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{ Category Archives } kit building and hardware hacking

1700’s tech: A piano story

It may not have been crafting nanocircuits on silicon but innovation and craftsmanship have legs in history. Here’s a good story of that: What Does the World Oldest Surviving Piano Sound Like?: Watch Pianist Give a Performance on a 1720 Cristofori Piano. Imagine your favorite works for the piano—the delicate and haunting, the thundering and […]

Computers, microcontrollers, cost points, features

I see Seeed Studio has a special on a Raspberry Pi 7″ Touchscreen Display for $60. Add $40 for the SBC and another $10 for a case and memory and on down the line and you’ve got to wonder about cost effectiveness. You can get a ready to run 7″ tablet for under $50 and […]

Raspberries

Recently, Amazon had a Vilros ultimate Rasperry Pi 3 kit on sale. That was an opportunity. The kit included a Pi SBC, case, power supply, NOOB on a 32 GB card, HDMI cable, heat sinks, and some breakout and prototyping items. I don’t see this SBC as a hardware hacker’s best choice or even an […]

RTL SDR reference

The Hobbyist’s Guide to the RTL-SDR: Really Cheap Software Defined Radio (affiliate link) by Mr. Carl Laufer is a compendium and compilation that makes it a good reference and an eye opener about what you can do with the inexpensive TV dongles based on the RTL2832U for modern short wave listening. One aspect is software […]

Transtronics Wiki

It was a link to the capacitor codes page that got me started on the TransWiki. A look at the sealed lead acid page indicated that the technical expertise was up there, too. There’s a good range of information on  the Wili from paint primers and solvents to KiCad information. The company sells industrial level […]

The microcontroller human interface

Generally, anytime I see a little box with a 2 line by 16 or 20 character display and a few buttons and whatnot, I think microcontroller. An example is the West Mountain Radio Target Tuner designed to assist in tuning mobile screwdriver antennas. Sometimes the display is a small OLED graphical display – I’ve seen Ardutesters […]

Garage door openers

The door got halfway up and then there was an unpleasant sound. A bit of a push got it up far enough to get the car out.  A garage door opener is just an example of the robotics exercises except that is has a long history and runs a motor a bit more potent than […]

PICAXE Clock Exercise: the problem of time

Computerphile on YouTube has a good video on The Problem with Time & Timezones. If you want a clock that will be portable in both time and place, you have a very interesting time keeping problem.

PICAXE clock exercise: backwards compatibility creates confusion for interrupts and touch

Exploring two advanced concepts, interrupts and touch input, highlighted errors and confusion in Revolution’s PICAXE documentation. In both cases, newer mcu’s have added features that provide interesting capability yet Revolution hasn’t done a very good job in updating PICAXE or its documentation. They don’t make it clear what commands are being superceded; they enhance commands […]

In circuit capacitor ESR meter and op amp exercise

QST April 2014 has an article on building an ESR meter. One of the sources with a good explanation of the how and why is by kakopa who has a horrifying story about his denial of entry to the U.S. on a trip to visit an ailing aunt (read and weep for the state of […]