Lifelong Learning Knowledge should be uncompromisingly sought after and freely given away.

24Jun/100

1938 RCA 96T Radio

I finally received my vintage radio today. I had purchased it as a "non-working" radio and really only wanted the wood case for one of my other projects which I will talk about later when I get it completed. Anyhow, I couldn't resist looking through all the amazing components and it wasn't long before I started wondering how such a fantastically built radio could be broken... The tubes looked good and it wasn't until I pulled them out to clean them up that I noticed a loose wire which was easily fixed. Well, after an hour and half, I've got the old radio working! I never planned on refurbishing it, now I am thinking twice. It's an all-American, beautiful piece of history and I almost feel drawn to bringing her back to her full potential....more to come....

16Dec/090

My new E-flite mCX Helicopter

E-flite mCX HelicopterSo I got my early birthday gift from my parents! You guessed it, they got me a new E-flite mCX helicopter! My father and I have always been big fans of anything R/C and these new breed of micro helicopters are no exception. We have been flying the Blade CX and CP versions and after he purchased one of these he knew I would love one too! These should not be confused with the cheap-o toys you see at China-Mart or the like, these are highly sophisticated R/C helicopters, including gyros and proportional linear servo control.
I can't say how cool these things are, they are tiny, weigh 1oz and are really sturdy. I've banged my up quite a bit and it still hovers effortlessly. Each battery charges in about 20 minutes and flies for about 6 minutes, after I picked up a few more of the 110mAH batteries and I can fly for as long as my attention span. These are fantastic for the beginner or pro alike!
And as you can imagine, I've already designed a few PCB boards to enhance the charger and allow me to charge 8 batteries at once. I'll be replacing the existing red LED with a low current 0603 blue 5MA LED. Should help with battery life and cooler look if you ask me!

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6Dec/090

Adafruit’s Ask an Engineer…

 AdaFruit.com Ask An Engineer

  Image curtesy of Adafruit.com

I stopped in last night to the live streamming "Ask an Engineer" over at the Adafruit.com website. I was quite surprised with the good questions and insight into the industry. Found out that I can't find an ATMEGA328 to save my life because the plant in France is being shut down and the workers decided to get strike indefinitely when they found out. Dang those frenchies! Anyhow, the discussion was very intresting and it was quite neat to see the very automated shipping process they have built from open-source and homegrown systems. They gave everyone who was on the chat a 10% off coupon, so I decided it was time to pick up a MintyBoost kit for myself. Have been reading alot about boost converters alot lately and figured the kit would be a nice introduction into making my own. I have some ideas on using a home-grown boost converter and a VFD driver to make my very own VFD displays/clocks/etc.

Head on over next Saturday night at 10pm EST and check out the discussion!

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30Aug/090

Laying Out a Custom PCB

Basic Arduino Board

Ever since I started playing with the Arduino I knew I wanted to get futher into how they worked and even start forging ahead with my own designs. Fortunately there is a fantastic community of folks out there who are more than willing to share their knowledge and even blog about it. I owe the community a great deal of thanks in helping me get up-to-speed so quickly on designing and laying out boards for my projects. I have been working feverishly on a new project which I'll dedicate a whole category on here for later. It's really going to be a neat project and I think it's a great way to give back to the community by relasing all my work for anyone to use. Anyhow, more on that later.

EaglePCB, how can I say it. It's freaking amazing. Who could ask for much more with a freeware PCB board layout program? I'm actually in the process of purchasing the Non-Profit version so I can build bigger boards. That being said, the freeware version will do everything the paid version can do but is limited to double-sided boards and limited board size. It really is a neat program and definitely helps people get started with PCB layout cheaply.

For now I wanted to share with the community just one of the boards I've finished and am awaiting arrival of the fabricated board. I released it to get feedback and hopefully help somone else out. It's taken from the Boarduino concept from AdaFuit.com. Basically it's a very basic USB powered Arduino board which can be integrated easily into other projects. I'll be using this board on my new project. I'll warn you of this, I haven't received the fabricated boards from BatchPCB.com yet and tested them throughly so you've been warned. You'll find the board and schematic in the attached ZIP file. I've used parts for the SparkFun.com library. None of this would be possible without those fantastic guys!

Please, I encourage feedback on this design!

BasicArduino
Title: BasicArduino (475 clicks)
Caption:
Filename: basicarduino.zip
Size: 90 KB

2Aug/090

Lockheed Martin’s MKV kicks major butt!

If you haven't seen this thing yet, you gotta check it out. Check out the video, this is for real...

[youtube]oPFj8kGXnwk[/youtube]