False fuses kitschy kickstarters

Circuit Break Podcast #11

False Fuses and Kitschy Kickstarters

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Tour MacroFab's ITAR-Compliant Facility

April 15, 2016, Episode #11

Parker talks about the PinHeck Test Fixture and all the pogo pins it uses and Stephen tests his Diode Compression Opamp.
  • Parker has been hard at work on the PinHeck Test Fixture. It uses over 160 pogo pins to test every single function of the PinHeck Pinball System. There will be an article about designing pogo pin style test fixtures for production in the next couple weeks.
  • Stephen tested the Diode Compression opamp he built a couple weeks ago on the FX Dev Platform. Sounds great!
  • Noisebridge, A hackerspace out of San Francisco, wrote an article about the large variety of fuse quality. Cheap and gray market fuses tend to not break the circuit and melt. Potentially catching fire. Something even as simple as a fuse should be tested in your product to ensure everything works correctly and safely.
  • Arduino.cc released a new ARM build of their popular IDE. Users can now compile code and develop on their raspberry pi style devices. Parker thinks an Android version would be great to tweak and push code up over Bluetooth or WiFi.
  • Semiconductor materials market fell 1.5% in 2015. Mainly from changing the die bond wires from gold to copper. Materials to make semiconductors are inexpensive. Labor and process driving the cost of semiconductors.
  • Sleev is a Kickstarter that sells adhesive lined heat shrink tubing for $3 for 2 inches. You can buy the same stuff at McMaster for $5 for 4 feet. Goes to show that consumers will buy anything with a fancy graphic and video.
  • Stephen thinks we should Kickstart the “SKRü”.
  • If you have any silly ideas for Kickstarters let us know via twitter: Parker Dillmann, Stephen Kraig, MacroFab, INC.
Figure 1: PinHeck Pinball system on the PinHeck test fixture

Figure 1: PinHeck Pinball system on the PinHeck test fixture

Figure 2: FX Dev Platform with Stephen’s Diode Compression opamp

Figure 2: FX Dev Platform with Stephen’s Diode Compression opamp

About the Hosts

Parker Dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig is a component engineer working in the aerospace industry. He has applied his electrical engineering knowledge in a variety of contexts previously, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing, audio electronic repair, and synthesizer design. A graduate of Texas A&M, Stephen has lived his adult life in the Houston, TX, and Denver, CO, areas.

Stephen has never said no to a project. From building guitar amps (starting when he was 17) to designing and building his own CNC table to fine-tuning the mineral composition of the water he uses to brew beer, he thrives on testing, experimentation, and problem-solving. Tune into the podcast to learn more about the wacky stuff Stephen gets up to.

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!

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