36CommentsOHJoined May 24th, 2011
I'm a retired computer technology professor who taught C, C++, C#, Java and OOP language programming at a Big Ten university. I've been a licensed ham radio operator since 1953 and enjoy the electronics end of that hobby. I enjoy projects that blend software and hardware and am messing around with low power (QRP) ham radio, augmented with the Amtel family of microcontrollers.

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  • How to Solder SMD / SMT Components With a Soldering Iron

    If you can find it, Radio Shack sold .022" solder which had 2% silver in it. Great stuff. I also found some .015" online which also works well.

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  • Stone Oven -How to Build / Use Primitive Cooking Technology-

    Very nice! Is there any risk when using sandstone of trapped water turning to steam and fracturing/exploding the rock?

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  • econjack commented on mikeasaurus's instructable Smoked Beef Jerky1 year ago
    Smoked Beef Jerky

    I don't...I didn't think of it and it rarely lasts long enough around here for a photo. It looks similar to yours, but not quite as dark. Also, Walmart sells very thinly-sliced sirloin and (sometimes) round steak at a reasonable price. Buying that can save some prep time. Also, when you think the jerky is done to your preference, try a piece. If you do this early enough and keep testing, your first batch will tell you how long you need to dry it for the next batch...and there will be a next batch!

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  • econjack commented on aapicella's instructable WIFI Enabled LED Matrix1 year ago
    WIFI Enabled LED Matrix

    Following chunkysteveo, you could also use an Arduino Nano. It's pretty much exactly the same as the Uno, but much smaller and less expensive (about $3). I would not suggest buying the Nano Pro Mini even though it is cheaper, but it doesn't have the USB connector onboard, which makes it less convenient to program. If you don't know programming, look on Amazon for Beginning C for Arduino. It's written for people who have zero programming experience. Read the reviews, click on the "Look Inside" banner on the cover to view the Table of Contents to see if you think it might work for you. Disclaimer: It's my book.

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  • How to Cook the Ultimate Steak Sandwich

    Please tell me it has only 75 calories!

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  • econjack commented on stayputnik's instructable Arduino Sous-Vide Cooker2 years ago
    Arduino Sous-Vide Cooker

    You can simplify the wiring considerably if you buy an LCD that has the I2C controller built in. Yourduino sells them for under $6. Instead of the rats nest of wires to the display, there are two pin lines (A4, A5) plus GND and +5V. Use the LiquidCrystal_I2C library and you're ready to go with a lot less hassle and more free I/O pins.

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  • econjack commented on MattW213's instructable Arduino Binary Clock - 3D Printed2 years ago
    Arduino Binary Clock - 3D Printed

    Nicely done. I would mention for those who are new to Arduino to make sure they buy the Arduino Nano, not the Nano Pro Mini. The Pro Mini is cheaper, but does not have the USB connector on the board which makes it more difficult to upload the software. Also, the LED dropping resistors can be almost any value between 220-750 ohms, but it's a good idea to use the same values so the brightness is the same.

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  • econjack commented on AvjonesV's instructable Greek Style Cheese Pies2 years ago
    Greek Style Cheese Pies

    I make baklava fairly often and having the phyllo sheets dry out is a real danger while building it. (I paint each sheet with melted butter as I build it, spreading the nut/cinnamon every third takes time.) Some people suggest covering the phyllo with a damp towel, but I find that can make the sheets gummy and hard to separate. My best solution is to cover the sheets with plastic wrap while working with it. Just smooth the plastic out over the remaining phyllo after removing a sheet. It takes a little more time, but the last sheet will be as fresh as the first.

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  • econjack commented on keebie81's instructable Binary Game2 years ago
    Binary Game

    I totally agree about the support, that's why each time I download a new version of the IDE, I give a contribution to the team. To me, that's direct support that shows up in their bank account without deducting the cost of the Arduino.

    Nice! The cost can be lowered a little if you use an Arduino Nano. They cost less than $3 on the Internet. (Do not get the Pro Mini as it does not have the USB connector.) Also, you can simplify the LCD wiring a bunch if you get an LCD display with the I2C interface. It ties to the Arduino using only 4 wires: two for power (+5V and GND) and two for the interface (the clock and data lines on pins A4 and A5). For example:

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  • econjack commented on robmawe91's instructable Soldering 101: For the beginner 2 years ago
    Soldering 101: For the beginner

    Very useful. If you're working on PCB's, the thinner the diameter of the solder, the better. Radio Shack sells a .022 diameter solder that is 62/36/2 (tin, lead, silver) that is very good, but getting hard to find. If you do find it, stock up since no one knows for sure how long RS will be around. eBay also sells a similar product, but you need to buy a pound at a time, which would last me several lifetimes. If you're in a club (e.g., ham radio), go in with several other members to lower the cost.

    I've probably built over 20 kits with it and never had a problem. They sell several sizes but the 62/36/2 0.022 diameter has never given me or any of the other members of my ham radio club a problem.I've also found that after you solder a resistor or capacitor into a circuit, take your thumbnail and "strum" the lead. If it's a good joint, it will have a musical "note" quality to it. If it produces a "thud" sound, reheat the joint.

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  • econjack commented on bwitmer's instructable Solar PV tracker2 years ago
    Solar PV tracker

    Nice! For those who want to spend less for the system, you can build your own sun sensor for about $2 and use a $20 stepper motor to rotate the panel to track the sun. I followed the directions in Chapter 16 of the Arduino Projects for Amateur Radio book. It is an Arduino-based system using a 10W solar panel. The code for the Arduino is also included. It does not rotate for elevation, but the system was designed for using power on camping trips where elevation doesn't change much over a long weekend. Of course, you can adjust it by hand when needed.

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  • Arduino Password Unlock Door Security System

    Nice project. You can save a few dollars by using an Arduino Nano instead of the Uno. The Nano is considerably smaller and costs less than $4 on the internet. Also, the code could be simplified by using arrays and getting rid of the goto's. See the book: Beginning C for Arduino.

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  • econjack commented on Charlie for Star's instructable Spicy Hot Beef Jerky3 years ago
    Spicy Hot Beef Jerky

    I don't have any drying racks, so I put a wood toothpick through one end of each piece and suspend the meat on the racks that come with the oven. I put a sheet of aluminum foil below the meat to catch any drips. I then turn the oven on as low as I can, crack the oven door just a tad, and let it dry. Depending on the temperature, it will take a few hours to dehydrate the meat.

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