Posts with «electronics» label

Development Boards Galore at Maker Faire Bay Area

If you come to Maker Faire Bay Area 2018, you'll get the chance to learn about and see plenty of different development boards in action.

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Business On The Outside, Electronics Workstation On The Inside

As an electrical engineering student, [Brandon Rice] had the full suite of electronics tools you’d expect. Cramming them all into a dorm room was doable — but cramped — a labour to square everything away from his desk’s top when he had to work on something else. To make it easier on himself, he built himself a portable electronics workstation inside the dimensions of a briefcase.

Built from scratch, the workstation includes a list of features that should have you salivating by the end. Instead of messing with a bunch of cables, on-board power is supplied by a dismantled 24V, 6A power brick, using a buck converter and ATmega to regulate and display the voltage, with power running directly to  12V and 5V lines of a breadboard in the middle of the workstation. A wealth of components are stored in two dozen 3d printed 1″ capsules setting them in loops pinned to the lid.

If all this was not already enough, there’s more!

Since he’ll be soldering a lot, there’s obviously an included soldering station, but were you expecting a helping hand and a carbon-filtered fume extractor? How about a folding overhead light to boot? Spools of wire are off to the rear to be tugged on when needed, and a drawer tucked into the side keeps circuit boards and jumper wires organized. There’s also a power strip along the other side — [Rice] notes that it was handier than he realized — for any other devices you might need. There’s even a built-in Arduino.

Hungry for more? How about a second serving, or even desert?

4 Ways to Control Electronic Relays

There are plenty of ways to use relays, and each method can achieve several different results. Check out this step by step guide to figure out what you need.

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The Via Libris is a Book that Leads You to Treasure

The VIA LIBRIS is a paperback-sized book that leads its user to a predetermined location using a special compass dial and clues.

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2 wheel self-balancing robot

2 wheel self-balancing robot

When Things Start to Gossip and Other Computational Matters

What are the implications of our devices exchanging information about our identities, abilities, and actions? They're all quite the gossip.

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Maker Spotlight: Daniel Zimmerman

An engineering manager, Daniel Zimmerman enjoys tinkering on basement tech projects that further automate his home.

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Mini Hacker Breaks Down How To Build It

I read the other day that the hot career choice for kids these days is: YouTuber. That means every kid — yes, including mine — has two or three attempts at a YouTube show on their account and then they get into the next big thing and forget about it. On the other hand, sometimes you find someone who has a lot of ideas to share, and the dedication to keep sharing them.

[Kevin Zhou], an 11-year-old from Indonesia, has filmed around  70 videos in the past couple of years, with a fantastic variety of nerdy projects ranging from Mindstorms to Arduino to wood shop projects, and even a Blender tutorial. His projects show a lot of complexity, with serious, real-world concepts, and he shares the technical details about the various components in the project, and he walks you through the code as well.

He made a Mindstorms carving machine, pictured above, with a gantry system holding a motor steady while the user carves into a block of floral foam with LEGO bits. He does a lot of home automation projects using an Arduino and relay board, as well as a number of water-pumping robots. He doesn’t stick to one medium or technology. He has a jigsaw and in one video he shows how to build a Thor’s hammer out of wood. He prints out each layer’s design on office paper and glues the paper to a piece of wood, cutting out the cross-sections on his jigsaw. The whole stack is glued together and clamped. [Kevin]’s design featured a hollow space inside to save weight, which he cut by drilling a 1-inch hole in the center with his drill press, then threading the jigsaw blade through the hole to cut out the inside. As an amateur woodcrafter myself, I like seeing him branching out working on small wood projects.

[Kevin]’s full automatic water dispenser is one of a series of water-pumping projects including a couple of plant-watering robots. [Kevin] uses a relay-triggered pump and a water-level sensor, all running on an Arduino Mega plugged into a 1360-point breadboard.

He has a lot of common modules. He uses a LED display plugged directly into the breadboard, with its backpack plugged into same rows so it can lay flat. He plays around with an IR remote, as well as a 12 V / 5 A Peltier thermo-electric cooler running off of a relay. He has a couple of different relay boards making for a number of home automation projects, including a fairly complicated security system featuring RFID and keypad entry.

There are many LEGO and Mindstorms projects as well, including a complicated robot arm controlled by a smartphone app, as well as a Technic beam sorter that rolls the beams down a conveyor so that shorter elements fall through smaller holes, while longer pieces continue on to fall in larger holes down the line. Intriguingly to me, he did a couple of projects involving mixing Arduinos and LEGO/Mindstorms, and frequently uses the building set to build enclosures and support structure.

I suppose you could say the individual projects aren’t that challenging–connecting a relay board to an Arduino, for instance. All of these parts are fairly simple to run individually but together show he’s been working at this for a long time: 70 videos. A DIY security system is a far cry from turning on a LED.

Besides, I like how [Kevin] finishes projects, then riffs off of them. He tries out a few variants in a row, making changes and improvements. I just hope he keeps building–I can’t imagine what he’ll be making fifteen years from now.

Check out some of his videos:


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Featured

Espruino: The Challenges of Running an Open Source Hardware and Software Company

Running an open source hardware and software company has its rewards. But it also has its challenges. Espruino is no different.

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