5 Tools Everyone Tinkering In Electronics Should Be Using

1. Soldering Iron — Weller WESD51 Digital Soldering Station
For me a good soldering iron is really a necessity, specifically something with changeable tips and a flexible cable. I now have the best solder iron I have ever owned. The Weller WESD51, a digitally controlled iron with a max output of 50 watts. The iron is microprocessor controlled with a temperature range of 350F-850F. Digital LED display provides temperature setting and actual tip temperature readout in degrees. If I leave my iron on for some reason, it has auto power-off after 99 minutes.
2. Xuron — Cutters and Pliers
Nippers, cutters and precision pliers make life so much easier. You can cut closer to your solder points and hold small parts better. I normally would be a little more general in my recommendations, but I really these tools compared to my Kobalt needle nose.
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A mini microphone preamplifier


Via: dangerousprototypes.com

Boris Landoni from Open Electronics has written an article about the design of amicrophone preamplifier:

This Mini Microphone Preamplifier could be used as the first stage to amplify any audio signal. The device is equipped with a microphone plus clips to be connected to a 9V battery. Amplification is achieved by using an operational LM741 amplifier. The volume level could be adjusted via a trimmer.



Where I Get My Electronics…


I use Mouser Electronics almost exclusively for internet ordered components. I’ve used the major companies, but have had the best time with Mouser. Shipping rates, shipping times, handling times, selection and stocked items have all been the best for me from Mouser. Also, and to me this is very important, there website is the best. I don’t even go to Digikey cause it has always been so terrible, it may have changed by now, but to late.



Repost: hackaday.com – GoPro hack delivers live video feed for piloting your Quadcopter


The GoPro line of HD cameras seem like they were specifically designed for use with quadcopters. We say that because the small, light-weight video devices present a payload which can be lifted without too much strain, but still have enough horse power to capture video of superb quality. Here’s a hack that uses the camera to provide a remote First Person View so that you may pilot the aircraft when it is out of your line of sight.

The camera in question is a GoPro Hero 3. It differs from its predecessors in that the composite video out port has been moved to a mini USB connector. But it’s still there and just a bit of cable splicing will yield a very clear signal. The image above shows the camera in the middle, connecting via the spliced cable to an FPV transmitter on the right. This will all be strapped to the quadcopter, with the signal picked up by the receiver on the left and piped to a goggle display worn by the pilot. You can see the cable being construction process in the clip after the break.

If you’re looking for other cool stuff to do with your GoPro camera check out the bullet-time work [Caleb] did with ours.

How to Hack your GoPro Hero 3 for FPV from Chad Johnson on Vimeo.


Repost: kb6nu.com – Solder: 60/40 or 63/37?

Orginial Post

File this under  ”You learn something new every day.”

A 1-lb. roll of Kester 44 solder with a 63/37 tin-lead formulation is $22.96 from AllSpec Industries. Kester 44 with a 60/40 formulation costs only $21.06.


A couple of days ago, someone on theHamRadioHelpGroup mailing list asked, “So I’m about to put up my first antenna and I need to solder the connectors to the coax. I know learned this in the book but I can not find it, so what kind of solder should I be using?”

Pat, K7KBN, replied, “Rosin core, 60/40 lead/tin (63/37 is better).  Don’t use any acid core or acid flux solder, and avoid the no-lead junk.  The diameter of the solder depends on your taste and experience.  Connector work requires more solder than circuit board work in most cases. And for connectors you need an iron with a massive tip that won’t cool off when you touch the body of the connector like a typical gun tip will.”

So, of course, I had to ask, “Why is 63/37 better?”

The answer? “The 63% tin/37% lead solder alloy is “eutectic” (Google it).  Basically it has NO ‘plastic range.’ It changes instantly from liquid to solid.”

Mark, K5LXP, ever the practical ham, added, “For anything hams solder you would be hard pressed to discern the flow, hardness or durability difference between any of these lead alloys. Hams being hams, 60/40 is usually the cheapest. That makes it ‘better’ right there!”


New Bluetooth Keyboard

So I’m not sure I’ve ever shared on my blog here, but I’m the proud owner of a Nexus 7 Tablet. It’s googles answer to the tablet market. They make a 4 inch phone, plus 7 and 10 inch Nexus tablets. This post isn’t really about the tablet, but I will have to make a review post about it and some of the ham radio apps I use. There are several rally good ones out the there. No, this post is more about the blue tooth keyboard I purchased today to go along with my Nexus. It’s the Microsoft Edge Bluetooth keyboard. It’s powered by 2 AAA batteries and small is size. It’s full QWERTY keyboard layout minus a number pad and the keys usually found with those. It’s probably 12 inches or a little less by 4.5 inches. The keys have a really nice feel, very similar to my ASUS laptop. The actuation is as deep but a nice feel regardless. It actually does include those previously mentioned batteries and a gripy hard cover to protect the keys in your backpack. I’ve only spent an afternoon with it but I’ll post my as my opinion builds. So far I love it!