DIY Electronics

ProFPGA unveils FPGA prototype boards

Jun 15th, 2012 | By

ProFPGA came out of stealth at the Design Automation Conference (DAC 2012) in San Francisco with a technology agnostic hardware system for developing FPGA prototype. ProFPGA is a spinoff from ProDesign Europe (, located in Germany. The system that can be used with Xilinx or Altera FPGAs and can be implemented with any commercially available development tool, including those from Synopsys, Xilinx or Altera.

Teen robotics team learns realities of high-tech product development

Apr 24th, 2012 | By

By Lou Covey
New Tech Press Editorial Director

The FIRST national robotics championship brings together teams from high schools and high school districts from all over the US to solve a particular set of challenges every year.  At this year’s competition in St. Louis, Missouri, the week of April 23, the teams will work cooperatively in a series of 3-on-3 basketball games using homegrown robots, mostly student designed.

One of the veteran groups, Team 100 from the Sequoia Union High School District in San Mateo County, California is going to the competition as a “wild card” participant.  The team has …

UBM survey shows interesting trends in prototyping

Mar 27th, 2012 | By

UBM released some of the findings of its annual Embedded Study at a special press breakfast on Tuesday at Design West, with some fascinating potential for engineers looking to make the “next big thing” in electronics.

The first surprising bit of information is that 26 percent of the respondents reported they were using in-house and Linux-based RTOSes with grow-your-own systems jumping 30 percent.  This is bad news for proprietary commercial providers who have traditionally seen in-house software as its primary competitor.  The primary reason for the jump is the engineers prefer software where they can access the full source …

Raspberry Pi to narrow Digital Divide?

Mar 16th, 2012 | By

By Lou Covey
Editorial Director 

The effort to close Digital Divide — the separation between those who can and can’t afford access to the Internet — has been a point of frustration for government and social activists for more than a decade. However, the rousing success of the Raspberry Pi computer launch on Leap Day could significantly close the Divide with the right price point and distribution strategy and punch a hole in commercial efforts to derail low-cost computing.

The United Nations established the World Information Society Day (May 17) for the first time in 2001 and since then there …

Discrete converter design shortens time to market

Aug 16th, 2011 | By

An article from Texas Instruments discusses the use of isolated 3.3 to 5V converters in long distance data-transmission networks.

The article states that although isolated DC/DC converter modules for 3.3 to 3.3V and 5 to 5V conversion are readily available on the market, 3.3 to 5V converters in integrated form are still hard to find. Even if a search for the later proves successful, these specific converters— in particular, those with regulated outputs—often possess long lead times, are relatively expensive, and are usually limited to certain isolation voltages.

A low-cost alternative to integrated modules is a discrete design, if an …