Everything for Electronics

Ideas/Tips/Inspiration

Electronics as a Portal to Other Hobbies

Electronics as a hobby is unique in that it touches upon just about every other technology or area of potential interest, from photography to cycling. Don’t feel you need to stick with pure electronics. Get out of your comfort zone and explore some of the many related technologies.

Build a Custom Weather Gauge — Part 1

This fun, elegant, and useful project pulls data from the Internet so a series of useful displays can show all kinds of cool info in real time from your mantel or bookshelf in this impressive platform.

In this first article of a two-part series, we’ll discuss the circuit and code for each of the core components for the weather; take a deep dive on how the stepper is wired up; then learn about the node.js code that drives it.

The Retro PIC Single-Board Computer

Over the years, I have accumulated a bunch of chips from before the era of true PCs when computers with names like Altair, KIM-1, and Cosmac ELF were popular. I’ve been looking for a way to use them in new projects, so I designed a system around a 40-pin PIC16F887. I figured this would put some of my historic chips to work and be a great learning tool for understanding how a microcomputer works.

Build the Retro Regen Radio

In the fast moving world of digital electronics, I find it incredible that the vacuum tube — a piece of early 20th century analog technology — has managed to survive. It should have bitten the dust long ago but that just did not happen. This back-to-the-future one-tube radio is made with readily available parts, operates on 12 volts, and offers amazing performance.

A Full Motion Home Simulator

Building a full motion simulator will require some mechanical work, electronic work, and even a little programming, but surprisingly, it’s not a great deal more difficult than many other Nut & Volts projects. I’m confident that the first time you step into your flying machine and leave reality for cyberspace, you’ll agree it is worth the effort!

Steampunk Planetarium Clock

This unique timekeeper will have you seeing stars ... even the same skies the Spanish missionaries observed back in the 1600s!

Computer Controlled Air/Steam Engine

This alternative energy project is two-fold. First, convert a two-cycle engine to run on pressure (air/steam). Then, create a control system to optimize engine performance. This project is very easily reproduced by any experimenter with average mechanical skills; the controller is an easy breadboard; and — best of all — it’s cheap and green!

H-2-OPUS Water, Music, Lights, And Microcontrollers

What kind of home project has 82 legs, horns, and will never have all of the "bugs" worked out of it? The answer is "H-2-Opus," a BASIC Stamp driven musical water fountain.