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Top 17 Helpful Hints for Constructing Electronic Systems

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David Ashton
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Re: Twisted WIre
David Ashton   4/26/2014 6:49:30 AM
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@Pablo - wire from Cat5 / 6 network cable - the solid stuff, not the stranded patch cable - makes excellent jumpers for breadboards too.  At least 5 colours - 8 if you're lucky -  for easy wire identification....

David Ashton
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Re: I want a finger wrench!
David Ashton   4/26/2014 6:44:06 AM
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@GSKrasle - some fine tips there too.  Ref your last:

"It's useful to have a scrap of cardboard at the soldering-station to avoid damaging more delicate surfaces."

I had a Weller iron that had a square of yellow fibrous stuff for cleaning the tip.  You had to keep it wet.  It wore out in time and I found that a square of very similar looking material from a floor mop worked just as well.  I recently got some genuine Weller ones and honestly the floor mop stuff is just as good - and much cheaper!

antedeluvian
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Blogger
Re: Removing Labels
antedeluvian   4/25/2014 8:17:43 PM
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Pablo

For removing labels a heat gun is even better than WD-40 and doesn't leave any residue or smear the print on the label. 

You are absolutely correct. I use a paint scraper together with the heat gun to make short work of the sticker. The problem is when the sticker is on a plastic housing. Excess heat can have disfiguring consequences.

PabloBrysono
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Rookie
Twisted WIre
PabloBrysono   4/25/2014 4:38:25 PM
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When I need a twisted pair I just cut up a  spare or faulty network cable and parallel the wires if I need more current capability. 

PabloBrysono
User Rank
Rookie
Removing Labels
PabloBrysono   4/25/2014 4:32:47 PM
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For removing labels a heat gun is even better than WD-40 and doesn't leave any residue or smear the print on the label. 

GSKrasle
User Rank
Freelancer
Re: Binder Clips
GSKrasle   4/25/2014 4:22:51 PM
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I want to see other, more circuit-oriented ideas!

Here's one:

Sometimes, you need plain-old diodes, but at high-wattage (e.g. as part of a test load). High-W diodes are costly. But MOSFETs are not! Who needs a "Gate"?

In fact, let me go-on: make a load by attaching a chain of diodes with n*Vf>Vs to the node to be loaded (a resistor in the chain helps with controllability/metering). In series with this, use a bench adjustable supply. No current flows until you adjust the bench supply high-enough, and its I-limit is useful. Just put a diode around it so that it won't hurt the DUT if the DUT turns-off/folds-back.

GSKrasle
User Rank
Freelancer
Re: Binder Clips
GSKrasle   4/25/2014 3:48:09 PM
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Binder-clips: very nice. I hate shredding the probe cords.
Why don't scopes have "cupholders" for the witch-hats?

I once had to deal with prototypes that were many times larger than the intended product PCBs. Unfortunately, the mfr had used the same very thin PCB material, and even with lots of standoffs as "feet," the boards would flex alarmingly. I screwed them to panels of insulating foam with wood-screws. Luckily, no significant componentry on the bottom).

We've all touched plastic with a soldering-iron before.... To clean-off the smell, use a brass/copper "scrubber" while it's hot.

Cut-out a piece of an aluminum soda-can. Fold/crease it. Cut it into a triangle. Taa-Daa! A disposable tweezers of any dimension you need. (Entomologists do this.)

X-acto blade dull? Break-off (eye-protection!) a bit of it to get to an un-worn part of the edge.

 

 

Wnderer
User Rank
CEO
Binder Clips
Wnderer   4/25/2014 3:09:16 PM
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I put tiny binder clips on my oscilloscope probes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binder_clip

They are useful for holding a scope probe in place with a helping hand or hanging the unused ground clip without chewing up the cable with the alligator clips.

zeeglen
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Blogger
Re: I want a finger wrench!
zeeglen   4/25/2014 3:05:52 PM
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This is sheer genius

True, but not my idea, was passed along in forums like this.  Apparently it was a Swiss watchmaker trick from way back.


Max The Magnificent
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Blogger
Re: I want a finger wrench!
Max The Magnificent   4/25/2014 3:00:04 PM
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@GSKrasle: Each had a diffferent colour so you could tell whose board was whose, and which engineer had made a given re-work.

Wow -- impressive

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