ideas of delabs

Analog Design to Handheld Computing. Ergonomics and GUI Usability. 30+ years in Electronic Product Design. 80s EE Design Notes, 90s EE Web Logs. - delabs Technologies

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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Tablet Ándale - HandHeld Computing

Just some study i made, only the understanding or conclusion here. For the years 2012-16. Low power consumption means we all last longer, healthy, si no, carbon footprint, Ser hombre bueno.

Tablet Types - dapj tech

Units and Metrics -

Screen Size is in Inches. Carbon or 'caramba' is the color code to emphasize the energy consumption.
Power is the zap or punch of 'P4 at 2 Giga Hz with 1GB Ram' - Let us say, this configuration packs One "Gonz".

Energy is the juice it takes on the average browsing, word processing or youtubing, in Watts.

Tablet Ándale - HandHeld Computing

What you saw and What you got

If a Video was created in a Lower Resolution it is no use showing it at a High Resolution. A Video created or acquired in High Resolution can be shown in any lower resolution.

Showing a Video in High Resolution in smaller devices will not help much. This is the limit of the Human Eye itself. So do not waste bandwidth and processing power in very small devices. 

Gracias Senor or Senorita, for the patient reading.

Adiós Amigos, go for your Siesta.

As for me .....Ándale, Ándale, Arriba, Arriba.

I see a Splendid Future for Tablet Computers as they consume low power, portable, wireless web, ergonomic and affordable. They leave less eWaste when the product is disposed and it does not stress the Health of the user.


Tablets and Slates based on OpenSource OS. Even OpenHardware Tablets. This is a collage of various blurbs of mine in my other pages. An Home Appliance for Consumer Computing.

Why Tablets ?
  1. People want computing to be Personal and Portable and hassle free. With less Maintenance Tasks.
  2. Low Power or Green is the order of the Age, Fuel and Energy is not as easy, expensive and depleting.
  3. Low Carbon Footprint, The global carbon footprint of making, selling and scrapping tablets is low.
  4. The Technologies have evolved in Flash, Battery, CPU, OS, GUI, LCD, SMT and most Electronic Parts.
  5. Online - Web Computing and Cloud Computing offers Safer Storage and Powerful Web Applications.
First posted around 2010-2011 delabs

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

All flash Field Replaceable

Make all Flash Memory in Home Appliance, Gadgets and computers - Easily Replaceable and Field Replaceable. If possible replaceable by layman like batteries.

Many people are having problems and high costs of service, as equipment and devices made over the last few years have flash that is hard to replace and source.

The only flash that can be SMT and Soldered could be the ones loaded with "Static Software or Firmware". That means that area of memory that is subjected to very less write cycles. Even Firmware that is frequently updated should be on an replaceable module.

Make All flash Field Replaceable

I first experienced flash usage in a 8051 based Fuel Dispensing Unit we were developing in the late 80s. It was a SEEQ chip with 10K Full Erase/Write Cycles. it was a pin-2-pin replacement for 2732 UVPROM (kilo bytes). It later needed a piggyback timer.

Flash has developed immensely since, It lasts much longer and goes to Giga Bytes Storage. Giga Byte was BigData in the 90s.

Also Frequent software updates must be written as an overlay over the "Static Software".An External SDCARD as a database/code source for the updates.

Keep all frequently up-gradable parts of a firmware in a easily replaceable device called "DynamicWare" which includes the Interface/Internet areas and all that is susceptible, vulnerable, UI and young-and-growing sections.

So we have StaticWare Flash for OS, DynaWare Flash for Updates/Fixes/Apps. and External Flash for media/apps. The StaticWare alone can be SMT Hard Soldered into PCB, this should have enough smartness to upgrade device on Wi-FI with barebone GUI.

Gizmos and Gadgets that consume more batteries can be supplied with easily pluggable battery and spare battery with charger. This way the battery can be quick replaced when drained, rather than charging the device. This reduces system downtime.

delabs - 2014

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Usability of Front Panel Controls

I once worked in Tek for a very short period. I got to experience the 2235 and 2465 analog scopes and their controls. The 2465 was a 400 MHz Digitally Controlled Analog Scope.

I also used the Plugin System Scopes and Calibration systems; these were Tek Culture and Tech contribution to the Instrumentation world, it probably evolved into VXI-PXI as uC systems took over.

delabs Web Widget and Application Interface Usability Experiments 2003-2008

I also had a chance to look at DSO/Logic Analyzers and the just developed TDS Series. The older tek analog scopes made me understand about usability and panel layouts. Many controls are inevitable in a Analog Scope with Electromechanical Interface.

In a Digital World that can be largely changed using the Monitor and Trackballs. The older BlackBerry phones are also good study for usability before Touch Screens came.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

PCB Prototype by Cu Deposition and Sn Plating

Take a Blank Epoxy Card. No Copper, just the glass epoxy card. It will not be copper clad. I am trying to explain the concept. The Glass Epoxy card as you know is Epoxy (Like Ciba Araldite) with glass fiber as filler. Maybe new technologies have come now. The fiber is for Reinforcement and Epoxy you know is a Marvel of an Engineering Material.

EE Design Library - Electronic Product Design Resource.

PCB Prototype by Cu Deposition and Sn Plating

PCB belongs to AVR JTAG adapter - MadWizard.org

In those days some people told me that these epoxy with glass fiber and iron flakes as powder are used to repair aircraft/spacecraft. It could be cast into a shape and even turned on lathe for making custom replacement components.

This nudged an idea, If we Screenprint a Mixture of Epoxy + Fine Iron Dust + ? over the blank Glass Epoxy card. The positive is used not the negative. That means Pads and Tracks on Positive create an Image of Pads and Tracks of this Epoxy/Iron paste on Glass Epoxy surface. Now Screenprinting done, let it dry. We can also be print a thin layer of epoxy pcb pattern and blow iron dust on it.

Dip this Printed Epoxy card with this iron/epoxy pattern; into a Copper Sulfate CuSO4 + ? + ? Solution. The ? has to figured by chemical engineers. I used to be good at Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, when i was young. The copper replaces/plates the iron powder and with some electrostatic and electrochemical methods the copper layer grows over the entire tracks and pads quickly. Now the card is Tin Sn plated to complete.

A single Prototype PCB is ready and no extra copper wasted. Copper and Tin was deposited.

2004 - delabs Notes

ideas of delabs - id1014

Visual Embedded RAD for EDA

Just like an electronic circuit is a graphical representation of what will be on the PCB. Firmware development should be a 2D graphical diagram of what goes into eeprom.

An example is the Ladder Logic software that can program 80C51 types in a Fanuc, Allen Bradley or Siemens PLCs. Then many people can do at least restricted firmware programming for some embedded solutions.

Build a DMM or digital multi meter

Visual Embedded RAD. This is more like code snippets inserted in code in the background when user drags and drops a Hardware Function or Program Method. The Environment is Visual, but Code is compact as same modules or blocks used. There is no C or Intermediate Language. Visual to Binary Hex Direct.

(Idea - Mar-04, Revised again - 4 April 2008, Nature - Open Source )

The Motor Bicycle

At late 40s I am into riding Geared Cycles. A Cycle Guru says it is the 'Cadence' in pedaling speed. What I need is a 'Mentor' for the Methodology behind Optimum Gear usage.

Mixed Circuits Analog with Digital

But some people are developing what will become well known as The Motor Bicycle.

Updated Nov 2015

ideas of delabs - id1015

Monday, May 02, 2016

Protect your Design or IP

If you have made an electronic product with a new circuit or code and need to protect it, then these are some Methods. If your Intellectual Property is an Idea, A Hardware Innovation or Software Application; It may need some protection other than patents. Sometimes patents are used for general applications and generic designs. Patent only an Original Idea or Innovation or an Exclusive and Unique Method.

Microcomputer Circuits in Process Control.

Protect your Design or IP

If you are small and the innovation very big, tie up with established companies with reputed brands. If you are a source for a certain product component or module, make certain restriction on patenting products made from it. Else, your Module or Application Sales may be jammed by Panic Patents.

That is the reason, the Platform that fosters innovation is Open Source.

1. Security Bit -

Use for digital logic area, an atmel uC with security bit protection or any uC-uP with internal memory read protected with security bit. the firmware should be kept in tight control from both external people and your employees and must be on a non-networked and non-internet machine.

2. Hermetically seal -

This is a crude and ancient way, delete the chip part numbers and pot it in a plastic can with ciba araldite epoxy with alumina filler, this way product may not be copied and it will be immune to vibration and corrosive environment. but heat dissipation and serviceability is affected, so make a epoxy potted module of only some part of the circuit.

3. Make ASIC or FPGA -

ASIC is only for volume production and is copy protected, if you design in-house and the chip maker you order is trustworthy, then this is ok, for small volume production use FPGA, CPLD, DSP uC or uP with read protection as practical.

4. Go open source -

Design a circuit and put it on the internet to share, let the community use it and improve it, here also revenue is made by service of product, custom design and customer support and this will work long term free of tensions. This way has proved to foster greater innovation and stable technologies.

(my dairy log 2002, Amps-n-Volts June 2005, Now logged here - delabs)

ideas of delabs - id1019  

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Surgical Tools useful for Manufacturing

Small Boards, SMT circuits and hybrid electronics need special tools. The soldering and handling require some tools and custom jigs which can be custom designed. 

Some product are mass produced, some tools for managing and working on Tiny PCB's and parts may not be available in the market at an affordable price.

Electronic Product Production Manufacturing

So affordable solution can be created, the jigs are supplemented by surgical tools. These are the Clips and Tweezers that a doctor uses when he conducts an operation.


Surgical Tools useful for Manufacturing

Call it Forceps, Tweezers or Pliers. These tools, both the bent/arched/curved one and straight are useful.

When you go to a Surgical Supplies Store, Buy some Filter Paper, capillary tubes and a spirit lamp as well. These can find a lot of good use in the ultimate quest for the God Particle. Beat the Swiss to it.

ideas of delabs - id1016

Saturday, March 12, 2016

EDA and Product Design Ideas

Product Design Optimization - Some Ideas of mine that are decades old , related to EDA and Product Design.

Make Practical (it works), Affordable, Usable (ergonomics), Safe, Reliable (robust), Durable and Consistent, Maintainable (means servicing) Products.

EDA CAD Circuit Design Software Tools

EDA and Product Design Ideas

Electronics Product Design Development 

Dust and Contamination in Connectors

Once i opened a RF Millivolt Meter of Marconi Instruments. It did not have a spec of dust inside, not even one micron size of dust particle.

Connectors exposed to Environment should not only be Corrosion resistant but also Dust, Grime & Insect Proof! Dummy Covers on exposed units.

Air Vents, Fans & Unused Slots in Modular Instruments. Missing Fasteners in cabinets, gaps in panel components collect Dust & Insects inside

Dust + Moisture + Smoke + Pollutants = Conductive Grime Deposits on PCB, Parts & in-between the IC pins. Can Simulation include this aspect.

Virtual Environmental Testing a part of simulation and EDA, just like Mechanical Modelling and Studying Thermal Gradients on PCB.

ideas of delabs - id1017

Monday, January 04, 2016

PLC based PID Controller

Below is a Electrical Control Panel, It has a Strip Chart Recorder which is electro-mechanical, It has a PLC Inside. A handheld PLC Programming unit. The computer is showing the Ladder Logic Program. PLC is based on a embedded uC. The DIN Controllers are Analog + Digital circuits.

Process Control Application Notes

So you see it is a Electrical Control Panel with Electronics and the PLC Ladder Logic means, Software too.

PID Controller PLC

Electrical Control Panel Wiring

This is a PID Controller based Control Panel using a PLC. The Computer is a 386 40MHz with 40MB HDD. The printer Epson dot matrix, The worktable is an inhouse design made of steel and plywood, capable of withstanding heavy loads.

You can also see a Stripchart recorder for the temperature logging and PID curve study. This controls a Steam Valve with 4-20mA output.  

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Date Time Clock Widgets

I wanted to realize usability of controls within a small footprint. This lead to some innovations.
These are JavaScript and CSS Clock Widgets originally made for my webpage later improved and decorated for iGoogle. Now available as web widgets.

Date Time Clock Widgets

Date Time Clock Widgets

When i found the Remote controls and the early mobile phones difficult to use. I felt i have to try to design user interface within a small footprint. This helped me innovate a Active or Dynamic GUI concept; as shown in the Ability to change the skins of the Audio Music player and Digital Alarm Clock. The metronome too see the other project in this profile. These were done around 2005-6-7. Both for elements on my site and gadgets.

Digital and Analog Clocks
I also made a Virtual Web Gadget Alarm Clock Simulation that will demonstrate a Dynamic GUI in a Limited Facia Area.

Conclusions -

Reduce the number of operations a user would do at achieve a purpose. Auto, Intuitive, Context Gui. When a Customer comes to buy Trousers, Take him to the Trouser Corner. Do not show Tuxedo option. The colors have good contrast and the text clearly visible.

A Highlighted reaction to user action. Tactile. Dynamic GUI, see in Gadgets above. GUI Elements appear only for that sequence of actions. No clutter. Menus if used, should not get stuck. Should not be fidgety, should not be menus at all if possible.

Engineering, Interaction Design, UI/UX