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Decorative LED light bulbs

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In a quest to create a light-arrangement similar to the photo below, I’ve tried out a number of LED filament light bulbs. They are all European socket E27 220 volt, but with variations on imitations of old style Edison incandescent bulbs, using LED filaments. Some give a normal bright light, while others are warm and dim. But first, some specifications.

An alternative to these LED bulbs might be old fashioned actual Edison incandescent bulbs. Although they were banned for sale in Europe a few years ago, they are still offered from AliExpress, at reasonable prices. It might be worth trying out later. The downside is of course the energy use, at about ten times LEDs, and having to order your light bulbs from China by post.


 
 

Brightness

The brightness of a light source is expressed in lumen, or luminous flux, where 1 lumen is equivalent to a single candle, while 100 lumen is 100 candles. However, beyond a few candles, it’s difficult to have an intuition about what the numbers mean. Here’s a rule of thumb for typical light bulb ratings, including those discussed further down:

  • 150 lm: very dim and dark; nice for decoration, but impossible to read in this light.
  • 250 lm: still dark, OK for dim lamps.
  • 400 lm: typical living room light, but would need a handful to light a room.
  • 900 lm: excellent reading light, but typically too bright for decoration.
  • 1400 lm: excellent working light, bright bathroom light.
  • 4000 – 8000 lm: total light in a well lit kitchen or bathroom (depending on size of the room).

Lumen add up linearly from multiple light sources, and a typical kitchen or bathroom would use multiple high-powered bulbs which add up to 4000 – 5000 lumen in a concentrated arrangement. A cosy living-room could have something similar, but typically scattered about over more and lower powered sources.

A dimmer will influence the lumen of a bulb. If it is compatible with a dimmer, it can output less lumens than its normal rating. However, dimming LEDs is not trivial, and will often cause flicker. Even though it might not be visible to the human eye, it will quickly disturb a camera, webcam or mobile phone. The Ikea bulb in this test experienced this issue even without a dimmer involved.


 
 

Colour temperature

The colour of a light source is expressed in kelvin, and often more red colors is referred to as warm, while more blue is said to be cold, with standard white light somewhere in the middle. The chart below gives a brief overview, with further examples here.

Again, it’s not easy to have any intuition about the numbers, so here’s some guidelines based on the bulbs in this article. Also note that different manufactures apply these values differently, so 3000 K might not always give the same colour. In particular, cheaper china-modules will often lower the advertised temperature, to not come off as cheap neon-light products, but will sometimes disappoint when plugged in.

  • 1800 K: Very red, like a candle light; OK for decoration, but uncomfortable to read or focus.
  • 2000 K: Nice and decorative, but not good for reading.
  • 2200 K: Approaching normal living room light.
  • 2700 K: Almost normal white light, good for living room.
  • 3000 K: Typical normal white reading and working light.
  • 5000 K: Typical fluorescent white light, still for household use.
  • 7000 K: Blue hospital light.

Different colours from different light sources mix very poorly. One of the lamps will quickly feel out of place: Think for example of a cool bright fluorescent light suddenly being turned on at a cosy cafe; next you’ll expect to be thrown out. Or a red lamp in an otherwise bright office-lit room; is somebody growing weed in that corner? Worse than these scenarios yet, is putting cool and warm coloured bulbs next to each other in the same lamp. It simply looks as if somebody didn’t stock up on the right bulbs and had to take what was available, or maybe bought the wrong kind from AliExpress. Speaking from experience.
 
 

 
 

Shapes

There are lots of different types of bulbs, sizes and shapes. Courtesy of mapawatt, here’s an overview of different kinds. The A (normal) and G (globe) annotation you sometimes see used on products. The sizes in America are in 1/8 inches, while millimeters is used in Europe. E.g. an A19 is an A shape bulb which is 2.375 inches in diameter (19/8). The A19 size happens to be the standard light bulb size, for example as seen in the GO/ON and Osram 11 W bulbs below. 2.375 inches is 60 mm, which is the diameter of the those bulbs at its widest point, thus the European marking will be A60. Another common size is the G30, a globe of of 25 / 8 inches or 95 mm, which is the shape of the two large bulbs at the end of this test. Finally, the “oblong pear” is common, as ST64 (mm) or ST20 (1/8 inches).

Be ware, sometimes the size annotation is mixed up or combined; like in this offering, which is marked as both as G30 and G95, or this, where it’s called G40, but is in fact a small 40 mm or 1.5 inches bulb. Here is a really large G40, at 5 inches or 125 mm, also known as G125.

Different sizes and shapes go well together, as seen in the photos below.
 
 

 
 

Arrangement, wire and fixtures

When it comes to the arrangement of such a setup, there are many ways of creating an interesting look. Some go for an orderly symmetric shape, which makes it look like a chandelier, while others are intentionally disorganized and scattered at different heights and positions. In between, there’s the “plank” instillation below, which uses a dark wooden board as the mounting-point, but still has many different sizes and heights.

To go with the bulbs, the wire and fixtures also become very visible parts. The textilkabel-shop in Germany sells every kind of fabric coated lamp wire imaginable, in colours types, and by the meter. Then there’s fixtures, and these classic styled sets look nice, also pictured below.


 
 
 
 

Ikea Lunnom LED, 400 lm, 4.2W, 2200K

Price: €8.50
Watts: 4.2 W
Brightness: 400 lm; good light
Color: 2200 kelvin; yellow
Socket: E27
Size: 60mm x 118 mm
Shape: A; standard. A60 / A19
LED filaments: 4 x 4cm
Dimmable: yes
Camera flicker: yes
Cosy light: no
Reading light: yes, but dim
Working light: no

Ikea’s standard filament LED bulb an A60, but slightly longer than a normal sized light-bulb, however will still fit in most lamps. It gives good light, but too warm and yellow for reading more than a page. The glass is light yellow-tinted. Still, it is also too bright to look at directly, so as decoration it would have to be high in the ceiling to avoid accidental stares.
It is rated as dimmable, however, through the camera view-finder, it was the only bulb in this test which flickered even without any dimming socket.

  

GO ON!, 2x LED bulbs, 470 lm, 4.4W, 2700K

Price: €3 (2-pack for €6)
Watts: 4.4 W
Brightness: 470 lm; good light
Color: 2700 kelvin; normal
Socket: E27
Size: 60mm x 104 mm
Shape: A; standard. A60 / A19
LED filaments: 2 x 6cm
Dimmable: no
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: no
Reading light: OK
Working light: no

A normal sized light-bulb for drop-in replacement in most lamps. The light is close to standard white, with a hint of yellow. At 470 lumen, it is bright enough for light reading. However, it is also too bright for decorative use, and its two filaments and standard shape is not too inspiring.
At €6 for a 2-pack, or only €3 each, it’s the cheapest bulb in this test. If it lives up to its 15.000 hours rating, it could be an excellent bulb to stock up on for living-room use, any maybe dim outdoor light.

  

Osram, pear, 470 lm, 4W, 2700K

Price: €10
Watts: 4 W
Brightness: 470 lm; good light
Color: 2700 kelvin; normal
Socket: E27
Size: 64mm x 143 mm
Shape: ST; oblong pear. ST64 / ST20
LED filaments: 4 x 4cm
Dimmable: no
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: no
Reading light: OK
Working light: no

An oblong pear shaped large bulb ST64, so potentially decorative. However, the light is close to standard white, and at 470 lumen, it is bright enough for light reading. However, might also be too bright for decorative use. Maybe it could be nice inside a tinted glass enclosure, like a large bottle or vase.

  

Osram, bright, 1420 lm, 11W, 2700K

Price: €13
Watts: 11 W
Brightness: 1420 lm; very bright
Color: 2700 kelvin; normal
Socket: E27
Size: 60mm x 105 mm
Shape: A, normal. A60 / A19
LED filaments: 8 x 6cm
Dimmable: no
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: no
Reading light: yes
Working light: maybe

At 1420 lumen, this bulb is extremely bright, and the packing claims the equivalent of a 94 W old style incandescent bulb, while this LED bulb uses only 11 W. It is so bright that looking directly at it for only a second will give black spots, so it has to be used with a lamp screen. It is not rated as compatible with dimmers. It is normal A60 sized, so will fit in any standard E27 socket lamp.
What’s odd, is that it’s only 2700 kelvin, which means it gives a warm light like the others. Thus, it will make pages of a book somewhat yellow, and is not well suited for a working light. (In comparison, the Osram Classic A Eco Pro 57 W halogen bulb is around 3000 kelvin, and gives excellent reading light). Maybe it could work as normal light in a large room, where it’s located high up in the ceiling. Alternatively, in a decorative screen, like the Arab perforated brass lamps.

  

Micasa Lines & Curves, decorative pear, 140 lm, 4W, 2000K

Price: €21
Watts: 4 W
Brightness: 140 lm; dim
Color: 2000 kelvin; warm
Socket: E27
Size: 64mm x 138 mm
Shape: ST; oblong pear. ST64 / ST20
LED filaments: 2 x 10cm curved
Dimmable: yes
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: yes
Reading light: no
Working light: no

Moving on to the cosy and decorative bulbs, this is an oblong pear shaped large bulb, with a warm dim light. Its two long filaments are shaped in curves, and creates a nice pattern. The smaller “threads” in the center of the bulb in the picture to the right are reflections of the filaments. With its tinted glass, it looks interesting also when turned off.
At only 140 lumen, it is the darkest bulb in this test, and is far to dark for reading. However, it is slightly cooler than the Star Trading bulbs below, so could work well in a living-room or bedroom setting. It is dimmable, if an even fainter light is required, but will probably induce camera flicker (not tested).

  

Star Trading, red dark pear, 240 lm, 3.8W, 1800K

Price: €21
Watts: 3.8 W
Brightness: 240 lm; dim
Color: 1800 kelvin; red
Socket: E27
Size: 64mm x 142 mm
Shape: ST; oblong pear. ST64 / ST20
LED filaments: 6 x 6cm
Dimmable: yes
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: yes
Reading light: no
Working light: no

At only 1800 kelvin, the Star Trading bulbs are the warmest of this test. In fact, it is so red, it is almost uncomfortable to try to focus on anything in this light. Reading is almost impossible. It should work well as in a cosy setting, as bar light, windows light. And it is dimmable if an even dark setting is required. With its tinted glass and oblong pear shape, it is decorative also when turned off.
However, at €21 it’s a very expensive bulb, so you’d probably only get a few. Then again, it claims a 15.000 hours service life, and if used at home for a couple of hours each day, that would mean at least 13 years of use. In a bar or cafe setting, or as a decorative window light, with some 10 hours daily use, it would go down to about four years.
It is also available in a 140 lumen version, with the same 1800 kelvin, and similar price.

  

Star Trading, red dark globe, 240 lm, 3.8W, 1800K

Price: €21
Watts: 3.8 W
Brightness: 240 lm; dim
Color: 1800 kelvin; red
Socket: E27
Size: 95mm x 137 mm
Shape: G, globe. G95 / G30
LED filaments: 6 x 6cm
Dimmable: yes
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: yes
Reading light: no
Working light: no

This is bulb has the same technical specs as the pear above, and in fact the only difference is the large globe shape of its outer tinted glass. It is as dark and red, and would work in a similar cosy setting. The price is the same and the service life is the same.
What really sets it apart is the large globe. It looks fun when lit, and interesting when off. Like the pear above, it is meant to be used without a lamp or cover, unless it’s a clear glass lamp, maybe. It is the right design for its purpose. The only problem I could see, is that with its large upper surface, it will get dusty, so might need to be cleaned regularly.
This one is also available in a 140 lumen version, with the same 1800 kelvin, and similar price. In addition, there’s an even larger version, G125 I believe, with otherwise similar specification. However, it’s almost €30.

  

YWXLight, LED string globe, 200 lm, 2W, 3000K

Price: €6
Watts: 2 W
Brightness: 200 lm; dim
Color: 3000 kelvin; somewhat cool
Socket: E27
Size: 95mm x 137 mm
Shape: G, globe. G95 / G30
LEDs: string of 15 – 20 small LEDs
Dimmable: no
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: decorative
Reading light: no
Working light: no

This bulb stands out in that it does not use LED filaments, but instead has packed a string of about 15 LEDs inside a globe bulb, of the same size as the Trading Star above, to create a Christmas-like decoration. It’s an innovative “China” LED decoration from DealExtreme, and even comes in a colored version for even more party atmosphere.
At 3000 kelvin, it is slightly cool, but the decorative presentation makes up for it. It does not make for any good reading light, but as a window lamp it would be fun. At only 2W it can run all night. The LEDs are likely to work for years; often it’s the electronic of the driver board which wears out first.

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DIY passive audio mixer

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In previous posts, I’ve mentioned my TB-03 synthesizer and TR-8 drum machine. While both offer analog audio input and output to chain the sound, it gets tricky when trying to record since there are multiple volume nobs essentially daisy-chained. Adding even more devices breaks down the whole setup.

So I needed a simple audio mixer, and decided to put together something myself. The only requirement was to adjust the volume of the stereo out of each device, and mix it together into one signal. A simple solution adds a potentiometer on each input line (right and left), and combines each line down to one output. I used 10k ohm dual logarithmic rotary potentiometers (which I found at a local electronics shop – which means they’re probably quite old). The input and output connectors are all stereo mini-jack.

As the pictures show, it’s a simple small box, with four inputs, four rotary knobs, and one output. I liked the knobs, however, had wished they could be flush with the surface of the box. They were not made for the potentiometers I got, and it took some Dremel work to make them fit at all. The wiring got a bit messy, and combined dual or even three wire would have made it look better on the inside.

The mixer and volume adjustment work, however, I’m not sure if 10k ohm is enough to adjust the devices. It is not enough to mute the sound. This article suggest adding a 1k resistor in series, which I might try later. It would also be interesting to see at what resistance level the sound is completely muted. Other implementations connects the third pin of the potentiometer to ground from the input. In my box, all ground wires from all inputs and output are combined directly, which I’m not sure if is correct.

Oh, and as can be seen, there’s no scale to indicate the setting of each knob. These can all go to 11 if you like!

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Hand soldering Surface Mount Components

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I recently got a $3 practice board for soldering SMD devices. It comes with components of various sizes, including resistors in 1206, 0805, and 0603 sizes; 1206 didoes; SOT-23 transistors; and a SOP14 chip. The board itself has no purpose, and only the resistors and didoes are actually connected. Given that the goal of this was to practice soldering, I’m happy with the outcome, as seen in the pictures below.

As can be seen, the 100 Ω resistors (“101″) are 1206 (3.2 x 1.6 mm); 82 Ω (“820″) are 0805 (2.0 x 1.25 mm); and 750 Ω (“751″) are 0603 (1.6 x 0.8 mm).

Some requirements and observations on hand soldering:

  • Soldering hygiene is paramount: The tip always has to be speckless; the solder has to be clean and untouched (cut off its tip if necessary).
  • Visual magnification is required to see what you are doing. Both a tweezer with a magnifying class and a pair of magnifying eye glasses are required.
  • A thin solder, preferably 0.5mm.
  • A thin solder tip.
  • Extreme patience is a must.

As opposed to through-hole soldering, SMD hand-soldering requires a flawless process every time. The tip always has to be clean and wet; so the sponge must always be clean to avoid picking up solder bits. Nothing must be in the way of the working area, including the solder iron wire. The components must be ready and almost in place. A typical iteration of my personal beginner’s technique went something like this:

  1. Remove old solder from the sponge.
  2. Clean and wet the solder tip: First with the iron cleaner; then on the sponge; wet with a bit of solder; clean on the sponge.
  3. Inspect the solder tip under a magnifying glass. It should be shiny and without spots or old soler. Repeat step 1 if necessary. 
     
  4. Put the solder tip down on one of the board pads, and move the solder in to add a bit of solder. Repeat for more solder points.
  5. If the solder starts to bubble, repeat the cleaning steps.
  6. Add solder to the tip before putting it back in its holder. 
     
  7. Open the SMD strip to push out one or two components.
  8. Using a magnifying glass and tweezer, orient the component in almost the correct location, right next to the pre-soldered pad from step 4.
  9. Clean and prepare the soldering tip.
  10. Hold the component down with the tweezer + magnifying glass.
  11. Heat the solder from step 4, and push in the component into its correct position.
  12. Without moving the tweezer, remove the solder iron.
  13. Repeat for more components.
  14. Add solder to the tip before putting it back in its holder. 
     
  15. Clean and prepare the soldering tip.
  16. Both hands are required, so use a handless magnifier, e.g. the magnifying glasses linked above.
  17. Heat the other side of the component (or solder pad) placed on the board.
  18. Carefully come in with the solder. Try to make it melt by touching the pad on the board, rather than the solder tip.
  19. If the solder starts to bubble, repeat the cleaning steps.
  20. Repeat for more components.
  21. Add solder to the tip before putting it back in its holder.

As this suggests, the cleaning can get repetitive, however it’s absolutely necessary to make this work. As the wetting and cleaning might actually waste quite a bit of solder, a tip refresher paste might be useful. The one at DX is sold out, but AliExpress has the same.

If it wasn’t clear already, this is hand-soldering at a rookie level. For professional techniques, better look elsewhere.

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Making an ARM Linux based computer from scratch

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Over at Henrik Forstén’s blog, he has a write-up of his very impressive project where he designed, assembled, soldered and installed an BGA (Ball Grid Arry) ARM based board from scratch.

He discusses board design challenges with a four-layered PCB, considerations with traces for DDR2 RAM, CPU, and three voltage supplies. There are many pictures showing the soldering process. His summary is: “Many people say that soldering BGAs is hard but based on this experience I can’t agree. Maybe I just got lucky but I didn’t have any problems with them.”

Once the board is all put together, he goes on to boot Linux. That also proves somewhat tricky, and he ends up with a three-phase boot using an ARM bootloader, U-boot, and finally a custom built kernel.

He says, “I don’t really care about the usefulness of the board and this whole project is more of a learning experience”. Clearly it was a great success.

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DealExtreme orders

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DealExtrme, always useful stuff! Some of the things I’ve ordered, listed here so I can easily find it and order even more…

V117 Dual-Side SSOP16 / TSSOP16 / SOP16 SMD to DIP Adapter Boards Set - Green (2 PCS) E5YK Stainless Steel Aquarium Five Head Water Tank Regulating Valve - Black + Silver 5 x 5.5mm DC Power Extension Female Cable - Black (10 PCS) Male + Female DC Power Converter Connector Adapters w/ Terminal Blocks For CCTV Camera (Pair) Male + Female DC Power Converter Connector Adapters w/ Terminal Blocks for CCTV Camera (Pair) 1-to-2 Power Splitter Cable for CCTV Security System Camera (DC 12V) 5 x 5.5mm DC Power Extension Female Cable - Black + Silver (10 PCS) Aquarium Fish Tank Tubing Straight Connector T Splitter for 4mm Air Line (24 PCS) 5.5 x 2.5mm Plug AC Power Adapter - Black (AC 100~240V / EU Plug / 135cm-Cable) Ethernet Shield with Wiznet W5100 Ethernet Chip / TF Slot GM700 1.5 1298A 12.6V 9800mAh Rechargeable Li-ion Battery w/ US Plug Power Adapter Hubsan H107-A26 Body Shell for H107C R/C Quadcopter - Red + Black Hubsan H107-A21 Body Shell for H107C R/C Quadcopter - Red + Silver H107C-008 R/C Helicopter Replacement Blades for JD385, 310, 310B, YD928, F180, V252, H107, H107L Replacement 3.7V 500mAh 25C Lithium Polymer Battery for Hubsan H107 4-Axis - Blue + Black 0.9 XL7105-SY DIY 2.4GHz A7105 NRF24L01 Wireless Module for Arduino (2 PCS) 433Mhz RF Transmitter Module + Receiver Module Link Kit for Arduino / ARM /MCU WL - Green Hubsan H107C-A24 3.7V 380mAh Li-po Battery for H301C R/C Quadcopter - White 20906 6mm Silicone Hose - Translucent White (5.44m-Length) Hubsan H107-A02 Replacement Blades for X4 H107 Quadcopter - Black + White (4 PCS) E5YK Water Tank Adjusting / Regulating Valve - Black (10 PCS) E5YK Stainless Steel Aquarium Five Head Water Tank Regulating Valve - Black + Silver Desktop Wire Cord Cable Clip Organizer - Yellow + Green + Red (6-Piece) E5YK Aquarium Fish Tank 1-to-6 Air Splitter - White E5YK Water Tank Adjusting / Regulating Valve - Black (10 PCS) Aquarium Fish Tank Flexible Silicone Air Line Tube - Black (18m) 20903 Silicone Tube - Translucent White (5m) E5YK Inlet Air Pipe Air Control Valve for Fish Tank / Aquarium - Yellow (20 PCS) E5YK Aquarium Suction Cup Airline Tube Holders Clips - Transparent + White (10 PCS) DX 2014 Desk Calendar with 12 Months Hubsan X4 H107C 2.4G 4CH R/C Quadcopter w/ 0.3MP Camera - Black + Red (Mode 2) Protective PU Leather Case w/ Card Holder Slots for LG Nexus 5 - Deep Pink Protective PU Leather Flip-Open Case w/ Holder for Google Nexus 7 - Red Detachable 59-Key Bluetooth V3.0 Keyboard Case for Google Nexus 7 II - Blue M-013 Door Entrance Guard ID Card - White (10 PCS) 125K RFID Card Reader Module / RDM630 Series Non-Contact RF ID Card Module for Arduino - Green + Red 3.7V 350mAh 30C Li-ion Battery for Hubsan X4 RC Quadcopter + Walkera V120D06 - Silver Hubsan H107-A05 3.7V 240mAh Li-ion Polymer Battery - Black Hubsan R/C Spare Parts H107-A06 USB Charger for H107 / H107L R/C Quadcopter - Black Y-11 1 Female to 3 Male DC Power Splitter Adapter Cable - Black (35 cm) Male + Female DC Power Converter Connector Adapters w/ Terminal Blocks For CCTV Camera (Pair) Jtron Building Universal Terminal Block / Quick Connector 5 Holes / Wire Connector - Grey (5 PCS) 3P Universal PA6 Terminals - Grey + Red (10 PCS / 250V / 20A) 4-Channel 5V Optocoupler Isolation Relay Module w/ High Level Trigger - Blue Hubsan H107-A02 Replacement Blades for X4 H107 Quadcopter - Black + White (4 PCS) HSYY01 Micro Gear Water Pump Motor w/ Hose - White + Silver ENC28J60 Ethernet LAN / Network Module for 51 AVR STM32 LPC Ethernet Shield with Wiznet W5100 Ethernet Chip / TF Slot Jtron 0.36 HD2V04 HDMI to VGA + 3.5mm Audio Jack Converter Adapter Box - Black Universal AC Charger w/ Dual USB Output for Iphone / Ipad / Ipod - White (US Plug) USB 2.0 to Micro USB Charging Cable for Samsung / HTC / BlackBerry - White (200CM) Raspberry PI Acrylic Case - Transparent 5V 2A Wall Power Adapter for Scanner / Surveillance Camera + More (US Plug) W-1 E27 Automatic Rotating 3W 300lm Colorful RGB Light 3-LED Lamp for Decoration (85~265V) E14 6W 500lm 6500K White 15-SMD 5630 LED Light Bulb - White (220V) Lexin E14 4W 350lm 34-5050 SMD White Light Corn Lamp (220~240V) USB Terminal Power Adapter Voltage Current Tester - Grey + Black GH-10W 10W 430lm 9-LED Red + Blue Light Plant Grow Light Module - Silver + White (7.5~8V) Jtron 0.36 8-Channel 5V Relay Module Shield for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards) JY-MCU 5V 3V IIC UART SPI Level 4-Way Converter Module Adapter HSYY01 Water Pump Motor w/ Hose - White + Silver 20906 6mm Silicone Hose - Translucent White (5.44m-Length) Aquarium Fish Tank Flexible Silicone Air Line Tube - Black (18m) E5HT Aquarium Air Tube - Transparent Blue (10m) Aquarium Fish Tank Tubing Straight Connector T Splitter for 4mm Air Line (24 PCS) E5YK Aquarium Fish Tank 1-to-6 Air Splitter - White USB Powered Flexible Neck 10-LED White Light Lamp - Blue (27cm) 4-Port High Speed USB 2.0 Hub - Black (60cm-Cable Length) Mini USB 4 Ports Hub 4-Port USB 2.0 HUB w/ Independent Switch - Black 5V 2A Universal Power Adapter Charger - Black (AC 100~240V / EU Plug / 3.5 x 1.35mm) Raspberry PI Acrylic Case - Transparent Protective Neoprene Bag Case for DSLR Camera Lens - Black (Size XL) Protective Neoprene Bag Case for DSLR Camera Lens - Black (Size L) HSYY01 Water Pump Motor w/ Hose - White + Silver W3-9 Immersible Water Pump for Miniature Garden - Off-white SZF280 PVC Mini Water Pump Motor - Beige Miniisw SW-015 1.5W Polysilicon Solar Panel - Black Miniisw SW-008 0.8W Solar Powered Battery Panel Board - Black Protective Jellyfish Pattern Silicone Back Case for LG E960 Nexus 4 - Multicolored Replacement Sound and Music Activated Spectrum VU Meter EL Visualizer - Smile Face (4*AAA) 5.5 x 2.5mm Plug AC Power Adapter - Black (AC 100~240V / EU Plug / 135cm-Cable) 1.5 5.5 x 2.5mm Plug AC Power Adapter - Black (AC 100~240V / EU Plug / 135cm-Cable) HDMI Female to Micro HDMI Male Adapter 40-Compartment Free Combination Plastic Storage Box for Hardware Tools / Gadgets - Translucent White 24-Compartment Free Combination Plastic Storage Box for Hardware Tools / Gadgets Panel Mount 10A 250V Fuse Holder - Black (5-Pack) Optical Triple Triangular Glass Prism Spectrum - White Dupont 4-Pin Female to Female Extension Wire Cable for Arduino (40cm / 10-Piece Pack) Dupont 4-Pin Male to Female Extension Wire Cable for Arduino (40cm / 10-Piece Pack) Universal DIY Bakelite Plate PCB Board - Brown (2-Piece Pack) Universal Glass Fiber PCB Board for DIY Project - Brown Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboard - Brown (5-Piece Pack) Nano V3.0 AVR ATmega328 P-20AU Module Board + USB Cable for Arduino Nylon PP6 DC 12V 50mA Tact Switch - Black (100-Piece Pack) 1N4007 1000V 1A Unilateral Rectifier Diodes Set - Black + Silver (50 PCS) LM7805L 5V Voltage Regulator ICs (10 PCS) 2.54mm 1x40 Pin Breakaway Straight Male Header (10-Piece Pack) GP LR44 A76 1.5V Cell Button Batteries 10-Pack 5 x 20mm Glass Tube Fuse Set - Silver (100 PCS) LCD Keypad Shield for Arduino Duemilanove & LCD 1602 (Works with Official Arduino Boards) Protective Plastic Case for 3.5 635~645nm 800~1000MCD 5mm LED - Red (100-Piece Pack) 510~520nm 800~1000MCD 5mm LED - Green (100-Piece Pack) S1306 8-in-1 Gradual ABS Lens Filters + Lens Mount + Ring Set for 77mm Lens Camera - Black Unique Black 4 Series Armed Notebook - Rambo Knife (60-Page) Convenient Rectangle Sticky Note Memo Pads (4 x 100 Pieces) Stainless Steel 1/4 C2-07 Creative Inflatable Shoe Boot Support Spreader - Milk White (Pair) Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (12-Piece Pack) Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (3 x 7 / 5-Piece Pack) Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboard - Green + Silver 3mm & 5mm Light-emitting Diode - Green + Red + Yellow (100-Piece Pack) Breadboard Jumper Wires for Electronic DIY (65-Cable Pack) 4 Channel 5V High Level Trigger Relay Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards) 2-Channel Relay Shield Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards) AMS1117 5V Power Supply Module Emolux 62mm Multi-Coated UV Lens Filter - Black Sound and Music Activated Multi-Mode Flashling EL Hearts T-shirt - M (3*AAA) Silica Gel Reusable Moisture-Proof Bead Desiccant - Blue Male + Female DC Power Converter Connector Adapters w/ Terminal Blocks For CCTV Camera (Pair) Universal Heavy Duty 6F22 9V Battery DSTE NB-7L Replacement 7.4V 1200mAh Battery for Canon G10 / G11 - G12 / SX30 IS - Grey 1/4 Universal Aluminum Alloy Straight Flash Bracket for Camera - Black Universal Aluminum Alloy Tripod Bracket for Speedlight / Camera- Black Universal Handheld Jar Opener White Magic Beans with Assorted Messages (10-Pack Growing Plant) Genuine Acecamp 2429 20L Outdoor Water Resistant Dry Bag - Yellow 1000mA Car Cigarette Powered USB Adapter/Charger (DC 12V/24V) DIY 433MHz Wireless Receiving Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards) 433MHz Wireless Transmitter Module Superregeneration for Arduino DIY 16-Key AD Keypad Module - Blue 4 x 4 Matrix Switch Module - Green ES-71 II Lens Hood for Canon Mini Prototype Printed Circuit Board Breadboard for Arduino (5 PCS) Ceramic Capacitor for DIY Electronic Circuit - Red (270-Piece Pack) Solderless Breadboard with 400 Tie-Point (White) USB to RS232 Serial Port Adapter (Transparent Green) FreArduino Soil Humidity Sensor for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards) Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (3 x 7 / 5-Piece Pack) DIY HR-202 Humidity Detection Sensor Module - Blue Aluminum Alloy Straight Hot Shoe Flash Bracket for Camera - Black Flash Diffuser for Canon 580 EX / EX II / YongNuo YN560 / YN565 Speedlite (3 PCS) HT RJ45 RJ11 Cable Tester Stainless Steel 1/4 Mini USB 2.4GHz 150Mbps 802.11b/g/n WiFi Wireless Network Card Adapter - Black USB 2.0 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n 150Mbps WiFi/WLAN Wireless Network Adapter Ultra-Mini Nano USB 2.0 802.11n 150Mbps Wifi/WLAN Wireless Network Adapter 6.3V 3300uf Aluminum Motherboard Capacitors (20-Piece Pack) DIY ZIF DIP IC Socket Set - Green (8 PCS) Solder Tip Refresher 3-Pin Triode Transistor for DIY Project - Black (20 x 10-Piece Pack) Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor for DIY Project (120-Piece Pack) DisplayPort DP Male to HDMI Female Adapter Cable - Black (15CM) Gold Plated 1080i HDMI V1.3 M-M Connection Cable (1M-Length) 11x12 132-Panel Brain Teaser Magic IQ Ball Micro USB To HDMI MHL Adapter - Black Gold Plated HDMI Male to DVI 24+1 Female Adapter 62mm Digital Camera Lens Cover Digital Camera Lens Cover/Cap with Strap for Canon (62mm) 7.4V 1200mAh Lithium Polymer Lipo Battery Pack for Lama or 4-CH R/C Helicopters HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Distance Measuring Module 4 x AA Battery Case Holder (3-Pack) Stainless Steel Triple Razor Blade Set (4-Pack) USB 2.0 Smart ID Card Reader - Silver 30cm Breadboard Wires for Electronic DIY (40-Cable Pack) Cree XR-E Q2 Emitter with Star 3W LED Emitter on Star (Multicolored RGB)

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Proto boards and microcontrollers – an overview

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MAKE magazine has a nice write-up of several of the popular micro controllers, prototyping and hobby boards out there. 36 of them in total. Of course, that covers only a fraction of all the brands, models and variations. That list runs much much longer.

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DC-to-DC converters

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There are a number of different DC-to-DC converters out there, used to convert between different voltage levels. Ranging from the small but inefficient linear regulators to switched-mode converters like the buck converter that can achieve 95% or even higher efficiency. Among the switched-mode converters there are quite a few variations based on different but often similar circuit topologies: The buck converter is a step-down converter, and as the name suggest its output voltage will be reduced from its input. A boost (step-up) converter has similar design, but will do the opposite. A buck-boost converter combines the two so output voltage can be converted from both higher and lower input voltage. However, the traditional buck-boost converter inverts the polarity, so that the output voltage is of the opposite polarity than its input. A single-ended primary-inductor converter (SEPIC) (aka. buck-boost SEPIC) solves that problem, and delivers fixed non-inverted output throughout the range of its input voltage.

If this is all a bit confusing, have a look at Julian Ilett’s excellent YouTube videos and reviews: He covers the SEPIC buck boost converter, and shows how it seamlessly goes from 0.5 to 30 V out on a 9V battery. He shows how a 400W boost converter can drive a 100W LED pad, and he has a review of several different buck converters, in fact several reviews. He also has many interesting videos on driving different LED boards, including 50W and 30W RGB. You’ll really have to watch all his 140 videos!

When it comes to buying these, DealExtreme of course has a lot on offer, but here it seems like eBay has a bigger variety across its different sellers. I’ve already ordered this one, and expect to get more in the future. In particular, one of the variations on the ZXY6005 (D) power supply looks like a must-have in a hobby workshop.

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Fiber optics

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For a long time I’ve been plotting to make a fiber optic “star” ceiling, however I’ve been put off by the prohibitively expensive offers on fiber, at around one Euro per meter for the 1.0 mm thickness. Enter The Fiber Optic Store, specialising exactly in star ceilings, they have a wide range of filaments (i.e. single threads as opposed to cables) available at custom lengths. For their bigger quantities, 1.0 mm comes down to about $0.40 / meter. They also have some interesting combo-backs, and even a small sampling offer to get an idea of the sizes.

Furthermore, they have a large FAQ and guide section with a well of information and tips. And finally, for the DIY illuminator, they have a bright idea on how to attach the fiber treads to a single LED. As seen in the picture below, they are kept in place by heat shrink tubing.

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DealExtreme orders

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Various items ordered from DealExtreme.

GH-10W 10W 430lm 9-LED Red + Blue Light Plant Grow Light Module - Silver + White (7.5~8V) Jtron 0.36 8-Channel 5V Relay Module Shield for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards) JY-MCU 5V 3V IIC UART SPI Level 4-Way Converter Module Adapter HSYY01 Water Pump Motor w/ Hose - White + Silver 20906 6mm Silicone Hose - Translucent White (5.44m-Length) Aquarium Fish Tank Flexible Silicone Air Line Tube - Black (18m) E5HT Aquarium Air Tube - Transparent Blue (10m) Aquarium Fish Tank Tubing Straight Connector T Splitter for 4mm Air Line (24 PCS) E5YK Aquarium Fish Tank 1-to-6 Air Splitter - White USB Powered Flexible Neck 10-LED White Light Lamp - Blue (27cm) 4-Port High Speed USB 2.0 Hub - Black (60cm-Cable Length) Mini USB 4 Ports Hub 4-Port USB 2.0 HUB w/ Independent Switch - Black 5V 2A Universal Power Adapter Charger - Black (AC 100~240V / EU Plug / 3.5 x 1.35mm) Raspberry PI Acrylic Case - Transparent Protective Neoprene Bag Case for DSLR Camera Lens - Black (Size XL) Protective Neoprene Bag Case for DSLR Camera Lens - Black (Size L) HSYY01 Water Pump Motor w/ Hose - White + Silver W3-9 Immersible Water Pump for Miniature Garden - Off-white SZF280 PVC Mini Water Pump Motor - Beige Miniisw SW-015 1.5W Polysilicon Solar Panel - Black Miniisw SW-008 0.8W Solar Powered Battery Panel Board - Black Protective Jellyfish Pattern Silicone Back Case for LG E960 Nexus 4 - Multicolored Replacement Sound and Music Activated Spectrum VU Meter EL Visualizer - Smile Face (4*AAA) 5.5 x 2.5mm Plug AC Power Adapter - Black (AC 100~240V / EU Plug / 135cm-Cable) 1.5 5.5 x 2.5mm Plug AC Power Adapter - Black (AC 100~240V / EU Plug / 135cm-Cable) HDMI Female to Micro HDMI Male Adapter 40-Compartment Free Combination Plastic Storage Box for Hardware Tools / Gadgets - Translucent White 24-Compartment Free Combination Plastic Storage Box for Hardware Tools / Gadgets Panel Mount 10A 250V Fuse Holder - Black (5-Pack) Optical Triple Triangular Glass Prism Spectrum - White Dupont 4-Pin Female to Female Extension Wire Cable for Arduino (40cm / 10-Piece Pack) Dupont 4-Pin Male to Female Extension Wire Cable for Arduino (40cm / 10-Piece Pack) Universal DIY Bakelite Plate PCB Board - Brown (2-Piece Pack) Universal Glass Fiber PCB Board for DIY Project - Brown Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboard - Brown (5-Piece Pack) Nano V3.0 AVR ATmega328 P-20AU Module Board + USB Cable for Arduino Nylon PP6 DC 12V 50mA Tact Switch - Black (100-Piece Pack) 1N4007 1000V 1A Unilateral Rectifier Diodes Set - Black + Silver (50 PCS) LM7805L 5V Voltage Regulator ICs (10 PCS) 2.54mm 1x40 Pin Breakaway Straight Male Header (10-Piece Pack) GP LR44 A76 1.5V Cell Button Batteries 10-Pack 5 x 20mm Glass Tube Fuse Set - Silver (100 PCS) LCD Keypad Shield for Arduino Duemilanove & LCD 1602 (Works with Official Arduino Boards) Protective Plastic Case for 3.5 635~645nm 800~1000MCD 5mm LED - Red (100-Piece Pack) 510~520nm 800~1000MCD 5mm LED - Green (100-Piece Pack) S1306 8-in-1 Gradual ABS Lens Filters + Lens Mount + Ring Set for 77mm Lens Camera - Black Unique Black 4 Series Armed Notebook - Rambo Knife (60-Page) Convenient Rectangle Sticky Note Memo Pads (4 x 100 Pieces) Stainless Steel 1/4 C2-07 Creative Inflatable Shoe Boot Support Spreader - Milk White (Pair) Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (12-Piece Pack) Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (3 x 7 / 5-Piece Pack) Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboard - Green + Silver 3mm & 5mm Light-emitting Diode - Green + Red + Yellow (100-Piece Pack) Breadboard Jumper Wires for Electronic DIY (65-Cable Pack) 4 Channel 5V High Level Trigger Relay Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards) 2-Channel Relay Shield Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards) AMS1117 5V Power Supply Module Emolux 62mm Multi-Coated UV Lens Filter - Black Sound and Music Activated Multi-Mode Flashling EL Hearts T-shirt - M (3*AAA) Silica Gel Reusable Moisture-Proof Bead Desiccant - Blue Male + Female DC Power Converter Connector Adapters w/ Terminal Blocks For CCTV Camera (Pair) Universal Heavy Duty 6F22 9V Battery DSTE NB-7L Replacement 7.4V 1200mAh Battery for Canon G10 / G11 - G12 / SX30 IS - Grey 1/4 Universal Aluminum Alloy Straight Flash Bracket for Camera - Black Universal Aluminum Alloy Tripod Bracket for Speedlight / Camera- Black Universal Handheld Jar Opener White Magic Beans with Assorted Messages (10-Pack Growing Plant) Genuine Acecamp 2429 20L Outdoor Water Resistant Dry Bag - Yellow 1000mA Car Cigarette Powered USB Adapter/Charger (DC 12V/24V) DIY 433MHz Wireless Receiving Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards) 433MHz Wireless Transmitter Module Superregeneration for Arduino DIY 16-Key AD Keypad Module - Blue 4 x 4 Matrix Switch Module - Green ES-71 II Lens Hood for Canon Mini Prototype Printed Circuit Board Breadboard for Arduino (5 PCS) Ceramic Capacitor for DIY Electronic Circuit - Red (270-Piece Pack) Solderless Breadboard with 400 Tie-Point (White) USB to RS232 Serial Port Adapter (Transparent Green) FreArduino Soil Humidity Sensor for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards) Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (3 x 7 / 5-Piece Pack) DIY HR-202 Humidity Detection Sensor Module - Blue Aluminum Alloy Straight Hot Shoe Flash Bracket for Camera - Black Flash Diffuser for Canon 580 EX / EX II / YongNuo YN560 / YN565 Speedlite (3 PCS) HT RJ45 RJ11 Cable Tester Stainless Steel 1/4 Mini USB 2.4GHz 150Mbps 802.11b/g/n WiFi Wireless Network Card Adapter - Black USB 2.0 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n 150Mbps WiFi/WLAN Wireless Network Adapter Ultra-Mini Nano USB 2.0 802.11n 150Mbps Wifi/WLAN Wireless Network Adapter 6.3V 3300uf Aluminum Motherboard Capacitors (20-Piece Pack) DIY ZIF DIP IC Socket Set - Green (8 PCS) Solder Tip Refresher 3-Pin Triode Transistor for DIY Project - Black (20 x 10-Piece Pack) Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor for DIY Project (120-Piece Pack) DisplayPort DP Male to HDMI Female Adapter Cable - Black (15CM) Gold Plated 1080i HDMI V1.3 M-M Connection Cable (1M-Length) 11x12 132-Panel Brain Teaser Magic IQ Ball Micro USB To HDMI MHL Adapter - Black Gold Plated HDMI Male to DVI 24+1 Female Adapter 62mm Digital Camera Lens Cover Digital Camera Lens Cover/Cap with Strap for Canon (62mm) 7.4V 1200mAh Lithium Polymer Lipo Battery Pack for Lama or 4-CH R/C Helicopters HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Distance Measuring Module 4 x AA Battery Case Holder (3-Pack) Stainless Steel Triple Razor Blade Set (4-Pack) USB 2.0 Smart ID Card Reader - Silver 30cm Breadboard Wires for Electronic DIY (40-Cable Pack) Cree XR-E Q2 Emitter with Star 3W LED Emitter on Star (Multicolored RGB)

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Adafruit order

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Some items ordered from Adafruit a while back.

  • BeagleBone Black
  • GPIO Extender Cable for Raspberry Pi – 12″ long
  • MCP23017 – i2c 16 input/output port expander
  • MCP23008 – i2c 8 input/output port expander
  • Plastic Water Solenoid Valve – 12V – 1/2″ Nominal
  • Liquid Flow Meter – Plastic 1/2″ NPT Threaded
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Tayda Electronics Order

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I previously wrote about Tayda Electronics, and their amazing prices on basic components. Just to try, I put in a small order, and it arrived by air less than two weeks later. The fact that you can order single components for the price of $0.01 is pretty amazing. Furthermore, they take the time and effort to put each type of item in its own little bag with a clear label. (As opposed to DealExtreme, which tend to lump things together and unlabelled.)

Mostly for my own reference, here’s the things I picked up. Some basic stuff, but most interesting was the MAX7219 LED segment driver for only $1.25. I’ll be using that in a project to control 64 LEDs, and hope to write about that shortly.

MAX7219 7 Segment + Dot Point -  Common Cathode serially interfaced display driver PDIP-24 LED 10mm Green Water Clear Ultra Bright - $0.10 LED 10mm Yellow Water Clear Ultra Bright - $0.10 LED 10mm Blue Water Clear Ultra Bright - $0.10 24 pin DIP IC Sockets Adaptor Solder Type - $0.08 0.1uF 50V 105C Radial Electrolytic Capacitor 5x11mm - $0.02 10uF 25V 105C Radial Electrolytic Capacitor 5x11mm - $0.02 Fuse Holder with Cover 5x20mm M205 PCB 15A - $0.16 Photo Conductive Cell Resistor LDR 650nm RADIAL KE-10720 - $0.24 40 Pin 2.54 mm Single Row Female Pin Header - $0.24 22pF 50V Ceramic Disc Capacitor - $0.01 10K OHM 1/4W 5% Carbon Film Resistor - $0.01 RGB LED 5mm Common Cathode - $0.27

Tayda Electronics

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For a long time, Sparkfun and DealExtreme, and to a lesser extent Digikey and Adafruit have been my favourite shops for electronic components. Now I might have just found a new one: Tayda Electronics.

Their prices are in a completely different range than the aforementioned shops. Basic components like resistors and capacitors are one or two cents, or sometimes even less. Typically, you’d have to buy in bulk of 100 or even 1000 to get those prices, but at Tayda, you can order a single one, if you like.

Other highlights include 10mm LEDs like the ones I mentioned earlier, for 10 cents each (vs. $1 or more that I paid). In fact, the specs promise 14000-16000 mcd vs. the 5000 mcs I tried. I’ve ordered a few, and will post details later. Finally, the reason I came across their site: The Maxim Max7219 LED driver for $1.25 (vs. $10 or more at Sparkfun and others). That was really great news, since the magic seems to have gone out of chip I had, but disappointingly without magic smoke.

Their minimum ordering is $5, which might actually be difficult to reach with those prices. I’ve just put an order, and they promise same they shipping and about two weeks delivery with standard mail (at only ~$2 shipping cost). Let’s see how it goes.

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8-pins jumper wires

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For a somewhat long running project, I was looking for 8-pin jumper wires, and had even gotten some headers and ribbon cable to see if I could make them myself. However, with the prospect of stripping, crimping and soldering some ~200 pins, it just didn’t happen. That’s why I was happy to find these pre-made cables from emartee.com. 4-pin and 5-pin wires are common, but except for Alibaba, I’ve not found 8 pins anywhere. They are available in lengths of 20, 30 and 60 cm. Ordering from emartee was smooth, and delivery from China was less than two weeks. Their prices are maybe slightly higher than what you find elsewhere, except for said 8 pin wires…

Below are just some fun pictures, with the last one hinting at the LED matrix project. More about that later.

More DealExtreme

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A few months ago I listed what I’d bought and looked at on the Hong Kong based site DealExtreme. Here’s another overview, with more electronics and random stuff.

Ordered

Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (12-Piece Pack)Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (3 x 7 / 5-Piece Pack)Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboard - Green + Silver3mm & 5mm Light-emitting Diode - Green + Red + Yellow (100-Piece Pack)Breadboard Jumper Wires for Electronic DIY (65-Cable Pack)4 Channel 5V High Level Trigger Relay Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)2-Channel Relay Shield Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)AMS1117 5V Power Supply ModuleEmolux 62mm Multi-Coated UV Lens Filter - BlackSound and Music Activated Multi-Mode Flashling EL Hearts T-shirt - M (3*AAA)Silica Gel Reusable Moisture-Proof Bead Desiccant - BlueMale + Female DC Power Converter Connector Adapters w/ Terminal Blocks For CCTV Camera (Pair)Universal Heavy Duty 6F22 9V BatteryDSTE NB-7L Replacement 7.4V 1200mAh Battery for Canon G10 / G11 - G12 / SX30 IS - Grey1/4Universal Aluminum Alloy Straight Flash Bracket for Camera - BlackUniversal Aluminum Alloy Tripod Bracket for Speedlight / Camera- BlackUniversal Handheld Jar OpenerWhite Magic Beans with Assorted Messages (10-Pack Growing Plant)Genuine Acecamp 2429 20L Outdoor Water Resistant Dry Bag - Yellow1000mA Car Cigarette Powered USB Adapter/Charger (DC 12V/24V)DIY 433MHz Wireless Receiving Module for Arduino - Green433MHz Wireless Transmitter Module Superregeneration for Arduino - GreenDIY 16-Key AD Keypad Module - Blue4 x 4 Matrix Switch Module - GreenES-71 II Lens Hood for CanonMini Prototype Printed Circuit Board Breadboard for Arduino (5 PCS)Ceramic Capacitor for DIY Electronic Circuit - Red (270-Piece Pack)Solderless Breadboard with 400 Tie-Point (White)USB to RS232 Serial Port Adapter (Transparent Green)Freaduino Soil Humidity Sensor for Arduino - WhiteDouble-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (3 x 7 / 5-Piece Pack)DIY HR-202 Humidity Detection Sensor Module - BlueAluminum Alloy Straight Hot Shoe Flash Bracket for Camera - BlackFlash Diffuser for Canon 580 EX / EX II / YongNuo YN560 / YN565 Speedlite (3 PCS)HT RJ45 RJ11 Cable TesterStainless Steel 1/4Mini USB 2.4GHz 150Mbps 802.11b/g/n WiFi Wireless Network Card Adapter - BlackUSB 2.0 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n 150Mbps WiFi/WLAN Wireless Network AdapterUltra-Mini Nano USB 2.0 802.11n 150Mbps Wifi/WLAN Wireless Network Adapter6.3V 3300uf Aluminum Motherboard Capacitors (20-Piece Pack)DIY ZIF DIP IC Socket Set - Green (8 PCS)Solder Tip Refresher3-Pin Triode Transistor for DIY Project - Black (20 x 10-Piece Pack)Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor for DIY Project (120-Piece Pack)DisplayPort DP Male to HDMI Female Adapter Cable - Black (15CM)Gold Plated 1080i HDMI V1.3 M-M Connection Cable (1M-Length)11x12 132-Panel Brain Teaser Magic IQ BallMicro USB To HDMI MHL Adapter - Black Gold Plated HDMI Male to DVI 24+1 Female Adapter62mm Digital Camera Lens Cover Digital Camera Lens Cover/Cap with Strap for Canon (62mm)

Interesting

Sound and Music Activated Velcro Spectrum VU Meter EL Visualizer T-shirt - Black (Size-L/4 x AAA)RM3 Hex KeyFlat Point Hex Key Screwdriver Set for Electronics DIY (8-Piece Set)RM2 Hex KeyRegal Tools 7-Piece Hex Keys Set7-Piece Set Hex Key Wrenches (0.7~3mm)Replacement Power Supply AC Adapter for Laptops - Black (5.5*2.1mm Plug Size)DIY CC1101 433MHz Wireless Transceiver Module for Arduino (2 PCS)8-Channel 5V Relay Module Shield for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)8 Channel Relay Module Extension Board for ArduinoDIY 4 x 4 16-Key Numeric Keypad - Black20 x 16 Double-Sided PCB Prototype Board for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)S1305 8-in-1 Gradual ABS Lens Filters + Lens Mount + Ring Set for 72mm Lens Camera - BlackMystery Speed Controller Pentium-30A for Brushless Motors (300/450 R/C Helicopters)FLYING 30A BEC Electronic Speed Controller for Brushless Motors (ESC)A2208-12T 1500KV Outrunner Brushless Motor1.6Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboards - Green + Brown (10-Piece Pack)Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboards - Yellow (10-Piece Pack)Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboard - Golden (10-Piece Pack)4-Channel Relay Shield Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Sound and Music Activated Velcro BEAT Spiral Dots EL Visualizer T-shirt - Black (Size-L/4 x AAA)37-in-1 Sensor Module Kit for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)9000 2.2RD32 720P 5MP Wide Angle Waterproof Action Video Camera with 8-LED White Light/AV Out/TF - YellowRD32 5.0 Mega Pixels HD 720P Waterproof Action Video Camera with 8-LED - Red (TF)1080P CMOS 5MP Sports Waterproof Digital Video Camera w/ 4x Digital Zoom/TV-Out/HDMI/SD (1.5UnisCom VP+309 Mini 1.1Transcend 8GB SDHC SD Card (Class 10 High Speed)3.3V / 5V Power Supply Module for MB102 Breadboard - BlackPower Black Wings Module Breadboard Adapter for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)MB102 Breadboard Power Supply Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Power 3.3V / 5V Supply Module for MB102 Bread BoardFC-21 Power Expansion Board Module w/ Switch + Light Indication - Blue + BlackO-Shape Twin Flash Bracket for Macro Photography - BlackHigh Capacity 9800mAh Rechargeable External Battery - BlackFlexible 2-Mode Blue Light EL Strip (DC 12V/3M-Length)Rechargeable 9000mAh Li-ion Emergency Power Battery for Camcorder/Walkie Talkie/Camera + More12V 6800mAh Rechargeable Portable Emergency Power Li-ion BatteryPortable 6800mAh Emergency Rechargeable Battery Pack (EU Plug)12V 1800mAh Rechargeable Portable Emergency Power Li-ion Battery for CCTV Devices12V 6000mAh Rechargeable Portable Emergency Power Li-ion Battery12V 4800mAh Rechargeable Portable Emergency Power Li-ion BatteryPortable Dapper Stage Red/Green Laser Light Show - Blue + White (2 x AAA)Protective Plastic Case for 2.5Protective Plastic Case for 3.550mW Green + 100mW Red Laser Stage Lighting Projector with IR Remote + Tripod (100V~240V AC)Nano V3.0 for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)USB to RS232 Adapter Cable (1M-Length)RS232 Serial Port Express Card Adapter - Blue + Black + SilverPL2303HX Converter USB to TTL USB to COM Cable Module- Black (1m)Plastic Imine Membrane Screw Insulation Coat - White (1000 PCS)DIY 3mm Iron Hexagon Nut - Silver (200 PCS)2A Ceramic Tube Fuse Set (100-Piece Pack / 6 x 30mm)RGB LED Strip Control Box w/ IR 24-Key Remote Control (DC 12V)44-Key IR Remote Controller for LED Light Strip - WhiteStylish Anti-Slip Shoulder Strap for Canon DSLR Camera - RedMini Portable Metal Flash Holder Mount for Camera - BlackL-Shape Flash Bracket for Camera (2-Piece Set)Fotomate 250mm Movable Range 2 Way Macro Focusing Rail Slider433MHz 4-Channel Wireless Flash Trigger (1 x 12V 23A + 2 x AAA)433MHz 4-Channel Wireless Flash Trigger (1 x 12V 23A + 2 x AAA)Plastic Buckle Clip for High Power 220V SMD 3528 LED Flexible Strip - Transparent (10 PCS)DIY HR-202 Humidity Detection Sensor Module - Blue6490 DHT11 Humidity Temperature Sensor Module - Blue20 x 80mm Double-Sided PCB Prototype Boards (25 PCS)Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (10 x 16)Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (7 x 9)Electrical Bakelite Circuit Board (5x7cm/10-Piece)DS1307 I2C RTC DS1307 24C32 Real Time Clock Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)XL7105-SY DIY 2.4GHz A7105 NRF24L01 Wireless Module for Arduino (2 PCS)2.4GHz NRF24L01+ Wireless Communication Module for Arduino (2 PCS)DIY DS18B20 Stainless Steel Temperature Sensor Probe - BlackDHT21/AM2301 Capacitive Digital Temperature & Humidity Sensor - BlackENC28J60 Ethernet Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)HR31 Humidity Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)NRF905 Wireless Communication Transmission Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)2 Channel 4 Pins NC Type Shock Switch Sensor ModuleVibration Alarm Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)BMP085 Altimeter Atmospheric Pressure Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Human Body Touch Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)DS1302 Real Time Clock Module with Battery CR2032DS18B20 Temperature Sensor - Black + SilverMicro SD Card Storage Memory Board Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Digital Vibration Switch Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Tilt Switch Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)3-Pin Light Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)DHT22 2302 Digital Temperature Humidity Sensor for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)DS18B20 Digital Temperature Sensor Module for Arduino (-55~125C)IR Receiver Module Wireless Remote Control Kit for Arduino (1 x CR2025)5V Relay Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)DHT11 Digital Temperature Humidity Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Hall Effect Magnetic Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)MMA8451 3-Axial Triaxial Digital Accelerometer Module3-Axis Digital Gyroscope Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)

Disclaimer: All links are redirected to dx.com with my affiliated ID.

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Tablet, tablet on the wall…

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Tablet, tablet on the wall, what’s the cheapest of them all? That question comes up from time to time, so here’s the cheapest I could find at Deal Extreme. Please see the customer reviews for each product for details. And remember, you get what you pay for. At that price, it will work, run the browser and basic apps, but don’t expect “the gadget of the year”.

4.3″ Resistive Screen Android 4.0$43

7″ Capacitive Screen Android 4.1$62

10.1″ Capacitive Screen Android 4.0$169

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