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

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!

Tagged as: No Comments
6Dec/090

A Borax Snowflake?

Borax Snowflake

 

My wife found a fantastic article on Craftzine showing how to make a neat borax snowfake. She took some of my pipe cleaners and made a small snowflake which will soak in the borax solution overnight, the end result being a very faintly blue snowflake! Cool huh?

Directions:     3 tbsp Borax per 1 cup boiling water. 1 drop blue food coloring per cup of water. 

Borax Snowflake Soaking

Borax Snowflake

Filed under: DIY Projects No Comments
6Dec/093

Finally Got My FakeFire LED PCB Boards Done

ATTINY13A Fake Fire LEDA while back I wrote about a neat project that I had read about where a couple of LEDs and an ATTINY13 had been used to simulate the flicker flame of a candle or fire. I built a prototype and quickly realized that project deserved more of my attention, I spent the next couple of days tweaking the design and code to come up with this! My primary design focus was battery life and I've been running this board with 3 standard AA batteries for nearly 2 months. Good enough for me! This design incorporates a photocell to turn the LEDs off during light hours and a deep sleep mode for the AVR when the LEDs are not illuminated. A watchdog timer triggers the AVR to wake up and sample the photocell to decide if it's dark enough to start illuminating the LEDs. I've included the Eagle schematic and board files in addition the the AVR C code and high-res pictures in the attached zip.

ATTINY13A LED Fake Fire

ATTINY13A Fake Fire LED

Fake Fire PCB Zip File
Title: Fake Fire PCB (1633 clicks)
Caption: Fake Fire PCB Zip File
Filename: fakefirepcb.zip
Size: 3 MB

Fake Fire PCB Zip File
Title: Fake Fire PCB (1633 clicks)
Caption: Fake Fire PCB Zip File
Filename: fakefirepcb.zip
Size: 3 MB

6Dec/090

Almond Biscotti Cold Process Soap

Almond Biscotti Cold Process SoapI picked up some new fragrance from Brambleberry for the Holidays as my wife and I will be giving away some soap for the holidays. One of the fragrances I was most excited to try was Almond Biscotti, I thought it would be a great smell for the holidays and boy was I right! Almond Biscotti is fantastic smelling! We also decided to try some java brown mica for coloring in a swirl, I wanted it to resemble biscotti a bit. I think it turned out perfect, the yellow will turn less golden and more blonde with curing; I can't wait to try it out.

I would have never managed to get this soap completed without the amazing help of my hard working helpers below...

Super Helpful Friends

Filed under: Soap Making No Comments
1Dec/090

My Ice Tube Clock from Adafruit Industries

Ice Tube Clock from Adafruit Industries

image curtesy of Adafruit Industries

I've always loved when things old and new come together to form something new and interesting. I think that's the best way to describe my new Ice Tube clock from Adafruit Industries. They've managed to mix an old eastern bloc VFD (vacuum fluorescent display) with modern electronics to form a wonderful desktop clock. Not only is this clock a fantastic conversation piece it's highlighting an amazing piece of electronic history, the VFD.

I actually decided to get this kit for myself as I've been researching building my own desktop clock using 7-segment LED displays. When I stumbled upon this kit, I had to have it. So for now, I've put my design on the back-seat and settled on hacking this thing! Stay tuned for more...

Tagged as: No Comments
30Nov/090

My New Maker’s Notebook

Maker's NotebookI have been looking for a good quality notebook for some time now and finally decided I'd try this one. It's the Maker's Notebook found here. So far, I'm really impressed with it. Very good quality, lots of pages for ideas and the back even has some common IC pin outs, LED specs, etc. If you order it from the Maker's website you get some free stickers and the red elastic band to hold it closed, plus you are supporting a great community resource! I'm going to keep it close by and see if I can capture any of those fleeting ideas that seem to pop into my head at the most inopportune times. Without even using it for a few weeks, I can say I would definitely recommend this notebook for anyone seeking a handy way to keep their ideas organized. Thank you MAKE.

Tagged as: No Comments