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Rank #148 in Natural Sciences category

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The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #148 in Natural Sciences category

Technology
News
Tech News
Science
Natural Sciences
Read more

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

Read more

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

iTunes Ratings

153 Ratings
Average Ratings
148
3
1
0
1

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
Read more
Great pod cast love it Aztlan

iTunes Ratings

153 Ratings
Average Ratings
148
3
1
0
1

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

Listen to:

Cover image of The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast

The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast

Updated 4 days ago

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

#465 – An Interview with Ted Yapo

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Ted is a fan of soldering AND stock photography

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

  • Ted is a lifelong electronics hobbyist
  • He studied engineering physics in college.
  • Full color faxes were a thing in Japan but never took off elsewhere.
  • After working on scanning equipment, he moved on to doing networking work.
  • He also did some consulting after Cisco.
  • Mid-way through his career, he went back to graduate school.
  • Wrote a paper about finding telephone wires using LIDAR for helicopter pilots.
  • Transitioned into AR, sort of like Projection Mapping. It was used for architectural daylighting simulation.
  • Going back to school is tough for what you remember. Ted had to relearn linear algebra. He recommends using Gilbert Strang’s lectures, which gave more context.
  • After school, Ted did consulting with a few partners, mostly New England.
  • Ted got started posting to Hackaday with 2016 HaD prize.
  • His first entry was the “Diode clock“, which utilizes the fact that diodes act like switches for RF when you pass DC current through them.
  • “Upping serendipity quotient”
  • Using diodes as an AND gate
  • Using pin diodes for a doppler radio project
  • 1n4007 can act as a crude pin diode at certain frequency
  • Built digital clock that uses diodes for the counters
  • Assembly instructions – 46 boards!
  • Power supply is around 6 MHz
  • One of his other popular projects is the Tritiled, which helps figuring out where things are in the dark
  • Based around the idea of tritium lights
  • Modern LEDs are extremely efficient at a certain current
  • Droop happens at higher currents
  • The 8 GHz sampling oscilloscope is a more recent project
  • Research came out of the diode clock
  • Schottky diodes for sampling
  • Tek S4 sampling head 14.5 GHz
  • Diodes can switch in 10-15 pS
  • Stroboscopic effect
  • Equivalent time sampling
  • Tek 11801 from 1989
  • Nyquist still applies
  • Verifying on the bench is difficult
  • Paper from picosecond pulse lab
  • Jim Williams using an avalanche diode or a step response diode
  • Looking at RMS error
  • Another architecture 1975 by SP McCabe
  • Using a fast comparator to sample waveform, similar to a successive approximation ADC
  • ADCMP582
  • That’s the time base calibration
  • What will people be able to build with an 8 GHz scope?
  • Using it to measure transmission lines on PCB boards
  • Using Time Domain Reflectometry
  • Ted has a splitter TDR head
  • Tracking generator + Spectrum analyzer = Scalar network analyzer
  • Rigol came out with cheap spectrum analyzer, DSA815, Ted got one of the early units
  • Tracking generator outputs signals that are the same as the frequency on the spectrum analyzer
  • Ted gave a talk about this at last year’s Hackaday Superconference
  • There is no phase in an SNA
  • SNAs are harder to calibrate
  • Paper was about how to do two measurements to compensate for errors in the generator
  • Chris has a friend doing Python scripting on test equipment via their ethernet jacks.

You can find Ted on Twitter, Hackaday.io and as a writer for Hackaday

Nov 04 2019

Play

#444 – An Interview with Ben Eater

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Welcome, Ben Eater! You may know Ben from his YouTube videos showing how to build a breadboard 8 bit computer

May 27 2019

1hr 17mins

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#452 – An Interview with Kieran O’Leary

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Welcome Kieran O’Leary, principal of Mixed Signal Systems!

  • Chris knows Kieran via the consulting forum. You can apply to join here.
  • Went to school in Cork, Ireland
  • Hard IP inside of FPGAs started on the Virtex2 pro
  • Now they’re doing FPGA next to RF sections (which from a noise perspective is crazy)
  • FAEs vs AEs
  • “Applications engineers are responsible for shepherding the design from development into the customers hands”
  • AEs understand the need for trust with a customer
  • Kieran has worked at Xilinx, ADI and Wolfson
  • “If your client is pushing through a million units a week, it’s a statistical certainty that any problem in the silicon is going to surface”
  • Sometimes you don’t want the cutting edge silicon
  • “You want to be on the leading edge but not on the bleeding edge”
  • Making eval and dev kits at chip companies
  • Was it more about making a breakout board? Or something interesting?
  • Walking through silicon coming from the fab
  • Hand carrying the silicon back from the packaging facility
  • Pinouts move sometimes!
  • Custom sockets are expensive to make.
  • THD measurements might look poor if the connection between the socket and the device look bad
  • Boards for the general public need better supporting collateral
  • In 2012, Kieran decided to move into consulting
  • He often helps clean up technical debt on the hardware side of things
  • Things to watch out for in Signal Integrity
  • “Current flows in loops, either you or Maxwell will determine the return path”
  • Dr Howard Johnson on The Amp Hour
  • Split ground planes
  • “There’s nothing foolproof to a sufficiently proficient fool”
  • Troubleshooting EMC problems
    1. Check the values on the schematic
    2. Take a nearfield probe and see what you see
    3. Look for common culprits
      1. See where signals are jumping over a split plane
      2. Termination resistors in the wrong place
  •  Helps to add placeholders for future filters and termination
  • Maxwell was Scotish, so there is a statue commemorating him. There is a Maxwell museum, as well!
  • Follow Kieran on Twitter!
  • His company Mixed Signal Systems is also on there.
  • Kieran helped run the EMC Compo 2015 – The 10th International Workshop on the EMC of Integrated Circuits
  • 12th int’l is coming up in China

Jul 29 2019

1hr 27mins

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#464 – KonnectorPanik

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Oct 27 2019

1hr 7mins

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#450 – Stories from Teardown 2019

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The image for this episode is during the “puzzle hunt” section of Teardown (Jeff Keyzer is the only guest shown). I was on the winning team, but did nothing of consequence to help them out.

Jul 08 2019

1hr 11mins

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#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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#432 – Check The Dummy Box

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Mar 04 2019

1hr 2mins

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#434 – Use The Protection Circuit

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Thanks to Sparkfun for the image of the battery

Mar 18 2019

1hr 4mins

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#439 – Grow A Superbrain

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Thanks to lady traveler for the brain mechanics picture

Apr 22 2019

1hr 11mins

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#436 – Downward Sloping Trace

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Mar 31 2019

1hr 7mins

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#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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#437 – An Interview with Chrissy Meyer

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Welcome Chrissy Meyer, partner at Root Ventures!

  • We previously had talked to Avidan Ross, the founder and partner at Root Ventures. 
    • 0h 0m 30s
  • They try to target talented founders and not the company
    • 0h 3m 21s
  • Rose Hulman
    • 0h 8m 10s
  • Lincoln Labs
    • 0h 8m 49s
  • Went back to school at Stanford for an EE MS/PhD
    • 0h 10m 42s
  • She started at Apple and the iPhone launched the first week on internship
    • 0h 11m 27s
  • Started as a PM
    • 0h 12m 55s
  • Anti-GANTT charts
    • 0h 13m 29s
  • Baijiu
    • 0h 15m 10s
  • Chrissy helped ship 3 generations of iPod touch, one nano and the beginning of the Apple Watch.
    • 0h 16m 38s
  • Apple makes scaling look easy
    • 0h 17m 5s
  • They have developed the formula over decades
    • 0h 17m 28s
  • Walking into Foxconn
    • 0h 18m 37s
  • Dealing with the different layers of manufacturing
    • 0h 21m 5s
  • Final assembly and PCBA is normally the same location
    • 0h 21m 20s
  • Vertical integration is more competitive at scale
    • 0h 22m 22s
  • DJI is a good example
    • 0h 22m 30s
  • Early stage startups have access to higher levels of integration…but it doesn’t always make sense
    • 0h 23m 37s
  • “Think really long and hard about who you’re choosing, make sure [the manufacturer is] a good fit for your size and complexity”
    • 0h 24m 41s
  • 1 in a million problems are actual problems for high volume production.
    • 0h 26m 17s
  • Tiger team
    • 0h 26m 45s
  • The problem is getting a line moving
    • 0h 28m 8s
  • Glue machines
    • 0h 28m 56s
  • HDDG talk
    • 0h 30m 1s
  • DfM
    • 0h 33m 25s
  • Mechanical parts seem to have less consistency
    • 0h 37m 38s
  • Electrical is a bit more cut and dried
    • 0h 38m 43s
  • Big companies are talking to suppliers from day one
    • 0h 41m 43s
  • With companies like Apple, these discussions are shrouded in secrecy
    • 0h 42m 33s
  • “You have to be high touch if you want to be fast”
    • 0h 43m 47s
  • Joined Square with 300 people
    • 0h 46m 9s
  • Cost was everything
    • 0h 46m 46s
  • Developing hardware for businesses was different
    • 0h 47m 15s
  • Sales cycles can take a while
    • 0h 48m 24s
  • It requires the perfect spacing between iterations
    • 0h 49m 24s
  • Was a founding member of the startup Pearl Automation
    • 0h 50m 41s
  • They made wifi based backup camera for users
    • 0h 51m 42s
  • So much of startup success is timing
    • 0h 52m 28s
  • Learned about how to be a startup, which was useful for her time now at Root.vc
    • 0h 54m 30s
  • Different for VCs that write lots of checks
    • 0h 56m 41s
  • Root invests in 6-8 companies per year
    • 0h 57m 25s
  • Instrumental.ai
    • 0h 59m 18s
  • They do final inspection that can automatically flag anomalies 
    • 1h 1m 0s
  • What are you Interested in the hardware space now?
    • 1h 3m 24s
  • Chrissy is interested in tools for manufacturing, like supplier discovery
    • 1h 4m 7s
  • We’re far away from the promised “dark factories” in the world of automation
    • 1h 4m 53s
  • Reach out about opportunities, either on LinkedIn or via their site.
    • 1h 6m 30s
  • The next step is to come in to brainstorm!
    • 1h 7m 47s

Apr 08 2019

1hr 8mins

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#441 – Motivational Speaker

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Image from the SNL Sketch “Motivational Speaker”

May 05 2019

1hr 6mins

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#440.1 – An Interview with the core KiCad development team

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This is the first of a couple episodes that will be posted from KiCon 2019.

This interview was in two parts with some of the developers from the KiCad project (there are many people involved with making KiCad a reality). We talked with:

  • Wayne Stambaugh
  • Maciej “Orson” Suminski
  • Tomasz Wlostowski
  • Jon Evans
  • Seth Hillbrand

Thanks to Piotr Esden-Tempski (our first remote correspondent) and Alvaro Prieto (co-host of the Unnamed Reverse Engineering Podcast) for help with recording.

(Image above: Seth Hillbrand, Wayne Stambaugh (facing away from the camera), Maciej “Orson” Suminski, Tomasz Wlostowski, Jon Evans, all working together on KiCad development at the end of the conference)

Apr 29 2019

42mins

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#438 – An Interview with Bart Dring

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Welcome, Bart Dring!

  • Hobby of motion contollers and CNC
  • Got started at Williams pinball (who also make games like Joust and Space shuttle)
  • A lot of wear in pinball cabinets.
  • Got the itch to move onto a “real engineering” job.
  • Microwave for deep space networks
  • Multi kilowatt units with high power dissipation
  • Waveguide switches
  • Getting heat out of the potting
  • Used on things like news trucks and DSN satellites.
  • Military specs for harsh environment
  • CNC machines were discussed by past guests:
  • Sending steps to machines was easier with a parallel port. Now need something like a USB to parallel.
  • Started doing tutorials on Instructables, wanted to win a contest with a human powered Segway to win Epilog laser.
  • Started to document along the way on Buildlog.net
  • First comprehensive laser cutter kit out there, the 2.x laser sold 400 kits
  • Maker Slide was a system for building machines. The Kickstarter raised $25K
  • Since it was open source, others re-started KS campaigns 5 times around the world
  • Factory for extrusion is like 300m long
  • Wrote a yield optimizer to spit out a better way to cut material in his garage.
  • Laen (OSH Park) also talked about optimizers when he was on the show.
  • Approached Inventables to fulfill Maker Slide orders.
  • Worked out a deal for a royalty, they still pay it on orders.
  • Inventables makes Easel, which is a web based program for working with their routers.
  • Inventables also took on the Shapeko, designed by Edward Ford. That machine is made out of Maker Slide.
  • GRBL is the motion controller behind all of Bart’s CNC machines.
  • It started with the creator interested in optimizing the code to put on an Arduino.
  • RAMPS controllers
  • Plug in stepper drivers
  • G-code
  • Bart ported GRBL onto PSoC5
  • Why PSoC5? Bart likes the graphical interface and uses it a lot for prototyping.
  • Motion planner
  • Started looking at ESP32 for Bluetooth/WiFi
  • Robots run off the phones
  • Angus doing Arduino stuff for Espressif helped to move things along.
  • API has public functions for RTOS, so it was harder in a real time control sense.
  • Plan was to use primary core for GRBL, other core for communication.
  • Bart put the project down for a while, but Jeroen Domburg (Sprite_tm) convinced him to try again.
  • The processor had a lot more RAM than other boards, especially Arduino.
  • Finished September 2018
  • Tindie sales
  • Complete web UI for sender
  • Web page has jogging controls and configuration
  • Hoping to put an Easel-like program on there
  • Nickelbot
  • Square coasters with traction feed (Coasty the Coaster Toaster)
  • Exotic kinematics
  • Polar coaster
  • Converting polar to Cartesian coordinates
  • Drawbot badge
  • Hobby servos
  • Adorably wiggly lines
  • Workshop at Supercon
  • Scripting in python
  • Polar Platform String Art Machine
  • Open loop vs closed loop
  • Twang
  • Follow Bart on twitter as @buildlog

Apr 15 2019

1hr 32mins

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#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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#458 – An Interview with Ken Burns

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Welcome Ken Burns of TinyCircuits!

  • TinyCircuits is located in North East Ohio (NEO), in Akron.
  • Ken also attended the University of Akron
  • Decided to stay in the Midwest
  • Past guest Todd Bailey talked about going to a job for working with graybeards
  • Ken used to work for Avid, which was later bought by Avnet/E14.
  • Since it’s a design shop, he got to try out different types of electronics.
  • This included learning the entire process and taking it to a CM.
  • Wireless HART developed by Rosemount (now Emerson), based on 802.15.4
  • MACtek made a PC based interface device for wireless HART
  • Dust networks bought by LT
  • The standard uses a negotiated time for when to wake up to save power.
  • Pepperl and Fuchs bought out Mactek
  • Decided to leave Avid to start a company
  • Wanted to make a smart sensor platform
  • This was late 2000s (2008), so Arduino was getting started
  • TinyDuino (and the other boards with the same form factor) is 20×20 mm
  • TinyCircuits have launched 3 kickstarters
  • Digispark was 2 months prior
  • This was early kickstarter days. His Kickstarter video recorded rough.
  • The stretch goal was to do mfg, inspired by companies like Dimension Engineering
  • Couldn’t have done it otherwise because of the volumes being low per board
  • Kickstarter money worked as seed money
  • Design was done, but the manufacturing all the problem
  • Example system is a processor board + USB shield + GPS (for tracking cats)
  • Was in MAKE magazine for that kit
  • Everything is open source
  • Didn’t need as many feeders as they got for the PNP machine.
  • Bought a used machine
  • Machine was from 1996
  • It had 80 feeders included and was bought with the reflow oven
  • All delivered for 25K
  • Juki
  • Started with 0402
  • Bought it from a company that was reputable
  • A month of tinkering to get it started
  • The bigger learning curve is making consistent product
  • “Paste is by far the most critical step in the process”
  • Yields started at 40%
  • Need to use fresh paste every time
  • Yield is 99% now
  • Dek 265 helped make things more consistent.  Got it a year after original stuff for $3K
  • They are now running with a Panasonic SP60
  • Got a new PNP 2 years ago, also from Juki.
  • New machines allows small runs or big runs
  • Allows testing of a lot of different products
  • It’s gotten much cheaper to send it out than when they started.
  • Doing manufacturing allows you to do a higher mix, which might be cost prohibitive with sending out to a CM.
  • TinyCircuits has done some CM work where it makes sense. Ken says they’re not going to offer ISO9001 or anything.
  • It makes sense if the customer wants something custom designed
  • Robotic golf caddy
  • Chris asked what customers are asking for at TInyCircuits.
  • Roadmap is higher end stuff
  • Whiskers are breakout sensors.
  • They are now funding on Kickstarter!
  • 5 pin input mux allows you to talk to different versions of the same sensor (up to 16)
  • Dealing with the Tariff
  • Selling batteries on digikey
  • “18650 is the biggest thing we sell on eBay”
  • Selling on digikey and mouser
  • Johnny 5 / firmata (used by past guest Jason Huggins)
  • Latest stuff supports circuit python
  • Little Bits sold to Sphero for unknown amount after raising $70M.
  • Working with group out of MIT
  • tinycircuits.com
  • They work out of the old Goodrich plant in Akron

Sep 16 2019

1hr 33mins

Play

#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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#442 – An Interview with Travis Goodspeed

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Welcome, Travis Goodspeed!

May 13 2019

1hr 12mins

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#443 – An Interview with JP Norair

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Welcome JP Norair of Haystack Technologies!

  • Chris knows JP from the Consulting Forum. Want to join us? Apply here
    • 0h 0m 40s
  • LoRa
    • 0h 1m 49s
  • Chirp Spread Spectrum
    • 0h 1m 53s
  • LoRaWAN
    • 0h 3m 16s
  • The standard initially came from IBM
    • 0h 3m 23s
  • Formed the LoRa alliance
    • 0h 3m 34s
  • Comcast strategy shifting
    • 0h 4m 9s
  • Sigfox was a competitor
    • 0h 4m 55s
  • Senet
    • 0h 6m 53s
  • Campus deployments
    • 0h 8m 44s
  • Moving data on LoRaWAN
    • 0h 9m 25s
  • Was probably meant for meter reading
    • 0h 10m 17s
  • Haystack
    • 0h 11m 30s
  • DASH7
    • 0h 11m 35s
  • Savi
    • 0h 11m 58s
  • Asset tracking on a global scale
    • 0h 12m 49s
  • Exposed to technology standardization
    • 0h 15m 43s
  • iso18000-7
    • 0h 15m 59s
  • People who are contacting are using LoRaWAN and it hasn’t worked
    • 0h 20m 11s
  • QOS means there are packets that are received correctly
    • 0h 21m 21s
  • LPWAN is not that mature
    • 0h 22m 58s
  • Borrowing from space based telemetry
    • 0h 23m 6s
  • Claude ShannonInformation theory
    • 0h 24m 15s
  • There is built in error correction in the LoRa hardware
    • 0h 27m 43s
  • Matt Knight episode from ToorCamp
    • 0h 27m 55s
  • Alphabet soup of standards
    • 0h 32m 26s
  • One of them specifies a convolutional code
    • 0h 32m 35s
  • Soft decision
    • 0h 33m 39s
  • Proprietary stuff sweetens the deal
    • 0h 35m 56s
  • LDPC error correction
    • 0h 36m 9s
  • Startups are willing to take a risk
    • 0h 40m 25s
  • Bigger companies are worried about failing
    • 0h 40m 33s
  • Working with startups
    • 0h 41m 52s
  • Larger businesses are willing to pay for time and materials
    • 0h 42m 1s
  • Payment on milestones
    • 0h 42m 34s
  • Selling hardware allows you to put cost into it
    • 0h 44m 3s
  • Mobile vs fixed
    • 0h 45m 22s
  • Link budget
    • 0h 49m 7s
  • ITU region 2
    • 0h 49m 50s
  • RSSI
    • 0h 51m 41s
  • Fresnel zone
    • 0h 55m 33s
  • SolPad
    • 0h 58m 33s
  • Have to be ready to bounce between full time and consulting
    • 0h 58m 50s
  • Not a solar company
    • 0h 59m 36s
  • Battery backed storage and conversion solutions
    • 0h 59m 40s
  • John from Cree
    • 1h 1m 24s
  • Doing GaN inverters
    • 1h 1m 28s
  • Smaller inductors
    • 1h 2m 9s
  • Roof mounted inverters and batteries
    • 1h 3m 15s
  • Shahriar talking RF
    • 1h 7m 13s
  • Trying to broaden expertise
    • 1h 7m 18s
  • Dash7 over a wire
    • 1h 9m 6s
  • RS485
    • 1h 9m 33s
  • Sometimes wireless feels like it’s actually more reliable than something like RS485
    • 1h 12m 8s
  • JP has a person site called Indigresso
    • 1h 19m 3s
  • Using MATLAB to simulate antennas
    • 1h 20m 28s
  • Johanson antennas
    • 1h 23m 1s
  • Making a different frequency antenna by adding extra wire
    • 1h 24m 11s
  • Start with a higher freq chip antenna and modify it downward
    • 1h 24m 25s

May 19 2019

1hr 20mins

Play

#470 – Just Add Salt

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Thanks to onefox for the image of salt

Dec 09 2019

1hr 9mins

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#469 – An Interview with Craig J Bishop

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Welcome, Craig J Bishop!

Dec 02 2019

1hr 28mins

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#468 – The Tiny Lab Movement

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Thanks to Ales Kladnik for the image of his father’s cramped lab

Nov 24 2019

1hr 3mins

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#467 – Stories from Supercon 2019

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This week, Chris recorded the show with 3 different guests at the Hackaday Superconference. This is an annual hardware conference with about 500 attendees in Pasadena, CA.

Guests on this week’s show:

The conversations focused around the conference badge and its differentiating feature from many other electronic conference badges: It was all implemented on a Lattice ECP5 FPGA using RISC V cores and was in a GameBoy form factor. Most interestingly, it was all done using the Symbiflow open source toolchain. We called out other guests we’ve had on the show before while recording:

Contributed after the show aired: Matt Venn sent in links about the PicoRV32 and a reminder of the Symbiotic EDA youtube channel.

Read more about the conference badge on Hackaday.

Nov 18 2019

1hr 37mins

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#466 – An Interview with Ryan Cousins

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Welcome, Ryan Cousins of Krtkl!

  • Don’t forget to fill out the 2019 listener survey! Closes November 22nd
  • Krtkl’s embedded/FPGA platform is called Snickerdoodle, which is based on the Xilinx Zynq.
  • Ryan and his team got started working in the medical field working on mechatronics, doing the same stuff over and over again for customers.
  • Saving time from development risk
  • Example where “wires” on a base board were hooked up
  • Greg Davill’s fantastic bodge wiring
  • The Snickerdoodle has a low end and high end product option:
  • piSmasher
  • Customers are doing up to 10K units per year.
  • Started the company about 5 years ago
  • Biggest area of interest is in video space
  • Running up against the edge of what the part can do
  • Since they are targeting industrial customers, Krtkl have to keep supporting older boards
  • Challenge has been keeping community engaged
  • There are other Zynq modules out there, like the Zed board ($450). These are more like traditional dev boards.
  • Crowdfunded 4 years ago on Crowdsupply
  • Ryan was surprised how critical (ahem) people were of the product.
  • Chris checked and he said something nice on the interview with Clint Cole
  • Software layer is an important differentiator
  • Krtkl supported Ubuntu Linux out of the box
  • Working on streamlining the IP, they might eventually have an “app store” for reconfigurable logic IP blocks.
  • Custom peripherals need still need drivers in Linux
  • “Getting linux to run on this thing was more effort than building the hardware”
  • Zynq book
  • Pynq, which shows how to use Python for FPGAs
  • How are customers using this product?
    • Dual core system running 6 axis arm
    • Remote sensing, needed to be lower power. They put the high power module in the FPGA in deep sleep mode.
    • Company doing pinball accessory
    • Smart retail applications
  • There are really two main categories: mechatronic or high bandwidth (things like video)
  • It’s a mix for how many are using linux
  • Krtkl is consulting on 2-3 development projects at any given time
  • “If you want to get a consulting business off the ground, start a crowdfunding campaign”
  • Still waiting on one line item from the crowdfunding campaign to have shipped out 100% of orders.
  • Check out the company at krtkl.com and their main product at snickerdoodle.io
  • Read more about the strife during the crowdfunding campaign on their update page of Crowdsupply
  • Reach out to Ryan by email
  • Read more about getting started on the Snickerdoodle campaign
  • “It’ll only get better with time”

Nov 11 2019

1hr 13mins

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#465 – An Interview with Ted Yapo

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Ted is a fan of soldering AND stock photography

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

  • Ted is a lifelong electronics hobbyist
  • He studied engineering physics in college.
  • Full color faxes were a thing in Japan but never took off elsewhere.
  • After working on scanning equipment, he moved on to doing networking work.
  • He also did some consulting after Cisco.
  • Mid-way through his career, he went back to graduate school.
  • Wrote a paper about finding telephone wires using LIDAR for helicopter pilots.
  • Transitioned into AR, sort of like Projection Mapping. It was used for architectural daylighting simulation.
  • Going back to school is tough for what you remember. Ted had to relearn linear algebra. He recommends using Gilbert Strang’s lectures, which gave more context.
  • After school, Ted did consulting with a few partners, mostly New England.
  • Ted got started posting to Hackaday with 2016 HaD prize.
  • His first entry was the “Diode clock“, which utilizes the fact that diodes act like switches for RF when you pass DC current through them.
  • “Upping serendipity quotient”
  • Using diodes as an AND gate
  • Using pin diodes for a doppler radio project
  • 1n4007 can act as a crude pin diode at certain frequency
  • Built digital clock that uses diodes for the counters
  • Assembly instructions – 46 boards!
  • Power supply is around 6 MHz
  • One of his other popular projects is the Tritiled, which helps figuring out where things are in the dark
  • Based around the idea of tritium lights
  • Modern LEDs are extremely efficient at a certain current
  • Droop happens at higher currents
  • The 8 GHz sampling oscilloscope is a more recent project
  • Research came out of the diode clock
  • Schottky diodes for sampling
  • Tek S4 sampling head 14.5 GHz
  • Diodes can switch in 10-15 pS
  • Stroboscopic effect
  • Equivalent time sampling
  • Tek 11801 from 1989
  • Nyquist still applies
  • Verifying on the bench is difficult
  • Paper from picosecond pulse lab
  • Jim Williams using an avalanche diode or a step response diode
  • Looking at RMS error
  • Another architecture 1975 by SP McCabe
  • Using a fast comparator to sample waveform, similar to a successive approximation ADC
  • ADCMP582
  • That’s the time base calibration
  • What will people be able to build with an 8 GHz scope?
  • Using it to measure transmission lines on PCB boards
  • Using Time Domain Reflectometry
  • Ted has a splitter TDR head
  • Tracking generator + Spectrum analyzer = Scalar network analyzer
  • Rigol came out with cheap spectrum analyzer, DSA815, Ted got one of the early units
  • Tracking generator outputs signals that are the same as the frequency on the spectrum analyzer
  • Ted gave a talk about this at last year’s Hackaday Superconference
  • There is no phase in an SNA
  • SNAs are harder to calibrate
  • Paper was about how to do two measurements to compensate for errors in the generator
  • Chris has a friend doing Python scripting on test equipment via their ethernet jacks.

You can find Ted on Twitter, Hackaday.io and as a writer for Hackaday

Nov 04 2019

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#464 – KonnectorPanik

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Oct 27 2019

1hr 7mins

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#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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#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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#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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#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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#458 – An Interview with Ken Burns

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Welcome Ken Burns of TinyCircuits!

  • TinyCircuits is located in North East Ohio (NEO), in Akron.
  • Ken also attended the University of Akron
  • Decided to stay in the Midwest
  • Past guest Todd Bailey talked about going to a job for working with graybeards
  • Ken used to work for Avid, which was later bought by Avnet/E14.
  • Since it’s a design shop, he got to try out different types of electronics.
  • This included learning the entire process and taking it to a CM.
  • Wireless HART developed by Rosemount (now Emerson), based on 802.15.4
  • MACtek made a PC based interface device for wireless HART
  • Dust networks bought by LT
  • The standard uses a negotiated time for when to wake up to save power.
  • Pepperl and Fuchs bought out Mactek
  • Decided to leave Avid to start a company
  • Wanted to make a smart sensor platform
  • This was late 2000s (2008), so Arduino was getting started
  • TinyDuino (and the other boards with the same form factor) is 20×20 mm
  • TinyCircuits have launched 3 kickstarters
  • Digispark was 2 months prior
  • This was early kickstarter days. His Kickstarter video recorded rough.
  • The stretch goal was to do mfg, inspired by companies like Dimension Engineering
  • Couldn’t have done it otherwise because of the volumes being low per board
  • Kickstarter money worked as seed money
  • Design was done, but the manufacturing all the problem
  • Example system is a processor board + USB shield + GPS (for tracking cats)
  • Was in MAKE magazine for that kit
  • Everything is open source
  • Didn’t need as many feeders as they got for the PNP machine.
  • Bought a used machine
  • Machine was from 1996
  • It had 80 feeders included and was bought with the reflow oven
  • All delivered for 25K
  • Juki
  • Started with 0402
  • Bought it from a company that was reputable
  • A month of tinkering to get it started
  • The bigger learning curve is making consistent product
  • “Paste is by far the most critical step in the process”
  • Yields started at 40%
  • Need to use fresh paste every time
  • Yield is 99% now
  • Dek 265 helped make things more consistent.  Got it a year after original stuff for $3K
  • They are now running with a Panasonic SP60
  • Got a new PNP 2 years ago, also from Juki.
  • New machines allows small runs or big runs
  • Allows testing of a lot of different products
  • It’s gotten much cheaper to send it out than when they started.
  • Doing manufacturing allows you to do a higher mix, which might be cost prohibitive with sending out to a CM.
  • TinyCircuits has done some CM work where it makes sense. Ken says they’re not going to offer ISO9001 or anything.
  • It makes sense if the customer wants something custom designed
  • Robotic golf caddy
  • Chris asked what customers are asking for at TInyCircuits.
  • Roadmap is higher end stuff
  • Whiskers are breakout sensors.
  • They are now funding on Kickstarter!
  • 5 pin input mux allows you to talk to different versions of the same sensor (up to 16)
  • Dealing with the Tariff
  • Selling batteries on digikey
  • “18650 is the biggest thing we sell on eBay”
  • Selling on digikey and mouser
  • Johnny 5 / firmata (used by past guest Jason Huggins)
  • Latest stuff supports circuit python
  • Little Bits sold to Sphero for unknown amount after raising $70M.
  • Working with group out of MIT
  • tinycircuits.com
  • They work out of the old Goodrich plant in Akron

Sep 16 2019

1hr 33mins

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#457 – Dotty Ernest Annty Frost

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Thanks to fdecomite for the picture of “Hexadecimal in the outdoors”

Sep 09 2019

1hr 3mins

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#456.3 – Discussing Fomu with Tim Ansell and Sean Cross

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Welcome Tim “Mithro” Ansell, Sean “Xobs” Cross and (returning co-host) Michael Ossmann!

Sep 04 2019

1hr 10mins

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#456.2 – Crossover Camp with Hackaday and Unnamed Reverse Engineering Podcasts

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Sep 01 2019

41mins

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#456.1 – An Interview with Schneider and Rahix of the Card10 Badge Team (CCCamp 2019)

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Chris and Alvaro (UNRE), talked with Schneider and Rahix of the Card10 badge team at CCCamp 2019. This was the first of a few interviews done at camp.

Thanks to @szczys for the picture of the badge!

Aug 28 2019

59mins

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#455 – Bill and Dave’s Excellent Equipment

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Aug 19 2019

1hr 11mins

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#454 – An Interview with MG (Mike Grover)

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Aug 12 2019

52mins

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#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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