Freelance Tech Journalist / Technical Writer, Engineering Consultant

Jeremy Cook Consulting

Jeremy Cook is a freelance tech journalist and engineering consultant with over 10 years of factory automation experience. An avid maker and experimenter, you can follow him on Twitter, or see his electromechanical exploits on the Jeremy S. Cook YouTube Channel!

Articles 21 - 40
Open Source

Consider Packaging in Your PCB Design - News

July 13, 2023

After creating the RP20-Footie capacitive foot (hand, or other body part) interface, I realized there was a small problem. It is very hard to get into the standard 4 x 8in bubble mailer that I use to send most of my small boards. Sure, I could use a larger box or mailer, but efficiency and inventory management is the name of the game at jcdevices.com. As of now, I do all the packaging myself, and inventory resides in a closet.

Open Source

Raspberry Pi Pico PWM Audio Output Circuit - Blog

June 27, 2023

As discussed in class 7 of my Developing with Pi series, Sound and Music Output with the Raspberry Pi RP2040 Pico, the Raspberry Pi Pico/RP2040 is a rather impressive sound source. Not only is it able to generate programmatic beeps and boops as you might expect from an Arduino Uno and the like, but it can also play uncompressed WAV files, as well as compressed MP3s. The big restriction is that the Pico only has 2MB of Flash memory, though the RP2040 can work with up 16MB, allowing for a bit more room depending on your board.

Open Source

Create Custom UF2 File for Easy CircuitPython Flashing - Blog

June 23, 2023

CircuitPython is a programming language used on a wide variety of dev boards and microcontrollers. This includes the Raspberry Pi Pico, which I use extensively for demos in the Developing with Pi webinar series. While the RP2040-based Pico can be used with Arduino C and the Arduino IDE, what is interesting about CircuitPython in this context isn’t the language itself so much as the programming process.

Consumer

Open Circuits Book Review: Electronics Components in All Their Glory - Blog

May 24, 2023

Since you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume that you’re an engineer or other technically interested individual. You’ve probably even taken apart several things over your lifetime to observe the electronic workings inside. Open Circuits, by Eric Schlaepfer and Windell H. Oskay, is a celebration of this hidden world and a tool that will expand your knowledge of everything from resistors, to SOCs, Nixie tubes, and more.

Debug & Test

Amplitude Modulation Basics With UNI-T UTG932E Signal Generator - Blog

May 18, 2023

Signal modulation is fundamental to radio communications, and amplitude modulation (AM) could be considered its most basic form. To understand modulation you need to have a firm grasp on several concepts and terms. In this article I’ll explore amplitude modulation in an interactive manner with the UNI-T UTG932E signal generator.

Open Source

Fusion 360 2D DXF Export for KiCad, Lasers, and More - Blog

May 12, 2023

While Autodesk Fusion 360 is by nature a 3D design package, what if you need a 2D format file for use with tasks like laser cutting and PCB design? Generating a 2D DXF (Drawing Exchange Format) file is surprisingly easy if you know where to look.

Open Source

Raspberry Pi Pico Capacitive Foot Pedal Interface - Blog

April 21, 2023

If you’ve followed my work for any length of time, you may have noticed that I’m constantly pursuing the “perfect” computer interface. This has resulted in my cycling through a number of input devices, and even developing my fully custom JC Pro Macro 2 keypad. However, I really only have two out of four appendages well-optimized, and in this interface quest I also tried using a foot pedal, as discussed here.

Open Source

Through Hole and Surface Mount Combination PCB Pads - Blog

April 18, 2023

Should you use through hole technology (THT) or surface mount devices (SMD) for your next design? While SMD opens a whole new world of miniature components and machine assembly, if you’re designing something for others to solder in kit form, THT can be more accessible.

Analog & Power

Joule Thief ZEEWEII DSO1511G Scope Analysis - Blog

April 07, 2023

In the GreatScott! video seen in my last Joule Thief post, he notes that this circuit is difficult to understand. While a full understanding may indeed still elude me, here I’ll use the $60 ZEEWEII DSO1511G scope and signal generator to get a hands-on view of each of my Thief setups.

Analog & Power

PCB Coin Cell Battery Holder (and Switch) - Blog

April 06, 2023

Recently I’ve been experimenting with coin cell batteries and thought it would be fun to make a light-up pick using one with an LED. Two months later, and I have an LED light PCB that holds a CR2016 or CR2032 battery with no extra components, and which can be assembled without solder.

Open Source

Useful 3D Prints 2023 - Blog

April 04, 2023

When we last left my 3D-printing adventures in late 2021, I had printed a holder for a Ryobi cordless drill, assembly jigs for my macro pad, and piping adapters for laser fume extraction. Since then, I’ve designed and/or printed a wide range of new items, and this article outlines a few of my favorite useful 3D-prints for 2023.

Analog & Power

Make a Joule Thief: Three Inductor Options - Blog

March 24, 2023

Recently I’ve been considering how to run an LED for a really, really long time on a CR02032 battery, and eventually (re)stumbled upon the idea of a joule thief. The video below does a good job outlining how this circuit works.

Open Source

The Well Rounded Engineer - Blog

February 22, 2023

Engineering, by its very nature, is a technical pursuit, involving numbers, the translation of science into practical applications, and a lot of tinkering to get things just right. Pursuits such as sports, art, music, writing, and other such “squishy” subjects are fine, but could be considered secondary in nature.

Open Source

Raspberry Pi Pico CircuitPython MIDI Interface - Blog

February 13, 2023

In this article, I’ll first outline the basics of using MIDI with CircuitPython on the Pico for direct interface with a computer. I’ll then show how a Pi 4 (or 3/2) can be used as a host to pipe signals to a keyboard or other device.

Debug & Test

Band-Pass Filter Fundamentals With Dual OWON HDS2xx Scopes - Blog

February 06, 2023

As a consequence of my review of the OWON HDS2102S oscilloscope/signal generator, and the more recent OWON HDS242 article, I have a signal generator and scope temporarily available. What better time to explore filtering options, namely the band-pass filter!

Processing

Raspberry Pi Pico Turns Itself Off for Power Savings - Blog

January 24, 2023

While some microcontrollers use a tiny amount of power in shutdown mode–and even while running in some cases–e.g. the ATtiny series–others are more demanding. This can be especially true for dev boards with their additional overhead, and/or if you’re using sensors that never quite turn off power-wise.

Open Source

I2S Volume Control With Raspberry Pi Pico and CircuitPython - Blog

January 05, 2023

In a recent article, I outlined how to play MP3 files on the Raspberry Pi Pico with no extra components, just a small speaker. I also talked about doing this with the addition of an amplifier. While either is fine for many applications, the Pico does not have a true ADC, meaning it instead uses less-than-perfect PWM to simulate an analog output. For better audio quality and output level control, you can instead use digital I2S signaling.

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