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Random Tips & Tricks

These are just some super simple "random tricks" I've accumulated over the years. A lot of them have come from other people and places, so I'll try and make sure I credit their source. Sorry for the laundry list approach right now.

Tool Usage

  • Where did that signal go? Sometimes you will ‘lose’ a signal on your oscilloscope and it may seem like it’s floating off the screen. You might have a large DC offset. Switch to AC coupling to remove it, and that should bring things around ground level. [Adafruit]

Circuit Design

  • To reduce the EMI and circuit noise generated by brushed motors, you can solder a 10nF ceramic capacitor between the motor terminal and the metal housing. [Adafruit]
  • Lazy libraries – It can be tempting to save time by downloading other people’s Eagle libraries. But you would be amazed at how often they contain footprint errors and poor schematic symbols. Learning to make your own libraries will pay off in the long run. [Adafruit]
  • Ferrites are a great way to filter out high frequency noise (above 10MHz), which can also reduce EMI enormously. You should use more of them.

Parts Management

  • If, like me, you keep a lot of your SMD components in AideTek cases, that also means removing passives from tape (annoying in and of itself). I use these 3D-printed sorting containers and I learned that if you spray them with an anti-static spray cleaner it keeps the small (< 1206) components from statically attaching themselves to the sorting container. Spray it, then wait a few minutes before wiping it all off with a paper towel or other wipe.

Comments or Questions?

If you have any comments, questions, or topics you'd like to see covered, please feel free to either reach out to me on Mastodon (link below) or open an issue on Github.