jump to example.com
Currently viewing the category: "Electronics"

Ever been in a shop where you’re completely lost unless you’ve memorized the unique location of every item? (If this is your shop, you don’t have to answer.) I admit to being a “cluttery” person, but the wisdom of more organized friends and, most importantly, a decent label maker, have saved the day more than once.

Electronic label makers like the Dymo LetraTag Plus LT-100T, shown above, are a good bet for organizing all those drawers, shelves, and buckets (think Mythbusters’ ever-present labeled boxes o’ stuff in the background). For around $30, the LT-100T is a solid, mid-range label printer that offers two-line printing, five fonts sizes, seven text styles, date stamps, a a graphical display to let you see it before you print it (some rolls of label tape can run as much as the printers themselves).

Continue reading »

 

Early code readers simply reported the specific error code behind that ubiquitous check engine light. Newer ones, however, translate the cryptic alphanumeric code into English (or Spanish), making it a hell of a lot easier to figure out what’s going on — especially after you lose the manual. But Actron takes the concept a step further with their new AutoScanner Plus. It not only reports the code (in human-speak); it also accesses an internal database of over 3,000,000 reported fixes and offers suggestions for how to actually fix the problem behind the code.

Continue reading »

 

Besides guiding your saw or projecting level and plumb lines, lasers can now zap mosquitoes. A team at Intellectual Ventures Lab created a working prototype of their Photonic Fence to detect mosquitoes flying at a distance and shoot them down using lasers. The basic components came from inexpensive consumer electronics (e.g., laser printers, Blu-Ray disc writers, camcorders, and video game consoles).

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

So you’ve performed a code erase on your OBD-II-equipped vehicle, and now you’re due for an emissions check. But your code reader shows you’re not ready because some of the OBD-II emissions-related tests haven’t completed yet — specifically that the “HAS RUN” flag remains unset. What to do?

Well, you can drive around on your expired inspection sticker for a few weeks, checking until the flag goes away. But there’s a better solution: perform the manufacturer’s recommended drive cycle.

Continue reading »

 

We’ve touted code readers before. If you own an OBD-II-equipped (read: post-1996) vehicle, these little black boxes serve as the skeleton key to the check engine light (CEL) cellar door. But this weekend I was patching my F150 back together after getting it stuck in a friend’s lake of a back yard, and I discovered another great reason to own a code reader: the pre-emissions check.

Continue reading »

 

The Make blog reports on a great set of Flickr photos showing how Jim (a.k.a. bondcliff) built a large bench in his new workshop. The picture above shows his Megabench, which he has divided into a “tool” side on the left, and a “nerd” side on the right. The nerd side includes his electronics and craft tools plus an old PC running Ubuntu. The tool side has your usual assortment of — surprise! — tools. There’s a nice shelf running above the entire length to help keep “clutter” off the benches. A series of outlets over the shelf also runs the length of the benches.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Pull the over-sized trigger on Thomas & Betts’ pneumatic cable tie tool to tension, accidentally snap, and trim a cable tie in record time. Using any compressor that can generate 85-100psi of dry, oil-less air, the tool works with their own proprietary Ty-Rap brand cable ties, but it will probably accommodate a range of other ties as long as they are .094 to .184 wide.

Made with an impact-resistant polymer housing and soft over-molded grips, it’s designed to be lightweight and balanced to reduce user fatigue. The tool holds the cut-offs until you eject them so you don’t have to go back and clean up after yourself. It also has two built-in hangers to keep it within reach when you need both hands.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

TM has covered just about all aspects of soldering, desoldering, solder fumes, and the like, but the Make blog recently reported on soldering workshops conducted by Jimmie P. Rodgers. His blog has tool suggestions for soldering, or for those wanting to run similar workshops. One of the things he mentions — and uses in his workshops — is a $15 iron from MPJA that has temperature control (800° F max.; 5W to 50W adjustability), a built-in stand, and inexpensive (< $2) replacement tips.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Standard heat shrink tubing is pretty handy stuff, and the addition of an adhesive lining can make it even more so. Typically made from cross-linked polyolefin, which is stronger than PVC and does not burn like PVC, this tubing, with its heat-activated adhesive, provides a tight seal against water, oils, acids, and sunlight. The tubing’s major markets are marine, RVs, and campers, but I like it as a general-purpose heat shrink because of the better seal.

The main suppliers are Ancor, 3M™, and Raychem (Tyco).

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Cable ties are nothing new, but sometimes you don’t want to put all your wires in one bundle, so Panduit’s double loop cable ties allow you to use a single cable tie to secure two different bundles. The double slotted head lets the tail go through like a normal cable tie, but the second slot allows you to loop the tail back around to form a second loop.

The linked cable ties are Panduit’s weather-resistant black nylon variety. The 11.8″ long ties can form two 3″ loops. Measuring .190″ wide by .052″ thick, these ties have a 50 lb minimum loop tensile strength and are UL recognized.

A hundred-pack of these weather-resistant double loop cable ties will run you about $28 plus shipping.  You can even find triple loop cable ties if you poke around Panduit’s website.

Double Loop Cable Ties [Panduit]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

Tagged with: