Category Archive: Electronics

Nov 20 2015

Re-creating a Byte Magazine Cover as a Photograph

The cover of the July 1977 issue of Byte magazine showed a train chugging around a printed circuit board (PCB). When I started making PCBs as part of my electronics hobby, I got the idea of re-creating this image as a photograph of a real circuit board with a model train on it. This was a challenging …

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Oct 27 2015

A Kindle Weather Display, the Easy Way

I’m not the first person to turn a Kindle e-reader into a weather display, but I believe I’ve found an easier way to do it.

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Oct 18 2015

A Bicycle Inclinometer and Altimeter

It was so easy to add a inclinometer to my bike using off-the-shelf hardware that I’m almost embarrassed to post about it here.

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Jan 14 2015

Blueprintf – A Bluetooth Serial Monitor

One way of debugging microcontroller-based projects is to send messages out the UART serial port. Then, a UART-to-USB interface can feed the messages into your PC for display. But I wanted a small, portable device for viewing serial data without a PC, and I wanted it to use my cell phone or tablet for its …

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Nov 07 2014

Triple-Sensor Mailbox Alert

I built a triple-sensor mailbox alert to tell me when there is mail in my mailbox for me.

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Nov 01 2014

Punch Card Printing Plate Pencil Holder

40 years ago, everyone hated “IBM cards”. I remember folding, spindling, and mutilating them out of spite. Now, they’re an object of nostalgia. When I got my hands on one of the actual printing plates that was used to print the cards, I had to treat it with the respect and dignity it deserved. So …

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Oct 08 2014

MultiSIM BLUE Review

  I was excited when I saw that Mouser was coming out with an apparently unlimited PCB CAD program. I’m not excited anymore. Check out my review at my other site, PCBShopper.

Apr 03 2014

Finding the Cheapest PCB Manufacturer

I’ve built a website,, that lets you quickly and easily compare prices from several different printed circuit board manufacturers.

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Nov 24 2013

Hacking a Heating Pad

My wife and I have a heating pad on our bed. In the winter, we turn it on an hour before we go to bed. When we get into bed, we leave it on until we warm up. But if we fall asleep before we turn it down, we’ll wake up a couple of hours …

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Nov 06 2013

Heathkit Hack #3: Improving the ET-3300 Breadboard

I use a Heathkit ET-3300 powered breadboard for my prototyping. But setting it up has always been a chore in itself. I need to run wires from the power supplies to the power buses, which is messy (though admittedly not nearly as messy as the rest of the circuit will be) and often add voltage …

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