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    EEVblog #1054 – How an Analog PC Joystick Works

    How does a PC read an old school analog joystick? It might be more interesting ...

    • Love your vblog, awesome insight that I’m sure took years to attain. Perhaps you can answer one question I have about this latest post. In the through hole suneast solder machine, how the heck does that solder wave not just coat the whole bottom of the board, and instead produce what I assume is nice joints where you want them?

      • That’s easy, it’s all to do with the solder mask. The solder adheres to the tracks and pins, and falls off anything covered with the solder mask. Gravity and surface tension combine to help form a perfect shaped joint every time.

    • David,
      These are great posts, show you have a lot of hard earned experience.
      Would you mind comenting about the BitScope series of oscilloscopes and analyzers?
      I’m about to buy the 2 channel one but just wondering if I could get some feedback from you.

      • Quite a few people have asked about PC based scope reviews, so I’ll have to mention them shortly. My generic response to PC based scopes is – your money is better spent on a “real” scope, like the Rigol I have reviewed. Cheap PC based scopes have many shortcomings.

    • Brian Hoskins

      I agree that *cheap* PC scopes have many shortcomings, but my feeling is that this is a function of them being cheap rather than being PC based. I would have thought (although I must confess that I don’t know) that the high end PC based instruments would give performance comparable with a “real” DSO. After all, modern DSOs are nothing more than a computer with custom software anyway!

      But personally I’d always prefer a real scope. If nothing else, it’s just better to have real knobs for your timebase and other settings. Far more user-friendly to use! I’m a huge fan of the Tektronix 3000 series DSOs. I have a 3032 at home, and it was a huge investment, but you can get them for about

    • Darrin

      RE: pc based scopes

      I have been using an SDS200A for the last 5 years or so. It has some minor limitations, but it’s a big improvement on most of the pc based scopes that are out there. I think I paid $800 for it though. I also wouldn’t mind hearing Dave’s thoughts/opinion of it, either. I’m sure he has a lot more hands on experience than I do.


    • creid

      He’s right pc based scopes really are a complete waste.

      Dedicated scopes really are a lot more than computers in oscilloscope cases. There is a lot of very specialised circuitry that a little overpriced pcscope just doesnt have. Add to that you can just hook up an arduino and measure low voltage/low cycle dc waveforms. Hook up a board with some voltage dividers and you radically increase the voltage range. Hook up a high end ADC chip and you dramatically increase resolution and speed (i keep meaning to try that out and make a pocket pcoscilloscope).

      After all that the old tek434 that cost me $50 including shipping will outperform these pc-oscilloscopes. Sure its not storage but if id spent another 50 i could’ve gotten an old digital scope. Spend what one of these pc scopes cost and you can get a scope that is way beyond the capabilities of we hobbyists and will be for the next decade.

    • bob

      OMG – i see those shit all day long in my company. ^.^
      But our machines are more modern and faster.

    • Lex

      Glad to see through-hole is well supported. I hate designs with SMT where through-hole is needed: user interface (dials, pushbuttons) and I/O (headphone/mic jacks). I’ve even seen USB and SDMI connectors mounted SMT-only; it’s pure idiocy. Pads and solder cannot be used structurally, ever, period. Seems like designers and board producers don’t understand that with properly sized/shaped plated holes, through-hole parts with stubby pins can be tape-fed pick-and-placed just as easily as SMT. So there’s not necessarily a cost penalty for through-hole, as is always claimed by assembly shops.

    • Salva

      Hi Dave, what is the name of the company you visited in shanghai? It makes pcb and also assembly?
      Thank you Salva

    • Richard

      Great insight. Never seen the process before.

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