While I pour a toast, here are a few highlights of the past year:
PID Controlled Solder Paste Fridge
The first project I documented on the site, my solder paste fridge was the end result of a weekend effort to turn an old beer chest into a PID-controlled Peltier cooler for storing tubes of solder paste. A year later, the cooler has a permanent home under my workbench and is still going strong, keeping its contents at a chilly 36 degrees F. Besides solder paste, I keep my POR-15 rust proofing epoxy paint and a few tubes of superglue in the fridge (they never dry out!).
Space Invaders! Making RGB video with the PIC
I needed an excuse to learn assembly language programming on the PIC, and this project fit the bill perfectly. Instead of slogging through yet another PIC tutorial I decided to “just do it” and the video above shows the result. One of my favorite projects of last year, I have plans to build more of these and make some electronic artwork for the lab.
Bluetooth Handset Hack
One aging bluetooth headset plus one obsolete telephone handset equals one retro-fabulous hack that I still use today. The best part: Look for this one in Make: volume 20!
DIY PID-Controlled Soldering Hotplate
I’m a big fan of the hotplate (aka reflow skillet) method of surface mount soldering. Over the course of a few months I designed, machined, and assembled this PID-controlled soldering hotplate to help build the first few prototypes of my AVR HV Rescue Shield kit. Hacking around in the garage is always fun, but creating a new tool is one of the most rewarding things I have can think of.
Here’s a video of the hotplate in action, reflowing the step-up converter on the Rescue Shield:
The AVR HV Rescue Shield
What started as a simple hack to save a crippled AVR microcontroller eventually became a kit that I’ve sold to AVR enthusiasts around the world. The AVR HV Rescue Shield includes a cool custom PCB, integrated 5V-12V step-up power supply, and is completely open source. I only made one batch of these, and when they’re gone, they’re gone, so head over to the AVR HV Rescue Shield product page to order one today!