Sometime when you want to place a SMD component on a PCB you can use a handy vacuum pump. I’ve tried different low cost model from AliExpress this summer and this post will tell you what is looking best to me for my use.
First of all, I’m not using this tool for components like small resistor, I prefer tweezers for such components. I’m using a handy vacuum pump for larger components like QPF, TSSOP, SOP, QFN…
I’ve tried 3 different tools from AliExpress from 1$ to 9$
I’m a regular user of different PCB services form my electronic design. Since 4 year now I’m mostly working with Eurocircuit but recently I tested different low cost solutions : seeed studio, jlcpcb and OSH Park. This is now an opportunity to compare these different solutions.
TD1508 is the FCC version of the TD1208, they are pin to pin compatible and based on the same SDK so converting an object working on a TD1208 sounds easy. Practically speaking there are some preparing steps because of some tiny bugs to solve.
Let see how to port a Telecom Design existing firmware for TD1208 to TD1508 (from ETSI to FCC).
I recently bought an AirSpy mini SDR (Software defined radio) dongle. Understand, it is a radio scanner you connect on your computer able to analyze radio communications on a large frequency range from 24MHz to 1,7HGz. The main difference between this SDR and the low cost one based on RTL 2832 + R820T is the spectrum view up to 6Mhz, the TCXO working with 0,5ppm and globally the quality of the solution and the availability of libraries. What is presented here is also valid for RTL based dongle.
With this tool you can see what is happening on the radio frequencies in real time, compare power, listen radio … This post is presenting how to install it and use it on windows & Mac Os X.
I’m using different GPS antennas with different price, size and gain and I had never compared the result in a real live test. So now it is done and the result are good to share.
My test condition are quite bad and we can’t really consider this as a scientific bench but, experimentally it sounds like a real life test.
So the test is to connect an antenna to a TD1204 with a GPS code on it and test the time it makes to fix the position and get some note about signal level, satellites in view… I used in fact 2 TD1204 : one with a reference antenna to ensure we have equivalent condition from one test to the others. The tests are made indoor where the sensitivity is an important factor. This post detail the results.
After making my kit on my own, I finally got the official Telecom Design TD1204 kit (thank you TD) There is no big issues to use it once you have the right entry point, but as I had some email exchange with support to be fully ready for using it, I’m prefer to share some words with you on what to do and how it works.
Basically, the TD kit is an EFM32 Tiny Gecko Starter kit (STK3300) with some little modifications. The EFM kit have two interesting functions : in own a Jlink JTAG/SWD programming and debugging interface and its EFM32 MCU can be use to monitor power consumption with precision.