Decoding a component datasheet

Decoding a component datasheet

People are always asking me if you can really tell that much from a component datasheet (if you’re not an electrical engineer). Greg Lipscomb shows how to figure out what a chip can do by reasoning through a datasheet’s pin-out diagram and schematics. Here he uses the datasheet for the Maxim Max756 DC/DC step-up converter chip found in Ladyada’s Minty Boost portable USB charger.

DIY DCDC Stepup with Max756 – Link
3.3V/5V Adjustable-Output, Step-Up DC-DC Converters Datasheet (PDF) – Link


  • Minty Boost kit – Link
  • DIY LED Flashlight – Link
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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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