Process automation: temperature sensing

My previous article documented how I designed and built a PCB that hosted three relays and a triac that could be mounted inside a PC case and connected up via the USB bus for host control using simple commands. The relays and triacs board That board is of course the output part of the system,...

Process automation: relays and triacs

In my previous article I discussed how I intended to convert an old PC into a controller that I could use to automate the temperature control required to ferment and conditional beer. If you haven’t already read that introduction then I’d encourage you to do that so you know what...

Process automation: building a process controller

Not a lot of people know this, but I brew my own beer as a hobby; and I’m not talking about the murky coloured astringent tasting dodgy brews of yesteryear. The beer I brew is probably best described as craft ale. I do the whole process, much like a brewery would. I design recipes, crush...

A laser-cut acrylic case for my server power supply controller

In my last article I built a controller board around the Artesyn NXA66 server power supply module that I picked up very cheaply on ebay. This board gave me the ability to control the key functions of the module and formed the basis for a rather nice, high current desktop PSU for voltages of...

A high current power supply built around a server voltage regulator

Regular readers of this blog will have already seen the article that I published about 4 months ago where I attempted to reverse engineer a voltage regulator module originally designed to fit into a Dell server. The theory was that these would be high quality, stable and robust designs that...

GPS Disciplined Oscillator review and teardown Nov12

GPS Disciplined Oscillator review and teardown

You may recall that about a year ago I built a frequency counter based on an FPGA and an Android user interface. I called it Nanocounter and you can read about it here if you haven’t already done so. One of the basic requirements for building a frequency counter is the ability to...

Reverse engineering a server CPU voltage regulator module

A recent ebay fishing expedition yielded an interesting little part for the very reasonable sum of about five pounds. It’s a voltage regulator module from a Dell PowerEdge 6650 Xeon server. I originally bought this because I had the idea of salvaging parts from it to use in another...

Old, not obsolete. Working with the Xilinx Virtex-E FPGA in a huge BGA package.

Let me see now, it must have been about two years ago when this story started. I was bored. I can’t remember why but when I’m bored I often surf ebay just to see what interesting bits and pieces are out there. Mostly it’s the same old stuff repeated over and over. Cheap bare PCB modules from the far east at the low end and chancers wanting $1000 for a broken oscilloscope at the other. This time though I found something interesting. Someone in Sweden was selling a job lot of forty factory-sealed Virtex-E FPGAs for what amounted to two quid each. And they were big ones — the XCV600E-6FG676. ‘Virtex’ is...