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

The Electronics Blog

All my posts on electronics, radio, microcontrollers, computers and all the things electrons are attracted to. I must be an electron. . . .’cuz I’m attracted to all those too!

Catching up on Electronics

Posted by on May 4, 2011 in 'Duino, Blog, Electronics | Comments Off on Catching up on Electronics

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

And many many more not only on Arduino. but also electronics in general.

Make: Electronics
Electronic Circuits
t r o n i x s t u f f
Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange

Wow, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!



Posted by on Apr 13, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off on Retro


I went to the local big-box hardware store to get a new doorbell chime. I found one that was made by Heath/Zenith. When I saw that, it brought back a lot of memories about kit building in my first 20 years of life. While I was growing up, I built many Heathkits, from ham radios to test equipment to a computer based on the Z80 processor and running CPM.

So when I got home I googled Heathkit and found this website which brought back a lot of memories:

Now I find out that they are going to get back into the DIY kit-building business.  It will be interesting to see what kind of kits they come up with. More info. . .

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Posted by on Apr 11, 2011 in Blog, Projects | Comments Off on Rewiring


Spent the last several weeks rewiring parts of my 80-year-old house. It all started with me trying to get the front doorbell working. I had to change the transformer, rewire the back doorbell, and add a new AC line. In the process I thought I would add/split some existing lines.

My office is on the second floor. There I have several PCs and a server, RoadRunner modem for Internet and a wireless router. When this particular room was rewired, who knows when, at least they put in plugs with a ground. Unfortunately, they probably didn’t have an inclination that someone would someday fill the room with electrical/electronic devices. When a space heater was on, it would trip the breaker and several battery backups would start singing!

Well I ran some new lines to the office to split the computes and servers from the “standard” lines with TV, air conditioner, refrigerator and plugs and lights. Worked perfectly and no more tripping circuit breaker. I also added 2 RJ-45 cables to make a “hard” connection on my workbench in the basement…another convenience.

Unfortunately the front doorbell still doesn’t work…not because of the wiring, but because I can’t get a new line up to the front door. I thought I would use the old wire to pull the new wire…but no! I pulled and pulled, and the old wire snapped somewhere inside the wall. Looks like they buried the original bell wire into the front porch concrete slab.

So I took down the bell wire and transformer, plugged both holes at the front and back door and bought a wireless doorbell. Oh well, that’s progress.