Saturday, July 14, 2018

MingHe DPS6015A: Serial Communication Protocol for TTL/RS232/RS485

Last week, I reviewed a very nice MingHe DPS6015A buck converter - and I liked it.  A lot!  But I didn't have time to cover the serial communication, other than to tease that I was going to cover it.  And, this week delivers!

Documented, for the first time in English (that I know of), the full serial communication protocol for the MingHe DPS6015A (and related) buck converters!  Plus, a bonus Arduino library to handle them in operation.

Why might you want this?  There are many, many situations in which a programmable buck converter is a helpful thing to have - and, normally, they're very expensive.  This one is about $70 on eBay, is reasonably accurate (especially in voltage), and supports a multitude of serial interfaces.

Keep reading for all the juicy protocol details!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

MingHe DPS6015A 80V to 60V/15A/900W Buck Converter Review - With Serial!

Another week, another gizmo to analyze.  This week, I've got a DPS6015A buck converter on my bench - and it is good!  This is a much fancier unit than I normally deal with here - it's about $70 on eBay.  But, it will convert from an input voltage of 15V-80V to an output of up to 60V/15A/900W.

I make extensive use of these in my office.  I have one for running my lighting (and eventually my low voltage DC bus), and I have another one that I use as a bench power supply for precision work (my analog bench supply isn't amazingly precise).  Since these handle up to 80V, they can work directly from my battery pack - my pack will be up over 60V in the winter when cold, which means most cheap buck converters aren't rated for this (and I don't believe in exceeding the max rating on power electronics).  So this is a great unit for my office - and a great unit in general.

On top of that, it's got serial ports!  This unit has a TTL serial port, a RS232 serial port, and a RS485 serial port!  You can entirely control the unit over serial, which is exciting - and, until next week, entirely undocumented (at least in English).

So, how do you use this thing, and how accurate is it?  Keep reading!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Deck Boxes and Deer Mice: Strengthening a Deck Box

One of my goals with this blog is to also cover things I've done that didn't work.  It's common in blogs to talk about a build, and leave it at "I expect this to work well!" - but it's fairly rare to find someone saying, "Nope.  That was a terrible idea, and I've reworked it."

Well, my storage deck box, the way I had it set up, was a terrible idea.  Mostly because, with the bike wheels leaning against the rear wall, it eventually racked over enough to open some gaps at the bottom.  What's the problem with gaps at the bottom?  Deer mice.  This cute little guy.  And his entire family extended family.  It's an awful year for them out here, and we're finding them in absolutely everything.  Including my deck box.

I don't mind them finding shelter, but I'd rather they not find shelter in my deck box, because they leave droppings all over everything, shred cardboard/plastic for nesting material, and chew on wires.  They didn't do much damage, but... still.  Not OK.  So I fixed the glitch - and improved a deck box in the process!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The ATORCH "Purple Fan" MOSFET Destroyer and "150W" Load Bank

At this point, having read the title, you can probably guess my overall opinion on this little work of art...

Following up my previous review of some 150W load banks, I've got another load bank on my bench for analysis.  This one is alternately sold as a 150W discharge tester, a 185W discharge tester, and probably other stuff I haven't found.  It has a purple fan, a high resolution LCD, and two knobs on the right, plus a boatload of USB ports for input.

And it's a steaming turd of a unit you should never purchase.  However, I did manage to get most of a review in (and a lot of MOSFET replacement practice).  It does work, for limited values of work, so come see what I found!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

New kid, and on birth centers

Some of you may wonder about the lack of a post last Saturday, and if it indicated something like a new kid being delivered.  Wonder no more!

Rowan Elijah.  Born Saturday, June 16, at a massive 9 lb, 2oz.  Or 4.14kg, if you prefer!

At a birth center.  A what?  Keep reading!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Tale of Two $30 Load Banks: 60V, 150W, one awesome, one junk

It's rare to find something this interesting in the Chinese Electronics realm.

What I have here are two different units - that look identical at first glance!  And, actually, they look identical until you really dig in and stare at details.  But one is really, really good, and one is so comically bad that it probably won't last an hour in actual use before blowing up.

How do you tell them apart?  Is the good one any good?  Read on to find out!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Building the "Ultimate Compost Bin"

I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I didn't have a good compost bin for my property up until fairly recently.  I built a barrel composter some time ago, and... well, it doesn't work for what we're doing.  I can't feed it bulk material, and it doesn't do a good job with our kitchen waste either.

So I built something better.

This is, according to Organic Life, the "Ultimate Compost Bin."  Why would you build anything less?