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November 2014

Nuts and Volts Magazine

Tools of the Trade. Having the right one for the job.

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Features

Tools of the Trade

Whether you’re a professional or hobbyist (or both!), having the right equipment to accomplish what you’re doing makes all the difference in the world. Here’s a look at some of the “must-have” tools for a workbench.



Projects

Zener Diode Tester

The tester described in this article is a simple two-transistor circuit operating from a 9V battery which tests zener diodes with breakdown voltages up to 52 volts. Nothing more than a multimeter is necessary to build, test, and use the circuit.


Three-Axis Hockey Puck Accelerometer Data Logger

Accelerometers can be used in many applications, and this unique device is no exception — especially when it’s combined with our poor man’s seismometer from a previous issue.


Toss the Toggle

Don't let your projects be embarrassed by their old-school toggles and slide switches! Upgrade them to the power of push buttons!



Columns

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (11.2014)
Read about solutions to fix a broken laptop, a VCR that eats tapes, and sound system hum.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
Introducing the RazzPi PCBs
Learn about two new printed circuit boards you can use in either PICAXE-Pi projects or pure PICAXE applications.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
PICs and a Stick Pack Big Computing Power in a Small Package
The Rapid USB prototyping stick is powered by an enhanced PIC16 microcontroller that can do the work normally relegated to PIC32 silicon. The PIC16F1459 under the USB stick's hood can spout USB lingo at one end and spit RS-232 bits out of the other. No external clock crystal is required to utilize the stick's ADC, comparators, DAC, SPI module, and timers. This installment will show you how to take advantage of the tremendous amount of computation power stuffed into a very small package.

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
The Arduino Classroom. Arduino 101/Chapter 10: Sensing Light and Temperature
Expand what you can sense with an Arduino utilizing light and temperature values as data.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Video Monitoring Over the Internet
Video has gotten so good and cheap lately, everyone seems to be using it. One growing trend in this area has been video monitoring or surveillance, and with the Internet of Things movement, what used to be expensive and tricky is now common place and affordable.

Departments

The Internet of Things
by Bryan Bergeron
Since the birth of the Internet, there has been talk of total connectivity — between people, people and their possessions, and things to things. Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a practical reality in many settings.