The Amp Hour Redeems Itself Again

The Amp Hour has been terrible for the past couple of weeks. I’ve seriously wished for a refund of the few minutes of attention I paid them while listening and doing other things. ‘Nuff said.

However this week Chris and Dave have added one more data point to the curve suggesting that when they get somebody else into the conversation their podcast shines. This week’s episode is an interview of Eric Van Wyk, an engineer with amazing credentials. The specific Amp Hour web page for this episode contains many interesting details suggesting Van Wyk and company’s “Mooshimeter” will create immediate salivation if you’re part of the TriEmbed crowd.

SPARKcon coming real soon now!

SPARKcon is an interdisciplinary creativity, art & design festival produced by the non-profit creativity incubator, Visual Art Exchange, in Raleigh NC.  SPARKcon 2014 will be the 9th annual event and happens Sept. 11-14 in downtown Raleigh.
 
 
geekSPARK is a showcase for the creative use of new and interactive media and technology in the local community.  Whether in the form of a large video game studio, or a solitary multidisciplinary genius, The Triangle is filled with people blending art with technology, creative ideas with technical know-how. Our goal is to bring more of these people together, and to provide a venue to promote their emerging work. There will also be 3D printers and other fun stuff.

Latest Amp Hour: SDR meets RADAR

This week on The Amp Hour Chris Gammel’s guests are Michael Ossman, the guy behind a (cheaper, simpler than previous, highly capable) software defined radio system and Greg Charvat, the guy behind a coffee can-based synthetic aperture radar system that uses your PC’s “sound card”. One of the most easy on the ears, friendly and interesting sharing between techies I’ve listened to in a good while.  For those interested in learning about SDR Michael has started a tutorial series.

T-962 Reflow Oven Vent Setup and Editorial

 

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This house used to have a wood stove in the basement and for years I’ve been using the vent to get coax to the roof-mounted TV antennas, but now it’s got a serious 240v fan jammed in it for a fully kludgephonic reflow oven vent.

Now I just need to find or make a fume hood that can properly handle the huge exhaust flow out the bottom of the oven when it’s in “cooling” mode. Whatever I end up with will be fully enclosed (maybe a plastic “flap” or door on the front) except for an inlet air arrangement that I haven’t thought through yet. Maybe holes in the table top below the oven and yet another vent hose that comes from “someplace” where I can get air so there’s little chance of fumes coming out that hose?

Please don’t leave a comment about masking tape inside the oven. It isn’t “tape fumes” I’m arranging to avoid.

 

Making Component Markings Readable

 

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Here is a fast way to make IC part numbers easy to read (follow this link, then click on “Dicas práticas em eletrônica“).  Thank you Luciano Sturaro!!

This is translated to English with larger graphics in the Stack Exchange Q&A below. However it’s this easy:

  1. Clean the IC surface with alcohol and let it dry
  2. Rub chalk on it
  3. Gently wipe the IC surface

Electronics Stack Exchange Q&A

Update: Reality Bites

Of the few dozens of different chips I’ve tried this chalk trick on in the past few days I’ve found that maybe 15% are nearly immune to it.

Ready for Kicad!!

At the TriEmbed meeting this coming Monday I’ll be asking if others are interested in joining a systematic self-study of Kicad.

I knew I’d be driven to this sooner or later, but the future is now, as they say. I’m working on a combination clock calibrator and frequency counter and find the design process dominated by the challenge of fitting the silly thing into a single Eagle schematic sheet.

The current rough cut of the circuit building blocks is the super-compressed schematic toward the bottom of the project page. This hodge podge of schematic symbols jammed together make it clear that the free version of Eagle is not up to expressing a system this large and complex. (Correction: I have a license for non-educational use, but just the cheap one that has the same size constraints as the free version.)

Update: A “Kicad Study Group” page has been added and at least a half dozen folks expressed interest in taking part.

Update: Nobody’s missed anything, time’s just run short this month.