Those that are looking to get more involved in electronics usually end up wanting to buy some equipment to be able to do soldering. The question that comes up time and time again is what exactly to buy. I put together this list of equipment which is the basic kit you'll need to get started doing serious solder work.
Hakko FX-888D soldering Station w/ diagonal cutters - $91
The Hakko FX-888 is probably the best value for money in a soldering station. It's a temperature controlled station and uses the very high quality Hakko tips.
It may be too pricey for those on budget, so if it's really out of your price range, take a look at one of the Hakko 936 clone stations which can be had for under $50 and change out the iron tip with a genuine Hakko tip which are about $10. But. save up because you'll want to get this one eventually anyway.
*check for lower price
The first screen allows you to create a reflow profile, save it, or open an existing profile. The second screen shows the reflow profile target as the blue line and then plots the actual temperature over time in orange. Right now I don't have it actually hooked up to anything, so I'm simulating the temperature reading data.
I put together a basic ESP8266 Arduino example sketch for how to get it working. It's just slightly different than some of the ones that were published by seeedstudio etc including some changes in the baud rates that worked for me. I also put together a schematic on how to wire up everything. Be sure to use level shifters on the Arduino TX line if you aren't using a 3V Arduino like I did.
I posted the schematic and code for my LED Dimmer demo on Github
Someone on Ebay now has the ESP8266 WiFi modules for sale (almost?) cheaper than you can get them from China, $5 with free shipping within the US - crazy! Link
There's a new, low-cost wifi chip on the market. You can now get the chip built onto a serial module board shipped from China for about $5 through aliexpress, although it takes about 3 weeks to get them in the mail. You can now get them much faster shipped from the US for about the same price .
The ESP8266 module I got looks just like an HC-05 Bluetooth module and works about the same way with AT commands over serial. There's not much documentation out on it yet, but there's a community starting to develop around it.
I built a little proof-of-concept demo around it. The demo is a web site hosted on google app engine that allows you to control the brightness of an LED connected to an Arduino. The Arduino polls the web site via the WiFi module and updates the brightness of the LED as you change the slider on the webpage. More documentation to come, but here's a quick gif of the ESP8266 demo in action
Hackaday had this article on how to remove rust using electrolysis a few weeks ago. I happened to be right in the middle of a project fixing up my old, rusty lawn mower. So, I lashed this thing together in an evening to try it out. It works pretty well!
Each piece of rebar is held in place by a copper wire. The wire is run through some drilled holes around the rebar. The rebar is actually soldered to the copper wire. To solder the wire to the rebar, I first notched the rebar with an angle grinder. I then used some plumbing flux to clean the surface and a MAPP gas torch to heat it. I actually used some rosin core, leaded electronics solder to make the joint. It actually wetted pretty easily.
Another wire runs all the way around the bucket. Each of the rebar wires is twisted around the main wire. I twisted a bunch of excess wire at the end of the loop to create a thick enough terminal to easily clamp onto.
"Grounding is undoubtedly one of the most difficult subjects in
system design. While the basic concepts are relatively simple, implementation is very involved. Unfortunately, there is no “cookbook” approach that will guarantee good results, and there are a few things that, if not done well, will probably cause headaches."
Sublime Text is a really cool text editor with some pretty advanced features like multiple cursors. Here is a link to tutsplus.com free training videos that show off what it can do.
It's way more powerful than the standard Arduino editor, but it doesn't have things like an integrated uploader or built-in serial monitor. However, I found out that there is a plugin for Sublime Text called Stino that will add all those features, and a few more like Arduino library intelligent code completion which is a killer feature all by itself.
Software developer by day, embedded systems and electronics enthusiast by night.
Northside Makers - Maker group for the Virginia Peninsula