Trying to make sense of the STC U8W chip programmer

STC is a Chinese maker of microcontroller chips, mostly 8051 architecture. The whole environment is characterised by a lack of English language information, or unreliable information.

The U8W is a programmer for some of their chips, and works in concert with their ISP programming software (Windows).

Above is the U8W. It was supplied without any documentation by an Aliexpress seller. Requests from the seller and from STC have not yielded any information. Continue reading Trying to make sense of the STC U8W chip programmer

Fox flasher MkII – update 07/2019

Fox flasher MkII described a LED driver for an animal deterrent using a Chinese 8051 architecture microcontroller, the STC15F104E.

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Above, the schematic. A very simple circuit with just a handful of electronic components (one capacitor, two resistors, one LDR, one Polyswitch, 4 x LEDs and the MCU). Note the capacitor in shunt with the LDR, it is to reduce noise and to provide a level of RFI protection. Continue reading Fox flasher MkII – update 07/2019

The private and public scope of coaxial cable

Let’s start by reviewing the concept of inductance.

Inductance

Inductance of a conductor is the property that a change in current in a conductor causes a electro motive force (emf or voltage) to be induced in a conductor.

We can speak of self inductance where the voltage is induced in the same conductor as the changing current, or mutual inductance where the changing current in one conductor induces a voltage in another conductor. Continue reading The private and public scope of coaxial cable

Average power of SSB telephony – experimental verification

Average power of SSB telephony used 80 year old research by (Holbrook and Dixon 1939) to come up with a ratio of peak voltage to RMS voltage of a voice waveform, and from that derive the ratio PEP/Pav..

(Holbrook and Dixon 1939) explored the subject measuring the voice characteristics of many talkers (as there is variation amongst talkers) to come up with an average characteristic.

Whilst in its day, obtaining instantaneous samples of voice was a challenge, it is trivial today and if you can’t believe the numbers given, try your own experiment (but realise it is for your own voice rather than the general population).

Many modern PC sound applications are capable of the measurement, I will demonstrate it with the feed Windows application Audacity with the stats.ny addin.

Above is a screenshot of a 6s recording of my voice made without stopping for breath. The statistics window shows a peak of -8.9dBFS and RMS of -27.4dBFS, giving a peak voltage to RMS voltage ratio of 18.5dB. Continue reading Average power of SSB telephony – experimental verification

Average power of SSB telephony

Some components used for SSB telephony need not be capable of handling the Peak Envelope Power (PEP) continuously, many components for instance respond to the average power (Pav) which is quite less. Essentially, components that are subject to voltage breakdown (usually as good as instantaneous) must withstand the PEP, those that heat relatively slowly must withstand Pav.

In estimating the power dissipated in components due to an SSB telephony waveform, a good estimate of the ratio of Average Power (Pav) to Peak Envelope Power (PEP) is very useful.

Long before hams had used SSB, the figure has been of interest to designers of FDM or carrier telephone systems to size amplifiers that must handle n channels of FDM multiplex without overload which would degrade S/N in other channels of the multiplex. The methods are applicable to SSB telephony, it uses the same modulation type and the overload challenges are the same.

(Holbrook and Dixon 1939) gave the graph above which characterises the ratio of instantaneous peak to RMS voltage of voice telephony for different numbers of channels in a multiplex and different expectation of overload or clipping. They recommend a very low probability of clipping at 0.1% to avoid significant intermodulation noise in adjacent channels. Continue reading Average power of SSB telephony

Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon – update 6/2019

Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon described a LED driver for an animal deterrent using a Chinese 8051 architecture microcontroller, the STC15F104E.

FF100This article documents its failure  in June 2019 after five years service.  Continue reading Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon – update 6/2019

Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon – update 6/2018

Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon described a LED driver for an animal deterrent using a Chinese 8051 architecture microcontroller, the STC15F104E.

FF100This article documents its failure  in June 2018 after three years service.

With the passage of time, the PV array surface has degraded until solar collection was insufficient to maintain the battery over several heavily overcast Winter days.

Above, a close up of the PV array surface. The pic is of about 8mm width, and one can barely see the silicon stripes which are about 2mm wide. Continue reading Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon – update 6/2018

High end VSWR compensation in a ferrite cored RF transformer

The article Estimating the Insertion VSWR in a ferrite cored RF transformer discussed the importance of sufficient magnetising impedance to InsertionVSWR at low frequencies.

Above is a low frequency equivalent circuit of a transformer. Although most accurate at low frequencies, it is still useful for RF transformers but realise that it does not include the effects of distributed capacitance which have greater effect with increasing frequency.

The elements r1,x1 and r2,x2 model winding resistance and flux leakage as an equivalent impedance. Whilst for low loss cores at power frequencies, flux leakage is thought of as an equivalent inductance, purely reactive and proportional to frequency, the case of lossy ferrite cores at RF is more complicated. Winding resistance with well developed skin effect increases proportional to the square of frequency, but with lossy ferrite cores will often be dwarfed by the loss element of leakage impedance. Continue reading High end VSWR compensation in a ferrite cored RF transformer

Estimating the Insertion VSWR in a ferrite cored RF transformer

The article Estimating the magnetising or core loss in a ferrite cored RF transformer discussed a first cut approach to determining the minimum magnetising impedance from a core loss viewpoint.

This article considers the effect of magnetising impedance on VSWR.

For medium to high µ cored RF transformers, flux leakage should be fairly low and the transformer can be considered to be an ideal transformer of nominal turns ratio shunted at the input by the magnetising impedance observed at that input winding.

A good indication of the nominal impedance transformation of the combination is to find the VSWR of the magnetising impedance in shunt with the nominal load (eg 50+j0Ω in many cases), and to express this as InsertionVSWR when the transformer is loaded with a resistance equal to n^2*that nominal load (eg 50+j0Ω in many cases). This model is better for low values of n than higher, but it can still provide useful indication for n as high as 8 if flux leakage is low.

Magnetising impedance can be estimated using one of the following calculators, but keep in mind that there are quite wide tolerances on ferrite cores.

Magnetising impedance can be measured (eg with an analyser), but it should be measured with only the measured winding on the core. Did I mention the wide tolerance of ferrites?

Example – FT240-43 3t @ 3.6MHz

You might ask the question is 3t sufficient for the primary of an EFHW transformer that delivers a 50+j0Ω load to a transmitter. Continue reading Estimating the Insertion VSWR in a ferrite cored RF transformer