RF Cafe Software
About RF Cafe
1996 - 2016
BSEE - KB3UON
RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The Internet was still largely an unknown entity at the time and not much was available in the form of WYSIWYG ...
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It seems like these days you can get software or hardware for just about any task. This Carson Intermediate 100x-1000x Compound Microscope with Universal Smartphone Optics Digiscoping Adapter is a prime example of that which I write. This would be a great addition to your lab or hobby bench to assist during assembling or reworking PCBs with fly spec size components as well as for inspection during troubleshooting or even quality control for small scale manufacturing operations. It would also be an inspirational tool for a student. There are both lesser and greater models of this microscope offered by Carson and other manufacturers. Prices are amazingly low.
With all the USB-based test instruments available for electrical test, it is no wonder that we are now seeing things like this plug-in oscilloscope for smartphones. The Oscium iMSO-204L oscilloscope sports 2, 8-bit analog channels and the 4, 4-bit digital channels. Analog bandwidth is 5 MHz, with 50 MSPS and a sample depth of 1,000 points. 2 each 1x and 10x analog probes are included as are 5 kwik-clips for digital connections (one for ground).
If 4 digital channels are not enough, there is a 16-channel version available as well. The Oscium LogiScope, 16 Channel, Protocol Decoding, 100 MHz Logic Analyzer for the iPad works with 2.0 V, 2.5 V, 3.3 V, and 5.0 V systems. Record length is 1,000 samples. Oscium makes other instruments as well, including an ISM band spectrum analyzer and power meter.
If you don't need the formality and precision of a fixed-base microscope, there are clip-on macro lenses available at a lower price. Some kits include a tabletop tripod to help mitigate the blurring effects of too much coffee when held by hand. Be sure to heed warnings of owner reviews since lens quality and ruggedness of attachment mechanisms can profoundly affect usefulness.
Thermal imaging is extremely useful when diagnosing intermittent failures in circuit assemblies, as well as during the design and prototype phase when determining whether temperatures of components are within the manufacturers' specifications, which ultimately affects reliability. This thermal imaging camera and included software app from Seek plugs into the miniUSB port, thereby turning your smartphone into an infrared camera. It detects a temperature range of -40 to +626 °F (-40 to +330 °C). You can also use it as a heat-sensing motion detector to automatically trigger other events on the phone, like snapping a picture of the subject or event causing the alert.
Other scientific instrument attachments and accessories for smartphones include the Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor for Apple and Android. The included phone app stores all readings, syncs with Withings Health Cloud, & displays an easy to understand chart. Visualize stats on your iPhone, iPod touch, or Android device, as well as on your online dashboard.
As always, I request that you please purchase these and other items through Amazon since doing so helps put food on my table. Thanks!
The inventions and products featured on these pages were chosen either for their uniqueness in the RF engineering realm, or are simply awesome (or ridiculous) enough to warrant an appearance.
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Posted September 2, 2015