Another Entertaining Blog for Engineers

I was watching the latest “Mailbag” episode on Dave (That Crazy Australian Bloke) Jones’ EEVBlog wherein he mentions another Video Blog (VLOG?) “”. Todd sent in a Chinese market Fluke meter for Dave to “analyze”. Buyer beware, the meter doesn’t stand up so well to Dave’s first impression. He hinted at fun future plans for it though, I think the magic smoke may be released soon!

By all means check out “”. as well…


While Todd may not be quite as “Energetic” as Dave, if you like nuts & bolts it’s definitely one for your favorites.

This site “Engineer LLC” is proud to be hosted by Dreamhost.

Notice the clean composition and lack of blinking ads for the latest fad diet? Thinking, how is that possible in 2012? Actually, it’s a no-brainer.

This website Engineer LLC is hosted by Dreamhost. I have been using them for over 8 years now (ever since I started publishing public web content) and must say I am a very satisfied customer. This blog you are reading right now is hosted on Dreamhost. If you are considering opening a new web Hosting account, I strongly recommend Dreamhost. Should you choose to use their services, use the promo code NEWUSER2012 and you will get an additional discount when you create a new account with Dreamhost.

Full Disclosure: I do receive a small referral fee for referring new customers.

That’s it no hard sell, just pure internet goodness for all.

Vernon Johnson, Engineer LLC

August 22, 2012

Doubling Down with the PIC32

In an earlier post, A high density Automotive control design using the Microchip PIC32MX MCU was described. That design was a great success. However, as with all things new it was found to be in need of more I/O. The circuit board was revised to double all of the digital and analog peripheral I/O while retaining the same overall PCB outline of 5″x7″. it was also kept to just 2 layers and components on only one side, again with the help of the peripheral circuitry simplicity afforded by the Microchip PIC32MX360F512L MCU.

An update to a recent PIC32 Control System Design

While it is a bit more dense that the previous revision, it still fits without too much crowding on the 5″ x 7″ 2 layer PCB.

Vernon Johnson, Engineer LLC

Finding the Right 3D Printer

Engineer LLC will be investing in it’s first 3d Printer shortly, so we have been shopping the web for the best candidate(s). There are an number of options for the low cost (relatively) reprap based designs available. Ranging from scratch build with used parts to ready to print fully assembled units. Here’s a sampling of what I have found on the ‘net so far.

Start here with a good video synopsis of the low end of build it yourself to kit range by Neil Underwood… Still Extruding: RepRap Price Points

PrintrBot is an interesting newer product line of supplies, parts and kits. With the commendable goals of bringing the cost of entry even lower and making kit assembly simpler for beginners. This venture was launched via what appears to be the most successful Kickstarter technology campaign to date…

There are quite a few vendors popping up with offerings in the mid range with kits and some with fully assembled products such as PrintrBot listed above.

And then there’s the Granddaddy of all commercially available derivatives of the open source “reprap machine” with a Geriatric 3 years in existence… “Makerbot Industries

For our first unit, we will likely be going with the Makerbot Replicator MK8 with the dual extruder option. This one comes fully assembled and features the all important dual extruder to allow for deposition of water soluble support material. When support material deposition is available, the printer is no longer limited to making only objects that are self supporting during build. This makes the unit more competitive with much more expensive “Mainstream” FDM printers.

The 3D Printing Revolution

It seems that the 3D printing bug may be spreading to Engineer LLC. There is a growing wave of enthusiasm for low cost (relatively) 3D printers, particularly in the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) category. FDM is a process that uses a plastic Filament fed through a heated extruder head to print a model from a 3D CAD rendering. It’s really amazing how the capability of these printers has improved while the cost of entry has also come way down. The new developments have been spurred in large part by the open source project “reprap”. Learn more about how it got started here.