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Electronics

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Measuring Stuff with a Multimeter

A multimeter is an electronics testing device that, um, tests multiple things, including resistance, voltage, and current. Using certain multimeter models, you can test to be sure that components — such [more…]

Electronics Basics: Using a Breadboard

A breadboard is a rectangular plastic box filled with holes, which have contacts in which you can insert electronic components and wires. A breadboard is what you use to string together a temporary version [more…]

What Is Soldering and How Do You Use Solder Tools?

Soldering (pronounced "soddering") involves a material called solder that melts when placed on a hot object; the melted solder cools and forms a bond between two items. Your most basic soldering tool is [more…]

Turning Electricity On and Off

You've scrounged around your growing electronics bin and come up with wires to connect a circuit together and batteries to power the circuit. So how do you turn the power on and off? You use switches and [more…]

Steps to Great Car Audio Sound

It takes a lot to create a good car audio system. Here are six basic steps every car audio enthusiast should take on the path to great sound. [more…]

Ten (Or So) Cool Electronics Testing Tool Tips

Okay, so you're ready to graduate to the electronics big time. But you can't do it alone. You need a laboratory full of impressive-looking gear with blinky lights, bright knobs, and spinning dials. You're [more…]

Circuitbuilding Projects: The Solderless Breadboard

Using a breadboard is one of the basic starting points for the design of many types of circuits and projects. Also known as a plugboard or prototyping board [more…]

Showing You My Etchings: Etching the Circuit Board

Creating the resist pattern on a new sheet of printed circuit board material really only gets your circuit board one third of the way done. For the next step, you need to etch that board to remove the [more…]

Avoiding Electric Shocks

Your body is a delicate machine. Electric shocks, depending on certain conditions, can be fatal, even at relatively low voltages. What comes out of your wall outlet is deadly if you play around with it [more…]

Splicing a Power Cord

Power cords get damaged from all sorts of things; over-enthusiastic weed-whacking or hedge-trimming, forgetting that the car's battery warmer was still plugged in, even being chewed up by dogs and rodents [more…]

Tuning in Ham Radio

Ham radio invokes a wide range of visions. Maybe you have a mental image of a ham radio operator (or ham) from a movie or newspaper article. But hams are a varied lot — from go-getter emergency communicators [more…]

Getting into GPS

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. A special radio receiver measures the distance from your location to satellites that orbit the earth broadcasting radio signals. GPS can pinpoint your position [more…]

Advanced Car Audio Sound Quality Concepts

Although the four basic sound quality concepts (clarity, dynamic range, frequency response, and tonal balance) are the most fundamental to understand before purchasing a new car audio system, there are [more…]

What to Do When You Find a Geocache

Maybe you immediately stumbled on the geocache that you were looking for — or perhaps it took you a couple of painstaking hours, searching high and low to find a particularly devilishly hidden cache. It [more…]

Examining the Elements of a Basic RFID System

Learning the fundamentals of RFID can be overwhelming. By understanding the basics of how data travels in waves and then through a network in an RFID system, however, you gain a solid foundation for greater [more…]

Building a Circuit Dead-Bug Style

With dead-bug style circuitbuilding, the integrated circuits (ICs) are all mounted upside down on the printed circuit (PC) board with most of their legs sticking up in the air! They look like a lot of [more…]

Seven Circuitbuilding Secrets

Below are seven bits of wisdom aren't about specific circuitbuilding techniques, but generally apply to everything. They can help make and keep circuitbuilding an enjoyable activity that will continue [more…]

Selecting a Nonprogrammable Robot Kit

Why not just build your own robot buddy out of scrap parts lying around the garage? Building a robot from scratch is not the best place to start. To transform common household items into useful components [more…]

Terms to Know about Car Audio: Aspects of Sound Quality

Listening to audiophiles go on about the sound quality of their audio systems — from their woofers to their tweeters — can sound a lot like oenophiles going on and on about the qualities of wine. To understand [more…]

Operating Your Ham Radio in an Emergency

You hope it never happens, but what if worse comes to worst? All emergencies are different, of course, so a step-by-step procedure is not going to be very useful. Here are some solid principles to follow [more…]

Building Your Robot Safely

Compared to defusing bombs and walking tightropes, building robots is a safe endeavor. Still, there are some safety tips here that may come in handy.

In addition to the specific pointers included here, [more…]

Selecting a Location for Your Own Geocache

Just like in real estate or retail sales, location is everything when it comes to placing a geocache. After you select a container, figure out where to put it — or sometimes you find a perfect hiding place [more…]

Ten Secrets about Jumping into Ham Radio

In this article, you will find ten fundamental truths that can help even the rankest beginner keep the wheels turning during those first forays into ham radio. Keep these tips in mind and you'll be on [more…]

Geocaching: The High-Tech Scavenger Hunt

When the U.S. government turned off GPS Selective Availability (SA) in May 2000, it was like magic. Suddenly civilian GPS receivers that were formerly accurate to about 300 feet were accurate to 30 feet [more…]

Delving into DX-ing

Pushing your station to make contacts over greater and greater distances (DX means distant stations) is the second oldest activity in all of ham radio. Somewhere out in the ether, a station is always just [more…]

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