The lump on the right is frass, not a mini-me tagging along behind.
We had no clue what it might be when it grew up, but Google Lens suggested a Striped Hairstreak Butterfly caterpillar and, later that day (and for the first time ever!), we saw an adult Hairstreak fluttering on a goldenrod in the corner of the garden.
That’s a genuine JYETech DSO150 powered by an 18650 lithium cell and a boost converter set to 9 V. Make sure you get a genuine DSO150 from an authorized seller, rather than one of the myriad knockoffs; it doesn’t cost much more and tends to reward the right folks.
Anyhow, battery power means you can connect it directly across components to measure what would otherwise be a differential voltage:
That’s the voltage across R1, the 39 Ω LED ballast resistor in the discrete LM3909 circuit running from a 1.5 V supply. Divide the 314 mV peak by 39 Ω to get 8 mA of LED current.
The voltage across C1, the timing and boost capacitor, looks like this:
So the cap adds half a volt to the supply in order to put 2.0 V across the LED, which accounts for the relatively low current; the green LED has a forward drop of about 2.2 V at 20 mA and 1.9 V at µA-level current.
For completeness, the voltage across the LED:
So, yup, the LED really does see 2.0 V. I love it when the numbers work out.
Crank the supply to 3 V and see this across R1:
The LED current is now 1.23 V / 39 Ω = 33 mA.
The capacitor just barely enters reverse charge:
Pop quiz: what voltage to you expect to see across the LED?
I’ll leave further investigation to your imagination, but for low-frequency analog work, you can do worse than a DSO150.
Even linearized, the inchworm was barely 20 mm long; it’s the thought that counts.
The stamens mature in concentric rings, each stamen topped by a pollen grain. Apparently, those grains are just about the most wonderful food ever, as the inchworm made its way around the ring eating each grain in succession:
LTSpice includes a bunch of LEDs I’ll never own, so finding a tabulation of their forward voltages helped match them against various LEDs on hand. The table was sorted by the forward voltage at the diode’s rated average current, which wasn’t helpful for my simple needs, so I re-sorted it on the Vf @ If = 20 mA column over on the right:
Starting with a box of cheap LEDs from halfway around the planet:
Measuring the forward voltages didn’t take much effort:
The top array fed the LEDs from a bench power supply through a 470 Ω resistor, with the voltage adjusted to make the current come out right. The bottom array came from the Siglent SDM3045 multimeter’s diode test function, which goes up to 4 V while applying about 400 µA to the diode (the 20 µA header is wrong).
These numbers come into play when blinking an LED from a battery, because a battery voltage much below the Vf value won’t produce much light. It’s a happy coincidence that a single lithium cell can light a white or blue LED …
Just before Tropical Storm Isaias rolled through, my hygrometer reached a new high:
The National Weather Service reported 99% at the airport a few miles away, so the meter’s calibration seems about right.
Shortly thereafter, the humidity dropped to the mid-70s as the wind picked up and, over the next few hours, falling branches took out vast swaths of Central Hudson’s electrical infrastructure. My little generator saved our refrigerator & freezer during 15 hours of outage; three days later, thousands of folks around us still have no power.
A confluence of other events, none nearly so dramatic, will throttle my posting over the next two weeks.