Design Con 2015
Breaking News
Comments
Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Ah, Breakout boxes
MeasurementBlues   1/4/2014 11:39:16 PM
NO RATINGS
You can also use a dead iPhone charger for a USB socket.



AZskibum
User Rank
CEO
Re: Ah, Breakout boxes
AZskibum   12/28/2013 4:04:21 PM
NO RATINGS
Good point, they are still useful for checking DC levels and basic presence of signals. For real signal measurements though, the box full of wires & connectors is a relic of the past.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Ah, Breakout boxes
David Ashton   12/27/2013 3:05:00 AM
NO RATINGS
@MB - if you need USB sockets, just buy a USB extension cable, that's got a plug and a socket on it.   If you need a 30-pin apple socket, find someone with a dead I-phone.

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Ah, Breakout boxes
MeasurementBlues   12/26/2013 5:02:18 PM
NO RATINGS
@Bill,


What I really needed were the receptacles for the USB cables. I could really use a breakoput box for Apple 30-pin connectors and cables. I know there are some commercially available.

Bill_Jaffa
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Ah, Breakout boxes
Bill_Jaffa   12/26/2013 4:54:52 PM
NO RATINGS
I improvised a USB breakout box from several USB cables that I had and didn't need any more. I soldered the wires to a small piece of PC board, with bare wires going across a small gap (and they can be opened, if needed). It allows me to check basic DC levels and presence of signals--but nothing else. But, hey, many times it is these basics which are causing problems, so it's a quick-start to check and verify.

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Ah, Breakout boxes
MeasurementBlues   12/26/2013 4:36:47 PM
NO RATINGS
@David, there have been times I could have used a USB breakout board to check the power wires when a mobile device didn't appear to be charging. I would have liked to check the charge current.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
Ah, Breakout boxes
David Ashton   12/26/2013 2:26:03 PM
NO RATINGS
I own a couple of RS232 Breakout Boxes exactly like the one above, and have made myself a couple over the years as well (mostly dedicated to 9-pin).  I once used to look after terminal controllers with 8 RS232 interfaces, and built some special test gear for them, that story is here (and above, How to have fun with Klunky old terminals) if you have not read it before.

I still have a fair bit of serial-interfaced gear to test, and use breakout boxes from time to time.  Younger colleagues are often amazed when I hook one up to an obstinately dead bit of equipment and say "Well, your RTS line is dead!"

I must admit that USB is fairly reliable and has removed the need for fiddling around with wires to get the right cable configuration, but sometimes it is difficult to know what is wrong if it does not work.  

For buses like I2C and SPI you can use oscillloscopes to troubleshoot now, I guess that would be the nearest equivalent.  It's not so much signal integrity that has made these devices obsolete, it's the speed of the interfaces we use now, and the fact that their physical simplicity (small number of wires) means that most problems will be at the protocol or software level.

tom-ii
User Rank
Blogger
Not dead, yet
tom-ii   12/25/2013 6:52:09 PM
NO RATINGS
Breakout boxes still appear here & there.   These days, though, they're pretty much no longer just passive, but have internal signal conditioning so the measurement devices don't load the line.  In fact, they often times redrive the lines.



Top Comments of the Week
Flash Poll
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
<b><a href=Betajet">

The Circle – The Future's Imperfect in the Present Tense
Betajet
3 comments
The Circle, a satirical, dystopian novel published in 2013 by San Francisco-based writer Dave Eggers, is about a large, very powerful technology company that combines aspects of Google, ...

Max Maxfield

Recommended Reads From the Engineer's Bookshelf
Max Maxfield
6 comments
I'm not sure if I read more than most folks or not, but I do I know that I spend quite a lot of time reading. I hate to be idle, so I always have a book or two somewhere about my person -- ...

Martin Rowe

No 2014 Punkin Chunkin, What Will You Do?
Martin Rowe
2 comments
American Thanksgiving is next week, and while some people watch (American) football all day, the real competition on TV has become Punkin Chunkin. But there will be no Punkin Chunkin on TV ...

Rich Quinnell

Making the Grade in Industrial Design
Rich Quinnell
16 comments
As every developer knows, there are the paper specifications for a product design, and then there are the real requirements. The paper specs are dry, bland, and rigidly numeric, making ...

Special Video Section
The LT8640 is a 42V, 5A synchronous step-down regulator ...
The LTC2000 high-speed DAC has low noise and excellent ...
How do you protect the load and ensure output continues to ...
General-purpose DACs have applications in instrumentation, ...
Linear Technology demonstrates its latest measurement ...
10:29
Demos from Maxim Integrated at Electronica 2014 show ...
Bosch CEO Stefan Finkbeiner shows off latest combo and ...
STMicroelectronics demoed this simple gesture control ...
Keysight shows you what signals lurk in real-time at 510MHz ...
TE Connectivity's clear-plastic, full-size model car shows ...
Why culture makes Linear Tech a winner.
Recently formed Architects of Modern Power consortium ...
Specially modified Corvette C7 Stingray responds to ex Indy ...
Avago’s ACPL-K30T is the first solid-state driver qualified ...
NXP launches its line of multi-gate, multifunction, ...
Doug Bailey, VP of marketing at Power Integrations, gives a ...
See how to ease software bring-up with DesignWare IP ...
DesignWare IP Prototyping Kits enable fast software ...
This video explores the LT3086, a new member of our LDO+ ...
In today’s modern electronic systems, the need for power ...