Fan controlled by humidity sensor

I have a problem with machine tools getting condensation on them when conditions in the shed read dew point.

A possible solution being explored is to circulate air with a fan, possible inducting outside air, when humidity approaches condensing conditions.

A quick search reveals the HDS10 resistive humidity sensor for a dollar or so on eBay.

Above is the HDS10 humidity sensor.

Most low cost humidity sensors use a humidity dependent capacitive element, the HDS10 is different in being a humidity dependent capacitive element and is therefore simpler to use with microcontrollers with ADC input.

HDS10-02

The above graph is from the datasheet. It is intended primarily for sensing high humidity (dew point, condensing conditions) which suits this application.
Continue reading Fan controlled by humidity sensor

Review of inexpensive Chinese thermostat – STC-1000

This is a review of an inexpensive STC-1000 Chinese bang-bang  thermostat that was purchased on eBay for around A$12 complete with thermistor sensor and postage.

Above is the front view of the thermostat. There are many thermostats on the market with similar front panels, but they differ in internals and most importantly, performance and quality.

STC-1000-03

Above, the rating label is clear and informational, but it does not give the sensor parameters.  Continue reading Review of inexpensive Chinese thermostat – STC-1000

Can a hand held analyser be used to evaluate Insertion VSWR of a VSWR meter?

Some recent articles here used a two port analyser to evaluate Insertion VSWR of some coax switches, and it raises the question about application of a hand held analyser and Insertion VSWR of a VSWR meter.

(Duffy 2007) listed tests for evaluation of a VSWR meter:

Testing a VSWR meter

The tests here need to be interpreted in the context of whether the device under test (DUT) has only calibrated power scales, or a VSWR Set/Reflected mode of measurement, and whether directional coupler scales are identical for both directions.

  1. Connect a calibrated dummy load of the nominal impedance on the instrument output and measure the VSWR at upper and lower limit frequencies and some in between frequencies. The VSWR should be 1. (Checks nominal calibration impedance);
  2. Repeat Test 1 at a selection of test frequencies and for each test, without changing transmitter power, reverse the DUT and verify that repeat the forward/set and reflected readings swap, but are of the same amplitude (checks the symmetry / balance of the detectors under matched line conditions).
  3. Connect a s/c to the instrument output and measure the VSWR at upper and lower limit frequencies and some in between frequencies. The VSWR should be infinite. (Discloses averaging due to excessive sampler length);
  4. Connect an o/c to the instrument output and measure the VSWR at upper and lower limit frequencies and some in between frequencies. The VSWR should be infinite. (Discloses averaging due to excessive sampler length);
  5. Connect a calibrated wattmeter / dummy load of the nominal impedance on the instrument output and measure calibration accuracy of power / ρ / VSWR scales at a range of power levels in both forward and reflected directions (Checks scale shape and absolute power calibration accuracy).
  6. Repeating Test 1 additionally with a calibrated VSWR meter connected to the input to the DUT, and measure the VSWR caused by the DUT at a range of test frequencies (Checks Insertion VSWR).

It is not unusual for low grade instruments to pass Test 1, but to fail Test 6 (and some others, especially Test 3 and Test 4) towards the higher end of their specified frequency range.

Item 6 in the list was to evaluate the Insertion VSWR. Continue reading Can a hand held analyser be used to evaluate Insertion VSWR of a VSWR meter?

U-BLOX LEA-6T GPS module – for experiments

This article documents a LEA-6T module build for general experiments.

The LEA-6T is an inexpensive GPS module (~$40 at time of purchase, but getting cheaper) that can supply raw pseudo range data.

LEA-6T02

The module above is supplied for use on UAVs of various kinds, and came complete with a plastic radome and cables to suit an APM copter. The module also contains a 3D compass (magnetometer) which is not used here.

LEA-6T03

Above is the internals of the module with a custom cable to pick up just the RS232-TTL signals from the GPS (and supply 5V). The connector is a 8pin Hirose DF13. Continue reading U-BLOX LEA-6T GPS module – for experiments

Coax switches – is shorting unused port necessary for isolation?

At Ratings of coax antenna switches I showed characteristics of a home made switch which has very low InsertionVSWR, but poor isolation.

A couple of correspondents have offered an explanation that the unused port must be shorted to get good isolation.

If that was the case, then we would expect all coax switches that leave the unused port open to have poor isolation.

Let us look at a very good coaxial relay

 

Above is a Dowkey 402 series relay which has good performance to GHz. It does not short the unused port.
Continue reading Coax switches – is shorting unused port necessary for isolation?

Ratings of coax antenna switches

In a recent article I discussed how InsertionLoss implies InsertionVSWR in lossless devices.

This article looks at measurements of a few antenna switches at hand.

Daiwa CS-201G II

It is difficult to find comprehensive data on the very popular Daiwa CS-201 series switches.

CS201spec

Above is the data from the packet of one of these switches, a CS-201G II. The specifications are pretty loose, and one must depend on one’s own measurements.

CS201N01

Above, the CS-201G II, a basic CS-201 series switch with N connectors, advertised as useful to 2000MHz where InsertionLoss is given as 1.2dB (or better?). If there were no TransmissionLoss in the switch, that would imply InsertionVSWR=3.6, but there is probably some significant TransmissionLoss and InsertionVSWR would be somewhat less. Nevertheless, IMHO InsertionLoss=1.2dB indicates it as unsuitable such frequencies. Continue reading Ratings of coax antenna switches

InsertionLoss implies InsertionVSWR in lossless devices

Devices inserted in transmission lines often characterised by one or more of:

  1. Insertion VSWR (the input VSWR when terminated with a matched load);
  2. Return Loss (RL) in dB (20 times the log of the magnitude of the complex reflection coefficient); and
  3. Insertion Loss.

Practitioners often find Insertion VSWR (1) of most use as it indicates whether the device is worse than other system devices, the weak link in the chain if you like. You might see a coax antenna switch specified to have InsertionVSWR<1.2 to 60MHz.

Return Loss (2) is a function of VSWR and vice versa, so it appeals when the designer thinks in terms of Return Loss rather than VSWR (and it is a better metric for VSWR<1.2). You might see a coaxial relay specified to have ReturnLoss>30dB to 500MHz.

Insertion Loss (3) is not so readily compared to the other two which are measures of input reflection with a matched termination. It often yields some numbers that appear very acceptable, but might be deceptively so. You might see a coaxial relay specified to have ReturnLoss>30dB to 500MHz. You might see a coax antenna switch specified to have InsertionLoss<0.2dB to 100MHz. Continue reading InsertionLoss implies InsertionVSWR in lossless devices

Atten APS3005S – a better thermostatic fan control

The Atten APS3005S is a 0-30V 5A linear DC power supply.

Atten-hcctl00

This later model includes a thermostatically controlled fan which at moderately light currents short cycles (10s on 20s off) and is very annoying… especially since it sits above my desk.

This project describes application of the generic heating / cooling controller (hcctl) to control the fan, reducing the short cycling nuisance.
Continue reading Atten APS3005S – a better thermostatic fan control

Silver vs alkaline button cells

I purchased a new digital caliper recently (no, they are NOT vernier calipers, though modern usage seems to have misused the term vernier to the point of it having no value).

IMG_1591

A pic of the back reveals their recommendation for a battery, it is in the upper right corner of the pic “Battery 1.55V”. This is really subtle and a departure from previous practice of marking them more clearly SR44.

The nominal voltage of a silver button cell is 1.55V, an alkaline is 1.5V. Continue reading Silver vs alkaline button cells

Micro SD card premature failure

I bought a couple of ‘generic’ micro SD cards on eBay about a year ago. They were not much cheaper than brand name cards, and though only speed 6 rated, were available locally for quick delivery. I have a vague recollection that it might have been a RPi product supplied with NOOBS on it (I have a couple of SD adapters with the RPi logo on them).

IMG_1599

These were both used in RPi B systems and worked without fault for the last year, though they are not running full time (perhaps a couple of hundred hours of use).

During a Raspbian sofware update, both cards failed with the same problem, they effectively became read-only cards. Continue reading Micro SD card premature failure