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...

An acrylic case for Nanocounter

You may have already read my writeup about my first experience with laser cutting and the case that I produced for my reflow oven controller. If not then you can always get up to speed by clicking here. Creating a design for laser cutting involves laying out the different pieces into a...

A review of the Maximator Altera FPGA development board

I recently received a review sample of a rather nice looking FPGA development board called Maximator from the folks at Kamami.com. I’ve spent some time evaluating it and this post is a detailed review of the board. The development kit arrives in a nice, well padded box. What’s in...

A custom enclosure for the Android bluetooth reflow controller

It’s a good nine or ten months now since I published my design for a reflow oven controller that uses an Android app for display and control. I knew at the time that I would need an enclosure for this controller and not just because of the obvious hazards of having exposed mains...

Nanocounter is an accurate frequency counter using an FPGA, STM32 and a bluetooth android app

Here we have a good example of how a requirement for a simple tool spirals out of control and spawns a project that takes months to complete and ends up dwarfing the project that it was originally expected to facilitate. You see, some time ago I was fiddling around with a project, something to do with data logging, probably, I’ve actually forgotten what I was up to. Said project would have used an MCU to acquire and timestamp data over an extended period of time and I quickly realised that the oscillators and quartz crystals used to generate the clock tree inside an MCU are not accurate enough to track wall-clock time over extended...

A development board for the STM32F042 TSSOP package

It’s been a while since I posted a new article, a delay at least partly due to me herniating a disc in my neck which left me completely unable to look downwards for any length of time and as you’ll know all too well you can’t work on circuit boards without peering down at...

Filtering the 5V USB power supply line Jul24

Filtering the 5V USB power supply line

I’m currently working on a new project that contains sensitive analogue components and have rediscovered what many before me already know, that is that the VUSB 5V line that comes out from your computer’s USB hub is noisy. In fact I was surprised at just how noisy it is....