Using the inductor tester Thumbnail

Using the inductor tester

Posted by ian.rees on May 21, 2016 in Projects tagged with , , , , , , ,

A few weeks back, we had a talk on KiCad (presentation available at ) where we ordered some PCBs to make an inductor tester (Henryometer?) from dirty PCBs. Those boards came in this week, and a few folks have already put theirs together. This post aims to be a quick guide to the usage of the tester; if you'd like to build one yourself just let Ian know, parts cost is $15. You'll need an oscilloscope and a current-limited DC power supply to make use of it. Connections between the tester and oscilloscope are made via standard BNC coaxial cables (ava

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Debugging AVRs (without Atmel Studio)

Posted by ian.rees on December 07, 2015 in Projects tagged with , , , , , , , ,

This post is somewhere between a guide and a collection of notes, aimed at debugging programs for AVR microcontrollers (like the ones in most Arduinos) "on target". We'll be using an AVR Dragon connected to the target micro via the normal 6-pin programming header, with a Mac or Linux PC as the host. Although this is a bit more advanced than most of our other projects, it's really quite approachable and is a very powerful technique for fixing AVR software problems. From a high level; we'll use a debugging program on a Mac (or Linux, Windows, etc) "host" computer, which communicates with a Dragon "In Circuit Emulator" (ICE) via USB to debug a buggy program running on the "target" AVR, which is presumably running in some circuit we're interested in. Small variations might apply for Windows hosts, using JTAG instead of DebugWIRE, other debugger tools (Atmel JTAGICE mkII for example), etc.

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Posted by ian.rees on August 09, 2015 in Announcements, News tagged with , ,

Thanks to everyone who helped out with the move to the new location on Allen St! We'll continue with our current scheduled meetings on Thursdays and Saturdays, but the location will now be the workshop at 11 Allen St. See you there!

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Arduinos and Macs

Posted by ian.rees on August 08, 2015 in Projects tagged with , ,

This evening, I finally got around to unwrapping the Arduino clone that came with my DSpace membership. Starting a project for the board couldn't be easier, using the nice Arduino IDE from, but I ran into a little snag when it was time to upload the program onto the board. It turns out that these clone Arduinos use a newish low-cost USB to serial converter chip called a CH340G, rather than the FTDI brand chips used in the genuine Arduino boards. The CH340G that isn't supported by MacOS by default, and I use MacOS, so the board didn't show up in the Arduino application's list of serial ports... Fortunately, other folks have run into the same problem and have written up some nice blog posts on how to solve exactly this issue!

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Posted by ian.rees on July 26, 2015 in Announcements, News tagged with , ,

As you may have heard, the Dunedin Maker Space is getting ready to move to a new location in the Northeast Valley. The Allen St Workshop provides exciting new opportunities for the maker space including a concrete floor, collaboration with other like-minded folks, and there's a fibre optic box out front! We'll continue to meet in the current King Edward College location as usual until 8 August when the move to the Allen St Workshop will commence. Stay tuned!

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Sourcing RepRap parts around Dunedin

Posted by Luke Easterbrook on October 31, 2013 in Projects tagged with

Things to note Don't get too hung up on bolt length. Get something longer than required and cut it down with a dremal or hacksaw. Some reprap parts lists don't include the extruder parts, so make sure you read what you need for those as well. Please add comments for other places you have bought stuff or for things I need to fix. Fasteners: (Nuts and bolts etc.) Get them from a fastener shop Hylton Parker fasteners EDL Fasteners You can also get stuff from Mitre 10 or Bunnings but it costs a bit more for some things and not everything is available. 8mm Threaded rod Can get them from a fastener shop such as Hylton Parker or EDL Comes in 1m length. You can also get it from Mitre 10 or Bunnings but it costs a bit more. Again 1m lengths 8mm Smooth rod Can get it from Mico Metals. They call it 'round rod' and it's actually 7.94mm which is fine. Cost is $26.30 incl. (Oct 20

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Electronics 101

Posted by Paul Campbell on June 01, 2013 in Talks tagged with

I've included here the electronics1 talk I gave this week as a PDF Remember the simple takeaways from this talk: - the relationship between voltage, current and resistance - in particular bigger resistors mean less current - capacitors pass AC and block DC - inductors block AC and pass DC - bipolar tranistors control a large amount of current with a small amount of current - FET transistors control a large amount of current with a voltage Please go and play with the excellent circuit simulator at: try playing with resistors, current and voltage - and of course grab some and a meter at Makerspace and have a play Week 2 talk electronics2 is also here as a PDF - transformers, diodes, power supplies, op amps and timers  

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Using solder stencils Thumbnail

Using solder stencils

Posted by Paul Campbell on April 23, 2013 in Meeting Notes tagged with

I talked last week (April 18th) and gave a demo of using solder stencils to  make surface mount PCBs  and promised to post useful links. I had my stencil made by Smart Prototyping ( - they offer stencils starting at $20 when boards are made ( Seeed ( also offer stencils for $70 ( I ordered the stencil jig from AliExpress from: - they come in a bunch of different sizes I ordered my cheap reflow oven also on Aliexpress  from:

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LED Throwies

Posted by Paul Campbell on March 06, 2013 in Announcements tagged with

Well we're starting up for the year - in fact we've already sort of started with regular Thursday and Saturday open workshops for the past few weeks - on March the 14th we're going to have our first organised night - of you haven't come before or want to check us out come on down - we're going to make LED throwies in honour of the first night of the fringe festival - we'll have parts for sale - these are buildable by anyone without any prior experience other than ability to use masking tape.   It's that time of year again - financially we're running on empty - time to pay your yearly dues - they haven't changed from last year:   - $20/month for waged or preferably $240 for the year in advance - we're still offering a free kit (badge or base) or, this year, an LED throwie pack if you pay for the year - for the unwag

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Fab8NZ Un-Conference and Academic Symposium

Posted by Reece Arnott on September 27, 2012 in Talks tagged with

Here are the Fab8nz conference talk slides that I used for the talk I just gave. Included in these slides are three video clips that can be found on YouTube: - The KamerMaker Grand Opening with a first print of their 2x2x3.4m 3D printer is here. - The making of the conductive ink for a ballpoint pen is here. - The Solar Sinter video is here. There are also a number of other resources that are also mentioned: - Vik Ollivers website where he has blogged about some of his techniques for constructing the "fiddly bits" of a Reprap extruder. - The FabLab Store where you can buy the Hydrogen Fuel Cell and its accessories. - The Silverlight 6 1/2 hour webcast of the Academic Symposium (ofline at the time of posting). - The Anthony Atala TED talk about bio-printing organs where he shows the audience a bioprinted kidney. - The Project Re upcycling website where the function of eve

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