Building your equipment inventory
Getting more serious about DIY electronics and circuitry but don’t have an extensive workbench setup yet? Test equipment is an important part of any workshop, and a digital multimeter (DMM) is one of the most important pieces of test equipment you can own. From measuring current and voltage, to testing capacitors, to waiting for the reassuring “beep” of continuity, you’ll pull out your multimeter for almost every project you build.
In a previous post, we highlighted a DIY oscilloscope project that used an Arduino Pro Mini and an old Nokia cell phone LCD to create a quick and dirty oscilloscope. That build is great for a portable solution. However, what if you want a bit more power and polish?
One of the biggest challenges of robotics and DIY hardware is simply finding the right components for the job. You may have cooked up the perfect locomotion system, but obtaining that oddly sized axle bearing or aluminum channel can take up more of your time than the actual design and assembly. Because of this, we’re always on the lookout for good sources of project parts and hardware that can deliver quickly when needed.
Pete Brown, the lead of the Developer Guidance Community Team at Microsoft, has written a great post on how to properly prepare for a new AVR project. He covers how to choose a microcontroller, collecting necessary datasheets and information, setting up your hardware development environment and software IDE, and how to properly test and debug your code.
If you’re looking to make the jump from Arduino or another processor family but aren’t sure where to start, this should help get you off the ground. You can also cross-reference our tutorial on using AVR Studio 5 with Arduino projects if you want to mix and match environments.
Like hacking? Like cars? At EngBlaze, we’re pretty fond of both of these things, which is why we enjoy seeing creative ways to hack your vehicle. The following projects are a few ideas if you’re looking to insert some DIY hardware into your ride (or perform surgery on an unsuspecting friend’s). Here are five of our favorite ways to hack your ride and make it stand out from the crowd.
Printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing is a black art among the DIY community. If you’re putting together a prototype circuit, the process is very well established: get an Arduino or your microcontroller of choice, pick out some components, get a breadboard and wires, and then string everything together. Easy, low cost, and accessible.
However, what if your project becomes more complex? You can extend breadboard or perf-board work to a point, but the likelihood of making an error grows exponentially with project complexity. Nobody wants to end up with a circuit that looks like this:
Image credit: Big Mess o’ Wires