Flexible Microcontroller #FleX-MCU #FleX

American Semiconductors’ FleX™ Silicon-on-Polymer™ is a revolutionary substrate conversion process that provides flexible ICs and fully flexible wafers. FleX enables the next generation of flexible electronics and Flexible Hybrid Systems.

The FleX-MCU is an 8-bit RISC microcontroller with 8KB embedded RAM operating at up to 20MHz with a 1.2V core and 2.5V I/O. It includes multiple serial interface peripherals, including UART, I2C, and SPI.

There’s a video towards the bottom of the FleX page.

ZofzPCB Gerber Viewer #ZofzPCB

ZofzPCB Gerber Viewer takes the Gerber file data from your CAD/CAM files along with a little additional information and transforms it into a 3D image with colours used to differentiate nets, customisable stackup dimensions and an Autopilot function that lets you sit back and enjoy the ride through your design.

Lessons Learned: Too much power, Magic Smoke!!


While working on the power supply for what will be a temperature control unit I made a grave mistake of attaching my ISPduino, formally testuino (atmega328p breakout essentially) directly to the, 7805, 5v regulator. The result was a little bit of smoke from the micro controller (MCU) and the blink led program stopped working. the burn marks in the picture were part of a failed attempt to remove the mcu.

The Setup: The temperature control will drive a peltier so I plan to drive it from a 12v 2A wall wart. That will be hooked up to the 7805, 5v regulator to run the mcu. The problem is, and I learned this the hard way, the 7805 produces 1.5A of current and the mcu only requires around 500mA.

The Fix: The solution is simple, I need to use a resistor. A 10ohm resistor will produce approximately 500mA. But note you can’t attach just any resistor. You’re generating approximately 22 watts of power. So I’ll need at resistor rated to at least 25 watts.

Good thing I made a couple backup ISPduino boards. This one is finished. If you’re interested in the files for the ISPduino board I’ll be posting them in the projects portion here shortly. Please leave comments. I hope these tutorials and lessons learned are helpful for some. Any kind of feedback is extremely encouraging.

BeagleBone Black Release

BeagleBoard.org has released its new development platform, BeagleBone Black. This platform is released with beefier specs at $45. This is definitely going on my wish list. Might be worth it to grab one of these and do an out of the box review. Below are the specifications if you’re interested.

  • Processor: Sitara AM3359AZCZ100 1GHz, 2000 MIPS
  • Graphics Engine: SGX530 3D, 20M Polygons/S
  • SDRAM Memory: 512MB DDR3L 606MHZ
  • Onboard Flash: 2GB, 8bit Embedded MMC
  • PMIC: TPS65217C PMIC regulator and one additional LDO.
  • Debug Support: Optional Onboard 20-pin CTI JTAG, Serial Header
  • Power Source: miniUSB USB or DC Jack, 5VDC External Via Expansion Header
  • PCB 3.4” x 2.1” 6 layers
  • Indicators 1-Power, 2-Ethernet, 4-User Controllable LEDs
  • HiSpeed USB 2.0 Client Port: Access to USB0, Client mode via miniUSB
  • HiSpeed USB 2.0 Host Port Access to USB1, Type A Socket, 500mA LS/FS/HS
  • Serial Port UART0 access via 6 pin 3.3V TTL Header. Header is populated
  • Ethernet 10/100, RJ45
  • SD/MMC Connector microSD , 3.3V
  • User Input: Reset Button, Boot Button, Power Button
  • Video Out: 16b HDMI, 1280×1024 (MAX), 1024×768,1280×720,1440×900
    w/EDID Support
  • Audio Via HDMI Interface, Stereo
  • Expansion Connectors:
    • Power 5V, 3.3V , VDD_ADC(1.8V)
    • 3.3V I/O on all signals
    • McASP0, SPI1, I2C, GPIO(65), LCD, GPMC, MMC1, MMC2, 7
      AIN(1.8V MAX), 4 Timers, 3 Serial Ports, CAN0,
      EHRPWM(0,2),XDMA Interrupt, Power button, Expansion Board ID
      (Up to 4 can be stacked)
  • Weight 1.4 oz (39.68 grams)