• Reverse engineering a high-end soldering station



      (This is the translation of the original article performed by baragol)

      We had a bunch of photographs of the main PCB, a YouTube video with drain-voltage waveforms of MOSFETs, a forum post with a breakdown of the capacitance values of LC circuit capacitors and also a number of unboxing videos showing the heating-up of the soldering tip. The only thing that really worried me was the video with the measurement of the peak power consumption during the heating-up. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than burned cartridge newly bought for 60 bucks from Amazon. But let me start from the beginning.
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    • Board game for learning the basics of electrical circuits. Why not?


        I made the “electric” designer of… cardboard. Alas, the project still remains at the prototype stage, not developing into an industrial “physical” look and is waiting for its time (and investor).


        But I decided to go further — once we started making cardboard, we’ll bring the situation to its logical conclusion — we’ll make a complete cardboard board game, but with an electric setting and a learning effect. There were a lot of options — starting from a simple “walker” and ending with Ameritrash from a zombie with electron movement and vicious short circuits and swollen capacitors.


        As a result, I decided to dwell on a logical abstract, since the schematics of electrical circuits are very suitable for it. Said and done — as a result of the first iteration, the game “Circuit” was born.

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      • We're in UltraHD Morty! How to watch any movie in 4K

          You’ve probably heard about Yandex’s DeepHD technology they once used to improve the quality of old Soviet cartoons. Unfortunately, it’s not public yet, and we, regular programmers, don’t have the dedication to write our own solution. But I personally really wanted to watch Rick and Morty on my 2880x1880 Retina display. And I was deeply disappointed, as even 1080p video (the highest available for this series) looks really blurry on a Retina display! Don’t get me wrong, 1080p is often good enough, but Retina is designed in such a way that an animation with its pronounced outlines in 1080p looks awfully blurry, like 480p on a FullHD monitor.

          I decided I want to see Rick and Morty in 4K, even though I can’t write neural networks. And, amazingly, I found a solution. You don’t even need to write any code: all you need is around 100GB of free space and a bit of patience. The result is a sharp 4K image that looks better than any interpolation.


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        • Making a DIY thermal camera based on a Raspberry Pi

            image

            Hi everyone!

            Winter has arrived, and so I had to check the thermal insulation of my out of town residence dacha. And it just turned out a famous Chinese marketplace started to sell cheap thermal camera modules. So I decided to DIY it up and build a rather exotic and useful thing — a heat visor for the home. Why not? Especially since I had a Raspberry Pi lying around anyway… The result is down below.
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          • Flightradar24 — how does it work?

              I’m going to hazard a guess and say that everyone whose friends or family have ever flown on a plane, have used Flightradar24 — a free and convenient service for tracking flights in real time.



              But, if my friends are any indication, very few people know that the service is community-driven and is supported by a group of enthusiasts gathering and sending data. Even fewer people know that anyone can join the project — including you.

              Let’s see how Flightradar and similar other services works.
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            • Teaching kids to program

              • Translation

              Hi. My name is Michael Kapelko. I've been developing software professionally for more than 10 years. Recent years were dedicated to iOS. I develop games and game development tools in my spare time.


              Overview


              Today I want to share my experience of teaching kids to program. I'm going to discuss the following topics:


              • organization of the learning process
              • learning plan
              • memory game
              • development tools
              • lessons
              • results and plans
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            • AdBlock has stolen the banner, but banners are not teeth — they will be back

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            • Ternary computing: basics

                Balanced ternary


                I am working on a computer architecture principles lectures for our university; and as an assignment I'd like to propose to my students to build a simple programmable machine working in ternary. The main reason is fun: as a lecturer I must bring a bit of entertainment, otherwise I won't be listened to. Besides, it is important for historic reasons. Any further «why?!» questions will be answered «Because I can».

                This page describes the very basics, it won't go beyond a simple ternary adder (and its hardware implementation). Stay tuned for more.

                I chose the balanced ternary system: every trit represents one of three possible states, -1, 0 or 1. A very extensive description of this system may be found here.


                Read more →
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              • Naïve Math: the Mendocino motor and Earnshaw's theorem

                • Tutorial

                The problem statement


                I was surfing the Internet the other day and a rather curious thing caught my mind: the Mendocino motor. It’s an extremely low-friction bearing rotor: the original one had a glass cylinder hanging on two needles, but the modern ones use magnetic suspension. It’s a brushless engine: the rotor has solar batteries attached to it, which generate current for the coils wrapped around the rotor. The rotor spins in a fixed magnetic field, the solar batteries getting exposed to the light source one after the other. It’s a rather elegant solution that’s very possible to recreate at home.

                Here’s the video that explains how it works (in Russian):


                But this video had another curiosity even stronger than the engine itself. In the video description Dmitry Korzhevsky writes: “You CAN’T replace the side support with a magnet! Don’t ask me about this anymore!”
                I LOVE the 'impossible' word!
              • $10 million in investments and Wozniak's praise — creating an educational computer for children

                  We interviewed Mark Pavluykovskiy — the creator of the Piper educational computer. We asked him about immigrating from Ukraine to the US, how he almost died in Africa, graduated from Princeton, dropped out of a doctorate in Oxford and created a product that deserved a praise from Satia Nadella and Steve Wozniak.



                  In mid-October the Sistema_VC venture capital fund hosted a conference called Machine Teaching, where creators of various educational startups assembled to talk about technical advancements.

                  The special guest was Mark Pavluykosvkiy, the creator of Piper. His company created an educational computer — a children’s toy that, using wires, circuit boards and Minecraft teaches programming and engineering to children. A couple of years ago Mark completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, got a couple of Silicon Valley investors on board and raised around $11 million dollars in investments. Now he’s a member of Forbes’ “30 under 30” list, while his project is used by Satia Nadella and Steve Wozniak, among others.

                  Mark himself is a former Princeton and Oxford student. He was born in Ukraine, but moved to the US with his mother when he was a child. In various interviews Mark claimed that he doesn’t consider himself a genius, but simply someone who got very lucky. A lot of other people aren’t so lucky, however, and he considers it unfair. Driven by this notion, during his junior year he flew to Africa, where he almost died.
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                • Receiving shortwave faxes with your PC and an off-the-shelf receiver

                  • Tutorial

                  One of the many botched faxes

                  This is a (rather freely) translated version of this article.

                  When most people hear «fax», they remember those clumsy hybrids of a telephone and a printer straight outta 80s (unless you're in Japan, of course — they're still common there). But did you know that a similar technology is used to provide ship crews with weather data when there's no Internet connection? And Kyodo, a Japanese news agency (they sure like faxes, huh), still broadcasts news like that. And we can decode all this stuff, too — given a receiver, an audio cable and some software.
                  So, how does it look?
                • How to milk cows with robots and make an industrial startup of it. The history of the R-SEPT development

                  • Translation


                  In 2017, the media heard a very interesting story about a startup that robotizes milking cows on industrial dairy farms. The company is called R-SEPT, and back then it received 10 million rubles of investment. But a year has passed, and there's still no news on what happened further. We contacted Aleksey Khakhunov (AlexeiHahunov), the founder of the startup, and discussed the development. It turns out that the whole year his team was getting the prototype of the robot into shape, and just a week ago they conducted their first field test on the farm.

                  Under the cut there's a story about a robotics student who grew up on his parents' farm, turned the University diploma into an industrial startup, as he collected the first manipulators with his friends, and then scaled up to the level of state programs for the robotization of agriculture. And the most important is how the iron hand of the robot and the machine vision are better than a living milkmaid.
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