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Making a microscope mount

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The Bausch and Lomb inspection microscope is ubiquitous as an invaluable tool for working on small items. It’s inexpensive as a used item, works well, and is hard to kill. But as a dedicated bargain hunter, I’m going to get what I can. I picked up a B&L scope and e-arm assembly on eBay for about $150 and went about getting it working on my bench. My buddy, Steve at Tangent Audio, inspired this with his super-sexy  mount and camera system.

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Scavenging to sustain the habit

Parts are expensive unless you buy in bulk, and even then, you may have an issue. However, many parts, like tantalum caps, bypass caps, crystals, and inductors are everywhere in old equipment. As it turns out, as an IT guy, I inherit a lot of old equipment….

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Kendal 899D Review

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Some days, I mangle circuits. It turns out that reflowing parts in an anemic toaster oven with expired ROHS solder lacks the reliability of… you know, anything else. So I need to rework things. The old standby of wedging a knife under the pins while heating up the pads doesn’t work very well and tends to smoke chips. It was time. I decide it was time I made the investment in glorious reliability of a Hakko….

…but my budget told me I was getting a Kendal 899D.

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QTouch Capacitive Rotary Sensors Made Easy

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Well, at least in Eagle…

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Super Easy Ginger Beer

So, not really a hardware post, but useful for many people.

Ingredients:

  • 5.5Oz sugar (by weight)
  • 1 Oz Honey (weight)
  • 3 Oz ginger (weight)
  • zest of a half a lemon
  • 1/2 + 7.5 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp baking yeast

Make syrup with sugar, honey, ginger and 1/2 cup water. Cover and bring to just a boil. Immediately take of the heat. Steep for 1.5 – 2 hours. Strain into a 2L growler or soda bottle, making sure to squeeze all the juice from the ginger pulp. Add 7.5 cups of water. When mixture is below 80 degrees F, add yeast, cap, and shake. Ferment for 2 days and put in fridge.

Serve on ice with Gosling’s dark rum and 1tbsp lime juice.

SMD Reflow Video

This is an older video I made explaining how to reflow solder using a toaster oven and dispensing tips.

 

http://www.viddler.com/player/3658adf4/

A few things I do differently now:

 

  • I know my toaster oven is slow, so rather than using a thermocouple, I just pop it in at 400F for 4 minutes, then jack it up to 450F and wait for the solder to turn shiny. This is a great help with tiny boards.
  • Less paste is better. You can always add more after the fact.

RockBand Kick Drum Trigger Interface

I like RockBand. I really do. However, I’m always finding excuses as to why I’m not better than I am at the drums. Even with my buddy’s purchase of the ION kit, I’m still lacking in awesome.

My latest excuse was how difficult is was to press the kick drum pedal rapidly when you get tired. A real kick drum pedal requires very little force to activate and hold down, since they are effectively balanced and counter weighted systems that are very adjustable for response. Pedals shipped with any RockBand kit have no counterweight action and no bounce.

I have a Yamaha KP65 kick drum trigger that I use in a small MIDI kit. It feels surprisingly good for the price and is a world better than anything on the “fake” inputs that RockBand systems typically use. I figured I could rig a switch to make it contact the pedal when pressed down. I also figured that I’d have to do it on a time budget of about 4 hours or risk not getting something else done.

Long story short, double sided tape and a cheap micro switch were no match for Maps.

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