KI7TU's Reference Page
This page is basically intended as a "repository" for information
that I'd like to share with others.
It's the sort of wisdom that I would want to know if I were just
starting out as an electronics hobbyist (given around 45 years of
I've been asked, from time to time,
for most of the info in here, and rather than having to spell it out
"yet again", I've decided to put it together into a web
I added a topic about "Brushless DC Motors (Fans)" to the
I also came across a potentially useful link, and realized that I don't really
have a good place for links that are just sources of information and
aren't really selling things,
the way those in
Sources for Parts & Supplies
So I decided to change the name of "Magazines & Books" to
Magazines, Books & Links
and added to it a link to
which provides some potentially very useful little tools.
31-Dec-2013: I noticed while updating it a couple of days ago that the dates
didn't really stand out on this part of the page, so I've modified them a bit
to make the start of the entries a bit easier to spot, as well as a little bit of
reformatting this (the home) page, and correcting a minor error from the 29-Dec-2013 update.
I also added a link on the
Magazines & Books
to the very interesting
507 Mechanical Movements
by Henry T. Brown
book that you can download for free courtesy the Google Book Search project.
29-Dec-2013: Seems like I've been very busy the past few months.
My work with Serious Integrated, Inc., ended at the end of October, 2013.
I guess that now, you could say that I'm "Seriously" unemployed. Oh well...
A few months ago, I got an order from
that I'd placed a few days earlier.
The box looked like it had been through a train wreck.
Checking the UPS website with the tracking info revealed that it had good
reason for looking like that: it had been through a train wreck!
Anyway, when I went through the contents, the only thing I found amiss was
that one or two of the little cardboard boxes that contained some of the
parts were a bit crushed, but the stuff inside them was fine.
boxes will end up in the recycle bin anyway, it doesn't really matter.
Kudos to the DigiKey shipping department for doing such a good job of
I've also done business another couple of times with
Adafruit, and been satisfied
with the service.
I've been trying out another design tool, the open-source
Although I've found it much more "intuitive" than either the commercial
or the open-source
they seem to have significant problems in keeping their website up.
(I started trying to download the software on Dec. 21, finally found the
website up on Dec. 24 and downloaded it, and after some experimenting and
going through the included tutorial, wanted to go back and look for another
library on Dec. 25, and I've only found the website up since I started
testing the link while writing this paragraph.)
I've noticed that KiCad doesn't provide a simple way to " tell me about
this circuit item" the way you can with gEDA or Eagle, or define any
selection shape other than a rectangle. It also doesn't have a way to add
to the current selection the way gEDA can, though this is also a hole in Eagle.
The reason I am looking for more KiCad libraries is that the default for a
resistor is the European style box, and I prefer the American style wiggly
line symbol. Hopefully they'll get the web site stable in the new year!
15-Aug-2013: I just found out that BatchPCB, the Printed Circuit Board house associated
with Sparkfun, was sold back in April to OSH Park.
I haven't tried them yet, but will post an update after I have.
I've also recontly done some business with Adafruit
(based in New York City), and was satisfied with the service.
I'll try to get time to update the Sources page, adding them, in the next few weeks.
21-Jun-2013: In response to a request in the June, 2013 issue of
Nuts and Volts magazine,
I've put together a
section with a lot more detail than I can put into a response in the magazine.
Rest assured, I'm still working on the sign-up section mentioned below (and I'm
making progress with it). It is a real learning experience for me!
10-Feb-2013: I haven't had much time to update this web page during the past
year or so, but rest assured that I am working on a couple of things.
The first is that I'm tinkering with a way to allow you to sign up to
receive an e-mail whenever I do update something. (I'm planning on
having it allow several different "levels" for your convenience.)
The other is that I've had some questions about batteries, and I'm working
on putting together an entire section on the subject.
Meanwhile, I'll mention that I got a bit of a surprise recently:
I was into my neighborhood
and found that they had a
number of Arduino products.
(Many of the prices are a bit steeper
than what you'd pay at a mail-order place, such as
can have the product right now.)
There's a correction on the
About Me page
as I noticed I had the wrong e-mail address listed
(as well as some other changes).
Sorry 'bout that!
Somewhat new info:
I wasn't really looking for a job, but on February 1, 2012, one
I'm now working for a company called
Serious Integrated, Inc.
I'm doing a variety of things, including hardware design, software
development, construction of electronics, debugging/troubleshooting, etc.
Basically the stuff I've done as a hobby for decades, so I'm just
getting paid to do my hobby, and the best part is that someone else
buys the toys.
My title, at least according to my business cards, is Principal
The downside is that I haven't had much time to support this webpage,
so please bear with me.
The May, 2012 issue of
Nuts and Volts
has an article on Schematic Capture programs.
Over the past few months, I've had occasion to use two such program.
They completely missed my favorite,
which is free (though it only runs under Linux).
I've also (at the aforementioned job) been using (or, should I say,
from Cadsoft. Eagle does have a free version, though there are some
limits on what you can do with it.
On a scale of 1 to 100, where 1 is "worst possible" and 100
is best, for intuitiveness I'd rate Eagle as a 3.
It is, in my humble opinion, the least intutive program to use that I've
used in at least the last 25 years.
The gEDA package comes in about five times better, at a whopping 15
on that same scale.
Eagle does have some advantages over gEDA, like giving the user
(or abusee) the capability to set specific numbers for things like
line widths, though there is a "back door" way of doing it
I don't have much time to type this up at the moment, but will suggest
that if you're interested, the Nuts and Volts article totally
missed three good tutorials on using Eagle:
(Hopefully I'll find a bit of time to do more on this subject in the
By the way, it's probably worth your while to thumb through the many
(And now back to the "old"...)
I'm one of those old curmudgeons who thinks that function is more
important than appearance. Thus, I've put my efforts into the contents
of this page rather than adding a lot of glitz.
The really nice part, for you the user is that you can simply click on
the links! And, of course, you can look at it anytime you want!
I'm adding things as I think of them and as I have time.
You might want to check back every few weeks to see if I've added
A brief description of the other sections
- Home - This page.
- Sources for Parts & Supplies - Some places where you can find "stuff" for our hobby and
my commentary (based on my personal experiences) on the companies mentioned.
- Magazines, Books & Links -
Some of the publications that I know about that might be of interest.
- Tips - Some hard-won
wisdom about our hobby, mainly things
that often either aren't talked about at
all, or are glossed over, in at least some of the literature for
- Tools - A discussion of
some of the tools that I find useful, and what to look for.
- Glossary - A list of some of the "jargon" that
the hobbyist is likely to encounter.
- About Me - Just in case
you're curious about me.
(Includes a few links to clubs and organizations.)
- Life Lessons (coming soon) - A few tidbits that aren't directly
related to electronics, but which I feel are important.
- Resources for club newsletter editors -
Some columns that I've written that club newsletter editors are welcome
to include in their publications (sort of a "free syndication").
This screen last updated (other than for dates): 15-Jan-2014
Copyright © 2010-2014 by Clark Jones