Category Archives: Electronics

The stuff I use

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It’s always fascinating to know what kit others use. Reviews are all very well, but I’m more interested in what people work with on a day-to-day basis. So I’ve set up an account over on kit.com. I’ll be sharing lists of the equipment I actually use and like. If you see something in these lists you’ll know that: I bought… Read more »

Hacking a film scanner

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I’m building a rig to digitise my large selection of 35mm transparencies and negatives and in the process I’ve encountered what could be one of the worst electronic products I’ve ever bought. And in the spirit of the ineffable Big Clive, I thought I’d share my adventures in taking it apart. In some ways this belongs over on my photography… Read more »

PCB design: connecting with Eagle

[Eagle vs KiCad part 4] In the last post in my Eagle vs KiCad series I’d got as far as using Eagle to place all the components for the HexMonitor project in a schematic. Now it’s time to join them together. Even before I begin, something tells me that perhaps this is too ambitious a project for my very first PCB…. Read more »

The perils of antistatic foam

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Not all foam is created equal. Let me explain. When you buy integrated circuits (ICs, or chips, if you prefer) they’ll sometimes be delivered with their cute little legs stuffed into black foam. That’s because many chips, and particularly CMOS-based ones, are rather sensitive to static electricity. If a static potential builds up between the legs (and if, like me,… Read more »

PCB design: modifying a part with Eagle

[Eagle vs KiCad part 3] In the last post, I’d got as far as putting all the parts for my HexMonitor project into the schematic, albeit without actually connecting them. There was a good reason for that: while I (somewhat surprisingly) found the connector part I needed in Eagle’s default libraries, it wasn’t labelled the way I wanted. This was… Read more »

Eagle vs KiCad: first thoughts

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[Eagle vs KiCad part 1] There’s a tough decision awaiting anyone who, like me, is about to get into designing their own printed circuit boards (PCBs) – what software to use. An Electronic Design Automation (EDA) package is pretty much essential for any serious PCB work, and quite a lot of non-serious work too (which is where I come in)…. Read more »