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Dec 9

Work and life have both had me busy as can be lately, but I managed to sneak away into the basement tonight, and made a breakthrough.  I’ve been needing a boost converter to drive my VFD tube for some time now, I’ve played around with a number of different designs, and I’ve finally got one working that I really like. I’ve got a 5 volt input driving a roughly 30 volt output, lighting up one of the digits on my IV-18 tube.  Very cool. It really wasn’t all that hard, but just took a bit of ‘think time’ to figure out how to bring it all together.  In the end, I’ve used a design based off the project shown here and I’m loving it!  The next step is interfacing the MAX6921 (again, something that has been done time and again – I’m not reinventing the wheel here).   Fun stuff.    The real challenge is going to be the I2C magic, when the time comes to drive the tuner.  I’ve got 2 FM receiver IC’s that I’ve been playing with, both are pretty sweet, but I’m not sure which way I’m going to go yet…Time will tell.  – Josh

Sep 24

So I LOVE the Arduino Nano 3.0 boards – they make breadboard prototyping so easy – but they’re not very shield friendly.  So I decided to design an Arduino Nano 3.0 to Shield adapter board tonight.  It’s all mocked up, and off to the board house (thanks to the guys @ OSH Park).  Hopefully I’ll have a couple of boards in the mail here in a few weeks, and see if I got it right :)    If all is well, I’ll go ahead and order some boards and put them up here on the site, you can pick one up for your own use.  As always, its open source so hack away (and I’ll make Eagle files available for download once I get some free time).

Sep 11

Ok so I’m just dropping a quick post to say that I’m not dead. It’s been summertime, and the outdoors projects have been keeping me more than occupied. I’ve recently (in the last week or so) been able to spend some productive time in the lab – here’s a teaser of what I’m working on.

1) Microcontroller based FM Radio with a VFD Tube based display. You’ve all seen the adafruit Ice Tube Clock – this is the same sort of concept (the same tube in fact) but I’m combining it with a modern FM tuner IC. I’m either going to go Arduino or Propeller (leaning towards Arduino for this one), but who knows where this ends up.

2) Arduino development board system – think of the Parallax Professional Development Board but for Arduino. I mocked up one of these already, but I’m playing with the design some more before I release anything

The bench is as messy as ever, and I’ve got tons of ideas. Lets see what I can crank out – who knows, we might even have a kit design ready by cold weather. I’m sure there are more than a few folks out there who would love to spend an evening drinking scotch, holding a soldering iron, and sniffing fumes :) Good times, I say.

- Josh

Apr 8

Hello World!  Welcome to MakeTronix! This is a new project of mine, and I’m going to keep things a little hush-hush until I’ve got some momentum built, but to give you a brief preview of things to come, this is going to be a place where you can come and buy some unique diy electronics kits – some of my own creation, and my own creative twists on projects designed by others.   The name of the game is Open Source Hardware.  Stay tuned, I’ve got some exciting ideas!