really funny is if Wikipedia banned itself from being a source?
Well, yeah, it can't self source itself. But I mean, if you have, you can source to another Wikipedia page on a Wikipedia page. Can't you know you can you can link like, you know, like, it's like the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon. Where like, how many jumps does it take between actors? And you can always get to Kevin Bacon within six jumps. Six is actually pretty far. Yeah. But yeah, but that's the idea is, is you can't you can link to a Wikipedia page. But you can't like say, you know, Steven is a electrical engineer at macro fab source Wikipedia. You can't do that. Yet. That's a source. Mac fab.com/about. Us. Right. So long time. Well, I mean, the thing is, I'm not really finding good information. Maybe my Google foo is maybe it's not dot t. K, maybe it's something else. Well, t so here's a website I got the URL is really messed up. So I won't say it. But it says the tech file format is stands for ASI T IC technology file from the University of California Berkeley. Whatever, this isn't probably that important. But especially if it's that hard to find.
Yeah, I'm actually looking at. See, because I didn't see a Wikipedia pages. tronics file. We're wrong. It's not TIFF. Oh, Tiff. Okay. Yeah. Tiff has been around for a long while. Yeah, yeah. uses it anymore. Yeah, yeah. Well, it started with a T. I mean, whatever, I swear, but T T K files do exist. And they're Tektronix hex files. But that's not going to be an image.
No. Would that be like the waveform you save off of it? Like the actual like, I guess you could save it in hex? Yeah, you can say I don't know if you can save in the hex form. But I know you can save like the values of the wave in its entire like memory bank, you can dump that. So Oh, so you can just import it to Excel or something like that? I knew you'd only say Excel. Okay, a spreadsheet program. Excel is like, it's like Xerox and like, like Kleenex. Oh, of course. Yeah. Yeah. It's just the facto, but okay. Okay. Okay. As soon as she program. So right now name some other spreadsheet programs, Open Office, which is a clone of Excel docs, which is a clone of Oracle, right. Sure. I guess. You can say mice? Well, in terms of grid format, or you can see my sequels kind of like a spreadsheet. Well, I think the point of that is that's why everyone says Excel, because everything else is a clone of Excel. Yeah. Maybe something was Xerox was Xerox, one of the first ones I don't remember. Probably I wasn't old. I wasn't born then. Right. Okay, so moving on. going on. So let me go into the stuff that I've I've been doing. So we talked about the synth that I've been building. The PCBs are supposed to arrive, hopefully next week. And I'm going to build them by hand because I hate myself. No, no, I actually know it, you're in hand soldering the SMT, instead of pasting it, you know, the, there's a reason I don't want to paste it is because well, okay, so I have this big fancy pick and place machine that I could use if I really wanted to. But then I'd have to put everything on feeders. And I'd have to load it all up just to make one little board. And I'd have to program all the stuff. It's just kind of like, I want to make it and at the same time, it would be lead free at that point. And I, I like lead in, in my solder. So I'm going to build it by hand, mainly because I don't know, it's just this this feels less like a professional thing. And more like a personal project. Well, it is a personal project. But it feels more like one of those just like I'm having fun on a Saturday kind of project. Gotcha. So I'm just going to throw some tunes on and and build this board from scratch by hand with an iron and tweezers, the old school way. I tried three macro fab days. So I also had an idea on it. Why not? If I'm going to build this by hand, why not just time lapse it? So I'm going to give that a shot? Do a timeless video of me building this thing? And it's going to be multiple sessions. There's no way I'm going to do this in one sitting. So we'll give that a shot. I will see how far that goes. That'd be fun. Throw a little YouTube video up. Yeah, the Yeah, speaking let it solder. Yeah, I wanted I need to look into what kind of solder NASA uses. Because NASA an aerospace, they're allowed a small percentage of lead in their lead free formulas. I think it's like it's like less than 1%. But basically just enough to get some of the really good stuff that lead has like the good qualities, basically like no tin whiskers and you get slightly better flow on MLS at a lower temperature. It's easier to work. It's that because sub 1% Maybe, but yeah,
it's just so easy to work with lead. Yeah. I like lead solder. Yeah, we should look into it.
To buy we'd have to have an entirely different line to have leaded solder at macro fab, you almost have to have to have a separate room. Make sure that make sure you don't get cross contamination it's with with how prolific lead free requirements are. It's, I mean, it's pretty much just like, forget that lead even exists. Exactly. But but for personal projects like this. Yeah, it's fun. And when I fix customer gear, like audio gear, nobody cares. If they have lead, it's all the crap you have to fix is pre 1980. So oh, well, I mean, I Yeah, yeah, the majority for sure. So so it already has led in it. So it's just that much easier now. So I don't know if you remember, gosh, I think it was one of the first projects I built, personally at macro fab when I started but I made a transistor metric, the VCF. All right. Well, I plan on using it for a VCF Voltage Controlled filter. So yeah, the transistor matcher. That's right, I remember that it has like a little zip socket on it. So you can plug transistors into it. So I built this this precision little board that that allows you to put two bipolar transistors into it. You can you can match NPN and PNP transistors, and by match I mean you're you're getting their their VBE. And their gain their gain about Yeah, you get that to within a really small percentage, and it works well for a handful of certs. So how does that we actually talk about is how does that actually work that transistor matcher. So get this. So what I have is a precision current force on the board or a current sink, actually. So you put the two transistors in current sync. So like just a high precision resistor. Actually, it's a high precision resistor. It's an op amp that that turns on a transistor in a feedback loop such that it knows it forces the transistor to pull a specific amount of current and the trends. The resistor I have in place has a really high tolerance. So I know to within a certain amount of percent. What the current is I'm pulling. So here's the thing. I have the emitters on two transistors tied together and the base is on both trains and transistors are set to ground. So basically what happens is I can pull I'm sorry, the emitters are not tied together. They're tied together through some resistance. So I pull a specific current through both transistors in parallel. And what that does is it develops a voltage across some high precision resistors on the emitter, and then use a differential amplifier to and I can test, I can test the difference of the VDS on each transistor. And you want that difference to be as low as possible. And I add a ton of gain to it afterwards, such that I can take that very small difference and look at it in terms of volts. And as opposed to like micro volts. And so I think I have enough gain such that, like 10, millivolts, is equal to one micro volt, something like that. I can't I can't remember exactly what it is. I'll have to look it up. But regardless, I just tried to make that that number as low as possible. We should, um, post that design up. Yeah, we'll be interested in that thing. You know, it might be on our GitHub, maybe i i guess it's been a year since Oh, it's, it's actually been longer than a year. Yeah. So the whole reason why I'm saying this. So I've got this transistor matcher, which is a totally super manual device. But I'm going to use that for my voltage controlled filter, which is a Moog style. Transistor ladder filter. If you haven't seen those, go check out the schematic. It's analog heaven. It's absolute magic. I use. So for this for this VCF you're gonna use SMTs. Stephen, match transistors? That's right. They have really long legs on them. And you put them in through holes. Yeah, no, so So I got a match, I have to, I have to get six transistors that are matched, pretty close. And instead of like putting a threshold and saying they have to be this good, what I'm going to do is I'm going to buy 100 transistors, and pick the six best match transistors out of 100 out of all that batch, right? And go from there. So far, because we're working on we're waiting on the PCB for the greatest resistor in the world. Yep. Could you do the same thing with a bunch of transistors? We're big, ginormous grid array of transistors. You. Okay, so one, like if you took an entire reel of, you know, 39 Oh, fours. Yeah. And then made a grid of 2000 or 20,000 of these things. The only thing that I can think right now, why that would not work well, is because they're BJTs. And they would have bass current. And each one of them would need enough bass current to turn on certs that you'd have to dump like 10 amps into it just to get one milliamp. Why not? Sure. I would almost say like, let's do that with, with FETs. Yeah, do I think we have some house apart? Yes. 170s, and see if it just makes a better FETs. Like in terms of UltraFit, ultra FETs. So we're gonna end up we're gonna end up with these boards that are like 18 inches by 10 inches, that just end up being fundamental components.
But there's, we know the exact spectrum. Yeah, but there's a certain percentage, I guess, yeah.
The BJT. One would be interesting, because you would probably be able to handle an enormous amount of current with it. But just to turn it on, you would need an enormous amount to turn it on. And just like the lights to Yammer. You know, I don't know what happens when you put tons of BJTs in parallel. That we should look into that. That'd be fun. Well, these are the things I share the current more or less. Yeah, I don't Yeah, you can't share current that way, though, because it's physically electrons. And holes. Basically combining in the base junction, so you need enough electrons and holes moving. So for every, every transistor, you add to this, you need that many more electrons to match with holes, it would make sense that it would work on a fit. The only thing that's that's funny about that is you would end up adding the capacitance of all the gates on those fits. You could actually make a good capacitor with no then you then you put series in parallel, and so the capacitance cancels out.
So you get a really high tolerance gate capacitor. Yeah. So it's a it's a it's a weird prospect. Yeah, it's weird.
I bet you would take I actually think would take forever to turn on, though, because you still have to pump all those electrons to turn those gates on. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, you'd have your inrush current for this thing would be and it would be, it would be stupid. You can't run it off on our offering. And the board probably wouldn't turn on all at the same time. It would probably turn on all randomly all over the place. And you give them a couple like nanoseconds, but yeah, but you'd get weird current spikes that go through and all kinds of weird artifacts. Yeah, that sounds good. You need like, you'd basically would need a really, really high speed. I wonder if you could do it with enough Hall sensors. So you had this entire grid of MOSFETs. Right? That's set up in series in parallel. And then so when you turn it on, you put Hall sensors all under it under it. So you can track where the spikes and current are at on the board. And what was that way you can see how how, Oh, I think you've seen like, track it so that you could like redirect Cardona. But track how when this thing turns on is what is the paths the currents actually taking? Wow, now you're getting into some crazy stuff. Because I thought like, well, you could just use a high speed thermal imaging camera, but I'm like, Well, we're talking like the spread difference would be like 10 nanoseconds, which, right? And I'm sure the heat differently won't get any difference at all. Even capture that. Yeah, you'd have to see how the current is actually flowing. Yep. And I want to know, if 10 nanoseconds if that's actually the numbers like can you actually make hardware fast enough to detect that kind of a difference in a, like repeatable fashion? Going gone way off in the weeds and keep going more down list. Okay. Okay. So great. Yeah, that's been transistors for the voltage control filter, we'll give a schematic of the filter. Yep. So the open PLC that we've talked about in some previous episodes, we're actually using one right now. We're going to be using it in our hand place bench. So right outside of our pick and place our conveyors take our PCBs directly to a bench where we do some post processing we do some hand place work if if there's parts that the quantity just works out will play some really funky SMD parts Yeah, or something something that our machine can't physically place which isn't much but they do exist. So regardless, we've been developing this bench and all the controllers for the the the belts that move the conveyor and things like that. All of its controlled with one of these open PLCs. So, park and I've been kind of developing a box that holds all this stuff. And it's been a lot of fun making that yeah, I really liked a tweet. I took the picture of you where you're like you're holding the entire DIN rail DIN rail battleaxe, yeah. battleaxe, yeah, we will have to throw that picture up. Yeah. So and one of the reasons why I said that is because I just got accepted to a special project here in Houston, where I will probably be using one of these PLCs. So we're going to try to get some of the other guys who are involved in this project on the podcast, we'll see if they're willing to be guest, but there may be one of these going into a museum here in Houston. Whoo. So that's, that's what I've been working on. Awesome. So RFO. So this week, we're going to talk about have we gone too far with RGB LEDs? Hmm. Second topic is Samsung must be a bunch of Pireaus. And three, gotta be great. Yeah, computers that can survive the surface of Venus. Awesome. So yeah, um, haven't gone too far with RGB LEDs. So a lot of computer manufacturers like not computer manufacturers, but computer equipment manufacturers, for like enthusiasts. It's kind of weird to say that. Basically, gamers I guess, were they had like flashing lights on their own like crazy motherboards? Yeah, so razor, which is one of these companies, they came out with the what's called the chroma mug holder. And it's a mug, it's a drink holder. That's about an inch tall and about three inches in diameter that has a ring on the bottom that has it, you plug it into your back computer. So it's USB controlled, and it's got RGB LEDs. And the craziest thing about so you can figure it like in the razor app on your computer. So what color it is really? Yeah, what is this razor like the same razor that does? Mike clicky keyboards and stuff? Yep. Okay, so they make this thing. So they may also make like a, like a mouse pad that does this too. But the thing about this is, it's got a pressure sensor in it, so it knows how often you're drinking. And so if you haven't picked up your drink in a while, it flashes the light to remind you to you know, drink your energy drink or whatever. Oh, you're kidding me. I'm not giving you stay hydrated. Well, gaming, yes. Because you might forget while your pony noobs so the question was, have we gone too far with RGB LEDs? Yes, yes, we've gone bad. I actually was kind of interested because I'm like, Oh, if it had like a built in like, chiller or heater, or a bar or something like that. Well, I usually drink beer I play video games sound like I might as well I like to keep my beer no cool for a little bit cuz sometimes you know, if your pony noobs really well that night, you might not get enough chance to drink your beer because you're only in between matches Right? Or when you die. Well that see that was one of the best parts about Counter Strike is because if you died early, you're like, damn, I died early, but I get to drink so yeah, kind of a useless thing. Kind of cool. I don't I won't buy one. I don't see what I can see. Is this coming in like a package with a computer case? Oh, it comes out. Yeah. Like, you wouldn't buy this by itself. But it might make you buy their product. Because it comes with comes with it. Yeah. Now included. Fancy mug holder. Yeah. My wife hates my desktop tower at home because we have it in our bedroom. It all led up.
Well, it's it's blue. It looks like a nuclear reactor. Yeah. And it's got the stupid blue
LEDs that are on the peripheral of one of the big fans that's on the front of the case. And it just glows and our wind turbine when you turn it on, actually, it's pretty silent. It's not the sound. It's the fact that the room was blue. See, my gaming computer is just in a four year rack mounts. Yeah, it's like the most boring case ever. But guess what? It works great. Oh, yeah. Okay, next topic is Samsung might just be a bunch of Pireaus. Um, basically, they had a fire breakout in the Chinese factory that builds their lithium batteries. This is one of their notes. And they're like, it's just a small fire and they have a picture of it. It's like on like the entire buildings on fire. Oh, yeah. They have like a distance shot and a sky is all black. And they said in the article that it was due to the battery batteries burning batteries burning up. And I mean, this is a company that can somehow figure out how to make a machine for water catch fire. Yeah, yeah. Washing machine. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Samsung. You know, fires cool and all it's awesome. Look at but people don't really like their houses burned down. It sounds like Samsung's getting burned. Part of the night. terrible pun. No, how do that like? It sounds like when they're getting there. They're down on their luck and they're getting kicked. Like yeah, exactly the publicity from this kind of error Yeah, but I Yeah, the the article. The articles specifically stated that it was like just a small fire. It's all right. Yeah. No, right. Only
people died. Full disclosure, nobody died. Are you sure that's what it said?
So you actually read the article. I just read the the tag. So you just you just read the clickbait and like all people died.
Yeah, exactly. Well looked awful. Yeah, so you can actually say that was a win for safety regulations in terms of making sure everyone got out of the building alive. This fire took place in China. There are no safety regulations. Actually, they said something like 117 firefighters had to show up. That's not a small fire with 117 firefighters. Oh, maybe they just heard Samsung and like, oh shit send everyone. So are the Chinese equivalent to OSHA? Here's the thing. I hope that Samsung gets a break sometime soon. I really do. I have a Samsung phone. I like it hasn't blown up yet. Um, I'm wondering if I need to get a fireproof bag at macro fab for you to put that phone every day. I have to deposit in the front. Please deposit Samsung phones. lower insurance. Yeah. All right. Next topic. Yeah. third topic is computers that can survive on the surface of Venus. Now, this is crazy. This is awesome. Um, the problem with sending like goofy send, like rovers and stuff like that to Mars all the time probes and that's hard already, because you have a lot of radiation. Big temperature swings, because there's no atmosphere a bunch of problems like that. Venus has the opposite problem, where you have a very constant pressure and temperature. But it's so extreme. Well, the atmosphere is acidic. It's yeah, yeah. Well, that's actually the easy part because you just coat everything in like Chromium, or something that's very resistance to acidic, but it's super hot. Yes, the surface of Venus is 470 Celsius, and that's around 480 degrees Fahrenheit for us in the United States. 878 Fahrenheit. I rounded up Okay, 180 Okay, if I didn't, then that's what it was okay? That much. And it has 90 atmospheres. Which one atmosphere is what we experienced sitting here in the recording studio, which is around on Venus. 90 times that, which is nine. Mega Pascal's. Wow. Yeah, it's insane. So that's nine times 10 to the sixth Pascal's. So every, every possible thing that makes electronics not work it has it has the longest surviving man made object that landed. It's still there. We think unless something took it away, it's just a melted pile of crap, right? Yeah, melt Apollo crap, but it's still there is the Soviet lander. Was it venero? Yeah, but narrow 13. Atlanta there. And it actually lasted 127 minutes. And it was able to take the only colored photo we have of the surface and transmit it before it died. I think a couple of the ones beforehand, like one landed, and the the lens cap melted, so that the lens cap didn't pop off. Oh, and a lot of them didn't survive, just from the insane environment they landed in. And so what brings this up is now we kind of have electronics that can survive that kind of environment for a long period of time. There's been a lot of advances in electronics made of basically silicon carbide, which is super hard, very resistant to heat, and pressure and all the stuff that makes life hard on radiation hardened. Yes, yeah. But the problem with that is sure you can make the die really hard. But you still need to be able to connect to the circuit board and all that stuff, right? Well, at NASA's Glenn Research Facility, they solve that problem by basically making really high temperature. They didn't really say it was just interconnects. And I'm like, okay, that's probably gold bonding, a wire bonding to the die. It's basically welding on a really small scale. Yeah, but they actually made those that those connections to be really high temperature now. Yeah, so they can survive it. And they basically built a oscillator. And they put it in the gear, G E R, which stands for the Glenn extreme environmental rig. And basically, he can simulate the pressure and temperature on Venus. And they ran it for 521 hours. And they actually had just turned it, they just turned it off. Because it just kept going kept going. That's great. So now we have an oscillator that can work on Venus. Question is, can it? Can it withstand all the G forces in the vibration to get there? I'll probably work on that next. I'll probably build it now to space. Oh, that's a good idea. Yeah, have you heard about Okay, so I watched the documentary a little while ago, or maybe it was like a PBS something really. Regardless, they were talking about life on Mars, not Mars, Venus. And they were saying that Venus may actually be a decent place to go and colonize. Because you can almost create these, like floating cities, because of the cloud coverage is so dense, you can actually float things on top. And they actually were I don't I didn't see that one. But I was reading about as you can possibly make structures that floats, you know, here like a like a zipline or whatever. You have to use lighter than air. Right? Hydrogen? Well, not that anymore. But helium, right. But on you had problems with hydrogen gas on Oh, humanity. But and Venus, you could just use normal air mixture. 25% Oxygen 75% night, and you'll float and you will float. Right? Pretty well, actually. And it's actually interesting because the the density where that would float is around the temperature range that humans are livable in exactly. It's a little warm. I can't remember the exact number, but it's like, okay, you know, we experienced that here. And you said tech times a year. Right, right. It's a pretty novel idea. And you actually still have protection from harmful rays from the sun. Yep. So it's they I've heard claims that that might actually be easier than setting up life. On Mars. It's nothing more is pretty much you have to go underground. That way that gets you out of the cosmic radiation. Yeah, yeah. Or you have to have some kind of shielding of sword. Yeah. Or somehow we can because Venus actually has an atmosphere it's horrible but it's an apple I think it's also has a magnetic field field so it can it can protect itself from the cosmic ready its own version of Van Allen belts. Yeah, I think so. Which would make sense that's why I think it's one of the Reasons Why Mars lost its atmosphere is because it lost its magnetic field. That's right. And so it got basically the atmosphere get keeps getting stripped off from the cosmic radiation. And then you don't have magnetosphere anymore. Right? It's it's a runaway effect. Yeah. The opposite of what happened on Venus. Venus has the runaway effect where it holds on to its atmosphere, and it's hot as hell yes. Cool. This is now the Mac fab astronomy product. Is the price how much we actually knew about that. I think we're mostly correct on those facts. I don't when we're nerds, we usually hang on to these kinds of things are weird. So that will do for the RFO. Yeah, yeah. And this is actually a section that you've been you headed up last time? It's the two weeks ago. Yeah. It's the footprint files. Whoo. Yeah. Properly marking parts with silkscreen. Last time we did this. We did diodes. That's right. And so this time, it's capacitors? Whoo. Capacitor. Yeah. So another confusing one. Semi confusing. So I guess we'll just run down. There's only a couple different kinds of capacitors out there. Yep. That are important. So first, you have ceramic, which are not polarized. So you don't really have to worry about too much about you know, how to mark them. You will, okay. Real quick. If your capacitor is not polarized, it actually helps to not put a polarizing mark on board. Yes. Don't make it confusing. Yep. So that's basically the only non polarized capacitor, I guess film caps to. Yeah, but But both of those are really easy. Yeah. So the ones that actually have problems are polarized capacitors. Yep. Now electromagnetics are pretty easy. The convention is, they're usually usually negative striped, or negative lots. Which ones have asterisks around the word usually usually. When which is the cathode? That's right. Yes. So the usually cathode marked negative marks, and on the silkscreen, what I usually do depends on what the cap is. Yes. If it's surface mount, I usually, basically what I'll do is I'll put a plus mark, on the anode side. Yep. And then I'll put a mark on the cathode side filled in, you have to match the right the stripe that's on the top of the SMD. Cap, because SMD capsule usually don't have a strap down the side. That's just on the top of the can. Right? Well, okay, so a little bit a little bit of reference to the article I wrote about diodes. The, there's nothing that can be better than looking at the datasheet of the part that you're expecting to use. And marking your footprint that way. Exactly. So this so it's the exact same thing applies with capacitors. If your capacitor is marked on the cathode side, in terms of like, if there's a stripe on the, on the capacitor, put it put a marking the side the stripe would be Yep. And then when it comes down to us, as in macro fab, or any other contract manufacturer will know how to place it. Exactly. But, um, because we actually, like, I think it was for the longest time we were like, it's electrolytic. It's always Catherine March, except this one time. Right. Right, right. I think I can't remember the part number off top of my head, but I had to dig through the chat logs and figure out which one was actually an unmarked, because it just like, it actually had a stripe. And instead of negatives, it had pluses on it. Yeah. So okay. The one rule that doesn't actually apply all the time, of course, because it's electronics, and nothing always applies. If the capacitors the shape of a box, in terms of like a 1206 style trauma case style case. Yeah, like if it's if they call it literally a box capacitor, like tantalum or like electrolytic. Surface mounts, you forgot one? niobium niobium, niobium niobium. They're usually marked positive. Yes. But if it's a circle, like this traditional electrolytics, they're usually marked negative,
usually, I know no amount of asterisks. Can be on this. Because here's the thing. Don't trust a footprint ever. Never always look at the data sheet. Because you know what, here's the thing. It gives you the answer, and the answer is right there.
Yes. I really liked the diode one you did two weeks ago, because you pulled up a datasheet for from the same company. Both of them were red LEDs. Yep. And there was one difference in the Part Number. Yep. And one was an unmarked wars cathode marked. And it was one of those like, I want to go to that I think it was, or I'm wrong. I don't, it doesn't matter doesn't matter. We should go over there and just like say, No, yeah, no, don't do that roll up a newspaper and hit that would be like bad, bad bad bad led manufacture? No, no. Okay. And here's the thing. When I was writing that article, I went to Mouser to search because I was trying to find an LED, where one was entered mark and one was Katherine mark. It took me no time to find that. It's not like I searched for hours. It was like the first search the exact same manufacturer, two different LEDs. One was called super red and one was called hyper red. almost exact same part number one letter different ones. And which one was Catherine marked? I think the super, I think the super was cathode read was wrong. I think hyper read was, yeah. But regardless, it's like really come on. Was it was it just like some guys screwed up on their manufacturing floor and put the dye in backwards and was just like, oh, well make an anode, Mark. Porter Urata in a diode, diode datasheet window and go look at the go look at the article that I wrote, I have the PDFs side by side, they are nearly identical. It's just literally there's one that has Texas and anode one that says cathode and capacitors are the same. Yep. It in this kind of field, electrical engineering making a PCB. Accuracy is key. You have to look at every datasheet and make your footprint such that it works that way. Exactly. Yeah. Well, it's not like again, it's not like software where you can so might you be able to use some software because there's a bug in it. But hardware is completely different than LEDs backwards. You can't use it. Here's most of the time you put an electrolytic back in backwards and they blow up you put a tantalum in backwards. They catch fire. It's not backwards in your Samsung. All of China burns down. diodes backwards is not the worst though. No, no. I wonder a little quick jaunt on the reason why I brought up on was niobium that how niobium Yeah. Which I've never used? Well, because they've been really hard to get in the states. The reason why they exist was back in the 60s. And we started doing Bell research labs. So this is around the time. tantalum capacitors came about to and they're actually they're cheaper than tantalum because it's easier to get that elements than then tantalum isn't neodymium? No, I don't know. Anyways, the reason why is actually in Russia, that's what you use. Because they have more because they don't have a lot of tantalum. Birth metal interesting. But they have a lot of new niobium niobium aneurysm? Whatever that is. Yeah, element that's. Oh, he's gonna look it up real quick. Now. Yeah, this is the problem of being an engineer. Like I don't know what it is. So now I have to figure it out. Yeah, sure. Put notes. Um, yeah, that's that they use them over there. And there's actually only a couple manufacturers that basically make them available worldwide. Now. It's only been in the last couple years, you can get them. But I was thinking because they do have slightly different properties. And tantalum capacitors is what if we made an audio amp or an audio effects pedal that uses tantalum capacitors, and then swap them out for this niobium? capacitors, we'll see if there's any actual like, well, actually, can we hear a difference? Or can we actually run like a one kilohertz sine wave through it and any and detect, like a frequency sweep and see what the output is, and see if that actually differs at all? Interesting. And we'll try to match them like, you know, it's 100 us and it's got the same ESR or close enough to an ESR, etc, etc. Try to match as many parameters as the caps possible, then do blind sound testing and see what people think is the best
Russian niobium or American tantalum Chinese champion that said chat Yeah, so niobium is a it's it's a fundamental element, okay.
So number of number 41 on the periodic table, and tantalum is also a fundamental element and it is number 73. Now think it's one row down? Is it yet you know what, actually, they are? Tantalum is directly below. Yeah, more nor down. Right. Right. But what's below that? Oh, geez, I don't know. I don't have the actual, I have a I have a periodic table that doesn't have the numbers. It just has the location circled. Oh. But but here's the thing, both of them are transition metals. So they're not a full metal. And they're not. They're not like silicone where semiconductors are there in between? Well, that's why they use them for this kind of stuff, because they're in that weird area that they can both be they can be a dielectric or be a metal, depending on how many electrons you pump into it.
Right, right. Make sense? Let me let me let me see here. So of course, I have my computer phone available right here.
So Oh, geez. I do not know now. I was. I don't know what the letters are for tangible. And for and for niobium because they're not like an I and TA or
anything. Well, I guess we'll just close out the podcast and titanium. I think it's titanium is below. Titanium is not a transition metal. I don't know how that works. I'm not a chemist chemist was was chemistry was rough for
me. So we would love to hear from our listeners and tell us what is below on these two elements on the periodic table. And let us know why. I guess we can look up why they use tantalum. And do I think it's because their transition metal and they probably work really well as dielectrics or something like that. No, they work on a fundamentally different level than than electronics. They're not dielectric. They're just say I found it. Okay, I found it. So niobium is 41 Directly below that as tantalum which is 73. And directly below that is 105 which is do Binyam dubium that's one of those fake ones that they make for like 10 seconds. Yeah. It is. It's not exactly in that wedge where they have to like pull it out of doors.
It's not the actual it is really close. Really close. Um, so yeah, um, I'll go back to what I was saying earlier than Yeah, please. Yeah. So we would love to hear from our listeners, tell us what we're doing wrong.
What we're doing, right. Yeah. Or more of what you want to hear. Yeah, more of what you want to hear. Do you want to hear us be wrong all the time, then you can just complain to us? Why not? Just Just let us keep going? Yeah. And you can complain to how bad we are at the show at the Twitter handle at Mega fab or our email just podcast at macro calm. And it's not up yet. But coming soon, we'll be trying to figure out how to make comments work on our blog, because they're actually like, hard disabled in the code. So we're trying to figure that out. It's WordPress, but for some reason, the comments are disabled in the theme we have, we'll get it in there. Yeah, so we got to figure that out. Yeah. So we'll have comments soon. TM and that was episode 54. Of the McWrap engineer podcast. We're your hosts Parker Dolan and Steven Gregg. Everyone take it easy. Josh rises from the grave
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