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More Tricks with Old-School Digital Clocks

Here are a few of the many possible variations on the general theme of discrete-logic digital clocks. If you have a few LED displays, counters, drivers, and simple logic, you can probably build a clock. Consult the datasheets of the ICs you choose to use, breadboard everything first, and have fun.

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How Phased Array Antennas Work

Phased arrays have been used for years in military radars for long range detection of missiles. They’re also widely used in military and commercial aircraft radars and some satellites. These phased arrays are expensive, but today thanks to new technology and higher frequencies, phased arrays are smaller and more affordable making them practical for new wireless devices. This article is an introductory tutorial on this special antenna type you need to know about.

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Filter Basics: Stop, Block, and Roll(off)

A casual observer might think that wireless systems consist primarily of filters connected by the occasional bit of circuit. Block diagrams of transceivers often include as many filters as any other function. This is true at the system level, just as it is at the circuit level — and many circuits behave in a filter-like way, whether intended to be a filter or not! That makes understanding filter basics important for wireless success.

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Seven Common Ways to Generate a Sine Wave

The sine wave is a naturally occurring signal shape in communications and other electronic applications. Many electronic products use signals of the sine wave form. Audio, radio, and power equipment usually generates or processes sine waves. As it turns out, there are literally dozens of ways to generate a sine wave. Here are some popular methods you should be familiar with.

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Working with High Voltages

There are lots of circuits for generating high voltages out there, but what about the “gotchas?” Learn how to be safe and smart when working with these potentially dangerous types of projects.

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Vacuum Tubes

For audiophiles, musicians, and ham radio operators, the soft glow of the vacuum tube filament is not only an indication of function, but a nostalgic trigger for memories of simpler times. Though they may have been outpaced by tiny transistors and integrated circuits, these workhorses still may have something to offer in many modern devices.

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Working with I2C Sensor Devices

Here’s a quick beginner-friendly tutorial that shows you how to interface and read data with the popular serial protocol, I2C. In particular, we’ll be reading data from the NXP MPL3115A2 altimeter/barometer/temperature sensor. The principles found here can also be applied generically, even to your ambifacient lunar wane shaft positioning sensor of your turboencabulator.

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