Kirchhoff’s Circuit Laws

In one of my first circuits courses, the professor’s favorite words of advice were to “keep calm and remember KCL, KVL, and Ohm’s law.” With these three concepts, just about any electrical circuit can be analyzed and understood. Granted, things get a little more complicated when you add concepts like inductance and capacitance, but KCL, KVL, and Ohm’s law form the foundation of all circuit analysis. Brandon mentioned Ohm’s law in his blog post on how to choose a resistor for your design, so I will only be discussing KCL and KVL.

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Power Supplies and chipKIT– What Should I Be Looking for?

When using a microcontroller or FPGA, or any electronic component for that matter, you will need access to a source of power. However, when you check out our numerous microcontroller and FPGA projects on our Learn site and Instructables, you’ll notice that most of them use our programming USB cable connected to our computer as a source of power. But what if we wanted to use our chipKIT project somewhere else besides next to the computer? Can we use any source of power? Let’s find out.

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Pulse-Width Modulation

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is a technique that takes advantage an electronic device’s capability to rapidly “pulse” one of its digital pins between logic high and logic low voltage states. The idea is that the switching between the two voltage states in a desired pattern will produce an “average” voltage somewhere between the high and low voltage inputs. If, within a given period, the pin is at a high voltage level more often than a low one, an overall higher voltage (but less than the full strength input voltage) will be observed.

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