Christmas – New Tools!

I hope everyone reading this enjoyed their Christmas events, time off, and the company of friends and family.

This year, I actually made a list, much to the delight of my parents, so that they didn’t need to scramble and search for something they think I’d like (despite my assertions that gifts were not necessary.) In the end, my list was entirely composed of tools for electronics, and how happy was I to find on Christmas morning a plethora of utilitarian gifts!

I received toolboxes, and tools to go with them, including:

  • Weller Pro ColdHeat Soldering Iron
  • Large magnet kit (and magnetizer/demagnetizer tool)
  • Assorted plier
  • Precision screwdriver sets
  • 100+ piece security bit set
  • 3rd hands
  • Tweezers
  • Handy-sized multimeter with temp probe
  • Solder tools (brushes, component holders, trace cutters, etc)
  • Strippers
  • Butane torch

I really wanted a toolbox that was large enough that I could have tools for any number of jobs (this box is not even filled yet with everything I want to put in it). I wanted to be prepared for electronics work, computer work, vehicle work, etc., and a box this size will allow me to put tools to do all of that.

Arduino

I also received an Arduino Uno (my father had no idea what it was, but he ordered it regardless). This is exciting, as it will be my first real experience with programming for micro-controllers, and hardware that interfaces the real world with digital processing.

To get started, aside from the blink program that is preloaded, I modified the Fade sample code (for fading in and out an LED), by changing the pin number and the fade speed.

Very basic, but this is only the beginning!

Other kits

I also asked for two other electronics kits, that I plan to modify. One is a Clapper-Relay Kit, that will turn a device on or off when it detects a clap. The relay included is only rated for 120V @ 3A, so I plan on using another relay rated for 10-15A to power bigger loads (such as a computer or stereo).

I also received a VU Meter Kit, which you connect an audio signal to, and it has 2 sets of 8 LEDs that will dance to the music. I plan on modifying this for an installation in my car’s trunk (to create a neat light show when I listen to music).

Pretty awesome, I must say. Keep an eye out for future posts of me working with these new tools and devices!

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Monday, December 27th, 2010 electronics, life, projects


2 Comments to Christmas – New Tools!

  • SO AWESOME!!!!

    Merry Christmas & Happy new years

    So many new tools *drool*

    I don’t get those battery powered soldering irons, do they even work well?

    Welcome to the arduino club! 😀

    Please explain more about the kits you got after you built them! I’m very curious to how the VU meter kit works.

    • Dan says:

      I have two battery powered irons now; one is a Weller 6 watt, that ISN’T a ColdHeat. It is actually an iron that heats up a tip. I find that, with a good set of batteries, it is just as good as any other iron (it heats up in about 15 seconds.)

      The ColdHeat irons has a special tip, that has a split down the center. Basically, it is like a positive and negative terminal, and when they are shorted on a pad, it creates heat. Allan had one and said it worked quite well (he built his whole robot with it). I’ll have to try it out soon (as soon as I get 5 AAs… >.<)

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