About baldengineer.com

Hi there, my name is James!  For a long time I used “cmiyc.com” for my blog and personal brand.  It all started back when I was a kid and used BBSes running at the blazing speed of 2400 baud.   I tried starting my own board, but didn’t have a dedicated phone line.  So, I called it “Catch Me If You Can” and adopted “CMiYC” as my handle.

The name “baldengineer” should be obvious I hope!

What Can You Find Here?

Electronics has been a passion since I was 12 years old.  Until I went to college, I taught myself.  I even made a small business out of modifying TI-85 calculators and selling TI-LInk to Parallel Port adapters.  As my career has grown, so have I.  Now I find that I like to teach.  So I combine my two passions:  Electronics and Teaching.  The best example is here, a new TutorialCast I created called “AddOhms.”

Top 10 Posts

So far, readers tend to come to my blog for the following 10 posts:

  1. Arduino: Multitasking with millis()
  2. Arduino Board Comparison Chart
  3. Project:  MSGEQ7 Simple Spectrum Analyzer
  4. Arduino: How do you reset millis()?  (Hint, you don’t.)
  5. Arduino:  Using the Internal Pull-Ups
  6. Arduino:  Sending and Receiving Multi-Digit Integers (Like 100, or 1040)
  7. Arduino:  millis() example:  Police Lights
  8. Project:  Reflow Toaster Oven
  9. EAGLE:  Ground Plane (Polygon) Fills
  10. Learning:  The Basics of LEDs

Other Projects

There’s been a couple of other projects I have worked on in the past.

UnitiBlue – Blackchopper

This was the first business I tried with a friend.  We had an awesome product, but didn’t really know what to do with it.  We created a universal USB adapter called “UnitiBlue.”  You connected various adapter cables to it, which provided the means to connect old-school video controllers.  The UnitiBlue emulated an USB Keyboard so that you could use NES, SNES, Genesis, and even TurboGrafix 16 controllers with emulators.

I still have a couple of units, but no longer the firmware.  Since these were based on the Cypress EZ-USB 8051 chips, all of the firmware was built into the PC’s driver.  Each time you connected the device, the firmware was downloaded and run.  Sadly, we don’t have the firmware anymore.

MacCaching – Geocaching for the Mac

When I first got into Geocaching, there was an appalling lack of support for the Mac platform.  (At the time, my PPC-G5 iMac was “the beast” machine.)  So I created a software that managed Geocaches like iTunes managed songs.  My creativity was at a max because I called it:  MacCaching.  Unfortunately, I hit a point where I lost the source code due to a failed hard drive.  I haven’t had a chance to go back and recreate it from scratch.  (Also, I have since started using multiple back up services.)

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45 thoughts on “About baldengineer.com

  1. James,
    I just wanted to thank you for your efforts especially with the Apple II GS. I have several rom1 machines and a rom 3. My thoughts have been turning lately as to what can be done to bring these machines into the modern world with things like USB, Ethernet, Wireless, SSD, and many other modern features supported directly on the motherboard. Inaddition what can bring sound and graphics into the age of at least 720 DPI HDMI and get rid of the slow speed processor speed that Jobs used to cripple this machine. Many people have designed and built devices to carry these things out but would be so nice to see some native capability.

  2. Hi James
    I want to give a heads up on a DMM with a very good price/value-ratio 30 Euros
    in addition to the standard U,I,R measuring true RMS, frequency, duty-cycle, diodes, capacity, temperature, NCV,
    bluetooth which enables slow-speed monitoring of values and a little flashlight

    It is from a german company. I don’t know how much shipping-cost it will be to other countries

    best regards Stefan

  3. Hey James,

    Found you in my search for Penguin Bot code. Just built a bot with my son and just having fun with the provided code.

    Do you know of any online sources that provide other code projects to upload to the bot?

    Please share if you do.

    • Hi Tom, I’m glad you and your son enjoyed the Penguin Bot. I thought it was a very cute and well designed robot. Unfortuantely, I am not aware of any other code for it. I hope you can find something to keep interest in it.

  4. Hi James,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience here. It really is very helpful!

    I am struggling to find a solution to power an electronic device whose power mains and USB interface apparently fried but 6xAA battery bay still works fine. Manufacturer tells me fixing it would require new main board which would exceed the current street value of the device…

    I can’t find any DIY evidence for converting the 6xAA bay into a USB power supply. (USB plugged into powered USB hub -> DIY converter connected to 6xAA serial battery bay). Would such a conversion be possible?

    Any help on this one would be hugely appreciated 🙂

    Kind regards,

  5. HI James,
    Thanks for making and sharing all these wonderful videos. They have really been instrumental in taking my learning and understanding to a new level.

    I do have a question for you. Despite a lot of Googling, I am struggling to find sites that can help me understand the math behind circuit designs, specifically the power needs. I am not referring to Ohms law but how to manage power like you might with a Buck step down. Obviously that is the easy way but I want to understand what is happening. As an example. I recently decided to build a power supply for some Halloween decorations. The box would have 5 ports, each providing 4.5v DC at max 1A. But I am struggling to find places to understand how much power do I need on the input to supply each port? Will too much overheat the circuit? How do you calculate the power in and manage the circuit, heat dissipation, etc.

    I hope that all makes sense. Any pointers to good sources of information in these concepts would be most welcome.



    • The box would have 5 ports, each providing 4.5v DC at max 1A. But I am struggling to find places to understand how much power do I need on the input to supply each port?

      If you have 5 ports that output 4.5 volts with up to 1 amp, that means the total output power is 5 x 4.5 x 1 = 22.5 watts. So your input supply needs to be at least 22.5 watts, assuming you use switching converters for the individual outputs.

      The closest thing I can think to recommend is a tutorials on basics like Kirchhoff’s law.

  6. Hi James,

    a please to meet you in Munich.

    I’m digging more and more into KiCAD ( I switched from eagle as they changed their license policy).

    I would stimulate two aspects

    1) get into Simulation in KiCAD 5 ( install and run a simple schematic)

    2) how to get, install and run external autorouters in KiCAD


  7. Hello James. I’m wondering why you banned my IP today after I posted a few comments on an earlier article? Nothing I wrote was abusive or inflammatory, and I was attempting to share some of my nearly 35 years of C/C++ programming experience. If I broke some rule for commenting on your blog I apologize but I would appreciate knowing what I did wrong. I won’t post after this if you don’t want me to.


  8. What is your advice on the use of different ‘flavours’ of MQTT client libraries and brokers? My RPi Python PAHO broker wont connect to an ESP8266-12 running the PubSubClient library in Arduino, due to the ClientID arguement passed to the client’s connect function not being acceptable (rc = -2 error). I’ve seen examples where randomized clientID’s are used, and some that leave it up to the programmer to think up an appropriate name based on the publish/subscribe micro-controller being used.

  9. Hello James,

    Thank you for the great tutorials, especially millis() and mqtt, they are awesome! I was just reading another blog by Phil Bowles where he favors using Ticker over using Millis. So far i’ve I’ve been using millis extensively after working through your tutorial and am curious about your thoughts of millis vs using ticker?

    Again, thanks for you you do!