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Bill Marshall

United Kingdom United Kingdom

Engineer | WGM Consulting

Engineer, PhD, lecturer, freelance technical writer, blogger & tweeter interested in robots, AI, planetary explorers and all things electronic. STEM ambassador. Designed, built and programmed my first microcomputer in 1976. Still learning, still building, still coding today.

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62 Articles published
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

1 week ago

Getting into Digital Signal Processing: Sampling & Aliasing

In the first part of this series, Getting into Digital Signal Processing: A Basic Introduction, I talked about why we might choose digital over analogue signal processing. Now let’s start on the how.

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Development Kits

3 weeks ago

Porting FORTHdsPIC to a MikroElektronika Clicker 2 Board

Stalwarts of DesignSpark may remember my occasional posts on ‘Bare-metal coding’ based on my project to create an embedded version of Forth for the Microchip dsPIC33 DSC device. Here I try it on a Clicker 2 board with the EP version of the chip.

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Development Kits

1 month ago

The SBC: What is it and do I need one?

Every electronics project nowadays seems to need a digital computer at its heart. The ‘Single Board Computer’ (SBC) is frequently offered as the solution. But what is an SBC and is it really the best choice to solve your digital problems?

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Motion Control

1 month ago

Spinning the wheels: Selecting a PMDC motor

My post ‘Spinning the wheels: interfacing PMDC motors to a microcontroller’, covered interface hardware and the use of PWM for speed control. Now let’s look at selecting the right motor for the task in hand.

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

2 months ago

Getting into Digital Signal Processing: A Basic Introduction

The real world is analogue! So why is every machine or instrument around us in the home or at work increasingly described as 'Digital'? To answer this question, we had better establish what we mean by the word: 'Analogue'.

1 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Motion Control

2 months ago

Spinning the wheels: interfacing PMDC motors to a microcontroller

Permanent Magnet DC Motors are cheap, have linear characteristics and are very easy to control using the PWM units built-in to most modern microcontrollers. Interfaces can be as simple as a single transistor depending on the application.

5 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

3 months ago

Build a CubeSat Satellite that actually works, Part 2: Make it Reliable

The first interplanetary CubeSats MarCO-A and MarCO-B (AKA WALL-E and EVE) have just completed their mission to relay telemetry to Earth from NASA’s InSight probe as it lands on Mars. How do you make such low-budget spacecraft reliable enough?

2 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

4 months ago

Build a CubeSat Satellite that actually works, Part 1: Make it Resilient

Many low-cost CubeSat satellites have been built by teams of school and college students since 2003. But Space is a harsh environment and half of them failed to function as intended. What can be done at the design stage to improve the success rate?

2 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

4 months ago

Computer Memory Technology: From Ferrite Rings to FRAM

After magnetic cores came chip memories: Static RAM (SRAM), Dynamic RAM (DRAM) and then Flash. Here come the latest technologies: MRAM, FRAM and more. How do they compare with established technologies?

2 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

5 months ago

Saturn: The Apollo Programme’s Intelligent Rocket

The film ‘First Man’ celebrates the life of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon. But what about that unsung hero, the vehicle that took him there: that engineering marvel, the Saturn V rocket?

5 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Automotive

5 months ago

Powering Electric Vehicles: Fuel-Cells and Big Batteries

The UK government has a manifesto commitment for all cars and vans on the roads to have zero emissions by 2050. So, unless ‘wireless power’ can be developed quickly, cars will need electric motors with batteries or fuel cells for energy storage.

12 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Robotics

6 months ago

Give your Robot the Mobility Control of a real Mars Rover: Part 4

Wheeled robots take many forms: 2-, 3-, 4-, 6- or 8-wheels, with and without suspension. The type of terrain the robot will move over largely determines the choice: a nice, smooth warehouse floor or a rough, unpredictable Martian surface?

2 comments