DIY 5V-3V Switching Converter in the Space of a TO-220 Package

From  on the Hackaday blog:

DIY 5V-3V Switching Converter in the Space of a TO-220 Package

We’re suckers for miniaturization projects. Stuff anything into a small enough package and you’ve probably got our attention. Make that something both tiny and useful, like this 5-volt to 3.3-volt converter in a TO-220 sized package, and that’s something to get excited about. It’s a switch mode power supply that takes the same space as a traditional linear regulator.

Granted, the heavy lifting in [Kevin Hubbard]’s diminutive buck converter is done by a PAM2305 DC-DC step-down converter chip which needs only a few supporting components. But the engineering [Kevin] put into this to squeeze everything onto a scrap of PCB 9-mm on a side is impressive. The largest passive on the board is the inductor in 0805. Everything else is in 0603, so you’ll be putting your SMD soldering skills to the test if you decide to make this. Check the video after the break for a speedrun through the hand soldering process

The total BOM including the open-source PCB only runs a buck or two, and the end result is a supply with steady 750-mA output that can handle a 1-A surge for five seconds. We wonder if a small heatsink tab might not help that; along with some black epoxy potting, it would at least complete the TO-220 look.

[Kevin]’s Black Mesa Labs has a history of turning out interesting projects, from a legit video card for Arduino to a 100-watt hotplate for reflow work that’s the size of a silver dollar. We’re looking forward to whatever’s next — assuming we can see it.

DIY 5V-3V Switching Converter in the Space of a TO-220 Package

World Create Day in Portland this Saturday

Screenshot from 2018-03-15 11-56-33.pngHackaday World Create Day is this Saturday, March 17th, in many cities around the world including Portland at Ctrl-H PDX Hackerspace:

World Create Day @ ^H PDX Hackerspace

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018, 12:00 PM

CTRLH – PDX Hackerspace
7608 N Interstate Ave Portland, OR

6 Hackers Attending

• What we’ll do Portland Hardware Hackers converge on ^H PDX Hackerspace for a day of making things of all sorts, especially Hackaday Prize entries! World Create Day is a day for you to work on your own project, start a new project, and collaborate with others in your community simultaneously with people all over the world. ONE BIG DAY OF CREATION….

Check out this Meetup →


World Create Day in Portland this Saturday

Nicely Engineered Boost Converter Powers Nixies from USB Charger

Love them or hate them, Nixies are here to stay. Their enduring appeal is due in no small part to the fact that they’re hardly plug-and-play; generating the high-voltage needed to drive the retro displays is part of their charm. But most Nixie power supplies seem to want 9 volts or more on the input side, which can make integrating them into the typical USB-powered microcontroller project difficult.

Fixing that problem is the idea behind [Mark Smith]’s 5-volt Nixie power supply. The overall goal is simple: 5 volts in, 170 volts out at 20 mA. But [Mark] paid special care to minimize the EMI output of the boost converter through careful design, and he managed to pack everything into a compact 14-cm² PCB. He subjected his initial design to a lot of careful experimentation to verify that he had met his design goals, and then embarked on a little tweaking mission in KiCad to trim the PCB’s footprint down by 27%. The three separate blog posts are well worth a read by anyone interested in learning about electronics design.

Now that [Mark] has his Nixie power supply, what will become of it? We can’t say for sure, but it’ll be a clock. It’s always a clock. Unless it’s a power meter or a speedometer.

via Nicely Engineered Boost Converter Powers Nixies from USB Charger — Hackaday

Nicely Engineered Boost Converter Powers Nixies from USB Charger

Join Hackaday And Tindie At The Southern California Linux Expo

Do you like Open Source? Join Hackaday and Tindie at the largest community-run Open Source conference in North America. We’ll be at the Southern California Linux Expo next week, and we want to see you there.

What’s happening at SCALE this year? Amateur radio license exams, a PGP signing party, Bad Voltage Live and The Spazmatics, and a ton of great talks. Hackaday and Tindie will be at SCALE Friday through Sunday, showing off the coolest parts of Hackaday,, and our lovable robotic dog, Tindie.

We’ll be handing out t-shirts and stickers, and we’ll be giving tours of the SupplyFrame Design Lab located just two blocks away from the convention center. The Design Lab is a crown jewel of our corporate overlord’s emphasis on Open Hardware, and if you want to see where the magic happens, this is your chance. We’ll be running tours of the Lab on Friday, so find the Hackaday and Tindie crew in the expo area around 3:40 PM.

via Join Hackaday And Tindie At The Southern California Linux Expo

Join Hackaday And Tindie At The Southern California Linux Expo

PCB projects with awesome artwork


Here’s a list of some project with great PCB artwork:

Pure art boards

Functional boards with awesome art/layouts

PCB projects with awesome artwork

Can Open-source Hardware Be Like Open-source Software?

Hardware and software are certainly different beasts. Software is really just information, and the storing, modification, duplication, and transmission of information is essentially free. Hardware is expensive, or so we think, because it’s made out of physical stuff which is costly to ship or copy. So when we talk about open-source software (OSS) or open-source hardware (OSHW), we’re talking about different things — OSS is itself the end product, while OSHW is just the information to fabricate the end product, or have it fabricated [..]

What would it take to get you to build someone else’s OSHW project, improve on it, and contribute back? That’s a question worth a thoughtful deep dive.

via Can Open-source Hardware Be Like Open-source Software?

Can Open-source Hardware Be Like Open-source Software?