So today I’m starting yet another new category on the blog: Electronics.
Let me take a step back first. Way back.
When I was a kid I was one of the strange ones (*) that knew what he wanted to do. I distinctly remember when I was seven knowing that I would be an electrical engineer. My grandpa and I would go down to his friends’ TV repair shop and I would hang out watching Bela and Imre of B&I TV take apart TVs and fix them. This was back in the days if you took off the back of the TV you would see the soft glow of dozens of vacuum tubes as electrons shot around. They had a tube tester in the corner of their shop that I was always fascinated by but never had a chance to really play with.
Next up was soldering and etching circuits on the family room table. I still think I’m pretty damn good at the art of joining a component or wire with another part. Splattering hot lead builds character. I wish I could count how many times I burnt myself with the iron.
I veered a bit from that path a bit when I was nine and my mom got me a computer. From then on I was going to program computers.
I never really gave up on the electronics… just didn’t build that part of my brain. It went on ice as I went off on the computer path. I still got the old Heathkit catalogs and drooled over the various toys in it: radios and test equipment to robots and computers. Good times. Expensive times.
Electronics seems to want to take root again in me. I grok digital. I never really got my head fully wrapped around analog. I think I need to change that.
Enter the Maker movement. Enter good cheap equipment. You can get a 16 channel logic analyser for under $300 now (The Saleae Logic 16). You can get a two-channel 100 MHz scope for under $400 from Rigol. Slap a microcontroller on a breadboard and you have yourself a computer. A computer you can debug at signal level.
Though I have to say I’m drooling over a 200 MHz scope… Mmm… Radio Frequency.
Why have a 200 MHz scope? Well, remember the ham radio thing? :-P Too bad I can’t justify a 500 MHz scope! Or the four channel varient. Or the gig…
Excuse me, I’ll be right back… I gotta take care of something. :hypnotized: :inlove:
Honestly, I think I’m going to build up something like the PIC circuit I blogged about many moons ago. I think I’ll replace the NPN transistors with some MOSFETs to get better power consumption. And to play with stuff.
* – I guess I still am one of the strange ones. But for the opposite reason. I’ll be damned if I know what I want to do next! :-)