Thursday, February 8, 2018

Atmel-ICE and Development Board Sale at

The Atmel-ICE Full Kit is half off with coupon code TP1747 until February 28, 2018.  A few other development boards are discounted as well.  See details at

I have used the Atmel-ICE with a few different AVR microcontrollers along with the Atmel Studio 7.  It works well but I have had a few small issues with JTAG debugging from Atmel Studio, usually I just restart the debug session and things work.  Definitely the best tool I have found for AVR JTAG debugging. For more information see the the Atmel-ICE product page.  The link to the online user's guide on that page is currently broken, I will add it to the comments if I can find a link.  Here is the Atmel-ICE User Guide at DigiKey.  The Youtube video Atmel Edge With Paul Rako: Debug 102 shows and unboxing and goes over the basics of the kit.  The video is embedded below (no pun intended).

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lattice FPGA Development Kit and Development Tools Sale

Lattice Semiconductor is offering big discounts on ECP5 FPGA development boards and development tools while supplies last until March 31, 2017 UPDATE: promotion has been extended to June 30, 2017 while supplies last.

Items on sale for less than $100 US include the ECP5 Versa Development kit ($110 discount), the ECP5-5G Versa Development Kit ($150 discount), the Connectivity IP Suite ($896 discount), and the Lattice Diamond FPGA Design Software 12 month subscription ($796 discount).   The development kits include a free limited version of the Lattice Diamond Software so you can have a powerful ECP5 FPGA development kit with tools for only $89.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Upcycle it Design Challenge with Intel Edison

Element 14 is hosting the Upcycle it Design Challenge to upcycle an obsolete item using the Intel Edison Kit for Arduino.  The entry deadline is only a few days away, project proposals are due March 3, 2017, but you have until June 9th to complete the project.

Only 15 official challengers will be selected and will receive a free Challenger Kit from element14.  The top prizes include a Keithly digital multimeter, Dremmel Multitool kit and Weller soldering station.  First, second and third prizes will be given as well as a smaller prize for all other challengers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

IBM and Arrow Electronics Helping Indiegogo IoT Startups

IBM recently announced it will partner with Arrow Electronics and Indiegogo to help IoT startups.  IBM will give free access to Watson IoT platform and cloud service discounts.  Arrow has already been supporting some Indiegogo campaigns that have electronic components and meet certification criteria, This page lists many of the benefits of Arrow certification.  Indiegogo currently has 62 Arrow Certified Campaigns.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

TI Development Board Deals for Engineers Week 2016

This week the AM437x starter kit is only $99 ($149 off with coupon code EWKDEAL10).  It's engineers week and TI has 12 deals on it's best-selling products while supplies last.  There are deals on a few SensorTags, LaunchPads, BoosterPacks and EVMs.

The AM437x starter kit (TMDXSK437X) has a 4.3" capacitive touch screen LCD, on board camera module and connector for a Wilink8 evaluation board.  The Wilink8 bundle is also on sale for engineers week (coupon code EWKDEAL12), it supports WiFi, Bluetooth, and Bluetooth Low Energy and includes a Wilink8 EVN and an SDIO board to connect the wilink to hosts with generic SD/MMC card slots.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Digi-Key Helps Electronics Makers to Market with is a new site for makers from Digi-Key Electronics.  The site was created to guide makers through the steps required to get an electronic device from concept to production.  The site has links to articles and tools for every phase of development.  It also hosts some projects that feature products sold by Digi-Key. is still in Beta and currently has only 18 projects, a few are by makers and the rest feature Adafruit and Sparkfun projects.  There is also a YouTube channel and twitter account.  There are over a dozen videos on the YouTube channel, see the Welcome to video below for more information.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Free CADSTAR Schematic Design Software Offer

CADSTAR is offering a free license to its Schematic Design software.  This is a permanent node-locked to your MAC address.  You also receive CADSTAR Library Editor Software and a 68-page tutorial. This is a limited time offer and ends in March, 2016.  You can upgrade the free version to a dongle-based license if you pay for maintenance.  See this Zuken press release for more details on the offer and upgrades.  If you aren't familiar with CADSTAR by Zuken watch the video below.


If you are interested in maintenance or upgrades you will need to contact a CADSTAR reseller.  My local reseller is Algozen, they cover New York and Ontario Canada and they are great to work with - very knowledgeable and great support. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

World's Largest Arduino Maker Challenge

The World's Largest Arduino Maker Challenge is being hosted on partnered with Adafruit, Arduino, Atmel, and Microsoft.

World's Largest Arduino Maker Challenge

There will be 1000 participants in the contest - selected based on project ideas in phase 1. Winners in phase 1 receive an Arduino MKR1000 (US only) and  Genuino (outside US).  In phase 2, three winners will be selected and win travel to a Maker Faire to present the project and a $500 gift certificate to Adafruit.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How to Avoid the DHCP delay if Ethernet is Disconnected in Debian Jessie

In Debian Jessie if the Ethernet port is not connected and the interface is set to automatically use dhcp at boot, the system will still wait for an IP address.  This adds about a minute to the boot time of a BeagleBone Black.  

Here is what you will see during the delay:
[   12.172221] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): eth0: link is not ready
[***   ] A start job is running for LSB: Raise network interf...26s / no limit)

To avoid the delay change the interfaces file to use something other than dhcp.  Here is a listing of the original file:
root@arm:~# cat /etc/network/interfaces
# interfaces(5) file used by ifup(8) and ifdown(8)
# Include files from /etc/network/interfaces.d:
source-directory /etc/network/interfaces.d

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

I just changed dhcp to manual, other options are auto and static.  Look at the man page for interfaces for more information on the other parameters.  

You can still connect Ethernet and use DHCP to get an IP address after the system boots with the dhclient command.

root@arm:~# dhclient eth0

I looked for the cause of this delay and found it mentioned in Debian Bug report logs - #754218

Am 01.12.2014 um 18:08 schrieb Christoph Anton Mitterer:
> On Mon, 2014-12-01 at 18:00 +0100, Michael Biebl wrote:
>> Very likely, yes. If you use DHCP, it can easily take a few seconds for
>> your network to be configured.
>> And now that /etc/init.d/networking both handles allow-hotplug and auto
>> interfaces and blocks for ifup to complete for those interfaces, the
>> delay during boot is kinda expected.
> So can we keep the other fix as it is? I mean this will just cause
> another stupid systemd-is-responsible-and-it-sucks hatred storm by
> people... :(

Not quite sure what you mean with "other fix"? Can you elaborate?

You can't eat a cake and have it too.
Either we wait blockingly (and wait actually means, well, delaying your
boot process and making it slower) for ifup to complete during boot as
workaround for broken software which doesn't deal with dynamic network
changes and requires $network, or we don't blockingly wait and cause
that other software to break.

For jessie we decided to take that boot delay hit in exchange for
supporting $network requiring software.

I believe a reasonable fix would be to detect that the port is not connected and skip or interrupt the wait for a DHCP response.  I admit I don’t know how much work that would be, or what else it would break.  Booting seems much faster with systemd otherwise.