Analog Electronics Conferences

Improve your circuit toolbox – Simple designs that will save your next product

I had the honor of speaking at the 2018 Hackaday Superconference over the weekend. It is one of my favorite conferences of the year. The engineers and makers I met there are focused on using their creative energy to make the world a more interesting and better place. I posted a preview of this talk in my “Humble Indicator LED” post earlier this year. This later morphed into the talk shown below. It’s about circuit designs that I have found or used in my life to save products. Watch the talk here:

Corrections (of course):

  • 7:10: The LED schematic for the on/off indicator was copied without testing. A working version is here.
  • 23:30: In the course of being cheeky I call it an instrumentation amp (wrong), but later correctly call it a differential amplifier.

Many people have been asking for the slides, I have them here:

Download the pdf of these slides here

Looking to get in touch with me about these slides, my course, the podcast or hiring me to work on an electronics design? Check out the contact page.

I’ve turned off the comments for this post, as I’d love to discuss this over on the Contextual Electronics forum. Please stop by and let me know what you think!

Analog Electronics Digital Electronics Work

As big as…space

Last week on my electronics podcast, The Amp Hour, I did something uncharacteristic: I mentioned where I’m working, while I’m working there. Normally I don’t talk about my place of employment until after I have left, which has always served me well. There is no conflict of interest in talking about work that protected by non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).  This time is different though, because the nature of the company is different (and my role will be more public facing than my normal role as an engineer).

I’ve been working with Supply Frame part time, in addition to my work on Contextual Electronics. It has been great working with a team dedicated to making the supply chain (the complex system of vendors and distributors) a bit easier to navigate. As it so happens, Supply Frame also purchased a popular blog site a while back that I have always been a fan of, Hackaday. That site highlights fun projects from around the web and is a great way to keep up on recent innovations in personal projects.

So why all this explaining and build-up? Well I’ve also been asked to help out on a project as part of Hackaday. In fact, it falls in line with my past experience of running the 555 contest back in 2011.

Hackaday is sending the grand prize winner of a new design contest to space. Whoa.

When they first told me about this idea, I figured they must be joking. How the hell would this be possible? Well, it turns out there are more and more commercial space flight options opening up. These days with enough money (and yeah, it’s a lot of money), you can buy a ticket to ride. So that’s how we’re doing it.

The contest itself is really exciting as well. The goal is for people to build “open, connected hardware”. In my experience (with the 555 contest), you need a constraint to base the contest around; openness as a constraint is particularly interesting. Not only does it encourage people to design something cool (like an open source Nest Thermostat or similar), but it also then allows that hard work to be built upon later. I’m a huge fan of open source hardware and up until this point, the way most people are rewarded for their openness has been a community building up around their project (a prize unto itself); now they can also win a trip to space (or other prizes).

I put in a couple emails to friends and acquaintances and we’re going to have a killer judges panel as well; they’re all as interested in sending open hardware experts to space as we are. Bunnie, Limor, Dave Jones, Elecia, Jack Ganssle, Ian of Dangerous Proto, Joe Grand, Sprite_tm. We’re also announcing the final winner in Germany at the huge tradeshow Electronica.

Anyway, I’m super pumped and I hope you are too. I feel very lucky to be involved with such a fun project and hope lots of people will be interested in submitting an entry.