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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.

Vacuum Fluorescent Displays on Arduino

Vacuum Fluorescent Displays are probably one of the coolest displays of all time. Certainly one of the most popular of recent history. Developed in 1959 by Philips they have endured right through to modern times. You can even still find them in current consumer electronics.

Converting a Commodore C16 Keyboard to USB

Dave "The 8-Bit Guy" Murray recently bought a whole batch of Commodore Vic 20 motherboards and C16 keyboards cheap. Don't ask why. However, he's selling them off cheap, so I decided to snap up one of the keyboards.

Hacking the SWA1 Smart WiFi Power Switch


The SWA1 Smart WiFi sockets are great cheap WiFi controlled sockets that you can get on Amazon. Not only are they very convenient, but they are eminently hackable. Hackable to the extreme.

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!

More ESP8266 Hacking - LOHAS LED

LOHAS LED LampYes, I have hacked another ESP8266-based device. This time it's the LOHAS WiFi Smart LED lightbulb.

Another Easy ESP8266 Hack - LED Strip Driver