Top 6 Things Every Engineer Needs

So many people starting out in electronics, especially beginning to dabble in the world of Arduino and similar boards, just don't have the basic equipment to do the job properly. And not only that, they don't even know what the basic equipment is.

So here's a list of things you should have on your desk no matter if you have just got your first Arduino or if, like me, you are a seasoned veteran.

Measuring Arduino Internal Pull-up Resistors

The Arduino (and many other boards) have a very useful time-and-cost saving feature ideal for when you are working with buttons and switches - namely internal pull-up resistors on the GPIO pins which can be enabled / disabled at will in software. This means you don't have to clutter your board up with pull-up resistors of your own for all the buttons and things, and also means they can be turned off and on to give your design much more flexibility.

But nowhere can you find out actually what the resistance of these resistors are. Why not? Simply because nobody knows.

Adding An OLED To My Computer

As part of my work I end up with hundreds of small TFT and OLED displays scattered around doing nothing. One of them, the PG25664CG OLED screen (16 shades of green) I figured would be about the same size and shape as a 5.25" drive bay in a PC.

And guess what? I was right! An absolutely (well, a couple of mm out) perfect match. So I decided I should build one into my computer to display stuff. No idea what stuff yet, but stuff anyway. I'll decide later when I have written the software for it all.

Free, quality, wire

No, I'm not offering you free wire. Just telling you a good source for free wire.

With the whole world going HDMI these days, there are plenty of obsolete SCART cables around. You probably have some in your attic or garage, mouldering away in a box.

Strip them down. That's right - remove the connectors and the outer rubber casing, and bingo - you have a great selection of wire. Lots of different colour wires, usually in the 22-28 AWG range, and usually pretty high quality as well. And on top of that there's normally a good few lengths of shielded cable too! Bargain!

Another Easy ESP8266 Hack - LED Strip Driver

LED DriverToday's ESP8266 hack is another rather easy one. This time it's a very cheap LED RGB strip driver from Amazon.

Well, I say ESP8266. In fact this one uses the ESP8285, which is basically an ESP8266 with 1MB of flash built in, so no need for an external flash chip. That makes it even cheaper to manufacture, and hence for you and I to buy.