A Workspace for Radio & Metrology Projects

Ralph Berres, a television technician in Germany, created an exemplary design space in his house for working on projects relating to his two main technical interests: amateur radio and metrology (the science of measurement). He even builds his own measurement equipment for his bench.

Ralph Berres built this workspace for his radio and metrology projects

“I am a licensed radio amateur with the call sign DF6WU… My hobby is high-frequency and low-frequency metrology,” Berres wrote in his submission.

Amateur radio is popular among Circuit Cellar readers. Countless electrical engineers and technical DIYers I’ve met or worked with during the past few years are amateur radio operators. Some got involved in radio during childhood. Others obtained radio licenses more recently. For instance, Rebecca Yang of Tymkrs.com chronicled the process in late 2011. Check it out: http://youtu.be/9HfmyiHTWZI and http://tymkrs.tumblr.com/.

Do you want to share images of your workspace, hackspace, or “circuit cellar” with the world? Click here to email us your images and workspace info.

 

Elektor Weekly Wrap-Up: Projects Update & LED Book/Kit

Yet again, last week was hectic yet productive for my Elektor colleagues overseas: articles were edited, design projects were undertaken, and much more.  Here’s the inside scoop on two important items.

Progress  at “Elektor Projects”

The “Elektor Projects” website is officially live, and members have begun sharing their electronics experiences and discussing projects.

Check out some of the current projects members can join:

  • Pico C-Plus and Pico C-Super
  • MYC, a universal system to control devices and programs
  • Sub low pass filter
  • Wheelie 2
  • USB record digitizer with RIAA correction
  • Analog Theremin

Go to www.elektor-projects.com to find out more.

LED Book & Kit Promo

Elektor announced a nice offer for members interested in Willem van Dreumel’s book Fun with LEDs. For a limited time, Elektor members get 15% discount and free shipping and handling. Here’s the info about the book straight from Elektor:

LEDs are found everywhere these days. These colorful lights seem to offer so many you may wonder where to begin using them. This booklet presents more than twenty exciting projects covering LEDs, aimed at young & old. From an Air Writer, a Party Light, Running Lights, a LED Fader right up to a Christmas Tree.

Use this book to replicate various projects and then put them into practice. To give you a head start each project is supported by a brief explanation, schematics and photos. In addition, the free support page on the Elektor website has a few inspiring video links available that elaborate on the projects.

A couple of projects employ the popular Arduino microcontroller board that’s graced by a galaxy of open source applications.

An optional 60-piece starter kitis also available with the book.

Starter kit

The kit includes:

  • 1 pc. breadboard w. 270 contacts
  • 1m hookup wire
  • 1 pc. 9V battery clip
  • 27 pcs. carbon film resistor (27E, 56E, 82E, 150E, 270E, 330E, 390E, 8x 470E, 560E, 1K, 6x 2K2, 10K, 3M9, 4M7, 5M6)
  • 4 pcs. ceramic capacitors (10nF; 5mm pitch)
  • 5 pcs. BS170
  • 1 pc. LM555CN (NE555CN)
  • 1 pc. C4017 (HEF4017)
  • 3 pcs. trimpot, horizontal (1K, 10K, 100K, + 3 wheels), pitch 10mm/12.5mm, with spindle
  • 1 pc. RGB LED (4-pin)
  • 1 pc. UV LED, 5mm
  • 1 pc. LED, 5mm, Rainbow (Colour-Change)
  • 5 pcs. LED, diffuse, red, 5mm
  • 5 pcs. LED, diffuse, yellow, 5mm
  • 5 pcs. LED diffuse, green, 5mm
  • 3 pcs. LED, bright blue, 5mm
  • 3 pcs. LED, bright white, 5mm
  • 2 pcs. 1N4148 diode
  • 3 pcs. 10uF electrolytic (10uF/25V), pitch 2.54mm
  • 3 pcs. 220uF electrolytic (220uF/25V), pitch 5mm
  • 1 pc. 74HC14
  • 1 pc. LM324
  • 1 pc. CD4093 (HEF4093)
  • 3 pcs. BC547B

You can use the kit build and test circuits on a breadboard without having to get involved with soldering.

CircuitCellar.com is an Elektor International Media publication.

 

Project Spotlight: Electronics + Wood Fab Speakers

MIT graduate student David Mellis is interested in how designers are combining high-tech parts like microcontrollers with low-tech materials in clever ways. Yesterday, I pointed everyone to Mellis’s inspiring 3-D Printed Mouse project. Now let’s look at another creative design—Fab Speakers.

Whether you’re a microcontroller fanatic, professional engineer, audiophile, musician, or all of the aforementioned, this open-source Fab Speakers project will surely inspire you to customize your own. I’d love to see how others tackle a similar DIY project!

Fab Speakers (Source: D. Mellis)

Mellis writes:

These portable speakers are made from laser-cut wood, fabric, veneer, and electronics. They are powered by three AAA batteries and compatible with any standard audio jack (e.g. on an iPhone, iPod, or laptop).

The speakers are an experiment in open-source hardware applied to consumer electronics. By making their original design files freely available online, in a way that’s easy for others to modify, I hope to encourage people to make and modify them. In particular, I’d love to see changes or additions that I didn’t think about and to have those changes shared publicly for others to use or continue to modify. The speakers have been designed to be relatively simple and cheap in the hopes of facilitating their production by others …

Use 6mm (1/4″) plywood. For the veneer, 1 9/16″ edging backed with an iron-on adhesive is ideal (like this one from Rockler), but anything should work if you cut it to that width. Pick whatever fabric you like. For the electronic components, see the bill-of-materials above. You’ll also need two-conductor speaker wire, available at Radio Shack… There’s also a wall-mounted, oval-shaped variation on the design. It uses the same circuit board, but combines both speakers into a single unit that can hang on a nail or screw in the wall. You’ll want to replace the batteries with a 5V power supply (included in the bill of materials); just cut off the connector and solder the wires directly into the + and – holes for the battery holder. You’ll also want to omit the power switch and just solder together the holes where it would have gone.

The design's battery holder (Source: D. Mellis)

Mellis gave me permission to write about the projects and post some of the photos from his website.

Click here to check out all the files for this project.

Project Spotlight: “3D-Printed Mouse” Circuitry & Design

I get to meet and interact with creative engineers and researchers around the world who are working on innovative MCU-based projects. Some of them show up at our office to chat. Others I meet with when I travel to California for events like the Embedded Systems Conference. But many of the most interesting people and projects I find are on the Net. A perfect example is David Mellis, whose projects and research grabbed my attention recently while I was browsing the MIT Media Lab website. He is a PhD student in the High-Low Tech research group at the MIT Media Lab.

Mellis gave me permission to write about the projects and post some of the photos from his website, so let’s take a look at one of them—the “3D-Printed Mouse.”

The 3D-Printed Mouse design (Source: D. Mellis)

Check out the mouse strapped to a hand.

The mouse in hand (Source: D. Mellis)

Mellis writes:

This mouse combines a traditional electronic circuit board and components with a 3D-printed enclosure. The mouse is open-source: the original files necessary to make or modify its design are available for download below.

Download

Enclosure
Rhino: mouse.3dm
STLs: mouse-shell.stl, mouse-base.stl

Circuit board
Eagle files: mouse.brd, mouse.sch
Gerbers: mouse-gerbers.zip
Schematic: mouse.pdf

Component Datasheets

Button: SS-P_1110.pdf
Mouse Chip: ADNS2620.pdf

Code: hid-mouse.zip

Mellis notes that the circuitry and code are based on SparkFun’s ADNS2620 Evaluation Board, but “have been modified to include buttons.”

The first prototype with the SparkFun board (Source: D. Mellis)

Click here to access the project site.

 

Elektor June 2012: Nixie Thermometer, PIC Programmer, AVR Software-Defined Radio, & More

Elektor’s June issue is going to be a classic. You’ll read about a wide range  of topics from a Nixie thermometer/hygrometer to a PIC programmer solution to an Intersil IMS6100 vintage dev kit. And much more!

Watch the video below, and be sure to check out the Nixie tubes at the 6:50 min mark.

Here’s a summary of what you’ll find in the issue:

  • Nixie Thermometer/Thermometer: Nixie tubes are used in a retro-looking temperature & humidity meter
  • Preamplifier 2012 (3): A discussion of the LLLL board, the switch boards and the power supply board.
  • Flexible Stepper Motor Driver: If you have concerns about connecting a stepper motor driver to your PC, consider building this one with full electrical isolation.
  • Embedded Linux made Easy (2)
  • Computer-driven Heliostat: Here’s software and some electronics to enable you to use inexpensive servos to track the sun.
  • Dual Hot-wire Anemometer
  • AVR Software Defined Radio
  • Platino, controlled by LabVIEW (2)
  • Electronics for Starters (6)
  • PIC Programmer for Emergencies
  • 2-Wire Interface for Illuminated Pushbuttons
  • Retronics: Intersil IMS6100 Vintage Dev Kit (Series Editor: Jan Buiting)

CircuitCellar.com is an Elektor International Media publication.