This month’s highlights
Dual-Channel PSU for Breadboards
This is a brilliant idea to help with prototyping on a solderless breadboard. The dual-channel design delivers 0-14V/ 0-1A (depending on input supply and load), and runs from 7-15V or 5V USB. It plugs straight into breadboard power rails, and four potentiometers provide full control.
Although it can be used as a basic power supply, a separate four-line backlit LCD completes the design (described as a separate project this month).
Digital Boost Regulator
This project was prompted by our review of the latest 8-bit PIC microcontrollers in our October 2023 issue. It offers a standalone, digitally controllable boost voltage (step up) regulator that converts from 5V up to 20V. It allows you to use a PIC18F18146 8-bit microcontroller for any task while its onboard peripherals generate an adjustable voltage without interfering with operation. Included are capacitive sense buttons and a 7-segment LED display that can be used to display the voltage or for other purposes. It also breaks out all microcontroller pins to headers. Surface mount soldering is necessary.
Display Adaptor for Breadboards
This versatile PIC–powered add-on attaches to the Dual-Channel Breadboard PSU to provide an intelligent 20 x 4 backlit alphanumeric LCD. It clearly shows no less than 11 parameters including setpoint and actual V & I levels, and has extra voltage and ammeter channels to help you when developing your prototype. An overcurrent warning piezo buzzer is onboard. Surface mount soldering is necessary.
MitchElectronics – new beginner’s series
The start of a brand new and exciting series specially created for beginners in electronics. It adopts a practical hands-on approach to building small projects, learning basic principles as you go along. This month’s primer centres around the 555 timer i.c., and you’ll learn about some basic electronic components that they utilise. Projects are built on bespoke PCBs that are clearly marked and will certainly help with confidence-building. If you’re new to hobby electronics, this series is an ideal starting place, so be sure to check it out!
Also in this month’s issue
- The Fox Report – this month Barry Fox offers some extremely useful advice on detecting fake USB flash drives and SSDs, with details of free tools available to identify them.
- Circuit Surgery – our in-house surgeon Ian Bell starts a bumper, in-depth exploration of the principles and complexities of frequency shifting and superheterodyning. Extensive theory is illustrated with LTspice simulations and screenshots.
- Net Work – this month’s bumper article describes a mains adaptor with a difference – it’s an uninterruptible power supply suitable for routers, modems, etc., and a powerbank-style UPS is also available. There are details of how Britain’s electricity network is split into Rota Load Blocks, a heads-up on ISO9000 and more space program news.
- Max’s Cool Beans – Arduino Bootcamp (Part 12): Max continues to explore and explain coding tips and tricks for the Arduino, adding an LDR along the way.
- Techno Talk – Max is astonished to learn of the capabilities and applications of Precision Timing Protocol (PTP) or IEEE 1588 when used with massive arrays of strain gauges.
- KickStart Part 14: Legacy logic revisited – sometimes discrete logic gates can offer a more elegant – and cheaper – component level solution than, say an Arduino, as Mike Tooley shows.
Q Meter with digital display; Raspberry Pi Pico Backback; Active Subwoofer. Contents subject to last minute change.