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Rank #5 in Physics category

Education
Technology
Science
Physics

The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast

Updated about 1 month ago

Rank #5 in Physics category

Education
Technology
Science
Physics
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A weekly podcast about the electronics industry. Occasional guests. Lots of laughs.

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A weekly podcast about the electronics industry. Occasional guests. Lots of laughs.

iTunes Ratings

169 Ratings
Average Ratings
162
4
1
0
2

Pretty good. Dave is not too annoying.

By gs550 - Dec 04 2017
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Chris makes up for Dave’s aggressive interruptions.

Love it Aztlan

By Aztlanpz - Aug 24 2015
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Great pod cast love it Aztlan

iTunes Ratings

169 Ratings
Average Ratings
162
4
1
0
2

Pretty good. Dave is not too annoying.

By gs550 - Dec 04 2017
Read more
Chris makes up for Dave’s aggressive interruptions.

Love it Aztlan

By Aztlanpz - Aug 24 2015
Read more
Great pod cast love it Aztlan
Cover image of The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast

The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast

Latest release on Jul 12, 2020

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A weekly podcast about the electronics industry. Occasional guests. Lots of laughs.

Rank #1: #481 – An Interview with Paul Thompson

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This week we are sponsored by Keysight. Amp Hour listeners get a bonus entry if they sign up for the upcoming Keysight Wave event using this link, which starts on March 2nd. You can also view some of the content discussed in the ad this week, such as the The ESD Checklist, 4 easy ways to blow up your test gear, and Can a cable electrically damage equipment?

Welcome, Paul Thompson, CEO of Pakton Technology

Feb 24 2020

1hr 14mins

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Rank #2: #453 – Vertically Integrated Design Engineering

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Thanks to Suzanne Nilsson for the image of the ladder

Aug 05 2019

1hr 11mins

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Rank #3: #464 – KonnectorPanik

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Oct 27 2019

1hr 7mins

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Rank #4: #475 – An Interview with Christina Cyr

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Welcome Christina Cyr, CEO of dToor and the Cyrcle Phone

Jan 20 2020

1hr 13mins

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Rank #5: #488 – Sowing Discord

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Today’s show is sponsored by Rohde & Schwarz. We hear in the ad today from James Lewis (@baldengineer) about how to use an oscilloscope and how probe capacitance can affect measurements. For more information about the scope discussed today, check out AskAnEngineer.us.

Thanks to peakpx for the sowing picture

Apr 13 2020

1hr 13mins

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Rank #6: #478 – Optimization Beast

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Thanks to gideon for the picture of Domokun

Feb 10 2020

1hr 5mins

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Rank #7: #463 – An Interview with Trammell Hudson

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Welcome Trammell Hudson!

This episode is sponsored by Rohde and Schwarz. Check out AskAnEngineer.us for more info about their value line test equipment.

The image is a capture from a 1 kilopixel Cyclops sensor that Trammell re-projected through an oscilloscope (link)

Oct 21 2019

1hr 13mins

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Rank #8: #462 – Boat Anchors

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Thanks to Stew Dean for the photo of the anchor

Oct 13 2019

1hr 11mins

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Rank #9: #474 – An Interview with Nash Reilly

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Welcome, Nash Reilly of Sonos!

  • Chris and Nash met at OSHWA 2018
  • Nash is from Montana and went to engineering school at Montana State University.
  • His first job out of school was at Micron over in Boise, doing SO DIMM testing for large scale customers.
  • He actually tested for things like Cosmic Ray strikes, discussed many times on this show.
  • Interned at Sonos when it was 100 people
  • Watching how the vendors change their tune as you get volume up
  • His role at Sonos started in sustaining engineering
  • Making sure supply chain is stable
  • Spent 4-5 weeks per year in China, even had to leave vacation to fly to China.
  • “Type 2 fun”
  • Smoke jumpers for Intel
  • Hank Zumbahlen episode
  • Staying well grounded
  • Lee Hill’s Silent Solutions
  • I2S clocks hurt emissions, are often a problem during testing.
  • Blog post about emissions
  • Solutions for I2S clocks
    • Changing the output impedance of your driver
    • Put a small external RC filter
  • Howard Johnson on the podcast
  • First 20 pages of the Black Magic book
  • Most DACs/ADCs aren’t as finicky as they used to be
  • I2S is just SPI in one direction
  • Sigma Delta DACs
  • Oversampling and modulating in the reverse direction
  • THD is like a noise measure, but also has distortion
  • Audio Precision test equipment
  • Analog Dialogue
  • Charty Party
  • 30 ms for it to be instantaneous to a human
  • Humans are more sensitive to phase delta
  • Latency is constant for digital signals
  • 3rd edition of AoE
  • ADI AN-283
  • The Way Things Work
  • How do you maintain quality over low quality speakers that are out there?
  • Clicks and pops
  • “A class D amplifier is just a motor driver with an LC on the output”
  • Layout starts to impact things
  • Chapter 8 of AoE for low noise design
  • Sonos Port
  • 20 people in his group, including digital, analog, layout
  • Current project has 10 people in total or so
  • 1600 total people working at Sonos
  • Sonos Amp
  • Had to do a custom class D amplifier
  • Needed to design in real time control
  • Sonos use Linux computers internally for the high level control
  • Microcontrollers for controlling other elements of the design faster
  • Nash is in charge of making sure the digital section is put together well and writing test plans
  • An example schedule: December start (talking with vendors), April schematic, June testing
  • For the Sonos Move, Nash worked on an earlier incarnation.
  • Nash’s main site/blog
  • Find him on reddit
  • Nash is @cushychicken

Jan 13 2020

1hr 33mins

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Rank #10: #459 – An Interview with Tom Lee

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Welcome Dr Thomas (Tom) Lee of the Microwave Integrated Circuits Lab (SMIrC) at Stanford University!

This episode is sponsored by Rohde and Schwarz. Check out AskAnEngineer.us for more info about their value line test equipment.

  • Tom is friends with two past guests, Jeri Ellsworth and Kent Lundberg
  • Tom owns a LOT of scopes (200 or so)
  • First scope was a Heathkit
  • The Tek 485 had nice user design
  • “I didn’t like an intermediate layer.”
  • John Addis and Wink Gross designed the important parts of the 485
  • The 485 added a superfast square wave to the front panel important for calibrating a 350 MHz scope
  • Protection circuits
  • Tom got started in electronics fixing TVs
  • He then went to work for the founders of Wavetek (but not directly for the company) with people like Joe Deavenport
  • Tom went to MIT and worked under Jim Roberge (check out the video series where Jim is lecturing on-camera)
  • He proposed a thesis that was the world’s first integrated CMOS radio
  • Marvin Minsky
  • “The thesis doesn’t change the world…it changes you”
  • CMOS was considered crap, was mostly used for wristwatches and calculators
  • Other types of MOS and BJT circuits were considered to be much better.
  • Tom used MOSIS, the IC bundling service mentioned on this program before.
  • Didn’t have PDKs
  • Magic from Berkeley allowed Tom to see the DRC errors as they happened.
  • He ended up building an FM radio…without any inductors!
  • Made gyrators into inductors
  • Moved to Analog Devices where he learned a lot from Barrie Gilbert and Paul Brokaw
  • Moving back to California and went to work for a startup RAMBUS
  • Stanford wanted someone to do RF and give a first class on RF chip design
  • Tom started in 1994 and started the first microwave IC lab.
  • Tom and his grad students created the first GPS CMOS receiver
  • Used to be 1 GHz and above is microwave
  • Many of Tom’s students are (truly) seeing Maxwell’s equations for real for the first time
  • What are the mental models?
  • Tom said he “inflicts history on students”. This is also in the early chapters of Tom’s book, Planar Microwave Engineering
  • Maxwell didn’t use vector calculus, he used quaternian form.
  • Every course Tom teaches has a lab, including his undergrad lab which involves copper tape and making a radio.
  • A lot of faculty have never built stuff
  • He is now working with students on mmwave and 5G (because that’s where a lot of the research dollars are right now)
  • Beamforming to get aggregate bandwidth
  • Printed electronics for power delivery, serving devices that are in the mW level not the W level
  • Feature sizes of CMOS
  • Tom is on the board of Xilinx
  • Tom is taking a year sabbatical and working on a book about instrumentation
  • He hopes to ask many of the creators about the secrets inside the test equipment he often is reverse engineering
  • Jim Williams told him to buy a rubidium clock (standard) at a flea market.
  • Worked at DARPA, where his office funded development of a chip scale atomic clock
  • That chip subsequently released a bit of smoke in the space station…
  • Read more about Tom’s research on his group’s website

Sep 23 2019

1hr 14mins

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Rank #12: #241 – An Interview with Chuck Peddle (Repeat, in memoriam)

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This is a re-airing of our episode with Chuck Peddle, recorded in March of 2015.

View the notes from the original episode here.

We chose to re-air the episode because Chuck passed away earlier this month (Hackaday, NYtimes, Engadget, Team6502) and this is one of our favorite episodes. We look forward to more great interviews like this one in 2020!

Dec 30 2019

3hr

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Rank #13: #461 – An Interview with Jonathan Georgino

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Welcome, Jonathan Georgino of Binho!

  • The Binho is a USB host adapter targeted at manufacturing floors, but also can help people quickly talk to devices using i2c, serial, SPI and GPIO.
  • There are a couple of options out there for manufacturing: Some are robust and expensive, others are hobbyist
  • Using scripts and adapters for production line programming
  • Career started at GE in St Marys, working on a CAN sensors
  • Got a Saleae logic analyzer, wrote to Mark and Joe, went to go work with them.
  • Mark and Joe were on episode 237 of The Amp Hour
  • Helped to design the Logic 8, 8 pro and 16.
  • Jonathan took away that products should be a pleasure to use, easy to understand
  • Making it accessible in multiple ways
  • Mark recently talked to Limor about the Saleae
  • After Saleae, Jonathan went to go work at the Wonder Workshop (WW)
  • Other consumer Robot startups having a hard time. We talked about Anki on episode 441.
  • WW focuses on the educational market, where you need to be prepared for 1 year sales cycle and need a curriculum for the teachers who will be using it.
  • Blockly or Scratch to program the robots
  • Variables are tough for kids to understand (or big kids, like Chris).
  • When designing for the educational market, need to design for robustness and compliance testing
  • Testing comes out of the IEC standards, with different ones for each country.
  • Partnered with toy manufacturer in China to make the robots.
  • Jonathan was only EE up until production
  • Dash has 12 different PCBs, with one that has 3 processors and 2 SPI flashes on board.
  • Blockly is an open source project from Google
  • “Changing careers is the best way to learn and grow”
  • After WW, Jonathan moved to Zola, who are doing off grid for African countries.
  • He got to visit Tanzania and see the product in action. There wasn’t as much needed on the EE side of things.
  • Then he joined Pi, now Spansive
  • They were working on a wireless charging device using A4WP, banking on new phones adapting it as a standard (it wasn’t)
  • The experience in China manufacturing was that there are devices available but they are low cost and have janky UI.
  • Most popular on the market are from Total Phase
  • Can connect to Binho using Python API or any application that can pass in ASCII characters
  • Can hook into any of the existing tools
  • Some people are using a Raspberry Pi for testing
  • Under the hood it’s an m0, with protection for overcurrent
  • Also have a GUI
  • Built in Xojo to be cross platform
  • Use pip to install binho host adapter
  • Jonathan advises you to put your pins onto the board the first time your board is made
  • Continuous integration for firmware
  • Rigol has python libraries, as does the Saleae. These might be python on top of GPIB.
  • Check out Jonathan’s personal site and the Binho site.

Oct 07 2019

59mins

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Rank #14: #485 – An Interview with John Day

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Welcome, John Day, Technical Fellow and FAE from Microchip!

  • John has worked at Microchip for 27 years! It was almost startup when he joined in 1993.
  • He previously had worked on IO subsystem modules at DEC and had interacted with FAEs.
  • He did some research on the company before joining, by checking out their databook
  • John’s first computers were the C64 and the TRS80.
  • Microchip was a spin-off of General Instruments in 1989, with Steve Sanghi as the head of the company (still in charge!)
  • Focus was on low cost components, like ROM
  • We take In Circuit Emulators (ICE) and In Circuit Programmers (ICP) for granted these days, in the 80s and 90s you could only really use emulators.
  • With the lower costs, engineers could go to production on an EPROM. This made more devices “field programmable”.
  • Why was the PIC was different when it came out?
    • There really weren’t C compilers
    • Most programmers are not familiar with the ISA
    • Used to be writing direct assembly code
    • Didn’t have a lot of peripherals
    • Wouldn’t have a peripheral for i2c/smbus or similar
    • Timing would be really critical
    • PIC was single cycle
  • The first part was the PIC16c64, it had no interrupts, 512 words.
  • Microchip was early movement into flash, the first component with it was the PIC16f877 in 1997
  • They were also the first to have in circuit debugging; John Andrews and John Day chatted about having this and did a proposal for the debug registers to the chip designers. The software group followed. This was for MPLAB 8.
  • ICD1 was developed outside of Microchip, but later pulled in house
  • It came up after talking to customers about their needs
  • The PIC32MZ was another good example of working with customers. They talked with Clint Cole and Keith Vogel of Digilent. They ran into an ADC non linearity that drove changes to the silicon.
  • PIC32EF
  • In order to issue and errata, engineers need to cut down source code to minimal size for isolation of the issue.
  • John gets to work with automotive, gaming, commercial, and a lot more types of customers.
  • Sometimes he finds himself writing code for customers, like special IP that is needed. This happened for a high volume part that needed better test coverage to find errors that happened once every million units. It turned out to be a brownout problem.
  • John used and likes his Saleae logic.
  • Microchip started an analog products group in late 90s, especially because a lot of the IP was developed for the microcontrollers.
  • They bought Microsemi / Actel 2 years ago.
  • FAEs at Microchip now have “specialist areas”
  • ATC chips are ultra secure chips that hold root keys
  • App Notes
  • App notes can take a while: the LED cube took over a year. This is because they’re publishing them, in addition to their regular job.
  • People expect code generator / configurator tools these days, so the nature of app notes have changed.
  • John assigns himself personal projects to learn new technologies
  • Building Nixie tube clock to learn boost converters, ethernet stacks (this is shown in the photo above)
  • Aside from microcontrollers, John is a huge fan of Pinball
  • “You can always have space for a pinball machine”. In fact, he fit a pinball machine in his college dorm room.
  • Gottleib Genie
  • Ran on Rockwell 4 bit micros – 3 of them
  • Batteries used to retain settings, but they would leak and destroy MPU
  • Ralph Fien in Germany took MAME project and made a pinball machine, which all ran on a RPi
  • 3 PIC18s to talk to IO
  • There are drivers on separate boards, similar to TIP102s.
  • 4 bit latches on the bus
  • Periphieral IO Expander (PIA)
  • NI-WUMPH
  • Mission Pinball Framework (MPF) allows you to write all your game rules in Python.
  • Ben Heck made a custom pinball machine
  • John’s first machine was a 1973 Gottleib Kingpin, for which he did a restoration.
  • You can hear John on The Classic Pinball podcast for episodes 27 and 28.
  • John has had some interesting experiences as an FAE:
    • He was offered a gig (in cash) to build a cable tv descrambler
    • UPS design for a customer in a bad neighborhood
    • Almost blowing himself up while building high voltage power supply during co-op
  • John is a fan of Dave’s teardowns and learning from them

Mar 22 2020

1hr 33mins

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Rank #15: #480 – An Interview with Ben Krasnow, 8 years on

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Today’s episode is sponsored by Screaming Circuits. Listen to the episode to hear about the monster through-hole pick and place machine they have on premises for their legacy customers. Check out this link to get an instant quote on your next board assembly.

Welcome back, Ben Krasnow!

Feb 17 2020

1hr 14mins

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#500 – Two and a Half Orders of Magnitude

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500 episodes of goofing around, including during our only in person meeting

Episode 500! About 10 years in! (our first show was August 10th, 2010)

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Jul 12 2020

1hr 13mins

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#499 – Discussing Chiplets with Ming Zhang

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Welcome Dr Ming Zhang, CEO and founder of zGlue!

  • What is zGlue? It’s a company that helps engineers integrate Chiplets into a single package, AKA heterogenous chip integration.
  • ASIC are monolithic and require much higher capital investment and testing.
  • The key advantage of zGlue is miniturization
  • zGlue has an reference chip they publish called the Omnichip. It has Bluetooth, temp sensor, memory, and other sensors, 7 Chiplets in total.
  • The output package is an LGA that is 8 mm x 6 mm.
  • The system complexity needs to be high enough for it to matter: it’s unlikely engineers will need this service to put together 2 simple chips.
  • It means working outside the PCB workflow, which will be an adjustment. The new workflow is entirely within the ChipBuilder environment though.
  • The Chiplets a placed onto a “Smart Fabric”, which is a programmable interconnect with some small functions built in.
  • There is also “common denominator IP”, like LED drivers and security elements
  • The example Omnichip targets IoT products
  • Good candidates for zGlue are constrained system by design, which means they probably fit into a theme like “IoT” and the associated included elements in the smart fabric.
  • zGlue also support custom smart fabric, but there will be added cost, time for getting it made/tested.
  • This “bigger LEGO board” is different than what Adrian Tang talked about, making custom systems for each design.
  • How does smart fabric handle power/analog/RF? RF on the top metal, the analog and power are different “taps”. The more digital a signal, the deeper it goes into the fabric. The metal requires customization in the mask.
  • There are “Templates“, which should help people get started, as well as an “Open Chiplet template“, which was released 2 weeks ago with Google.
  • physics decisions based on design rules
  • Go shopping on zGlue on their “Chiplet Store
  • Templates are top down
  • There is no licensing agreement required for each chip, because it’s like buying the chip off the shelf (sans the polymide package). Almost all Chiplets are off the shelf parts.
  • Example templates:
    • Edge node AI (detect gestures and voice)
    • Medical
    • Industrial
    • Wearables
    • Smart Graziery
  • For pricing, there is a unit cost and development cost. The best way to get started is the “Shuttle program”, which is $25K for 10 components (and includes development cost).
  • Once you get to production, there are options for consignment or non-consignment
  • Development takes about 1 to 3 months.
  • You can buy some of their “off the shelf” components for even less, such as the GEM1, GEM2, or Omnichip design.
  • They use TSMC for silicon fab and ASE for assembly.
  • At the assembly facility, the Chiplets come on tape and reel and are placed in a similar manner to other components.
  • Who does Ming say they’re targeting? “Hardware innovators”, namely people that are trying to go impossibly small or impossibly fast.
  • For the brave, you can communicate directly with the smart fabric during debug.
  • Ming thinks all things will converge and many designs will go towards this path in the future.
  • zGlue was conceived to stack things and they will start going from 2D to 3D designs in the future.
  • For more information, check out the specific links above or check out zglue.com.
  • They will be exhibiting at DAC/SemiCon West (July 20-24) with a “Virtual Booth”. The link for that is not yet active, but you can register for the event

Jul 05 2020

1hr 2mins

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#498 – Quantum Computing with Andrea Morello

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Today’s episode is sponsored by Mouser Electronics. Learn more about Fog Computing and the other high level topics they are featuring on Mouser’s site using the link TheAmpHour.com/fog-computing

Welcome, Dr Andrea Morello!

Jun 28 2020

1hr 49mins

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#497 – An Interview with Brock LaMeres

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Today’s episode is sponsored by Keysight, who recently started Keysight University. We hear from Daniel Bogdanoff and Jit Lim about USB, including the specs on the newly announced USB 4.0. To check out the USB 4.0 Pitfalls course and many more classes about test and measurement, check out Keysight University.

Welcome, Dr Brock LaMeres!

  • Brock came from industry. He was working at HP and took classes at night to work on his Masters and PhD. The classes in his program had few traditional students. The profs were working engineers.
  • After graduating, he stuck around to teach classes and loved it. He wanted to make it part of career.
  • Using (modern) CAD tools in school
  • Application was tied to the tools
  • Chris went to a conference of EE Dept Heads (ECEDHA) and was put off by their unwillingness to try new tools.
  • Teaching with captive tools in virtual machines?
  • To get the context of the material, you have to show the application.
  • Brock likes to show the historical aspect of engineering, or the “Rapid historical evolution of technology”. As an example: the battles between Tesla and Edison (War of the currents)
  • Another example is how Intel (“INTegrated ELectronics” made up the name, if you didn’t know) hasn’t really been around that long, historically (<50 years).
  • Brock teaches every level at MSU:
    • Beginners: EE 101
    • Middle of curriculum: Logic circuits and design
    • Advanced: Embedded systems
    • Grad level: Digital design, including real world problems like signal reflections (Editor’s snarky note: so analog too!)
  • MSU has been dealing with COVID-19, like any other higher ed institution. But Brock was already teaching classes online.
  • He has written books and paired it with youtube videos, so it wasn’t a huge transition for a lecture class.
  • However, there was a range of experience across the campus, especially the profs who weren’t super digital savvy.
  • Brock was interested in distance learning 10 years ago, especially addressing problems with the labs.
  • He got a grant from the NSF to research how students could access equipment on campus and perform the lab somewhere else. This was before the availability of the low cost instruments of today.
  • Chris asked how they measuring engagement / frustration
  • It’s a wide range: Students that need full engagement is not 100%. In fact, there’s a percentage that don’t want interaction at all. “They just want to crank”
  • Breaking the class into different groups based on learning patterns means more time to engage the students who are struggling.
  • Engineering is more about internalizing
  • The thing that is missing is self-regulation: “If you’re stuck on something for 30 minutes…then stop”
  • They do a large number of low stakes homework assignments to track progress. It helps let them know when students get left behind and he’s not a fan of exams.
  • Vocational education vs traditional education.
  • Senior design class is a must to be ABET accredited. Students learn that the circuit design is not the problem. It’s the “everything else”
  • Brock started working with NASA, continuing on his work designing FPGAs with HP. NASA wants reconfigurable hardware to accelerate computation, but also want to reprogram on the fly. Reconfigurable hardware can also flush out faults in space.
  • They came up with a digital platform: Rad PC
  • Processor voting on the output. “Voting” = 3 circuits produce outputs: if one crashes, the two that are the same will validate the broken one. This results in triple modular redundancy.
  • They have gone up to space a bunch of ways!
    • Put on sounding rockets
    • Put on the ISS (!!!)
    • Two cube sats
  • Internally, the hardware has a bunch of monitors all over the place, including error correcting code (ECC).
  • MROM
  • Rad hard parts are expensive and hard to get, so they’re trying to use commercial FPGAs.
  • Chris asked about the overhead “cost” of having monitoring internally on FPGAs.
  • Looking at MTTF
  • The mission itself is driving a lot of the requirements
  • Other ventures like Planet Labs (past guest), SpaceX (past guests) also are using commercial hardware with smaller mission horizons.
  • Any missions requires an analysis of how to burn up.
  • They’re currently working on a project to go to the moon! Part of the Artemis Program.
  • The computer will use the landers and rovers radios for talking back. Brock’s computer will connect to the Lander and the Lander will take care of all the data (over some satellite uplink).
  • Their Cube Sats are amateur band using SATNOGS for base stations.
  • New book/course that’s coming out, which is an Intro to Embedded Systems course reboot at MSU.
  • Took a different approach, a different way of learning
  • Wanted every student to come to class with the micro attached to their laptops, so a $10 dev board/platform was the goal.
  • Brock is passionate about reducing costs for students, especially because of the public school charter.
  • Previous target was Freescale processor, but the dev boards will still $100.
  • The lecture for this class leads right into the lab, hosted in a room with more infrastructure.
  • Wrote the book/recorded videos.
  • A new book about Embedded Systems is coming out this week!
  • Breaking down material into smaller chunks
  • Some students are faster than others students
  • Chris asked if the students coming out of the class, but Brock says it’s tricky to figure out “are they better”.
  • Regular employers for MSU students? Bozeman has a strong optics community, as well as large scale employers like Boeing in Seattle.
  • Brock was named a Boeing Professor, which means he got a grant to work on the program.
  • Check out more about Brock:

New ad music by Eric Skiff

Jun 22 2020

1hr 12mins

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#496 – Drab Olive

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Jun 15 2020

1hr 4mins

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#495 – An Interview with Eric Klein

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Welcome Eric Klein of Lemnos Labs!

  • Eric is interested in technologies that have moved outside simply the “benefit of the iPhone” (which past guest Chris Anderson talks about)
  • This includes things like batteries and ESCs, prevalent in robotics. LIDAR has also dropped in price in orders of magnitude.
  • Venture capital (VC) really started in Silicon Valley with the chip industry
  • There are two opposing forces in VC:
    • Excited about the future, so they want to invest in things like rockets and robotics
    • Venture capital needs returns and doesn’t like risks
  • In hardware companies it’s extra tough, since the 1st 15 employees might need to have 10 disciplines
  • “I need a hardware company to carry a 4x multiple”
    • Dealing with low volumes is tough for any hardware business, but extra tough when asked for that multiple and possibly selling into a consumer marketplace.
  • Eric’s background is consumer hardware, working at Apple in his early days.
  • Lemnos started at 30% consumer, but is now down to 5%. How does it shift from 30 to 5% over time?
  • Eric asks himself, “What new solutions will be opened up in 1-5 years?”
  • 3 or 4 years ago they looked at the lowered cost of components and how this impacted applied robotics
  • Venn diagrams
  • “Shooting in front of the duck”
  • Transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric infrastructure
  • This includes direct things like renewables (solar, wind), but also energy banking and storage.
  • One company Lemnos backs is called Electriphi, which schedules power charging for things like electric bus fleets.
  • 2nd order effects
  • Another company Lemnos is invested in that is doing robotics is Path Robotics. There are over 200K welding positions and the average age of welders are 50+. Eric visited a performance muffler place in Cleveland, where they were interested in using assisting robots.
  • AI is actually reinforcement learning, not true AI.
  • What else is on the list of Venn diagrams?
  • Eric is also interested in aircraft and transport. There is increasing in “thinking”, “sensing”, and “communications”, so that leads to more focused autonomy for aircraft.
  • Elroy Air is another portfolio company that helps villages in Alaska to get supplies.
  • Eric is a personal investor (not through Lemnos) in Zipline. They started in Africa, no roads to get medical supplies to a village.
  • Marble is an autonomous sidewalk delivery robot, but it has run into regulation problems. Now Marble is helping create rules in places they deploy to with localized governments.
  • “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” ~ William Gibson
  • College campus might be a decent place to deploy autonomous sidewalk vehicles. Starship did university deliveries.
  • There is also potential market space for moving WIP between builds for manufacturing.
  • Former guest Greg Charvat works at Humatics on indoor robots doing position finding without GPS>
  • How does Eric consider pitches for funding?
  • “The thing you didn’t study is storytelling”
  • Eric was an intern in 1990 at Apple and lauded Steve Jobs’ ability to tell the story of technology.
  • Hardware company requires 3 or 4 components
    • Hardware
    • Software
    • Business
    • Storytelling
  • Eric will want to see a team of 2-3. The reason he usually says no to an investment is because the team wasn’t there.
  • Chris asked where to seek out the sales-focused person?
  • Kipp Bradford
  • Eric reminds people about the importance of networking
  • Dishcraft is another portfolio company looking to take robotics to the restaurant dishwashing industry.
  • Migrant labor peaked in the US in 2010
  • Pay rates are similar as Sous Chef (Chris was surprised by this)
  • Linda (the founder) looked at the problem and asked about automation
  • Restaurants think about plate counts
  • They can wash dishes as a service, akin to a diaper service or a linen service
  • “You can put anything in front of an aas”
  • The seed round is for proving market fit and reducing technical risk
  • Approached by entrepreneur about how they might solve a problem for the business model
  • Eric’s podcast for Lemnos is called “Into the Forge” and has 3 seasons available. He wants to capture stories of the variety of backgrounds of entrepreneurs. “Going to MIT is not necessary”
  • How else does Eric recommend to meet people and network?
    • Going to conferences like Supercon
    • Hardware Happy Hour
    • Feed of all the virtual hardware stuff
    • Using meetups as a way to troubleshoot
  • Reach out to Eric directly:

Image courtesy of ARM video of Eric speaking

Jun 08 2020

1hr 18mins

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#494 – The Two Person Rule

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Thanks to Wikimedia for the truck picture we expertly photoshopped…

Jun 01 2020

1hr 13mins

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#492 – More Electronics Consultant Impedance Matching

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Another episode with people talking about consulting for electronics! Welcome to our guests, listed clockwise from the top left in the episode photo.

Notes from the show:

May 11 2020

1hr 26mins

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#491 – The Almighty Dollarydoo

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Yes, we know those are US dollars

This episode is sponsored by Rohde & Schwarz. Check out their reviews of their new product line at AskAnEngineer.us, including a video review from friend of the show Shahriar from The Signal Path.

Thanks to geralt on Pixabay for the photo of the high margin way to make money…

May 03 2020

1hr 16mins

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#490 – An Interview with Ben Heck(endorn)

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Today’s episode is sponsored by Saleae, makers of the Logic 8, Logic 8 Pro and Logic 16 Pro. They’re looking for your feedback in a survey and you can win a Logic 8 for your bench (or a 2nd one)! Go to Saleae.com/amphour to take the survey and enter to win.

Welcome, Ben Heckendorn AKA Ben Heck!

(Editor’s note: These are Dave’s notes from recording)

Apr 28 2020

1hr 23mins

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#489 – An Interview with Jack Ganssle (2nd)

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This episode is sponsored by Screaming Circuits. If you need a hand with your rework or getting your design spun up to full production, they can help.

Welcome back, Jack Ganssle! Jack was one of our first guests on The Amp Hour on episode 54.

Photo taken from EEVblog #818

Apr 20 2020

1hr 8mins

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#488 – Sowing Discord

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Today’s show is sponsored by Rohde & Schwarz. We hear in the ad today from James Lewis (@baldengineer) about how to use an oscilloscope and how probe capacitance can affect measurements. For more information about the scope discussed today, check out AskAnEngineer.us.

Thanks to peakpx for the sowing picture

Apr 13 2020

1hr 13mins

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#487 – An Interview with Kerry Scharfglass

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Welcome, Kerry Scharfglass (@borgel)!

This episode is sponsored by Screaming Circuits, who are operating throughout the COVID-19 shutdown to serve medical customers (and normal customers too!). If you need priority service for a medical device related to Coronavirus, please let them know upon checkout. All other orders will be on a non-standard timeline guarantee (because of staffing, priority orders), but will have the same high quality assembly that Screaming Circuits is known for.

Apr 06 2020

1hr 17mins

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#486 – Medical Kits, They’re The Future

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Thanks to crises_crs for the lego xray photo

Mar 30 2020

1hr 3mins

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#485 – An Interview with John Day

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Welcome, John Day, Technical Fellow and FAE from Microchip!

  • John has worked at Microchip for 27 years! It was almost startup when he joined in 1993.
  • He previously had worked on IO subsystem modules at DEC and had interacted with FAEs.
  • He did some research on the company before joining, by checking out their databook
  • John’s first computers were the C64 and the TRS80.
  • Microchip was a spin-off of General Instruments in 1989, with Steve Sanghi as the head of the company (still in charge!)
  • Focus was on low cost components, like ROM
  • We take In Circuit Emulators (ICE) and In Circuit Programmers (ICP) for granted these days, in the 80s and 90s you could only really use emulators.
  • With the lower costs, engineers could go to production on an EPROM. This made more devices “field programmable”.
  • Why was the PIC was different when it came out?
    • There really weren’t C compilers
    • Most programmers are not familiar with the ISA
    • Used to be writing direct assembly code
    • Didn’t have a lot of peripherals
    • Wouldn’t have a peripheral for i2c/smbus or similar
    • Timing would be really critical
    • PIC was single cycle
  • The first part was the PIC16c64, it had no interrupts, 512 words.
  • Microchip was early movement into flash, the first component with it was the PIC16f877 in 1997
  • They were also the first to have in circuit debugging; John Andrews and John Day chatted about having this and did a proposal for the debug registers to the chip designers. The software group followed. This was for MPLAB 8.
  • ICD1 was developed outside of Microchip, but later pulled in house
  • It came up after talking to customers about their needs
  • The PIC32MZ was another good example of working with customers. They talked with Clint Cole and Keith Vogel of Digilent. They ran into an ADC non linearity that drove changes to the silicon.
  • PIC32EF
  • In order to issue and errata, engineers need to cut down source code to minimal size for isolation of the issue.
  • John gets to work with automotive, gaming, commercial, and a lot more types of customers.
  • Sometimes he finds himself writing code for customers, like special IP that is needed. This happened for a high volume part that needed better test coverage to find errors that happened once every million units. It turned out to be a brownout problem.
  • John used and likes his Saleae logic.
  • Microchip started an analog products group in late 90s, especially because a lot of the IP was developed for the microcontrollers.
  • They bought Microsemi / Actel 2 years ago.
  • FAEs at Microchip now have “specialist areas”
  • ATC chips are ultra secure chips that hold root keys
  • App Notes
  • App notes can take a while: the LED cube took over a year. This is because they’re publishing them, in addition to their regular job.
  • People expect code generator / configurator tools these days, so the nature of app notes have changed.
  • John assigns himself personal projects to learn new technologies
  • Building Nixie tube clock to learn boost converters, ethernet stacks (this is shown in the photo above)
  • Aside from microcontrollers, John is a huge fan of Pinball
  • “You can always have space for a pinball machine”. In fact, he fit a pinball machine in his college dorm room.
  • Gottleib Genie
  • Ran on Rockwell 4 bit micros – 3 of them
  • Batteries used to retain settings, but they would leak and destroy MPU
  • Ralph Fien in Germany took MAME project and made a pinball machine, which all ran on a RPi
  • 3 PIC18s to talk to IO
  • There are drivers on separate boards, similar to TIP102s.
  • 4 bit latches on the bus
  • Periphieral IO Expander (PIA)
  • NI-WUMPH
  • Mission Pinball Framework (MPF) allows you to write all your game rules in Python.
  • Ben Heck made a custom pinball machine
  • John’s first machine was a 1973 Gottleib Kingpin, for which he did a restoration.
  • You can hear John on The Classic Pinball podcast for episodes 27 and 28.
  • John has had some interesting experiences as an FAE:
    • He was offered a gig (in cash) to build a cable tv descrambler
    • UPS design for a customer in a bad neighborhood
    • Almost blowing himself up while building high voltage power supply during co-op
  • John is a fan of Dave’s teardowns and learning from them

Mar 22 2020

1hr 33mins

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#484 – Man Behind The Curtain

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This episode is sponsored by Screaming Circuits. As discussed in the ad this week, Duane Benson has written about the importance of good footprints and avoiding via-in-pad on the Screaming Circuits blog.

Mar 16 2020

1hr 10mins

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#483 – An Interview with Adrian Tang

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This episode is sponsored by Rohde & Schwarz. Check out their reviews of their new product line at AskAnEngineer.us, including a video review from friend of the show Shahriar from The Signal Path.

Welcome, Dr Adrian Tang of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)!

Mar 09 2020

1hr 22mins

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#482 – Shine A Light

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Today’s episode is sponsored by Screaming Circuits, who can place the newest and smallest pitch parts, even on low run, quick turn assembled boards (their specialty)

Thanks to Simon Scarfe for the picture of the headlamp scariness

Mar 02 2020

1hr 3mins

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#481 – An Interview with Paul Thompson

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This week we are sponsored by Keysight. Amp Hour listeners get a bonus entry if they sign up for the upcoming Keysight Wave event using this link, which starts on March 2nd. You can also view some of the content discussed in the ad this week, such as the The ESD Checklist, 4 easy ways to blow up your test gear, and Can a cable electrically damage equipment?

Welcome, Paul Thompson, CEO of Pakton Technology

Feb 24 2020

1hr 14mins

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iTunes Ratings

169 Ratings
Average Ratings
162
4
1
0
2

Pretty good. Dave is not too annoying.

By gs550 - Dec 04 2017
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Chris makes up for Dave’s aggressive interruptions.

Love it Aztlan

By Aztlanpz - Aug 24 2015
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Great pod cast love it Aztlan