Sensors – The final volume in an impressive series of electronics guides for 21st-century makers

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Encyclopedia of Electronic Components Volume 3: Sensors by Charles Platt and Fredrik Jansson Maker Media 2016, 256 pages, 7.9 x 9.6 x 0.4 inches (softcover) $18 Buy a copy on Amazon

With this somewhat slim but jam-packed volume, Make: contributing editor and electronics columnist, Charles Platt (here joined by Fredrik Jansson), completes his detailed explorations of the modern, common electronics components most useful to today’s electronics hobbyists and other DIYers.

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How to deal with a tiny stripped screw on a gadget

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I had to remove the SSD from an elderly MacBook Air, but the tiny little screw on it was stuck on good. The appropriate Torx driver stripped it, and two flatheads snapped in the hole that remains. Here's the easy way. Read the rest

Star Simpson is designing classic circuits from Forrrest Mims' "Getting Started in Electronics"

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The talented engineer Star Simpson is designing circuits from in Forrest M. Mims' terrific 1980s electronics books published by Radio Shack. They look great!

Each circuit depicts an original, traced and hand-drawn schematic created by Forrest Mims for his iconic books Getting Started in Electronics, and the Engineers’ Notebook series. Every board includes a description of how it works, in Mims’ handwriting, on the reverse side.

Alongside the schematic is the circuit itself. Paired with the components you need to build up timeless examples such as the Dual-LED Flasher, the Stepped Tone Generator, and the Bargraph Voltage Indicator, each board is carefully designed for easy assembly recreating the wonder of learning how electronics work— whether it’s your first soldering project or your fifty-thousandth.

Here's Star on the O'Reilly Hardware podcast talking about designing beautiful circuit boards: Read the rest

Handy $4 set of 10 test leads

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Are they Alligator leads or Crocodile clips?

This $4 set certainly comes in handy when playing with our Makey Makey, and unsurprisingly have become standard kit when trouble-shooting electrical gremlins on my motorcycle.

Also useful for extending the reach of a multi-meter.

Set of 10 multi-colored 14" Test Leads via Amazon Read the rest

Using a multimeter, made simple

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Clearly we love multimeters at Boing Boing! This great video, passed on via my friend Dan Rodarte, gives you a quick run down on using this diagnostic tool. Read the rest

The best of CES 2016, in 10 photos

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The annual Consumer Electronics Show is under way in Las Vegas, and we're enjoying the sights and sounds at a distance. Vegas during CES is a lot to handle. Here are 10 images from Reuters photographers that capture some of the more interesting displays over the first few days of the tech showcase.

The Faraday Future FFZERO1 electric concept car is unveiled. REUTERS

An Allie Go, a 360-degree action cam, by IC Real Tech is shown on a helmet. The $599.00 camera uses two sensors with over 180 degree-coverage each and combines the video in the unit using Qualcomm processors. REUTERS

A 3D printer for consumers capable of creating multicolor objects. REUTERS

A Canhe-Fit pendant for pets is displayed on a toy dog. The fitness tracker monitors your pet's activity level, then an App gives nutritional advice depending on the breed, age and weight of the pet. REUTERS

Representatives from the French company Parrot demonstrate a prototype of their new Disco drone at the opening event at CES 2016. The Disco is the first wing-shaped drone which a user can pilot with no learning process, according to the company. REUTERS

A smartphone receives real-time information on air quality from an Airmega air purifier from Coway. The WiFi-enabled, smart air purifiers from South Korea range in price from $749.00-$849.00 depending on the size. REUTERS

Eric Yu of Royole models the company's foldable Smart Mobile Theater system. The $700.00 system has noise-canceling headphones and a viewing system that is vision correctable so you don't need to wear your glasses, Yu said. Read the rest

Charge 4 devices at once with the Limefuel Blast 20000mAh battery pack

When you choose Limefuel’s Blast for portable power, you choose a battery that charges twice as fast as the competition.

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The best book on learning electronics just got better

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When Make: Electronics was published about five years ago, it was widely hailed as the greatest book about learning electronics ever written. With beautiful photos, easy-to-read schematics, clear, jargon-free text, and dozens and dozens of fun and educational projects, author/illustrator Charles Platt made a book that has ended up in every makerspace and library I've visited.

A few weeks ago the Second Edition of Make: Electronics came out, and it's even better than the first edition. Charles rewrote the text, replaced the photos of breadboarded circuits with diagrams showing component placement, included new projects, added new photographs with a ruled background to indicate the scale of tools and components, and included a chapter on Arduino.

This is the book to get if you want to learn electronics.

(Disclosure, I was Charles' editor when I was editor-in-chief of MAKE) Read the rest

Obama's coming for your Christmas drones

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Amid growing fears about safety and security risks from unauthorized drone flights, federal regulators say they plan to require pretty much all recreational drones in the U.S. to be registered. Read the rest

Adafruit founder Limor Fried describes her favorite tools

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Kevin Kelly and I had a great time talking to Limor Fried, an MIT engineer and the founder of Adafruit, a one-stop shop for makers to buy electronics kits and components as well as learn and share ideas related to electronics prototyping. Limor told us about the giant pick-and-place and stencil printers she uses at Adafruit to make her kits at her New York City factory.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Podcast on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

(CC Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch) Read the rest

How to make cool copper wire tiaras with LEDs

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The Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio has a nice tutorial on how to make tiaras/copper crowns with copper wire, solder, batteries, and LEDs.

[via] Read the rest

Amazing DIY computer control panel

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If only all computer interfaces were as gloriously sci-fi as this excellent "DIY Overhead Control Panel" hand-built by a maker called Smashcuts. It features a slew of LEDs and 100 programmable buttons and switches that activate shortcuts on his PC, open apps, control volume and screen preferences, etc. Read the rest

New episode of Circuit Playground - electronics for kids

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Here's episode 6 of Circuit Playground, a charming show that teaches kids about electricity. It's produced by our friends at Adafruit. In this episode, Ladyada teaches Adabot about electrical grounding.

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Official case for your Raspberry Pi

For three years, makers have hacked together some terrific and janky DIY Raspberry Pi cases (like these). Finally, Ebon Upton and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have produced their own official Raspberry Pi case. Read the rest

Radio Shack bankruptcy update: most customer data will be destroyed, not sold to pay creditors

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When electronics retailer Radio Shack filed for bankruptcy, the chain proposed selling customers' personal data to raise cash and repay creditors. That's not gonna happen, and the news is seen as a win for the right to privacy. Read the rest

Encyclopedia of Electronic Components

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When I was one of the editors at Make: Books, one of the projects I was proudest to have helped conceive of and edit was Charles Platt’s Make: Electronics (which has now been a best-seller for years). Growing up being absurdly visual and suffering from mild dyslexia, I found it incredibly difficult to learn electronics using the books of the day. They were usually very poorly written, with bad editing, dark and dreary photos, and crude diagrams. Forrest Mims’ 1983 Getting Started in Electronics, beautifully hand-drawn on graph paper, with succinct and clear text and playful examples, was a revelation to me.

For Make: Electronics we wanted to create a Getting Started for the early 21st century – well-written, beautifully photographed and illustrated, and in high-quality, full-color. Charles Platt and Make: delivered on that promise, in spades, with Make: Electronics and its follow-up volume, Make: More Electronics. And Charles continues to knock it out of the park with Encyclopedia of Electronic Components, currently in two volumes, with a third on the way.
 Volume 1 covers batteries, power supplies, motors, resistors, capacitors, inductors, switches, encoders, relays, diodes, transistors, and more. Each entry describes what it does, how it works, variants on the component, how to use it, and what can go wrong with it. Each entry is illustrated with well-shot photos (the components are shot on a graph paper background, so you can get some idea of their size), charts and graphs, and cut-away diagrams. The writing is very approachable while not shying away from technical rigor. Read the rest

WATCH: make light cubes and other cool stuff with tiny LED filaments

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Mike Harrison has been experimenting with tiny flexible LED filaments found in LED bulbs that mimic incandescent bulbs. He came up with this cool light cube and a very bright clock display. Read the rest

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