cp2102Although the CP2102 serial adapters are both affordable and easily available, there is only one problem: their serial number is fixed at “0001” (at least the ones I bought myself). If you want to use more than one of these devices simultaneously on a Linux PC (eg Raspberry) you will have difficulties to create the udev roles to uniquely distinguish each adapter. Fortunately, the remedy is to re-assign each device a unique serial number. This is feasible using a program provided by the same manufacturer of the chip CP2102 (SiLabs). The package can be downloaded from the addresses at the end of this post. Inside the zipped downloaded file you will find the Windows\CP21xxCustomizationUtility folder which must be decompressed on your hard-disk (the package also includes versions for Linux and Mac users). Run the file CP21xxCustomizationUtility.exe, enter the new serial number into the “Serial” field, then click over “Program Device” to program the device (wait until the process is done and the data are verified). For my own purposes I also modified the Product Description (in this case it was shortened to “CP2102”). Simple and useful tool!




A kypad for your Yaesu FT-8x7Here is a very useful add-on for your smal Yaesu transceiver: a keypad to type-in the frequency and other operational parameters (split, mode, repeater, etc.). As the keypad simply uses the serial-port socket available on the rear of the radio, no hardware modifications are needed to your rig.

The whole keypad is quite compact.

Both small and full kits are available: you can choose a basic kit (including a high-quality printed-circuit board plus one pre-programmed microcontroller and a crystal oscillator) or a fully built and tested unit.

A complete user-guide, including the schematic, the assembly and wiring diagrams plus the operating instructions can be freely downloaded here.

A fully populated board

For informations about price and shipping costs please contact it9xxs[at]gmail.com


, ,

To interface SWiTh to other electronic devices (small LEDs, switches and other basic components), some circuit is needed. This is necessary when we are coupling SWiTh to devices working at different voltage levels or when driving high-power loads (e.g. lamps, relays, etc.).

For safety, an optocoupled interface is mandatory if we need to drive loads connected to the 230V mains.

A series of simple, practical examples follows. These should cover the most common situations and can be used with any similar systems.

Driving a low-power relay using one N-CH MOSFET

Example 1: this circuit allows SWiTh to drive a low-power relay. Very few components are needed. The input resistor insures a stable logic L when the input is floating (the input impedance of the MOSFET is very high). The diode protects the MOSFET against the voltage spikes generated across the relay coil when this latter is powered on and off.

A bipolar transistor drives a low-power relay.

Example 2: a common NPN transistor is used instead of a MOSFET (see Ex. 1).
Both circuits turn on the relay when a high level (5V) is applied to the input.

A bipolar PNP transistor drives a low-power relay

Example 3: a PNP transistor drives a relay.
This circuit is useful when an inverted logic is needed: the relay is OFF when a 5V voltage is applied to the input and ON when the input is floating or logic zero.

Using an integrated darligton driver ULN-2003

Example 4: a circuit using a very useful and popular IC, the ULN2003.
This ICs can drive different loads of various types: relays, lamps, motors, even at high voltages and currents.
Each channel is rated at 500mA, that can be paralleled for higher demands.
Each driver has its own suppression diode for driving inductive loads. A very handy IC !

Optocoupled digital input

Example 5:  a digital input circuit using an optocoupler,
useful when the electrical separation of two interconnected circuits is needed for safety reasons.

For an effective isolation the two devices must not share any signal/voltage (including ground).

Optocoupled output

Example 6:  an optocoupled digital output circuit.
This circuit can be used to drive low-voltage devices.
This circuit is inverting: the output goes low when the input goes high.
If the interfacing circuit has its own pull-up resistor just remove the 4.7 kΩ collector resistor.
Do not share any signal or voltage between the left and the right circuits.

An optocupled output, driving a relay (for greater safety)

Example 7: this circuit can be used to drive devices connected to the mains or high-current switching (using a suitable relay).
At the cost of a little more complex circuit you get an interface that can safely drive high-voltage devices.
A medium- or high-power relay may need the use of a medium power NPN transistor.


, , ,