Soldering surface-mounted components on circuit boards can be challenging without industrial soldering equipment. But maker.moekoe shows off a method for soldering multiple components using soldering paste and a temperature-controlled clothes iron to melt all of the solder into place at once.
Brad from Fix This Build That shows how he fabricated a coffee table that’s great parties. He built the table from cedar and MDF, and it packs a beer cooler, Bluetooth speakers, and recessed LED lights that animate to the beat of the music. He had a few challenges along the way, but the end result looks great.
Googol is the mathematical label for 10 to the hundredth power or 1 followed by 100 zeros. If you tried to count to a Googol, even in milliseconds, you’ll never live to see the end of your count. Look Mum No Computer built an electronic counter that he hopes can be kept alive and running well past his time here on Earth.
This handy accessory turns Leatherman multitools into a portable battery tester. It takes advantage of the metal construction of the tools to conduct power and can display voltages from 2.5 to 30 VDC using a set of yellow, red, and green LEDs. It’s compatible with the Leatherman Signal, Wave, Skeletool, Surge, and Bit Extender.
With their green and copper color scheme, circuit boards have a distinctive look. It turns out that there’s a good reason that so many of them are the same color. Today I Found Out offers an in-depth explanation of how circuit boards are made, what they’re made from, and why they look like they do.
With this 112-bit driver kit from iFixit, you’ll never be caught without the proper tool for opening gadgets. It comes with 1/4″ and 4mm bit driver handles with magnetic bit sockets, knurled grips, swivel tops, and high-quality bits made from S2 and 6150 steel. And if anything ever breaks, it’s covered by iFixit’s lifetime warranty.
When you pump too much voltage into a capacitor, it will eventually fail by exploding like a tiny bomb. Gav and Dan of The Slow Mo Guys pushed too much power through some of these ubiquitous energy storage devices to see what they looked like as they failed. The footage tops out at an incredible 187,500 fps.
Even though we upgrade or replace our gadgets and computers regularly, only a small portion of old electronics ever get recycled. Business Insider takes us inside of Sims Lifecycle Services to show how they reuse, repurpose, and recycle up to 6-million pounds of e-waste every month.
To celebrate the holidays, software engineer Scottbez1 built a miniature replica of a Nintendo Switch to hang on his Christmas tree. The 3D-printed model is roughly 1:5-scale with a working LCD screen that plays animated GIFs of Switch games and has tiny clickable thumbsticks.
This circuit board-inspired glass cutting board is a great kitchen accessory for tech geeks. Unlike an actual motherboard, it’s perfectly smooth, so you don’t have to worry about getting bits of onion stuck in the electronics. If the circuit looks familiar to you, that’s because it’s based on the board inside the classic Sinclair ZX81 PC.
There are some off-the-shelf kits out there for building colorful LED cubes, but we’ve never seen anything quite as impressive as Mike Caan’s custom-built light cube, which features a whopping 24,576 RGB LEDs across its six 64×64 faces, each capable of displaying animations and videos uploaded from his computer.
The Roadie 3 is an automatic tuner for guitars, basses, ukuleles, and other stringed instruments. We took one for a spin to see how quickly and accurately it works on a guitar, along with testing it on a less common instrument – a bouzouki. Overall, it’s an impressive tool for any musician who plays strings.
Split-flap displays used to be common in everything from tabletop clocks to arrival and departure boards at airports. While not as popular these days, these electro-mechanical displays are still marvels of engineering. Scottbez1 walks us through how they work with a demonstration of his single-digit Arduino-controlled display.
Adafruit Industries shows off some tiny LEDs that can light up without being attached to a power source. They use wound copper wire to capture inductive power from up to a foot away, much like a wireless phone charger. Apparently, they’re used by model makers in order to light up scenes without running wires. More here.
This fascinating tabletop clock tells the time by changing the temperature. Instructables contributor Twisted & Tinned created the display using thermochromic foil and surface-mounted resistors that heat up liquid crystals. They previously made a temperature and humidity display using a different
Engineers, makers, and anyone else who works with circuits will love these pocket reference cards. The durable card set includes measurements, schematic symbols, a component value calculator, SMD footprints, laws and theories, and more. It comes in black and gold or a Kickstarter limited-edition PCB green.
Unless you’re a vampire, a mirror will reflect your face when you look at it. But The Action Lab’s unique mirror is a bit different. It uses a liquid crystal panel to block out the mirror and an expression recognition app that detects if its user isn’t smiling. We like the creative approach he came up with for the triggering system.
If you know anything about electronics, you know there are tons of different types of switches. Engineer and inventor Tim Hunkin delves into some of the many kinds of switches, how they work to complete circuits, and how to choose the right type for your projects.
A volumetric display can show images that produce the illusion of depth. After maker Sean Hodgins got his hands on some see-through OLED displays, he designed and built a miniature display that can display a 3D image by spreading its components across its multiple layers. This thing looks straight out of science fiction.
Concord Aerospace makes replicas of the switches found in NASA’s space vehicles, including the Apollo command module and the Space Shuttle. The switches feature accurate labeling, and can be wired to control circuits, should you decide to build your own basement simulator. You can also order switches with custom labeling.
With the right circuitry and engineering skills, tesla coils can be programmed to play music. Franzoli Electronics previously wowed us with their high-voltage version of Toto’s Africa. Now they’re back with a powerful cover of The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, replacing the thumpy garage rock sounds with a fuzzy electronic sound.
Last Christmas, maker Jiří Praus decided he wanted a unique ornament. So he set about building a light-up sphere that can display colorful patterns. He built the orb using meticulously-soldered brass wires, 194 individual RGB LEDs, and an ESP32 microcontroller. Check out the full build details on Instructables.
When the dreaded “check engine” and other dashboard warning lights flare, discover what’s wrong without a costly trip to a mechanic. The Innova 1000 Car Scan Mobile turns smartphones into advanced OBD2 diagnostic tools. It pairs with the RepairSolutions 2 app for systems health checks of most cars made since 1996.
This DIY handheld gaming system offers gamers an opportunity to learn about electronics. The system features a 2.42″ monochrome widescreen and comes with 200 Arduboy games pre-loaded into its memory. Advanced users can even program their own games for it. Available with or without a tool kit.
We’re only a month from the release of Sony and Microsoft’s latest consoles, and both brands have been more liberal about showing the inner workings of their systems than before. Sony mechanical design VP Yasuhiro Ootori disassembles a brand new PS5, and explains each of its components. English subtitles available.