Frictionless spherical cow transformers

Circuit Break Podcast #239

Frictionless Spherical Cow Transformers

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August 26, 2020, Episode #239

Need to find a transformer for your product design? Stephen goes through the process of getting a custom transformer manufactured for a new product!

Parker

  • Garage Door opener hacking
    • Converting my normal style garage door opener to a “jackshaft” style opener
    • Reversing the direction of the A/C single phase motor?
      • Split phase motors
      • One phase is shifted with a large capacitor by ~90 degrees
      • In my application I just had to reverse the wires and the end stop wires
  • PyInstaller
    • Can take your python scripts and make it into a self contained application
    • Useful for non technical inclined people on your team
    • Cross Platform!
    • GUIs
      • Tkinter seems to work well in Win10 and Ubuntu 20 LTS

Stephen

  • High voltage low current measurement
    • Tony_W Recommended the ACS37002
      • Hall effect sensor that can be ground referenced in very high voltage applications   
      • 0.85m ohm conductor resistance
      • 4.8kV RMS isolation voltage
      • VCC of up to 6.5V
      • -50 to 50A sensing range
      • Gain selection of 30mv/A to 60mV/A
    • In my situation I would want to monitor 0.1mA or 100uA. With a gain of 60mV/A that would be 60uV/mA so 0.1mA would be 6uV….. This may still not be the best solution because I would likely need a ton of gain and have to correct for any offsets.
    • Possibly to a tro prong approach – Measure voltage across known resistances in the circuit
  • Getting transformers manufactured for your product
    • What do you need to know?
    • How do you get started?
    • What are the specifications
      • Mains transformers
      • SMPS and flyback style “yellow tape” Transformers.
Garage door opener 3
Garage door opener 4

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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