Author Archives: MK

Wanted: Magnetic Free Zone

via Nuts and Volts

Magnetics, for the most part, make life easier. Consider what we’d do without the solenoids that actuate electric garage door motors, the rare-earth magnets embedded in iPad covers, magnetized tools, and the ubiquitous kitchen refrigerator magnets. However, the magnetic fields associated with magnets can be problematic.

Vintage Repair

via Nuts and Volts

I’m in the middle of overhauling a vintage Singer 201-2 sewing machine, manufactured in the US in 1940. As I expected, the motor brushes need replacing, the oldfashioned leaf switch controlling the light is — at best — intermittent and needs a good cleaning, and the cottoninsulated wire is begging to be updated to fireproof silicon insulated wire. Old appliances — void of microcontrollers or even simple semiconductors — are a pleasure to tear down and rebuild. They’re fun as a solo weekend project, or, if you have someone you want to teach basic mechanics and electricity to, they make a good two or three weekend project. Even bringing an old toaster back to life can provide a sense of satisfaction.

Vintage Repair

via Nuts and Volts

I’m in the middle of overhauling a vintage Singer 201-2 sewing machine, manufactured in the US in 1940. As I expected, the motor brushes need replacing, the oldfashioned leaf switch controlling the light is — at best — intermittent and needs a good cleaning, and the cottoninsulated wire is begging to be updated to fireproof silicon insulated wire. Old appliances — void of microcontrollers or even simple semiconductors — are a pleasure to tear down and rebuild. They’re fun as a solo weekend project, or, if you have someone you want to teach basic mechanics and electricity to, they make a good two or three weekend project. Even bringing an old toaster back to life can provide a sense of satisfaction.

Change the World

via Nuts and Volts

While there’s satisfaction from getting an LED to blink five times in a row in response to a button press, it isn’t going to change the world — that is, unless you set your goals higher. It’s easy to lose track of the fact that electronics have changed human existence in only a few decades. Computers, TV, satellites, space exploration, drones, cell phones, robots, aviation, and modern automobiles are but a few examples. Against that backdrop, there’s a vast vacuum for experimentalists and engineers to fill. What I’m suggesting is that you take your knowledge of electronics — whatever your level of expertise — and focus it towards solving a meaningful problem.

Change the World

via Nuts and Volts

While there’s satisfaction from getting an LED to blink five times in a row in response to a button press, it isn’t going to change the world — that is, unless you set your goals higher. It’s easy to lose track of the fact that electronics have changed human existence in only a few decades. Computers, TV, satellites, space exploration, drones, cell phones, robots, aviation, and modern automobiles are but a few examples. Against that backdrop, there’s a vast vacuum for experimentalists and engineers to fill. What I’m suggesting is that you take your knowledge of electronics — whatever your level of expertise — and focus it towards solving a meaningful problem.