TENMA 72-8155 digital LCR meter Review

by Noel on August 8, 2012

A few weeks ago I got a brand new TENMA 72-8155 digital LCR meter from element14. Aside from a digital multimeter, one of the things you must have is a digital LCR meter.

LCR stands for L (Inductance) C (Capacitance) R (resistance). A typical cheap multimeter can measure voltages, current, resistance, continuity. Some of the better ones includes a capacitance meter but not inductance.

The Tenma 72-8155 is quite inexpensive at around $56 at Newark about PHP3,300+ at element14 Philippines.

Resistance Test

I have a Hioki LCR meter (LCR HiTESTER 3522-50) and a Fluke 187 multimeter so I’ve tried doing a resistance test and measure a 100 ohm (1% tolerance) resistor across all 3 meters and see how it goes.

Tenma 72-8155

Spot on.



Capacitance Test


Tenma Reading: 41nF


Fluke Reading: 44.1nF


Hioki Reading: 42.9nF

For general purpose capacitance reading, I think Tenma performed well.



Tenma Reading: 164uH


Hioki Reading: 160.9uH

All in all, it’s not bad at all. To give you a financial perspective, a brand new Hioki LCR costs about $3000. For just $56, I would recommend hobbyists like me to get hold of the Tenma 72-8155 digital LCR.

Apart from the LCR readings, it can also do diode test, continuity, and transistor HFE tests.

Where to buy:

US – NewArk
Philippines – element14


Using AVR Dragon To Program AVR Chips

by Noel on March 6, 2012

In an earlier post, I wrote about AVR programming using Mac OSX. The last part in that procedure was the compiling of the C code to a HEX file.

Now how do you get the HEX file and upload it to your AVR microprocessor? You will need some sort of a programmer to do that.

Today I’m using one of the top choices for programming AVR chips, and that is the AVR Dragon. Thanks to Element14 for sending an AVR dragon for review.

What I like about the AVR dragon is that you can program your AVR microprocessor using several methods such as JTAG, HVP, PDI, or ICSP. It also allows debugging of all AVRs via JTAG, PDI, or DebugWire. Pretty impressive indeed.

In this article, I would try and discuss more about ICSP programming. ICSP stands for in-circuit serial programming. This means even if your AVR is already soldered on your board, as long as you’ve provided an ICSP connector for programming, you can upload your HEX files to your AVR chip.

How you do “wire” an ICSP connector, here’s a diagram I found from upvector.com

photo credit: upvector.com

Once you get your AVR dragon, there will be provisions for putting in some IC sockets where you can plug-in and program your AVR chips. In my case, I added a ZIF socket so I can put in my AVRs with ease. There are also provisions for male or female headers. I just used male headers instead.

Before actually burning your HEX files, here’s where a lot of newbies like me made a mistake. Unlike PIC where perhaps you use a pickit2 for programming, you need to provide power to your AVR chip in order for you to successfully program your AVR microcontroller. In PIC, you don’t have to. The power is provided by pickit.

Now of to the actual burning of your HEX files. You will need AVRdude to do this. You can invoke AVRdude via the command line and just pass on certain parameters like the hex file you wanted to “burn”.

In my example, here’s what I used.

avrdude -p m328p -c dragon_isp -P usb -e -U flash:w:Blink.cpp.hex

Now let’s discuss a bit about those parameters passed on to avrdude.

-c This parameter is where you specify the programmer you will use. In our case we’ll be using “dragon_isp”.

-p means the part number/code of your AVR processor. In my case I’m using m328p as I’m using Atmega328P.

To list the available part “codes”. You can type this at the command line.

avrdude -c dragon_isp

and it will show a list of AVR chips and the corresponding code for that.

-P usb tells avr dude to look for our AVR programmer in one of the USB ports.

-e is for performing chip erase

-U is for specifying the memory type, and the filename. The syntax is this

-U :r|w|v:[:format]

So here’s the screenshot of me burning the arduino bootloader to my Atmega328P chip using AVR dragon.

Here’s a photo of the setup

I’ve created a rig where I can easily burn bootloaders on Atmega328 chips. There’s an ISP connector and I have a 6pin cable connector to connect my rig to my AVR dragon.

Products Used:

AVR Dragon USA (via newark) – $49

AVR Dragon (Element14 Philippines) – PHP3,350


Code Sourcery Installation In Ubuntu

February 23, 2012

1. Go to Code Sourcery and download the lite version (FREE) https://sourcery.mentor.com/sgpp/lite/arm/portal/subscription?@template=lite 2. Select ARM Processor 3. Choose Which Installer you need I’ll choose the Linux installer 4. Run the installer You may need to change the permission of the file and make it executable. In my Ubuntu, my /bin/sh is symbolically linked to dash. […]

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Programming Gizduino on a Mac OS X

February 22, 2012

I just got a macbook pro and I would want to try and do arduino programming on this machine. For now, I’ll zoom in and discuss more about Gizduino (an arduino clone). One thing quite different is that this doesn’t use an FTDI chip. It uses another chip called PL2303 (Prolific). So in order for […]

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AVR Programming Using Mac OS X

February 15, 2012

Go to http://www.obdev.at/products/crosspack/download.html and download CrossPack for AVR development Install the DMG file double click the icon to run the installation Open a Terminal and type “avrdude” in the command line. You should see something like this. Congratulations! You’re now ready for AVR programming. Now let’s try and compile a demo program. Open a terminal […]

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Introduction to TI MSP430 Launchpad

January 2, 2012

A friend of mine (Keith) made a really nice Introduction to the TI MSP430 launchpad. Instead of me making my own, I’ld rather just post his nice Intro. Thanks Keith! What is TI MSP430? “The MSP430 is a mixed-signal microcontroller family from Texas Instruments. Built around a 16-bit CPU, the MSP430 is designed for low […]

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AVR Butterfly Review – A Cheap AVR Dev Board

December 9, 2011

I just got my AVR Butterly from Element14. I’ve heard about AVR butterfly before but I started with AVR programming using Arduino. I guess a lot of people started with arduino because it’s easy to use. A typical arduino is like $30. What’s nice about the AVR butterfly is that it only costs around $20 […]

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Unboxing Of MSP430 Launchpad and AVR Butterfly

December 4, 2011

I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Ryan Gibson of Farnell (note: they’re also knowns as Element14) and was asked if I could do a review of some of their products. I picked 2 items in their inventory. One is the MSP430 launchpad and the other is the AVR Butterly. Here’s a photo of […]

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Quick Start Guide for EFM32 Gecko Starter Kit

December 1, 2011

1. Install Simplicity Studio from (http://www.energymicro.com/downloads/) 2. Its been more than an hour… waiting patiently….(transfer rate is only 25kb/sec). 3. Install IAR 4. Get License. You need to fill up their form and then you’ll receive an email with the license keys. 5. Click setup IAR 6. Installation Finished. Finally! 5. Fire up the IAR […]

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Unboxing the EFM32 Gecko Starter Kit

November 25, 2011

So I got my package from EnergyMicro.com. They’ve sent me an EFM32 Gecko Starter Kit. Honestly, I never heard this one before. I’m aware of ARM processors from Texas Instruments, ST, and a few others. But now I get to play with their Gecko Starter Kit. For those of you who haven’t heard of energy […]

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