Screaming Circuits: Circuit Puns

Fuzzy Logic in Manufacturing

In the digital world, we're accustomed to everything being driven by the absolute 1 or 0. You can also add in Tri-stated too, but that doesn't really count for computational or conditional logic. Analog allows for degrees of data, but at some point, is still driven by a specific cut off point. To start to understand the concepts of "more correct than incorrect", we need fuzzy logic, which is used in digital computers, but requires a lot more computation than a simple on / off switch.

Our parking lot takes a short-cut to fuzzy logic with cats. We've got a field across the street that has a small population of feral cats. They seem to be happy and healthy enough - although some mystery person does bring some food. I suspect that they'd find enough to eat regardless, but the extra food stacks the deck a bit in their favor.

Corporate cat on car 1024As the temperatures drop in the fall, it's not uncommon for them to hop up onto the warm hood of a recently arrived car, as this one did this morning.

I've heard that in the wild, cats can be quite vicious predators. In fact for the most part, I think that, while if dogs were larger than us, they'd be happy to let us use them as beds, cats larger than us would eat us. But, as long as they aren't eating any of the PC boards or parts that come through here, I don't mind having them around.

Duane Benson
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear
But he had no microcontrollers to play with

Mark Those Diodes!

MarcoPOLOLogo5Every now and then, I write about ambiguity with diode marking; like here, here, or here. It's a pretty important subject to get right, but what does it have to do with Marco Polo, you ask? Well, that depends on whether you're asking about the person or the game.

In the game, people try to find someone, without sufficient information. One person, designated "Marco" closes their eyes and periodically yells out "Marco." The other people respond with "Polo", and the Marco tries to find one of those other people with just the audible cue. For some critters, that's an easy task, but for the average human it's not always so easy - especially when the diode doesn't audibly respond to "Marco."

If you're talking about the explorer, Marco Polo; well, he set off on an adventure, got lost, and either saw a bunch of cool stuff, or made up a bunch of cool stuff (depending on whom you ask).

Again, you ask... "What does this have to do with hamburgers in a handbag, or with diodes?"

It has to do with the fact that he didn't know where he was going, and, that without clear marking, it's not always possible to know which way to point the diode.

BlackPOLOSo, we're celebrating Marco Polo month with our Screaming Circuits Marco Diodo Polo shirt.

If you place an order with Screaming Circuits during May, 2015, we'll send you an email with instructions telling you how to get a free Marco Diodo Polo shirt after your next order (provided the order is placed between May 1, 2015 and on or before June 5, 2015). If you place an order between now and then, and promptly respond to the email, you can get one for free (a shirt. Not an order).

Duane Benson
Fifty-four fourty, or fight!

Internet of Things Got Your Tongue?

By now, most of you have heard about the Internet of Things (IOT). If not, here's a quick summary:

The Internet of Things is the concept of having pretty much everything connected to the Internet in some way shape or form. At the simplest, it's the ability to turn a light bulb off and on with your smart phone. At a more complex point, it is all of the devices in your house, car, recreation, services, and office connected and talking.

Lights will automatically go on and off as you move through your house or office. When it's time to get up for work, your coffee will be brewed, your car will pull up to your door, your house will know when you leave and will lock down and turn off unnecessary devices - all without any intervention from you. The streets will talk. Utilities will talk. Everything will talk, coordinate, and manage.

It won't be enough for your computer to "ding" when an email arrives, or your phone to "buzz" when a text comes in. No; the IOT wants to control your life. And, it wants to nag you about all of it too.

The IOT will be good for us, because it will require a lot of super small parts, which we happen to like. In honor of that, we declared April, 2015 to be Internet of Things month, and created an "Internet of Things gone Bad" poster. The poster, by local graphic designer Kyle DeVore, is 18" x 24" and suitable for framing.

The early birds already have theirs, but we have a few more. If you're a current customer and would like one, shoot an email to We'll give them out until we run out. First come, first served.

Iot_poster_final_OL copy

Screaming Circuits introduces new Cordwood assembly service!

Tired of all those small parts? Can't figure out how to route traces to all 1,900 balls on that hot new FPGA? If 0201 passives have you running scared and the possibility of 01005 parts coming soon has you on the floor, Screaming Circuits has the answer.

Take a few steps back and use our new Screaming CordwoodTM assembly process. It'll feel good to put your hands on a honk'n 2-Watt, through-hole resistor again. No need for fancy, multi-headed SMT assembly robots with Screaming Cordwood. No need for precision anymore. Just put those parts a quarter inch apart and you'll be suckin amps just like the good old days. And if you don't think it's high-tech enough; consider that Cordwood construction has taken man to the moon and back. You can't say that about surface mount!

Chips Making Faces

Chip face

How To Exercise an Element of Control

Control yourself