Archive for category: Blog

Open Vapors (Reflow Oven) Controller Update

 

The Open Vapors project has taken some big steps forward recently.  The controller’s enclosure is now a custom box, has a front panel, and the LCD’s menu system is almost done.

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Behind the scenes of AddOhms #11 (MOSFETs)

The 1th AddOhms Video is live and the subject is What is a MOSFET, and how to use them. This turned out to be the longest video I’ve made so far. In fact, I probably should have broken off the power dissipation part, but felt it needed to be addressed. I think many non-engineers look at a MOSFET (or regulator) datasheet and see a huge power value or current rating, but not realize you need a heatsink to achieve them.

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Hands On: National Instrument’s VirtualBench

Modern smartphones have eliminated the need for a number of devices.  Often I use my smartphone as a scanner (CamScanner), car GPS, voice recorder, security token, pedometer, light controller, and oh yeah, a phone.   My electronics bench is currently home to a Bench Power Supply, an Oscilloscope, and a Function Generator.  While good instruments, they should worried because they’re going to get replaced with one device: National Instrument’s VirtualBench.

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First Impressions of Electron, a new Node.js IDE for Arduino

The Arduino IDE is great in that with a single download on any PC platform, new users can start writing code and see immediate results.   The same simplicity though, limits some of the more “advanced” features found in modern editors.  Also one of the IDE’s greatest strengths is cross-platform through Java.  This is also one of its weaknesses.  Java is outdated and it’s time to move on.

There’s a slew of other Arduino development environments out there, but most of them are limited to 1 or 2 platforms.  Electron is a novel idea because it is based on Node.js, meaning it runs in Google’s Chrome.

The initial implementation even includes a Serial monitor!

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6 Simple Mistakes Electronics Beginners Make

Sometimes the hardest lessons are the ones you have to learn multiple times.  When getting started with Electronics circuits, there’s a handful of things that can ruin a day (or experiment.)  Here are 6 mistakes I made when I got started, and mistakes I see in the beginner classes I teach. Read more

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Please take my 2014 Reader Survey

I want to make my blog a better for your interests. That means, I need to know about YOU!

Would you please take a few minutes and answer a few questions? By doing so, you’ll actually be helping yourself. How? Because I’ll be able to make better content and more posts that are relevant to you.
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Are you an engineer?

One of the recent changes in pop-culture is that “nerds are cool.”  Most people who claim to be a nerd like to wear 1950s (non-corrective) glasses and download Apps on their iPhone.  Some go farther and say they’re engineers.  Here’s how you can sort out the posers.

The original author for this test is unknown.  A quick Google search comes up with a number of duplicates, but no one claiming to be the author.  So, republished with my own comments (and slight edits) is, the “Engineer Identification Test.”

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“Post your code” to the style of “Let it Be”


A friendly reminder video to everyone asking for help in a programming forum.

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Well formatted Arduino code in one click

Warning, the title of this post is a little bit misleading. It isn’t just one-click to get cleanly formatted code, it’s actually two.

There are two things seasoned programmers will tell new programmers, that they don’t understand (at first):

  1. Always comment your code
  2. Properly indent code

The problem?  As a new programmer, you might not know how to do #2 until you get some experience.

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Review: The Art of Electronics [Book]

Title:  The Art of Electronics by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill.

 

Most electronics books are written by engineers, for engineers.  It is difficult to find an extremely comprehensive book which covers most Electronics subjects that is written in plain english.

This is that book.

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