Ghost hunting with centex paranormal

Circuit Break Podcast #34

Ghost Hunting with Centex Paranormal

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Tour MacroFab's ITAR-Compliant Facility

September 23, 2016, Episode #34

On this episode, Michael Lyons of Centex Paranormal visits Parker and Stephen at MacroFab.
  • Michael Lyons of Centex Paranormal pays us a visit. Centex Paranormal is based out of Austin, Texas. They design ghost hunting equipment (See Figure 1).
  • New product out, EDI+. Has SD card data logging, humidity, air pressure, and all the data can be graphed onto a computer.
  • Michael is using the BME280 sensor humidity and pressure sensor by Bosch. Here's the datasheet.
  • The EDI+ runs off of a STM32 ARM MCU whereas the original EDI ran off a MSP-430.
  • Michael did not know what he wanted to do in college so he just took some Electrical Engineering classes. He says he got “lucky”.
  • Stephen got into electronics when his mother bought him a Gakken ex-150. Parker got into electronics by fixing old Atari consoles.
  • MakerBot releases their 6th generation of 3D printers.
  • The STM32 ARM MCU that Michael Lyons uses on the EDI+ has interesting markings. It has two “pin one indicators” on the package molding but only one is marked in the datasheet’s mechanical drawing. See page 75 of the datasheet (Figure 2).
  • Silicon Labs is releasing something on Sept. 28. Parker thinks it might be a “Sensor Bee”.
Figure 1: Michael Lyons showing off his EDI+ ghost detector.

Figure 1: Michael Lyons showing off his EDI+ ghost detector.

Figure 2: STM32 with two markings on the molding but only one marked in the datasheet.

Figure 2: STM32 with two markings on the molding but only one marked in the datasheet.

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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Parker modifies car parts and assembles the Thermal Detonator and Stephen starts working with STM32 microcontrollers.

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Starting From The Beginning

When did you start listening to the podcast? Have a favorite episode? Let Stephen and Parker know which is your favorite.