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'[EE: ] what is a logic analyzer?'
2004\06\02@110106 by Lindy Mayfield

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What would be the next logical piece of test equipment (after a nice multi-meter) for a still-learning electronics hobbyist?  Would it be an oscilloscope?
I've seen both scopes and logic analyzers that interface with the PC -- they seem to be cheaper cause the PC does all the visual -- and I wasn't sure the differences.  


{Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@110729 by Fred Hillhouse

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An oscilloscope is a better choice than a logic analyzer.


-----Original Message-----
From: pic microcontroller discussion list
[spam_OUTPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU]On Behalf Of Lindy Mayfield
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 11:01 AM
To: .....PICLISTKILLspamspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: [EE: ] what is a logic analyzer?


What would be the next logical piece of test equipment (after a nice
multi-meter) for a still-learning electronics hobbyist?  Would it be an
oscilloscope?

I've seen both scopes and logic analyzers that interface with the PC -- they
seem to be cheaper cause the PC does all the visual -- and I wasn't sure the
differences.



-----Original Message-----
From: pic microcontroller discussion list [PICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU] On
Behalf Of Russell McMahon
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 16:52
To: .....PICLISTKILLspamspam.....MITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: ] what is a logic analyzer?

>Many users may not get your message because you did not put
>[OT:] or [EE:] in the subject.

So I did :-)

> A logic analyzer is like a scope with 30+ inputs, usulay lots of
> memory and with the ability to set some very complex trigger conditions.

EXCEPT that a logic analyser will usually only handle digital (ie logic)
levels - ie each channel can be either high or low only.
Some analysers allow glitch catching and analog levels to some extent but
these are getting fancier than the average logic analyser.

Being purely digital makes it possible to have a much higher channels x
bandwidth product than a scope of the same price.

Results are stored to a buffer which allows signal analysis and tracing
after the event. Also triggering in various signal conditions. Some, eg HP,
make mixed signal scopes which have both analog and logic input parts.



       RM

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2004\06\02@111350 by Joe Farr

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Personally, I'd go for a bench power supply unit, then a scope.

Logic analysers are great, but a scope is more flexible. Especially for
general fault finding, even in none digital circuits - radios,
amplifiers ets.
Also, you can get add-ons for scopes to turn them into analysers and you
can build a simple one that connects to a PC's parallel port.


{Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@112012 by William Chops Westfield

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On Wednesday, Jun 2, 2004, at 08:00 US/Pacific, Lindy Mayfield wrote:

> What would be the next logical piece of test equipment (after a nice
> multi-meter) for a still-learning electronics hobbyist?  Would it be
> an oscilloscope?
>
I'd vote for a desktop power supply (CCCV, with meters.)  Scope after
that, if you have the money.  If you're cheap, get at least one
additional multimeter (need not be a "nice" one.)  assuming you already
have a collection of solderless breadboards...

BillW

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2004\06\02@112638 by John J. McDonough

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Lindy Mayfield" <EraseMELindy.Mayfieldspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTEUR.SAS.COM>
Subject: Re: [EE: ] what is a logic analyzer?


> What would be the next logical piece of test equipment (after
> a nice multi-meter) for a still-learning electronics hobbyist?
> Would it be an oscilloscope?

Depends a lot on what you do.  For some folks, a counter is the next toy.
With a PIC, it's pretty cheap and easy to make a reasonable counter.  But an
oscilliscope is tough to live without.

> I've seen both scopes and logic analyzers that interface with
> the PC -- they seem to be cheaper cause the PC does all the visual
> -- and I wasn't sure the differences.

A problem with PC scopes is usually the bandwidth.  Unfortunately, this is
also the problem with cheap scopes.

The bandwidth of a scope tells you the maximum frequency for which it will
faithfully reproduce a sine wave.  However, you are rarely interestd in sine
waves, unless you are mostly doing audio.  Scopes fall off gradually above
the spec frequency, so if you look at, say, a 50 MHz signal with a 20 MHz
scope, you will see something.  That something won't be the same shape and
amplitude as the original, but it will be something.

If you remember our old freind Fourier, you will recall that any periodic
waveform can be looked at as the sum of a series of sine waves at integral
multiples of the basic period.  If you looked at a 20 MHz square wave with a
scope that had a hard limit above 20 MHz, you would see a 20 MHz sine wave.
Now real scopes don't have a brick wall, they fall off gradually, so you
would see a square-ish sine wave on a 20 MHz scope.

What this all means is that you would like a scope at least 3x the maximum
frequency of interest.  For most hobbyists, this means 100 MHz or so.

If you can afford a large instrument, used 100-200 MHz scopes can be had
fairly reasonably.  Physically smaller scopes tend to cost a lot more.
Tektronix scopes like the 465/475 are very popular for hobbyists on a
budget.  These are very nice, but they are quite large.

One good way to get the lay of the land is to poke around on eBay.  Look at
the "completed auctions" to get an idea of what is available at what price.
Typically, these things shoot up at the last minute, so auctions that
haven't completed yet don't give you much of an idea.

I'm always a little squeamish about buying stuff on eBay, although I have
never had a bad experience.  I've bought quite a few scope probes there,
among other things.  Another thing eBay is good for ... many of the scopes
sold there are by dealers.  You may find a dealer near you.

72/73 de WB8RCR    http://www.qsl.net/wb8rcr
didileydadidah     QRP-L #1446 Code Warriors #35

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2004\06\02@112639 by rixy04

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This is a must for the work bench and field tool kit:
http://www.pic101.com/transistor_testing.htm
Rick

Lindy Mayfield wrote:

> What would be the next logical piece of test equipment (after a nice multi-meter) for a still-learning electronics hobbyist?  Would it be an oscilloscope?
>

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2004\06\02@112846 by Lindy Mayfield

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Thanks!  A power supply.  I've been getting around that by using the +5 from the Pic demo board to drive most things, and rechargeable bat trees for motors and things needing more current.  But that's a good idea, and not so costly.

I've got also got a PC power supply.  I wonder if I could make my own from that...  I'm sure I've run across something describing that on the web.

{Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@114054 by Jake Waskett

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On Wednesday 02 June 2004 16:20, William Chops Westfield wrote:
> I'd vote for a desktop power supply (CCCV, with meters.)  Scope after
> that, if you have the money.  If you're cheap, get at least one
> additional multimeter (need not be a "nice" one.)  assuming you already
> have a collection of solderless breadboards...

Whatever you get, don't forget the secondhand market. You can get some
excellent prices on eBay, for example.

I know this sounds like an advert. I'm not affiliated with eBay. :-)

Jake.

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2004\06\02@114508 by Lindy Mayfield

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Thanks all for the great info!  It helps to have these perspective after all I've read about scopes.

My multimeter has a Hz setting.  I used it to tune a 555 chip to 40kHz.  Is this what you mean by a counter?

What do I want to do?  Not sure.  I've been a programmer on mainframes my whole life, and at the beginning of this year my wife got me a little robot kit, from there I went to PIC's, and now I'm trying to learn electronics, something I've tried to understand since I was a kid.  (Is it a different way of thinking, electronics and programming?)

So the truth is that I was programming Pic assembler in a couple of days, but it took me about a month to figure out what a pull-up resistor was, for example.  (-:  
I'm just getting the basics of electronics and I thought that at times a visual representation of what I was working with might help me in my understanding of how things work, so that then I can build my own circuits.  This is why I was curious about scopes.

Thanks very much.
Lindy

{Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@115339 by Matthew Brush

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I made my bench supply with an old 250W AT power supply from an old
computer.  It works great and has some good voltages (+/-5v, +/-12v,
+/-3.3v).  Another great thing is that it can put out a lot of power, more
then I've ever needed.  Actually, I overloaded the +12v a couple of times,
but it just shuts off and then you just re-start it.  The best part is, it
was (almost) free.

Most of the switching PC power supplies will require a load on at least +5v
to be able to run.  I just used a 10ohm 10Watt resistor.  You can also find
a well-regulated +5v coming from a LM7805-type regulator if you poke around
in there.

For more info, check out this dude's site:
http://web2.murraystate.edu/andy.batts/ps/powersupply.htm

Good luck.

MJ Brush

----- Original Message -----
From: "Lindy Mayfield" <Lindy.Mayfieldspamspam_OUTEUR.SAS.COM>
To: <@spam@PICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 11:26 AM
Subject: Re: [EE: ] what is a logic analyzer?


Thanks!  A power supply.  I've been getting around that by using the +5 from
the Pic demo board to drive most things, and rechargeable bat trees for
motors and things needing more current.  But that's a good idea, and not so
costly.

I've got also got a PC power supply.  I wonder if I could make my own from
that...  I'm sure I've run across something describing that on the web.

{Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@120637 by Eisermann, Phil [Ridg/CO]

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pic microcontroller discussion list wrote:
> What do I want to do?  Not sure.  I've been a programmer on
> mainframes my whole life, and at the beginning of this year my wife
> got me a little robot kit, from there I went to PIC's, and now I'm
> trying to learn electronics, something I've tried to understand since
> I was a kid.  (Is it a different way of thinking, electronics and
> programming?)
>
> So the truth is that I was programming Pic assembler in a couple of
> days, but it took me about a month to figure out what a pull-up
> resistor was, for example.  (-:
>

might be a good idea to get a book, then. If you don't already have it,
get "The Art Of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill. I think it would be
ideal for you. It isn't geared towards EE students, but it is not
dumbed down at all. It gets recommended on this list quite often and
covers a broad spectrum of topics.


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2004\06\02@121507 by Lindy Mayfield

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Thanks!  Already ordered from Amazon, plus Beebob... I should get them in 2 weeks. Good to know it was the right choice.
{Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@122335 by Bruce Partridge

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I'll throw in a different perspective.  I'm a software developer who has to
work with the hardware, and I'm not doing any analog except measuring
voltages through an ADC.  I'm using PICs with 4 or 8 MHz crystals, so I'm
never interested in any signal faster than that.  I in the future, I might
at some point want to look at a 40 MHz signal, but I doubt it.

I am regularly interested in square wave timing issues.  I am looking at PWM
outputs, 1-wire protocols, and other digital signalling schemes.  I turn
things on and off, and want to know whether the pin is going on and off like
it should.  As I said, I'm also converting analog voltages to digital.

In my environment, a scope is pretty much useless.  It doesn't have the
memory or channels to look at even simple protocols unless you buy a $10,000
scope.  I have one, but in retrospect, I will probably never use it again
now the I have a PC logic analyzer.

Here's my recommended order of purchase for a software guy:

1) C compiler.  Only use assembler when it really makes sense.  Unless your
time is free, or you sell your product by the thousand at low margins, it
rarely will.  (Yikes, did I say that out loud?)
2) Good meter with beep on short circuit.  True RMS is nice for PWM. It can
also test parts if you want.
3) Bench power supply.  You will waste lots of time fiddling with power
otherwise.
4) PC scope/logic analyzer.


Bruce Partridge
http://www.rebreather.ca

> {Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@123340 by Herbert Graf

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> What would be the next logical piece of test equipment (after a
> nice multi-meter) for a still-learning electronics hobbyist?
> Would it be an oscilloscope?
>
> I've seen both scopes and logic analyzers that interface with the
> PC -- they seem to be cheaper cause the PC does all the visual --
> and I wasn't sure the differences.

       I'd say the next step is definitely a scope. I would steer clear of those
PC based scopes. Try ebay for some cheap scopes. If you're located anywhere
around Toronto, Canada I could sell you my first scope. TTYL

----------------------------------
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http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/

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2004\06\02@124415 by Lindy Mayfield

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I was actually impulsive and put a 60€ bid on a Grundig 20MHz 2-Channel.  It's in Nürnberg which is driving distance, and I thought the best for my first Ebay purchase.


{Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@124624 by Philip Pemberton

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In message <KILLspam200406021650.42931.jakeKILLspamspamwaskett.org>
         Jake Waskett <RemoveMEjakeTakeThisOuTspamWASKETT.ORG> wrote:

> Whatever you get, don't forget the secondhand market. You can get some
> excellent prices on eBay, for example.
Um.. Ebay? Excellent prices? Are you joking?
Case in point: Tek 465 oscilloscope. Stewart Of Reading have one listed at
£275. The one I was watching on Ebay hit £400 - no manuals, no probes, no
plastic front-panel protection cover, just the scope. I can only wonder what
sort of idiot would pay that much for a scope, even a Tek.
I got a Tek 466 storage scope from a bankruptcy auction at a test equipment
dealer a few years ago - total cost was £41 plus VAT. Someone else had bought
a box of test equipment manuals and gave me the service manual for the scope,
too. No probes, but Tektronix probes aren't exactly difficult to find. At
the moment I'm after another P6062 (1x/10x switchable, usually coloured grey)
or P6106 (10x fixed, usually orange) probe for my Tek. IMHO, the older
transistorised and IC-based Tek scopes are the nicest - mine does 100MHz,
dual-channel, delay-sweep, twin timebase, analogue storage (done by the tube
as opposed to a DSO which uses an ADC, DAC and RAM store). If I had to
recommend a scope, it would be a Tek 46x series scope. No, Tek didn't pay me
to say that (though why would they - the 45x and 46x scopes have been out of
production for years) :)

Speaking of test equipment, does anyone (preferably in the UK) have a spare
logic analyser for sale? So far the cheapest I've seen on the second-hand
market was £495 and they seem to go for around £500 on Ebay. Needless to say,
well out of my price range :-/

Later.
-- Phil.                              | Acorn Risc PC600 Mk3, SA202, 64MB, 6GB,
spamBeGonephilpemspamBeGonespamdsl.pipex.com              | ViewFinder, 10BaseT Ethernet, 2-slice,
http://www.philpem.dsl.pipex.com/  | 48xCD, ARCINv6c IDE, SCSI
... Ok, we'll meet the meat.  That's cool!

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2004\06\02@124625 by Bruce Partridge

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I started electronics the same way the OP did.  I have been in the computer
business for 25+ years, and didn't know what a pull up resister was.

I bought the Horowitz book and found it impractical.  I don't need to know
the theory, particularly when if you just put the parts together, it works.
And I am not going to become an engineer.  I will always need someone to
design good boards for manufacturing.

OK, for all you hardware gurus, try to control your laughter:

One of my first really good resources was Appendix C in Scott Edwards
"Programming and Customizing the Basic Stamp Computer."  That appendix,
along with the Chapter 3 on "Electronic Components and Symbols" gave me the
fundamentals to build my first breadboard computer.  Its the obvious stuff
that isn't obvious to me.
- How to connect a led and diode and how to tell one end from the other
- Why switches are better with a pull up than a pull down.
- How to switch a high current load.
- How to wire a voltage regulator.
- Resistances in series and parallel.

All of this is explained in about 20 pages making no assumptions about what
you already know.  Perfect.

The Mike Predko book, "Programming and Customizing PICmicro
Microcontrollers" also had a lot of good stuff.  But a lot of the book is
about computers, binary, and assembler.  I didn't need help there.

Bruce Partridge
http://www.rebreather.ca

> {Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@125039 by Philip Pemberton

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In message <TakeThisOuTNAEALEBPNOHNGKFACEHAIEGKJNAA.mailinglist2EraseMEspamspam_OUTfarcite.net>>          Herbert Graf <RemoveMEmailinglist2spamTakeThisOuTFARCITE.NET> wrote:

>         I'd say the next step is definitely a scope. I would steer clear of those
> PC based scopes. Try ebay for some cheap scopes. If you're located anywhere
> around Toronto, Canada I could sell you my first scope. TTYL
Ah - I've got a spare too. If you're in the Leeds, West Yorkshire area of the
UK, I've got a Gould OS1100A for sale. I can probably bundle it with a probe
and the relevant power cabling. I don't have a manual for it, though, but
it's not exactly difficult to use - no worse than most.
I'm after somewhere in the £60 range. It weighs (at a guess) around 16kg, so
postage would be around £16-20 via Royal Mail to anywhere in the UK.

Later.
-- Phil.                              | Acorn Risc PC600 Mk3, SA202, 64MB, 6GB,
philpemEraseMEspam.....dsl.pipex.com              | ViewFinder, 10BaseT Ethernet, 2-slice,
http://www.philpem.dsl.pipex.com/  | 48xCD, ARCINv6c IDE, SCSI
... Copywight 1994 Elmer Fudd.  All wights wesewved

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2004\06\02@125246 by Lindy Mayfield

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I have Getting Started in Electronics by Forrest M. Mimms, III which I've been through a million times.  (And each time I pick up something new.)

{Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@131135 by Matthew Brush

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I'm in Windsor, ON ... how much for the scope?


MJ Brush

----- Original Message -----
From: "Herbert Graf" <EraseMEmailinglist2spamFARCITE.NET>
To: <RemoveMEPICLISTEraseMEspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 12:32 PM
Subject: Re: [EE: ] what is a logic analyzer?


> > What would be the next logical piece of test equipment (after a
> > nice multi-meter) for a still-learning electronics hobbyist?
> > Would it be an oscilloscope?
> >
> > I've seen both scopes and logic analyzers that interface with the
> > PC -- they seem to be cheaper cause the PC does all the visual --
> > and I wasn't sure the differences.
>
>         I'd say the next step is definitely a scope. I would steer clear
of those
> PC based scopes. Try ebay for some cheap scopes. If you're located
anywhere
> around Toronto, Canada I could sell you my first scope. TTYL
>
> ----------------------------------
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> http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/
>
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2004\06\02@131340 by Bruce Partridge

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> [RemoveMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU]On Behalf Of Philip Pemberton
>           Jake Waskett <RemoveMEjakeTakeThisOuTspamspamWASKETT.ORG> wrote:
>
> > Whatever you get, don't forget the secondhand market. You can get some
> > excellent prices on eBay, for example.
> Um.. Ebay? Excellent prices? Are you joking?
>

I just bought a Fluke true RMS bench meter for $50.  I'm very happy with the
deal.

Bruce Partridge
http://www.rebreather.ca


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2004\06\02@132208 by Matthew Brush

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I read the first 4 or 5 chapters from a friends "8085: Programming and
Architecture" text book from college and that was enough to learn the basics
of digital electronics (ie. busses, multiplexing, tri-state, etc..).
Everything else I've learned was purely from GoogleWeb and GoogleGroups.  So
when people ask me what school I went(go) to, I simply reply, "The
University of Google".  I'm yet to pay a dime for electronics learning
materials and I've learned about 5x as much as my friends who went to
college for Electrical Engineering.  Not that I am AT ALL an expert or
electrical engineer, but I'm am learning at a really fast pace, and it will
no doubt make my eventual university degree for EE much simpler.  Now I just
gotta make some scratch from a device/invention to pay for university cuz
Google doesn't give out diplomas AFAIK .. hehehe

Peace

MJ Brush

----- Original Message -----
From: "Lindy Mayfield" <EraseMELindy.MayfieldspamspamspamBeGoneEUR.SAS.COM>
To: <RemoveMEPICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 12:52 PM
Subject: Re: [EE: ] what is a logic analyzer?


I have Getting Started in Electronics by Forrest M. Mimms, III which I've
been through a million times.  (And each time I pick up something new.)

{Original Message removed}

2004\06\02@133003 by John J. McDonough

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Philip Pemberton" <philpemSTOPspamspamspam_OUTDSL.PIPEX.COM>
Subject: Re: [EE: ] what is a logic analyzer?


> Um.. Ebay? Excellent prices? Are you joking?
> Case in point: Tek 465 oscilloscope.

It really isn't hard to get decent prices on eBay, but it does take some
patience.  From time to time something will come up that two people want
really bad, and it will sell for some obscene price.  But that doesn't mean
that I have to pay that price.

There are so many things there, and so many sellers, that almost whatever it
is, the same thing will be up there pretty soon.  It seems like there are an
amazing number of oscilliscopes.  At any one time I bet you could find a
couple dozen 465/465B/475 scopes up for auction.  If you are open minded
about what sort of scope you want, you are probably in trouble - there will
be too many of them to sort through them in finite time.

If you use their automatic bid thingie, you put in the price that you think
is reasonable (preferably towards the end of the auction), and then when you
don't win, you simply go on to the next one.  If you are realistic about
what it's worth, you will win one in two or three tries.  If you're cheap
(like me), maybe it will take a dozen.  So what, you haven't lost anything
by trying.

--McD

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2004\06\02@155203 by William Chops Westfield

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On Wednesday, Jun 2, 2004, at 08:53 US/Pacific, Matthew Brush wrote:

> I made my bench supply with an old 250W AT power supply from an old
> computer.  It works great and has some good voltages (+/-5v, +/-12v,
> +/-3.3v).  Another great thing is that it can put out a lot of power,
> more then I've ever needed.

Hmm.  When I said a power supply, I mean a LAB-style power supply.  One
with variable voltage (0-30V) and variable current limit (0-3A,
typical), and meters so you can see what's going on.  I find this to be
very useful; for instance when initially connecting some circuit, I set
the current limit to about what I expect it to draw, and if it goes
into limit, I start to suspect something wrong in my circuit.  A power
supply that merely provides common voltages at "more current than
you'll ever use" is not nearly as useful.  IMO, of course.

Given the additional background from the original poster, I'm not sure
that would be the best thing.  You need expectations and some initial
background to use the power supply effectively.  The supply is a sort
of engineering tool  A scope, on the other hand, is a better learning
tool.

I'd say it depends on whether he can afford a scope...

BillW

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http://www.piclist.com hint: The PICList is archived three different
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2004\06\02@173156 by Matthew Brush

flavicon
face
LM317, variable resistor, and multimeter. hehehe ... but I know what you
mean, it was that the OP (i think) asked specifically about converting a PC
power supply for use a lab power supply is all.  I happen to use that setup.

At some point I think I'll just make a nice lab supply from scratch, but it
was a quick and dirty way to get some common voltages to start into
electronics.

Anywho, Peace

MJ Brush

{Original Message removed}

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