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Design, build, hack....zap and repeat!

SMD Breadboarding

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 | Comments Off on SMD Breadboarding

So I watched Dave Jones’ EEVblog #555 video – 555Timer Kit where he puts together a kit of resistors, NPN and PNP transistors that recreates the famous 555 Timer integrated circuit in a large scale. It was interesting and nostalgic because everyone starting in electronics plays with a 555. So I figured I might go down to the bench, look up a circuit and try something new. . . .especially since I’ve got some new test equipment to play with, explore and learn the circuits in a new light. So I got the breadboard out and went looking for a 555 or 556 laying around in the parts drawers. Well I did find some but they were all SMD. . . .which don’t quite fit into the breadboard. Luckily, I also found a little pouch from Schmartboard which included a SOIC to...

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Test Lead Snarl

Posted on Jan 15, 2014 | Comments Off on Test Lead Snarl

So I was putting together all the test equipment on the bench. Each piece of gear came with their own set of test leads. It wasn’t long before they began getting all snarled up. . .the BNC leads with the banana plug leads with the alligator clip leads with the adapters. Rather than wait and spend 20 bucks for a test lead holder, I dug through all my pegboard tool holders and come up with a good one. Since many of the leads were over 6 feet long, (2 to 3 meters for those outside the US) I needed to put the holders up a ways so they could hang straight. I decided to clamp a small piece of pegboard at ceiling height about 8 feet and use a few tool holders I had lying around. They’re cheap at...

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New Tech Toys Pt.2

Posted on Jan 5, 2014 | Comments Off on New Tech Toys Pt.2

On to the workbench! The holidays brought an abundance of technology which I started to describe in Part 1: Overcome with technology.  Now I’m headed down to the workbench. Since I work on mobile and desktop radios, transceivers and associated equipment, many of which use 12 – 15VDC, I got a power supply dedicated to that voltage and amperage range. And since much of that equipment just plugs into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter, I chose an MFJ-4245MV which just happens to have a cigarette lighter jack built right in! While testing the transmit side of these radios, you somtimes need to measure the output power. So I got a dummy  load / wattmeter to measure the wattage while transmitting into a 50 ohm “antenna” without going out on the air. I chose the MFJ-267 since it could handle up to...

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A Fun Project: TV-B-Gone

Posted on Jul 24, 2013 | Comments Off on A Fun Project: TV-B-Gone

OK, so I had a pretty full junk box with bits and pieces, and a sorta full parts bin, when I came across TV-B-Gone. It’s a small kit that gives you soldering practice and gets you familiar with electronic circuitry. Since I had all the parts except for the circuit board and microcontroller, that’s all I ordered.  It took longer to gather all the parts than it took to solder it all together! Over at Adafruit, they offer a complete kit with board and all parts you’ll need. But, if you really don’t want to mess with learning how to solder, jump over to Amazon and get a TV-B-Gone Universal TV Power Remote Control Keychain for about the same cost. Now the fun part is going to your favorite (or not-so-favorite) TV retailer and browsing around the  wall of 3 to 4...

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Ideas for an Arduino Project

Posted on May 10, 2013 | Comments Off on Ideas for an Arduino Project

I’m always looking for something to do with my Arduino. Sure necessity is the mother of invention, but sometimes I just want to build something to learn what is going on inside the circuit and why a certain part is used in a certain place. Discovery and learning, I love that! Here’s some cool stuff going on. Now it’s a matter of deciding which one to explore. It’s always fun to explore. . . even if it does go ZAP! (let’s see now, red positive, black negative?) 11 Arduino projects that require major hacking skills—or a bit of insanity   And even more. . . . There’s an endless supply of ideas, designs, kits and more!   Related articles ArduTester – Arduino Component Tester Using Arduino in Bread Making at Home Book – “Arduino Workshop – A Hands-On Introduction...

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TS930s goes digital

Posted on Nov 11, 2012 | Comments Off on TS930s goes digital

After playing with the TS930 for a week or so, I found that I can not interface to a computer since there was no RS232 or USB interface. I wanted to use a computer based logbook, DXLab,  to keep records of my QSOs and keep track of QSLs. That was not to be. The big problem with the 930 is that it that the radio wasn’t designed for computer control, and lacks any sort of computer port.  That’s what I get for buying a 80’s style rig. . . .I’m re-learning as I go. I found a savior though. PIEXX TS-930SE enhanced microprocessor board, which is  plug-compatible replacement for the original unit in the TS-930. The new board takes advantage of the advances in microprocessor design that have taken place since the TS-930 was designed, first and foremost to do away with the requirement for backup batteries The...

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Catching up on Electronics

Posted on May 4, 2011 | Comments Off on Catching up on Electronics

So I relapsed into electronics, my hobby as a teenager and my course of study in my 20’s. My how things have changed, so I looked for some refreshers. When I first got into electronics it was still a “tube” world. Now it is all solid state. . . unless you want to go “retro.” One thing for sure is that the Internet has put a lot of information at the hands of everybody on any subject. . . including electronics. I brushed up on the subject by simply Googling “electronics blog.” Page after page of sites, videos and information. Lots of sites, lots of info, lots of fun! This whole world of microcontrollers was intriguing. All kinds of projects, books and sites. Arduino Playground Arduino Cookbook Programming Arduino Getting Started with Sketches 30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius...

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