Dave

Retrofitting a Lenovo T520 with a Raspberry Pi CM4 – Part 1

I was looking around the storage rack in my main workshop, when I stumbled upon an old Lenovo laptop, specifically a T520 model. These are nicely made solid machines, rather hefty but nice to use. The keyboard and trackpoint are great, and the screen is OK as well. This got me thinking; I have two …

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Minecraft Castle Build

Despite being like really old (43!) according to the kids, I still know far more than them about Minecraft. I’m a foster carer and believe strongly in the power of using sandbox games like this to teach, defuse and to bring out the creativity in kids that have had a hard start in life. Looking …

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Xuron 9110f

New Cutters Day

Super quick update to extol the virtues of some very good value side cutters I bought recently on a tip. Thanks to the Hackaday Circuit Sculpture remoticon workshop, when Mohit Bhoite was showing off his tools and mentioned these. In short, Xuron makes an excellent range of cutting tools, coming in a variety of shape …

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VisualMicro: An Arduino IDE that doesn’t suck

Occasionally I get asked to build or modify boxes or prototyping platforms using open-source or off-the-shelf components. There are multiple reasons to do this: Sometimes a client wants to get more hands-on, so I get them started with a platform that works, then they take over from there. Access to documentation Speed of implementation Ease …

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Repurposing a video distribution amplifier – part 1

Lots of timing-type instruments, such as frequency counters, AWGs and oscilloscopes have the option to be tied to an external frequency reference, most commonly 10 MHz. This enables correlation of measurements from different instruments, as well as vastly improving their accuracy and repeatability. Impedance and Termination It is a useful at this point to mention …

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DIY workbench

Workshop Update

I’ve taken the opportunity during the latest COVID-19 lockdowns to shutdown my main workshop and rebuild from the ground up. The storage rack is in, and is quite full of all my parts, projects and tools. This worked out well. The next area of concern is my working space. My previous two workbenches were too …

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Fixed Layout Prototyping

I was thinking about prototyping electronics again, as I often do, and I was wondering about what might be optimal (as in most flexible) for handing small SMT parts like SOT23-3. Your choices are many, but pretty much all are bog-standard offerings derived from the original Veroboard layout (i.e. 0.1″ hole array, with a series …

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It’s been too long

I’ve been quiet. Very quiet. Building a business, caring for foster children, and other boring life things are all taking my time and energy. But I’m back, and I’m ready for some more action. I’ve got a tonne of ideas for projects, builds that need completing and ideas for articles and guides, even an eBook …

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Building a Hackerspace

Unit F, Liner’s Industrial Estate, Pitt Road, Southampton Our Hackerspace, So Make It (Southampton Makerspace) was located in Unit K6 on the same industrial estate as our current location. After a year in our first paid-for dedicated space, we decided it was getting a bit cramped. The physical space could not contain our ideas, and …

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Electronics Design Service

Electronic Design Services

My company Sobuildit Limited offers Electronic Design Services to other businesses and individuals. I will make a free quotation after discussing your technical needs, even if an NDA is needed – that is no problem! Located in Hythe, Hampshire in the UK I cover the local area and surrounding cities with a personal service. I’m …

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So Make It: Southampton Makerspace New Location!

Southampton Makerspace moved!  We grew, our old unit K6 on Liner’s Industrial Estate got too pokey: So we looked around.  We took over unit F!  This latest unit on the same estate became vacant at the beginning of 2015, so we were kindly allowed in early by our awesome landlord to clean and repaint. It was …

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Dave Rowntree - A Lifelong Electronics Geek