CircuitStudio vs. Altium Designer

logoI signed up for an Altium CircuitStudio trial in the interests of seeing if I can live with it instead of Altium Designer for personal projects. I’ve been using Altium Designer (AD) at work for a number of years now and love its ease of use, simple workflows, and extremely good schematic-PCB integration.

A little background – Altium now offers three tiers of their eCAD software:

  • Altium Designer – this is their flagship product, targetted at professional users, and runs around $5-10k per license.
  • Circuit Studio – this is targetted at professionals, and in theory is just a somewhat simplified Altium Designer, and is about half the cost of AD.
  • Circuit Maker – this is their bottom-end software oriented to the burgeoning Maker community. It is even simpler than Circuit Studio, and has a free version that automatically open-sources your designs unless you pay to keep them private.

Continue reading “CircuitStudio vs. Altium Designer”

Canon Powershot SX100IS Teardown

Before the teardown

I keep running across more and more stuff that is just begging to be torn apart. It’s like I’m 5 years old all over again, except this time I have screwdrivers instead of just rocks and sticks. Anyway, this time around, I tore down my roommate’s Canon Powershot SX100IS camera. It’s been having some issues with a stuck shutter, so we tried to pull it apart and fix it. Following are the results of that attempt:

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HP Scanjet 4470 Teardown with Pictures

I’m in the process of cleaning out my room in preparation for my move to California at the end of this semester, so I decided to dig into my box of old electronic crap that I’ve been hauling around for a few years. In doing so, I ran across my trusty old Hewlett Packard Scanjet 4470 scanner that I’ve had since middle school. It hasn’t worked for a couple of years due to a bum power supply, but I managed to scrounge up another 12 volt supply and turn it on. It turns out that all these years of hauling it around have caught up with it, and it doesn’t scan very well anymore. I tried several scans with it, and they all came out with rainbow lines across them:

Scan of an IEEE publication I had laying around
Scan of an IEEE publication I had laying around

After reading a few forum posts, I came to the conclusion that the CFL tube used to front-light the media being scanned is on the fritz. Couple this with the fact that HP doesn’t have any drivers that will work with Leopard, and I decided it was time to retire the old scanner to the dumpster. Being a EE, I couldn’t resist tearing it apart first to see its guts, so I thought I’d share the results of that with you, and thus begins… Continue reading “HP Scanjet 4470 Teardown with Pictures”