How to get Free Electronic Components…

electronic circuits

I’m currently working on a personal project for my shop.  It’s always a pain, when you’re working with electronics to set up a proper power supply.  So, tooling around Instructables the other day, I was inspired by several posts.  Instructables has several posts for building a dedicated benchtop power supply from old desktop computer components.  You see, desktops use a spec called ATX to ensure compatibility between components and power supplies.  This spec simply ensures that that shiny new 500 watt power supply that you bought to power your AlienWare gameing system can be plugged directly into your case without worries.  What it also means is that the connections are well documented for power supplies that can generally supply 3.3V, 5V, -12V & 12V.  These power supplies also have several advanced features already built in, like 110V – 240V switching, thermal overload protection, standby power etc…  Since benchtop power supplies generally run several hundred dollars, I was inspired to build my own.  You can see some of these Instructables at:

So, I went down to my local dump and pulled out a busted up Compaq desktop and started tearing into it.  I’ll be posting my progress, and I may even write my first Instructable based on this, although there are already several existing.  Old computers are excellent sources for parts, especially CD & Floppy drives, since these contain motors, switches, etc…  Today, I just tore everything out of the case, and started sorting parts.  I’m starting to plan my system, and I’d like to figure out a nice case using parts from Ponoko.

Here’s the Picasa stream of the pics that I took.

The Most Important Database Tool in the World!

Finally, I’m getting back to my series of posts about database development. Databases are an important part of the business landscape, but they are highly misunderstood. For instance a well designed database can allow your sales force to instantly call up information about your clients, their recent purchases, their returns, how much they spent with you last year, and so on. A well designed database can be an invaluable tool across your business. Now, note my use of the phrase “a well designed database”. A poorly designed database, however is a royal pain in the neck. It hides information, obscures data, and misleads your business. So, in order to ensure that your database is of the “well designed” variety, you simply must use “The Most Important Database Tool in the World”. Continue Reading…