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Tool Time December 5, 2007

Posted by truthspew in Uncategorized.
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I finally decided now that I’m head first enough into the electronics hobby to get a circuit board vise. Picked up a Panavise 308 vacuum base and a 315 Circuit Board Vise. This is what it looks like with a board clamped in and ready to rock.

To the left you see the two new pairs of needle nose pliers I picked up. Grand total for the entire haul was $45 from A&J Distributors. My old needle nose pliers are hopelessly out of alignment so I thought for $10 or so I’d pick up two new ones.

Also got some more hookup wire from Sparkfun. Turns out I’m pretty much using almost all of mine among three solderless breadboards. The Arduino and Bare Bones Board really sparked my interest in electronics again. Having the intelligence for projects pretty much pre-built helps a lot.

I think the thing that really drew me towards the Arduino and its clones is that there’s a local community there to help. Don’t get me wrong, the Make Board looks awesome but it is nearly five times the price of the Arduino or seven times the price of the Bare Bones Board. This meant that because of the higher cost there’s a smaller community using the Make platform.

Don’t get me wrong, someday I’ll pickup a Make board since it has a load of IO ports on it. No, not Captain Io, or Io the moon of Jupiter, but Input/Output.

I have so many ideas for projects though. One of the things I need to build is some way for the doorbell to be portable. The more I think about that the more I think and RF based doorbell would be nice, but a really nice one would be to ring the phones. I just so happen to have a ring generator laying around and it’d be perfect for this project.

The way I see it I’d have to first put the phone line into a hold state, then seize the pair and shoot a ring patter down the line at 90VAC 20Hz with a unique cadence. It’d be a little rude to callers so I’d probably do a music on hold type of arrangement.

And so goes feature creep.

So when I got home with my new tools, my phone rings. It’s Anthony at A&J Distributors. Seems they overcharged me by a significant amount so he credited me the difference on my card. In most places if they made a mistake in their favor you’d probably never know.

That’s why I love doing business with the folks at A&J Distributors. I’ve never had an occasion where I’ve stopped into the store and they didn’t have what I was looking for and this latest incident just cements in my mind that I’ll always do business with them so long as I’m in Rhode Island. Come to think of it, I’ve been doing business with them for pretty much as long as I’ve had my amateur radio license, and I was licensed in 1992 so that makes it fifteen years now, and if all goes well I’ll be doing business with them for another thirty or so years.



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