ReconTech's Blog

This is a blog about our everyday exploits in all aspects of everything. From science, art, computing, engineering, playing badminton to even playing computer games. Just about everything!

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First Impressions

A set of blog posts about new items, products or things I have been recently introduced to or have recently purchased. "Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered" - Dr Zeus.

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To me all similarly priced servo motors look the same and promise the same performance and maybe they ought to, too. So amongst all the servos out there how do you choose that perfect one for your application? Well, I suppose that is the question that needs answering! Quite fortunately when I had to answer that question, of which set of motors to choose for the 17 Degree-of-Freedom (DOF) robot project, the Tower Pro MG996R motors came recommended, as part of the 17 DOF robot kit. Hence, these motors were thrust upon me.  

The predecessor to this motor, the MG996, did not receive the most glowing of reviews and was particularly noted for its lack of accuracy and centering. However this version is meant to be a worthy successor with a redesigned PCB and Integrated Circuit (IC) control system, which makes it more accurate. We provide an insider's view of this servo in this blog post.

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When is a Complex Logic Programmable Device (CLPD) not a CPLD? When it is being presented as an entry-level FPGA. The arrival of the Max 10 in the FPGA arena is an interesting one and could be the final confluence of Altera's CPLDs with their FPGAs. A historic matter that irked their main rival for many years.

Have Altera finally reached the decision that the traditional CPLD has no place in the modern programmable logic world? Or have they simply added some macro and analog components to TSMC’s 55 nm embedded NOR flash technology to create an FPGA with instant-on functionality? Well, Arrow have released the Max 10 FPGA Evaluation Kit for you to decide for yourself, as we do in this blog post.

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If you are looking for a FPGA development board that looks cheap, feels cheap and is cheap, then you need look no further. For, while it can be said that looks could be deceiving, in this case they are not. This board is extremely cheap and looks it. In fact it seems that to reduce cost  and save on drill bits the board has not been provided with any mounting holes!

However, beggars can't be choosers and if you are in the market for a cheap development  board to quickly prototype a design using Altera's Cyclone V FPGA on a limited budget, like us, then this board could be for you. This blog post provides a quick fire review of the board, which is available standalone or as a kit in the form of the BeScope Bundle.

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The Rigol DS1074Z 4-channel oscilloscope has become popular in hobbyist circles for a variety of reasons, good and better. Firstly, and probably most importantly, because of the price bracket Rigol have managed to fit this oscilloscope into. Secondly, because  hobbyists being hobbyist have discovered a flaw in the Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) algorithm used to encode the scope's optional functionality. This has allowed them to add hundreds of pounds of additional functionality to the basic version of the scope for nothing.

 However, before I discuss what hobbyist should not do to enable the additional functionality, let's see what the basic oscilloscope has to offer.

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Posted by on in First Impressions

This blog post is about my first impressions of the GY-80, a 10 Degree-Of-Freedom (DOF), 9-Axis Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Gyroscope and Barometer Module, which I purchased and have just received two of.  This module is typically used in quadcopters, robotics and similar products where balance and stability are of interest. Indeed, I bought the GY-80 for my 17 DOF Robot that some of you have been reading about in my  FPGAs and Robotics blog category. 

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