Year: 2013

DesignSpark: Better Than Eagle? – A New Look At PCB Design Software

The PCB design software market is admittedly a little stagnant. Newcomers often traverse old forum posts where PCB veterans suggest the same few design applications for the same few superficial reasons. The bottom line is that until recently, there were only a few good offerings and most engineers choose by experience or comfort with a particular brand of PCB software.

EAGLE is one very popular PCB design software created by Germany-based Cadsoft Computer GmbH. The name “EAGLE” is almost ubiquitous with amateur PCB design, probably due partly to its freeware option but certainly mostly due to the fact that everyone keeps mentioning it whether for better or worse. Yeah, I’m guilty too. Read More

New Kickstarter Brings an Oscilloscope to your Wrist!

At the Maker Faire in New York, I had the pleasure to meet electrical engineer Gabriel Anzziani. His company, Gabotronics, is dedicated to making super-small tools for makers and engineers at a reasonable price. He told me he has spent the past four years developing his products: a line of miniture and portable oscilloscopes which he dubs “the world’s smallest”. A number of these covered the entire surface of his table at the Faire, for the most part little screens with little white squiggles. What’s fascinating about these squiggles is that they can represent a live electrical signal at a very reasonable accuracy.

The Xprotolab pictured above could possibly be the smallest oscilloscope. With the additional features of a waveform generator and protocol sniffer, not to mention its $49 price tag, it makes for an enticing package for anyone looking to get there hands on some signal analysis for their small AVR projects. Read More

VoltSet: A Smart Multimeter For Smart Phones

Most engineers are familiar with the multimeter, a rather ubiquitous tool in any laboratory recognizable for its brick-like shape and radial mode selector.

Multimeter design has been somewhat of a stagnant craft, the basic look and layout being maintained for a several decades. A company we met at Maker Faire New York is bringing multimeter design into the 21st century. Read More