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December 2015

Nuts and Volts Magazine

What if you could build your own technology mentoring platform in a single afternoon, then spend hours of fun with your child or grandchild making simple computer games or exploring computer-controlled hardware circuits together? The Amigo might be just what you need!

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Features

Breaking the Arduino Speed Limit — Part 2

Continuing on from our previous article, we'll find a solution to the clock glitches, add a serial LCD screen to free more pins, and introduce an eight-bit fast ADC. Then, put it all together to make an even nicer digital storage oscilloscope.


Setting Up a Test Bench

What equipment do you really need for monitoring and testing all your projects?


Beyond the Arduino — Part 5

Please DO interrupt me! This time, take a look at how to handle interrupts in your Atmel AVR embedded projects, and how they can make your projects more efficient and easier to develop.


Microprocessors and Model Trains Meet Head On!

Let your Arduino ride the rails to make realistic crossing flashers for your model train setup.


Understanding Harmonics Using Simulation

Harmonics form a base line for testing, comparing, and explaining various circuits. This short tutorial shows how you can systematically look at the structure of complex circuits using a simulation program and building block approach.


Arduino Based Data Acquisition

If you enjoy data and acquiring and measuring it easily, then you’re going to love this method that utilizes Microsoft Excel and PLX-DAQ from Parallax with a low cost Arduino.


FPGAs for the Hobbyist

This tutorial will get you up and running with field programmable gate arrays — no prior experience required.


Beyond the Arduino

Ready to cut the apron strings and discover what it’s like to work directly with a microcontroller? This series will help you down that road less travelled.


Beyond the Arduino — Part 3

This time, we’ll focus on interacting with the bare-metal microcontroller by handling both digital and analog inputs.


Building a Propeller-Based Mentoring Platform

What if you could build your own technology mentoring platform in a single afternoon, then spend hours of fun with your child or grandchild making simple computer games or exploring computer-controlled hardware circuits together?


Beyond the Arduino — Part 2

Last month, we established a hardware platform to work on. This time, we’ll dive right into working in a new environment.


Haunting 201 — Thirteen Electronic Projects to Elevate Your “Scare Game”

Continuing with the idea from last year’s special Halloween edition, here are some ghoulish ideas to take this year’s haunts up to the next level — electronically, of course!


A Simple FerroElectric Memory

Using some silicon magic, construct your very own two-bit non-volatile memory to perform Ferroelectric experiments or utilize during operation of a microprocessor.


Flight Computers for Sounding Rockets

Sure, launching model rockets is cool and all, but what if you could incorporate some science and learning into the fun, too. With one of these as your payload, you're not just entertaining the kids — you're launching a sounding rocket and doing real science.


Meet the ESP8266

It’s not often that a new piece of hardware immediately captures the attention of the builder community. The ESP8266 is the newest example at only about the size of a nickel, with a powerful 32-bit microcontroller and Wi-Fi interface.


Adding Color to the Commodore PET

Go retro with this PET project that will get you re-learning everything about these old machines.


How to Use a Transistor as a Switch

Whether you need to flash an LED, energize a relay, turn a buzzer or alarm on or off, or invert a voltage level, the NPN transistor switch can easily solve your problem. This article shows you how to use a transistor as a simple SPST switch.


Soldering Reflow Controller

This product review describes a new kit/system that can help alleviate some of the drudgery involved with building surface-mount printed circuit boards.


Designing Antenna Systems

Here are some thoughts on assembling a radio antenna system that is focused on simple and readily available components.


Give Your Sound a Boost — Amplifier Modules to Power Your Project’s Audio

Want to hear about a way to add sound to your project? Then, check out this review on a selection of low to mid power amplifier modules from Parts Express.


Reviving a Hi-Fi Classic: the Harman/Kardon A-401 Stereophonic Control Amplifier

Vintage stereo equipment just has a special sound and presence that are worth preserving. Follow along on a recent restoration of a 38 year old amp.


Add a Real Time Clock to Your PIC Projects

RTCs have all kinds of neat uses in microcontroller projects. Get introduced to this wonderful world of timekeeping with the popular and inexpensive TinyRTC.


Fix Up that Old Radio! — Part 2

In this final part, we'll go through the rest of the repair process, a first power-up, and aligning the radio’s tuning dial on our 1937 DeWald classic.


Silent Sensors

Ferroelectric capacitors can help take the mystery out of event detection, and save the results to report on them later.


Universal Oscillator Topologies and Applications

Explore and analyze several circuits that you can use to make light dimmers, PWM motor speed controllers, model train controllers, heater controls, and a host of other applications.


All About PIC Analog Comparators

Even though analog comparators are not especially exotic, they certainly rate as one of the most useful building blocks in a wide variety of circuits.


Fix Up that Old Radio!

It’s fun and easy to bring vintage radios back to life! Follow along as a 1937 DeWald radio is restored.


Driving LEDs with a Microcontroller

Typically, one of the first experiments people do when working with microcontrollers is to blink an LED. However, the thrill of this wears out pretty quickly, so let’s see what else can be done.


Power Sources: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

With few exceptions, every electronics project needs a power source. It’s what makes the electrons go round and round. However, not all power sources are created equal.


Beyond the Arduino — Part 6

To the Power of I2C. We’re going to raise the bar and connect our AVR microcontroller to modules with a little more intelligence.


Beyond the Arduino — Part 7

It’s all in the timers. Timers are very useful in embedded systems, and this discussion covers enough ground to get you up and running using them.


Vintage Computing — I Still Adore My 64

Next in our Vintage Computing series is how to emulate a Commodore 64 home computer on your modern PC.


A Look at the 23rd Annual “Last” Chicago CoCoFEST!

So, what’s the big deal about a vintage computer expo in this modern world of Windows, Androids, and iPads? Not only does this event highlight the TRS-80 Color Computer, but it also showcases a unique fusion of old and new technology.


Getting the Most from Tech Support

With technology being such an integral part of our lives these days, sooner or later you’re probably going to have to call for help with something. Here are some suggestions on how to get the most from your experience from one of the guys who answers those phones.


Beyond the Arduino — Part 4

All we want to do is talk to our microcontroller. So, let’s do it the old fashioned way: using serial communication.


Receiving Data with a Low Cost Shortwave Radio

A computer, some powerful software, and a shortwave receiver combine to make decoding many types of radio transmissions possible.



Projects

Build a Frequency Counter

Electronic Gadgets

Frequency counters have been around for years as a standard piece of test equipment in both commercial and hobby labs. If you need one for your workshop, take a gander at the one presented here.


Build an Electronic Lock

Here’s a simple and inexpensive electronic key system you can incorporate into various projects that can be built with or without a microcontroller.


Modify a Kill-A-Watt EZ Power Meter for Low Voltage Operation

The K-A-Watt meter is designed to operate at full AC line voltage. Here is a simple modification that safely powers the Kill-A-Watt meter for accurate operation in the low (10%-20%) voltage regime.


Motion Triggered Plane Aisle Night Lighting

Electronic Gadgets

Build this nightlight on steroids to keep twilight walkers safe and your electric bill down.


Little Book of Horror

It may seem like just an innocent edition sitting on the counter ... but wait! What is that noise?


Automatic Hallway Light

Deck your halls with automatic lighting so you don’t have to “go dark” anymore.


No-Nonsense Homebrew Annunciator

This handy little circuit for “announcing” news or messages is an ideal project for beginners since it’s all through-hole parts.


Build Your Own Arduino Barograph

Arduino

Ever built a project that needed an accurate timer to switch something on or off at regular intervals? See if this simple one fits the bill.


Build a 50 MHz Dipole Out of Crutches

Audio/Video

Just as other sculptors are blessed with the vision to see their works of art hidden in wood and marble, I have developed the ability to see antennas hidden in metal. After working with antennas for a while, I believe most everyone can probably develop an eye for dimensions that are quarter-wave multiples of their favorite frequencies.


A Barn Door Tracker for AstroPhotography

Now, you can be the star and take long exposure photographs of the night sky.


Build the Retro Regen Radio

This back-to-the future one-tube radio is made with readily available parts, operates on 12 volts, and offers amazing performance.


Monitor Your Christmas Tree Water Level with a Voltmeter and an R-2R Ladder

Holiday

Here’s a quick circuit that will let you know if you need to add water or not to the reservoir for your Christmas tree.


Flame On, Dude!

Holiday, Electronic Gadgets

Give your Jack-o-lantern (or whatever props you may be using) some cool faux flames this season.


The 8x8 RGB LED Matrix Display and the Arduino

Arduino

Challenge your imagination with the vast functionality available with this colorful display.


Build the Super KISS Timer

Electronic Gadgets

Ever built a project that needed an accurate timer to switch something on or off at regular intervals? See if this simple one fits the bill.


Build a Wireless Freezer Alarm

Wireless

With the cost of food constantly rising, you don’t want to risk losing anything to an undetected malfunction. Keep this alarm handy to alert you if your freezer goes on the fritz.


Fax On! Fax Off! The Faxer

Don't let your fax machine hijack your phone line. Make this custom switch to disconnect it, when not in use.


A Cost-Effective Traffic Light Controller

Electronic Gadgets

This project spotlights how sometimes the good old fashioned way is the most efficient when constructing circuits.


Arduino-Based Master Clock

by Joe Fox
Arduino

If you’ve got some old impulse secondary clocks that are lacking a master, build this project and get them working accurately and electronically. Plus, you can repurpose what you learn to control other items using an Arduino and an IGBT MOSFET device.


MIDI Buddy

Audio/Video

New to MIDI? Then, you need a Buddy to experiment with and learn about this musical protocol.


Build the Annoy-O-Matic

Electronic Gadgets

You’ll always be ready for April Fool’s Day with this easy circuit that will help bring practical jokes to a whole new level.


Single Chip Audio Spectrum Analyzer Makes Singing Easier

Audio/Video, Communications/Radio

Get those talking props in sync with this audio spectrum analyzer that has a variety of uses — from tone detection to real time audio analyzation for controlling servos and other devices.


It’s Beginning to Look a littleBits Like Christmas

Holiday

Forget the soldering iron! Grab your box of littleBits and put together these five festive projects that will be sure to get you in that holiday spirit.


The Smart Doorbell — A Simple Programmable Relay Project

Programmable relays are microcontroller-based devices that can replace older hard-wired electromechanical control systems. A single programmable relay can replace an array of relays, timers, and counters.


The Garage Sentinel

Home Automation

Yep. We’ve got yet another parking assistant project that will save you from the ’ol hanging tennis ball.


Thinking of You

Let friends and loved ones know that you're thinking of them, or your buddies know it's beer o'clock, or the car pool that you're on your way — all with just the push of a button!


An Ultra Modern Shortwave Radio

Communications/Radio

A simple circuit, a USB TV tuner, your computer, and some powerful (free!) software combine to make an amazing software defined communications receiver for around $25.


A Web Controlled Music and Internet Radio Player

Never be at a lack for music with this incredibly flexible system that features the Pi MusicBox software.


Using Serial Bluetooth With a Microcontroller

Stream serial data via Bluetooth as an alternative to RS-232 cables and build a Crystal Palace in the process.


GPS Unit for Tracking Coffee

Electronic Gadgets

In this day and age of electronics, you can practically track everything. So, why not apply that to the quality of the coffee sitting in the pot?


How to Craft a PIC Barometer

Outdoor

Of all the ingredients that make up a weather forecast, knowing what the current atmospheric pressure is doing is the most important.


A DIY Indoor Air Quality Monitoring System

The air that we breathe indoors — whether at home or at work — can put us at risk for health problems if there are common pollutants in it. Be sure of what you’re breathing with this prototype system that features many types of sensors.



Columns

Q&A
Reader Questions Answered Here (09.2015)
Students ask questions on radio propagation and troubleshooting.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
Events, Advances, and News (10.2015)
This time, read about taking another stab at GW detection, a really big tablet, easy cable tracing, an instrument of torture, plus some other cool stuff.

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (01.2015)
Answering a question about a previous question, free to air satellite TV, and testing GFCIs properly are discussed this month.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
Events, Advances, and News (02.2015)
Read about a world’s record in data transmission, a real time translator, a new flavor of Pi, plus some other interesting stuff.

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (03.2015)
Find out how to fix burn marks on LCD screens and whether or not to go with CFLs or LEDs.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
Events, Advances, and News (04.2015)
The world’s largest digital camera has been funded, Intel is getting sticky, you can get skin care via your iPhone, plus there’s lots more to read about.

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (05.2015)
A question on op-amp accuracy, getting certified, and some tips on batteries.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
Events, Advances, and News (06.2015)
Read about gearing up for millimeter-wave communications, an IoT starter kit in the offing, wising up your vehicle, looking young again, plus some other stuff.

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (07.2015)
Topics this month include: a CR18650 battery vs. cell charging; help with vintage PA amps; and GFI breakers.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
Events, Advances, and News (08.2015)
Read about a method for cancelling shockwaves, giving your device the finger, 3D printed cars, and more.

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (11.2015)
Automotive battery amp-hour capacity at a slow discharge rate is covered, plus a full Mail Bag.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
USB-to-Serial Adapters Revisited
Explore a hardware solution that allows you to use a wide variety of relatively inexpensive USB-to-serial adapter cables in PICAXE breadboard projects.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
PICAXE-PC Serial Communication — Part 1
We’ll continue our experiments with the Prolific cable, but this time focus on sending data back and forth between a PICAXE processor and a PC.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
PICAXE-PC Serial Communication — Part 3
Experimenting with an interrupt-based method of improving the 20X2 response time that’s faster than anything we’ve used so far.

The Spin Zone
by Jon McPhalen
May the G-Force be with You
Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges. Unless, they’re Parallax’s new hackable Conference types complete with a three-axis accelerometer.

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (12.2015)
Plain Old Telephone Service blues, CPLDs versus FPGAs, and a sump pump alarm for when a breaker trips are the topics this time.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
Harnessing the Power of USB
Construct a couple of simple USB-based power supplies that you can use in your next PICAXE project.

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (02.2015)
Questions about the size of satellite dishes and why there’s a lump in your power cable are answered.

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (04.2015)
Making a smart house smarter, a telephone off-hook alarm, and radio tuning are question topics this time.

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (06.2015)
Get help with finding components and using ice melt tape controls.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
PICAXE-PC Serial Communications Part 2
We’ll continue our exploration of hardware serial communication between a PICAXE and a PC.

Q&A
Reader Questions Answered Here (08.2015)
Answers to questions about furnace data acquisition and electronics around vehicle fuel tanks.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
PICAXE-PC Serial Communication Part 4
PICAXE-PC Serial Communication Part 4. Discover three different approaches to transferring data from a PICAXE project to a PC, then test out the FRAM breakout board being utilized.

The Spin Zone
by Jon McPhalen
Tag ’Em, Danno!
Passive RFID tags are very popular devices for access control, and now they’re affordable.

The Spin Zone
by Jon McPhalen
Some Like It Hot
Temperature and humidity monitoring using the SHT11 module.

The Spin Zone
by Jon McPhalen
Fun with Charlieplexing
Learn about this method of LED control that takes advantage of a processor’s ability to manipulate the pin state.

The Spin Zone
by Jon McPhalen
Load and Go!
Discover a way to selectively run multiple applications that wouldn’t normally fit into 32K of memory.

The Spin Zone
by Jon McPhalen
Can We Talk? Again?
This month’s project goes through setting up a simple command language for controlling the Propeller through a serial interface.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Getting Back into Ham Radio — Trials and Tribulations
Equipment choice can be harder than you think — especially when you can’t install antennas.

Q&A
by Tim Brown
Reader Questions Answered Here (10.2015)
Topics answered include drone mechanics, PID control, and music editing.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Smartwatches Need Communications Too
The new Apple Watch acts as a peripheral device to your smartphone by utilizing multiple wireless links between the two devices.

The Ham’s Wireless Workbench
by H. Ward Silver
An Intro and Antennas
Welcome to the world of wireless know-how in the form of amateur or "ham" radio.Where else can you be an electronics and programming whiz, study solar and atmospheric phenomena, design your own communication system, and provide valuable public service — all at the same time? Amateur radio and the Nuts & Volts readership have a lot in common. Let's get to know each other!

The Ham’s Wireless Workbench
by H. Ward Silver
RF Oscillators
Move up in frequency to the oscillators which make the signals that drive the ham’s wireless world.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
EMI/RFI: The Bane of Wireless
Practically every electronic device is both an interference generator and susceptible to interference. Here’s a brief introduction to this natural phenomenon and how to minimize it.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
Showing Teachers One Way to Incorporate Near Space.
BalloonSats are a fantastic STEM activity for students of all ages, but first, teachers need to know how to design, build, test, and fly them.

Practical 3D Printing
by Chuck Hellebuyck
Fabrikator Mini
This 3D printer is open source and the perfect size for your benchtop.

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Arduino 101/Chapter 12: Data Logger/Part 1
Learn how to store data on an Arduino UNO so you can use battery-operated devices to collect data out in the field.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
Automagic with the MPLAB Code Configurator.
Join us as we put the Microchip MPLAB Code Configurator through its paces.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
The RN4020 PICtail Plus BLE.
Bluetooth 4.0 is becoming the de facto standard when it comes to embedded device monitoring and control from iPhones and Android devices. Microchip’s BLE radio module is called the RN4020. Unlike many of the other BLE offerings, the RN4020 Bluetooth Low Energy radio module comes backed with a full load of example code and hardware development tools. This month, we’ll get started on the BLE path with Microchip’s RN4020 PICtail, a terminal emulator, and a laptop.

The Ham’s Wireless Workbench
by H. Ward Silver
Oscillators
Every signal begins with an oscillator — which is a key element in ham radio to generate, mix, and extract the info from these signals. Let's see how to make an audio oscillator, plus learn about common RF types.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
Events, Advances, and News (12.2015)
This time, read about looney tonnes, mini Android PCs, worlds most powerful laser, the top 10 world changers, plus some other neat stuff.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
Numbats and Morays and Wi-Fi, Oh My!
Numbats and Morays and Wi-Fi, Oh My! Biologically, eels and anteaters are on the opposite ends of the animal world scale. Convert them to silicon and the combination of snouts, hair, teeth, and scales makes for a pretty good W-Fi sensor node development platform. This month's column takes the brand new Moray Wi-Fi development board and its Numbat networking module for a monitor and control spin on the Internet.

The Design Cycle
Giving Our “Board” Wings to Fly Over LANs or the Internet
The A-10 Thunderbolt II (also known as the Warthog) is built around its 30 mm cannon. This month’s offering is built around its own 10 MB Ethernet port. I’ve got the itch, so let’s scratch-build the “board” which is based on the Microchip PIC32MX795F512L.

Practical 3D Printing
by Chuck Hellebuyck
3D Print Designs for Electronic Hobbyists
Discover some handy tools to print that will make a welcome addition to your work bench.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
Make Mine MURS
If you need a radio that can transfer data and control devices over long distances and don’t want the hassle of having to obtain a license, MURS is for you. This month’s edition of Design Cycle will introduce you to the world of Multi-Use Radio Service through the eyes of a NiM1B VHF radio mounted on a narrow band evaluation kit carrier board.

The Ham’s Wireless Workbench
by H. Ward Silver
All About Ferrite
Rings, beads, cores ... find out exactly what ferrite is and what makes it ideal for a variety of uses in electronics.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Serial I/O Data Interfaces: Part 1
Data is transferred serially in most applications. However, there is definitely more than one way to “send” that cat.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Serial I/O Data Interfaces: Part 2
Get familiar with the high speed gigabit serial interfaces that dominate I/O today since we all use at least one of these regularly.

The Ham’s Wireless Workbench
by H. Ward Silver
RF Interference
RFI is everywhere, — is it interference to you or Is it interference by you? Possibly both! But fortunately there are ways to keep it in line.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
GPSL 2015 and My 150th Near Space Launch
Highlights from this year’s Great Plains Super Launch conference and commemoration of Paul’s 150th adventure into the great beyond.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
New Short-Range Wireless Standards Target IoT Applications
Now, it is easier than ever to connect devices over the Internet with the features available in upgraded versions of Bluetooth and ZigBee.

Practical 3D Printing
by Chuck Hellebuyck
3D Custom Storage Boxes
Get your electronics über organized with specially designed storage drawers.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
Atmosphere Takes Bluetooth Apps to New Heights
Anaren is bringing Bluetooth “out of the stone age” with their new web-based tool that lets you simultaneously code an embedded Bluetooth monitor/control application and its associated smartphone GUI app.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
CubeSats — Part 2: The Basic Subassemblies.
Learn about some of the kits and basic subsystems that are now available for starting your own space program using CubeSats.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
Wi-Fi on the Big Wire
Classic embedded Wi-Fi web servers based on microcontrollers have met their match. The ACKme Numbat stuffs an ARM microprocessor, Wi-Fi radio, TCP/IP stack, UART, real time clock, multiple GPIO pins, analog-to-digital converters, PWM generators, SPI portals, 1 MB of serial Flash, and an I2C interface into a 0.8” x 0.6” x 0.11” SMT package. All you need is a PC serial port and a terminal emulator to gain access to the Numbat’s rich set of resources.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
CubeSats — Part 4
Programs to Launch CubeSats. Discover some of the ways these mini satellites are reaching space, and are making personal space exploration a reality.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
Building a Multipurpose Communications Board
Clear your bench and tin your soldering iron. In this installment, we’re going to scratch build a multipurpose embedded communications board. While the soldering iron is cooling down, we’ll fire up the Microchip XC32 C compiler under MPLABX and bring our new garage-brewed creation to life.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
Take Your PIC of a Super-Fast Embedded Computing Machine
It just doesn’t get any better than this. It’s time to gather the components, get the circuit boards made, lay down the parts, and write the code. When the dust settles, you’ll have built a super-fast 32-bit embedded computing machine that can converse via multiple logic-level serial ports, a true RS-232 port, USB, and Wi-Fi. If all of that data is important to you, just store it away on the onboard microSD card. And it does get better.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
From Data Logger to On-Demand Data Storage Device
Roland Riegel, Bill Greiman, and the folks at SparkFun laid the ground work for the OpenLog. OpenLog was originally designed as an “out of the box” data logger. We’re going to add some PIC32MX electron spice to the OpenLog design and turn it into an “out of the box” general-purpose microSD-based storage device.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
CubeSats — Part 3: Attitude and Velocity
Learn about some “toys” that help CubeSats control their own attitude and velocity.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
CubeSats — Part 5: Designing a Model CubeSat for School Use
As CubeSats continue to play a pivotal role in space exploration, it’s important to introduce more schools to this technology. Here’s a kit that can do just that.

The Ham’s Wireless Workbench
by H. Ward Silver
Protecting Inputs and Outputs
If you’re taking your equipment out into the field, you’re gonna want to make sure it’s protected from any “glitch gremlins” that might be lurking about.

Practical 3D Printing
by Chuck Hellebuyck
A Custom 3D Printed Case for CHIPINO
Here’s an example of how to use your 3D printer to design a custom enclosure.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
A Blueprint for Embedded Wi-Fi
Last month, we discovered that the Numbat Wi-Fi module on the Moray development board can take care of itself in the wild. However, you can’t Wi-Fi in the woods if you have to be attached to the USB port of a laptop. This month, we will replace the USB cable, laptop, and terminal emulator with a simple PIC microcontroller and some tricky CCS C code.

Practical 3D Printing
by Chuck Hellebuyck
Tool Stand for Low Cost Rotary Tool
Need more room on your workbench? Then, create custom holders for your tools and their accessories.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
Adding a microSD Card Demystified
You don’t have to be a certified rocket scientist to add microSD capability to your 32-bit PIC microcontroller project. This edition of Design Cycle will demystify the process of adding a microSD card to your design. To make adding that microSD worthwhile, we will also implement a PIC32MX microSD bootloader.

Practical 3D Printing
by Chuck Hellebuyck
Pegboard Solder Holder
Never lose your roll of solder again with this handy bench organizational tool.

Departments

Change the World
by Bryan Bergeron
Take your knowledge of electronics — whatever your level of expertise — and focus it towards solving a meaningful problem. Go ahead, change the world. I dare you!

For Learning, Old School Can be the Best School
by Bryan Bergeron
When I started out in electronics, my “junk box” of rescued parts from TVs, radios, and the like was the source of endless projects and test instruments.

Just in Time Parts vs. the Junkbox
Cleaning out my workshop reminded me of when I first started my journey in electronics — I had a junkbox with a few dozen tubes, a pound or two of discrete resistors and capacitors, and some miscellaneous hardware.

Amateur Radio – Not Just For the Nostalgic
by Bryan Bergeron
It’s no secret that amateur radio has been in decline for a while, hastened by the popularity of the Internet. Today, all that’s required for world-wide video and audio communications is a cell phone — not a room packed with powerful gear.