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IoT Made Easy

The whole Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon has been around for a while now.  But have you tried to create an IoT device on your own? If so, you know it’s not easy. However, it is now easier than ever as many of the manufacturers of IoT wireless chips and modules are providing the hardware and software to make an IoT device happen with minimum work. One example is the Wireless Xpress BGX13P module starter kit from Silicon Laboratories.

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Mass Confusion: The End of the Kilogram as We Know It

This November, in Versailles, France, representatives from 57 countries are expected to make history. They will vote to dramatically transform the international system that underpins global science and trade. This single action will finally realize scientists’ 150 year dream of a measurement system based entirely on fundamental properties of nature. The International System of Units — informally known as the metric system — will change in a way that is more profound than anything since its establishment following the French Revolution.

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Can You Trust Your Voltmeter?

Sometimes I wonder which of my portable digital voltmeters I can trust — the B&K, Fluke, or Amprobe. Usually, they’re pretty close but it bugs me not knowing whether they are right on the nose. Fortunately, these days, there are a number of very accurate voltage reference circuits that you can build or purchase for a few dollars.

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Filter Design Software

Filters are one of the most important and widely-used circuits in all of radio at any frequency.  Understanding how they are specified and used will make you a better electronics designer, whether you build your own or simply buy them from a vendor.

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Does Inductor Winding Have You Tied in Knots?

While resistors and capacitors are easily procured and stocked, most RF circuits require inductors in a wide range of very specific values. In most cases, you need to create these yourself. Here are the principles behind inductance and some tricks that I’ve used to make my own inductors.

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Electronics as a Portal to Other Hobbies

Electronics as a hobby is unique in that it touches upon just about every other technology or area of potential interest, from photography to cycling. Don’t feel you need to stick with pure electronics. Get out of your comfort zone and explore some of the many related technologies.

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Build an Analog-Style LED Clock — Part 1

Driving LEDs using the lowest possible pin-count is a common challenge for folks creating projects with microcontrollers. Complementary LED drive, also known as “Charlieplexing”, allows a large number of LEDs to be controlled with a relatively small number of I/O pins.  This fun digital LED clock project is a hands-on example of how Charlieplexing can be used to stretch your “pin budget”!

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