Everything for Electronics

James Antonakos

James' Articles

The Importance of Knowing the Basics
September 2003
Basic electronics knowledge is the foundation to higher understanding.

How To: A Guide to Soldering
February 2009
Never soldered before? Now you can learn how!

Column: Let’s Get Technical
January 2003
This month, I am beginning a series of technical articles on a wide range of topics, from analog and digital electronics, to microprocessors and microcontrollers, computer arithmetic, networking, and computer science theory. Some of the future topics I will be examining are...

Column: Let’s Get Technical
March 2004
This month, I will show the details behind the transmitter and receiver circuits and explain how a software protocol is used to transmit eight bits of data.

Column: Let’s Get Technical
May 2004
I have chosen to finish my three-part fiber series with an application that uses a fiber optic cable as part of a high-frequency oscillator. Called a Fiber Optic Ring Oscillator, it makes use of a length of fiber to generate a square-wave signal; the frequency of its oscillation depends on the length of the fiber and the speed of light inside the fiber.

Let’s Get Technical
Column: Let’s Get Technical
July 2004
In the case of a communication system, errors happen while information is being transmitted, while it is being delivered to its destination, or while it is being received. Perhaps a stray magnetic field sliced through a floppy disk and altered a few 0s and 1s. Maybe a lightning strike produced a spike in the power lines, which, in turn, caused a few cells in a RAM on a computer’s motherboard to change.

Column: Let’s Get Technical
September 2004
Data compression has been around for a long time. If you’ve heard the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” then you are familiar with the basic principle of data compression: replacing one set of symbols with another, smaller set. A high resolution photograph of an object is a better description than a mere thousand words can evoke.

Shrinking Bits — A Second Look at Digital Data Compression
Column: Let’s Get Technical
November 2004
Last time, we examined the applications for lossless and lossy data compression methods. In this second look at digital data compression, we will take a look inside these different compression techniques:

Hop, Skip, and Jump
Column: Let’s Get Technical
January 2005
Everyone seems to be jumping onto the wireless networking bandwagon. With more and more devices going wireless, the airwaves are constantly filled with numerous digital “conversations.” For ordinary, law abiding wireless users, the congestion is handled using a wireless protocol that allows for reliable communication in a noisy, competitive environment.

Flash Conversion - Super Fast
Column: Let’s Get Technical
March 2005
Analog-to-Digital Conversion

The Root of the Problem : Performing Integer Square Roots
Column: Let’s Get Technical
May 2005
When I first began playing with microprocessors, the initial eight-bit CPUs had limited eight- and 16-bit addition and subtraction capabilities, but could not multiply or divide. I always had to write an eight-bit multiply subroutine when I needed one.

Optical Illusion and the Light Emitting Diode
Column: Let’s Get Technical
July 2005
My three-year-old daughter recently became fascinated by a small hand-held electronic toy that spins a disk round and round very quickly (see Figure 1). Light emitting diodes (LEDs)mounted on the edge of the disk turn on and off in all sorts of interesting patterns. Those familiar with my background in electronics will recognize that I cannot stand idly by, watching this $10.00 toy flash its lights at me without beginning to think about how to do it myself.

Making The Illusion Real
Column: Let’s Get Technical
September 2005
In my last article, I challenged myself to duplicate the interesting patterns created by five small LEDs mounted on a spinning disk (Figure 1). My three-year-old daughter does not know that I have taken her $10 toy apart to assist in my investigation, so I may end up in a miniature doghouse (or possibly even Clifford’s) if I cannot get the original device, or my creation, working.

The Zilog Z8Encore! XP Microcontroller
Column: Let’s Get Technical
November 2005
A few months ago, I received an email from .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) announcing a special offer of only $9.95 for their new Z8 Encore! XP 4K Series Development Kit. Like any good (or helpless) electronics shopper, I cannot resist a bargain like that, and promptly ordered a few kits to play with (one for me and a couple for my teaching colleagues).

Review: Performance Electronics For Cars
November 2005
Performance Electronics for Cars from the publishers of SiliconChip

Why I Am Glad My Computer Crashed
Column: Let’s Get Technical
January 2006
In my roles as an educator, author, and columnist, I utilize my computer extensively. There are many specialty software applications I use for drawing schematics, writing code, creating graphics, and working with images. I also use common applications such as Word, Excel, Email, and Internet Explorer.

A Good Listener Requires A Good Talker
Column: Let’s Get Technical
March 2006
Alright, those are hardly as dramatic as “Watson, come quick! I need you!” but they are just as satisfying because they are the third and fourth things my new speech board said to me. To find out what the first two phrases were, read on.

The Brain-Computer Interface
May 2006
Popular culture was recently taken for a wild ride in the three Matrix movies, where Neo and his band of survivors plugged their brains into the computer-controlled Matrix to battle evil and save the world. In Minority Report, three ‘PreCogs’ have their brains wired up to record crimes that occur in the future. Science fiction has long been fascinated with the idea of tapping into the human brain...