Posts Tagged ‘New Ham Primer’

Power supplies – good info about them and one really neat project

We’ve all seen the neat projects on the web where someone uses a power supply taken from an old PC.    There is something simple about the project, yet so insanely useful and versatile.

I have not seen many that were as “polished” as the power supply project here.  This is from the blog “TG’s Electronics Exploration”.  The project is laid out in a way that will give you multiple power options as well as a digital readout.  Most of the power supply projects I’ve seen are relatively simple hacks where the basic simple values of a PC power supply are used (5 volts, 12 volts, etc).  This has many more options.

I really like how clean the layout is as well as the LCD’s.  The other really neat thing about his – the work isn’t wasted if the power supply eventually dies on you.  It is relatively easy to move all the electronics to a new supply.

The project page can be found at:

The next website we will talk about comes from a sit I visit on a regular basis.  Not ham radio, but plenty of electronics information and kits –  I used to run a hackerspace in my area.  We did a few projects to get people soldering.  One neat project was a “TV be-gone”.  Simple device where you build it, put it in a container (I, of course, used an Altoids tin) and use it to turn off TV’s.  Great when you’re somewhere where a TV is on, loud, and nobody is actually watching the thing and you can’t even carry a conversation with the guy next to you.  Simple enough project.

This site goes into several questions I get from potential hams when I teach radio classes, including:

What is a power supply?

Why use a power supply?

What’s inside a power supply?

AC/DC theory.

A really neat primer geared towards those that may not understand anything about all those wall warts that are drawing tons of power when not used!  I almost passed this up, as I know enough about power supplies to get me through what I need for my projects.  I found it a neat article that allowed me to probably explain it easier to those that aren’t technically inclined.

Check it out at:

Now, if you have any links to great projects or informative sites, please leave them below.

Intro to multimeter use

Collin over at Make: is at it again.  Here is a great little seven minute intro on how to use a multimeter.

If you’re an experienced ham, then you can indeed skip this one.  I like the basic videos that Make: is putting together to use when I teach hams.

If you don’t know it already, you can go to the Make: website and download the videos and share with your friends and students.  I started putting these videos on basic electronics on a DVD for students and they have REALLY learned quite a bit.

If you know of any other good videos, post below and share the knowledge!

Zener diodes – the basics

Stumbled upon another great video from AllAmericanFiveRadio on Youtube.  He has an incredible and vast collection of radio related, radio restoration, electronic theory…. tons of good stuff.

While I’m at it…..

I’ve mentioned this course here before, but NPTLHRD in India have a GREAT basic electronics course.  One lecture is purely on Zener diodes. Here are two video lectures. The first one is on wave shaping with diodes and a more in-depth discussion on Zener diodes in the second video.

The Mechanical Universe and Beyond – Annenberg project

First off…. sorry for the delay in posting (never took three weeks off before).  As the Amateur Radio Emergency Service District Emergency Coordinator, we had a TON of public service events and I had a couple of public speaking engagements (radio related), soooo………….  But I plan on posting several posts to make up for the shortfall – there is just too much interesting stuff for amateur radio ops on the web!

Which brings me to the Annenberg Project and their series “The Mechanical Universe and Beyond”.  Really great series and I’m thinking about purchasing on DVD for some of my classes – there’s a ton of information here that will indeed pertain to hams.

The course description reads:

This series helps teachers demystify physics by showing students what it looks like. Field trips to hot-air balloon events, symphony concerts, bicycle shops, and other locales make complex concepts more accessible. Inventive computer graphics illustrate abstract concepts such as time, force, and capacitance, while historical reenactments of the studies of Newton, Leibniz, Maxwell, and others trace the evolution of theories.

But, in the middle of the course are some good videos for new hams (and those that want to reinforce some of the theory in radio physics):

14. Potential Energy
Potential energy provides a powerful model for understanding why the world has worked the same way since the beginning of time.

15. Conservation of Momentum
What keeps the universe ticking away until the end of time?

16. Harmonic Motion
The music and mathematics of periodic motion.

17. Resonance
Why a swaying bridge collapses with a high wind, and why a wine glass shatters with a higher octave.

18. Waves
With an analysis of simple harmonic motion and a stroke of genius, Newton extended mechanics to the propagation of sound.

28. Static Electricity
Eighteenth-century electricians knew how to spark the interest of an audience with the principles of static electricity.

29. The Electric Field
Faraday’s vision of lines of constant force in space laid the foundation for the modern force field theory.

30. Potential and Capacitance
Franklin proposes a successful theory of the Leyden jar and invents the parallel plate capacitor.

31. Voltage, Energy, and Force
When is electricity dangerous or benign, spectacular or useful?

32. The Electric Battery
Volta invents the electric battery using the internal properties of different metals.

33. Electric Circuits
The work of Wheatstone, Ohm, and Kirchhoff leads to the design and analysis of how current flows.

34. Magnetism
Gilbert discovered that the earth behaves like a giant magnet. Modern scientists have learned even more.

35. The Magnetic Field
The law of Biot and Sarvart, the force between electric currents, and Ampère’s law.

There’s more, but this will give you an idea of the valuable resource.  The video clips are viewable online (though rather small).  I haven’t inquired yet as to the cost of the course on DVD.

Available at:

Post update:

I have found the link for the cost of the series – $450. YIKES!

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