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Cool projects, test and measurement insights from around the web

While browsing the web you can find plenty of informative and yes, even entertaining, video content on electrical engineering topics. Here are a few we’ve come across recently that combine entertaining or informative projects with some useful test and measurement insights.

Ben Heck’s Mechanical TV Part 1 and 2

The Tektronix MDO3000 series oscilloscope is six instruments with a wide variety of options, Ben Heck has discovered one particularly interesting use for this scope.  

Benjamin Heckendorn, more commonly known as Ben Heck, is a console modder and star of element14’s The Ben Heck Show -- a popular YouTube series.

In this episode, Ben Heck’s Mechanical Television Part 1, Heck describes what a mechanical television is and attempts to build the imaging device that picks up the image.

In Ben Heck’s Mechanical Television Part 2, Heck concludes his experiment on building a mechanical television using a flashlight, drill motor, photoresistors and a Tektronix MDO3000 series oscilloscope, which shows up roughly 2 minutes into the video.

Later, Heck attempts to build the device that re-produces the image that’s picked up. Heck and his colleague, Karen use two records, spinning in sync, by using a DC motor controller. Next, they transfer the image to an imaging unit.

  (Part 1)

  (Part 2)

MOSFETs that cut down on ringing

A typical Power MOSFET has a body diode that requires a snubber circuit to reduce voltage ringing. This MOSFET has an internal snubber, which helps to reduce current and voltage ringing.

Host of this video, Lee Teschler is the Executive Editor of Design World’s websites, online resources and print publications. Teschler is also an expert technical editor and knowledge leader in green energy, industrial electronics and motion control.

Watch as Teschler and Mike Speed, marketing director at Fairchild, demonstrate a Power MOSFET and discuss the snubber circuit. Speed also discusses low-side MOSFETS compared to the new Fairchild MOSFET and the advantages.


Bil Herd with Hackaday talks about differential signaling

Differential signaling is the differences between two voltages; it enables you to have higher speeds, longer cable lengths and better resistance to noise.

During this 15-minute video Bil Herd, host of Hackaday, will teach you all about differential signaling. Herd is a computer engineer who created designs for 8-bit home computers back in the 80s. Herd also designed the Commodore 128, a dual-CPU and a triple-OS. Later, Herd went on to design faster, more powerful computers, primarily focusing on machine vision. Now, he is the producer and host of the Hackaday blog.

Here Herd discusses the basics of low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) and standards like low-voltage PCL. Herd also provides examples of traditional signals and differential signals and demonstrates the basic LVDS standards using a Tektronix scope.


Using a current shunt with a panel meter/ammeter scale change

To change the current that is needed for a full scale deflection you need to use a resistive current shunt with an analog panel meter.

Alan Wolke, also known by his handle as W2aeW, will teach you how to do just that. Wolke, is a video blogger, electrical engineer and an RF application engineer for Tektronix. Wolke provides electronic, circuit and components tutorials. In addition, Wolke talks about test and measurement equipment, such as oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers and how to get the most out of them.

This short video will provide you with the basics on how to change the full scale current reading of your meters so you can apply it to your project.


Counting LED Photons

Our Tektronix MDO3000 oscilloscope can be used for a variety of useful things, such as discovering the answers to a few puzzling physics questions.

Host of EEVblog (electronics engineering video blog) and electronics design engineer, Dave Jones attempts to find out how many photons an LED emits at very low currents and what is the lowest current where an LED will emit photons.

In this video, watch as Dave undergoes a series of tests to answer his nagging questions. Dave begins by using a device called a photon counting module to count the photons. Next, Dave attempts to count the number of pulses with a RIGOL scope, but is unsuccessful, because the scope can’t capture the dark counts or count the pulses. About 25 minutes into the show, Dave breaks out “the big guns” otherwise known as the Tektronix MDO3000 and is psyched when the scope is actually able to count the pulses and answer his physics questions.