Everything for Electronics
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The Graphing Weather Station

If you care about the weather and enjoy creating graphs that give all kinds of details, then you’ll really enjoy this sequel to the original graphing thermometer presented in Issue-2 2019. Features include outdoor and indoor temperature, outdoor and indoor humidity, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall, and barometric pressure.

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Circuits for a Day at the Races

Many of us have fond memories of assembling sections of track and spending many enjoyable hours racing slot cars, either alone or with friends. Maybe it’s a hobby you’d like to get back to (or never left) or share it with the next generation of slot-car racers in your family. Racing these miniature cars around a track is only part of the fun! With a little amount of expertise in electronics, there are definitely many accessories we can build ourselves — probably enough to fill at least a small book. Since we don’t have that much space here, I’ll highlight only a few of these project ideas.

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Build a Castle in the Clouds

Magnets are magic! To suspend something in air repelled by a magnetic field is a bit of a trick. We need some electronic control of the situation to stabilize magnetic levitation. See how I achieved this and made a castle float in the air. This project is sure to delight and mystify family and friends!

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Build a Pocket-Sized Vacuum Cleaner

This project takes you through the build of a compact pocket-sized vacuum cleaner. It’s portable, convenient, and super easy to use. It includes features like powerful suction, reverse mode for a blower, built-in nozzle storage compartment, and line-in mode to power from an external power brick.

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Build an Oscilloscope Octopus

Sometimes called a VI curve tracer or an IV curve tracer, this oscilloscope Octopus generates AC excitation across its two leads and then displays a voltage vs. current plot in real time. The resulting plot can be used to track down opens, shorts, and noise in a component, as well as measure the breakdown voltage and phase relationship between voltage and current. The circuit has been around just as long as oscilloscopes, but this Octopus is a small battery-operated instrument with its own display. Instead of an octopus’ worth of jumbled cables, there’s just a pair of test leads.

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UV Sanitizer: How to Build One and Measure Its Efficacy

With all the focus on the coronavirus (or COVID-19), there has been an upsurge in demand for a variety of germ-related products. This science project presents an afternoon build of assembling a UV sanitizer from a UV LED panel and a small reflective enclosure.  With STEM students in mind, we’ll look at measuring the efficacy of the sanitizer on bacteria through the use of inexpensive, premade agar plates.

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Newton’s Apple

When I was in junior college, I did an experiment in a physics class that I have never forgotten. It was the classic falling body experiment to measure the acceleration of gravity; 9.81 meters/sec2. I loved carefully adjusting the apparatus and meticulously taking the data, trying to get a result that was as close as possible to the established value. Frankly, I don’t recall how close I got but it was the thrill of scientific inquiry that grabbed me. Now, in this age of computer technology, I thought it might be challenging and fun to see how good I could do in my garage with a fairly simple DIY apparatus.

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