To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.   Unknown
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Just Because You Asked
So, after last week's newsletter, treefarmer posted this comment in the SCR Principles article:

"How about an article on triacs and quadracs that can be triggered by positive or negative voltage."

Well, we aim to please! Our followup is a special two part article called "Triac Principles And Circuits" that you can read this week! To be honest, it was already in the tank, but thanks for making us look good t reefarmer!

New Feature
About a month ago, nearboston posted this comment in part 9 of the AVR C Programming Workshop series:

"Where can I see all the articles in this workshop?"

Now, while you're reading any article on our website that's part of a series, if you look near the top of the right hand column, you'll find a new tab called "Series" (clever name) that has links to and short descriptions of all the other posted articles in that series. Cool, right? (That's 2 for 2 -  We're on fire!)

Still Working on PDFs
Several readers have emailed and requested PDF copies of the articles to save or print out and keep in their notebook. We've been working on it and are pretty close to adding that feature, but it's gonna take a little more time to implement and test. So we're almost there. (I guess 2 for 3 ain't that bad.)

Really Easy Survey
In honor of our Pre-Announcement (below) of the Workbench Design Challenge Redux, we want to ask a couple of questions about your workbench. (Every hobbyist has one, right?) So, if you want to show off your awesome bench, and be the envy of your peers, just click the survey link below and answer the two really easy questions.
I want to be the envy of my peers!
And once again, Boca Bearings has graciously given it up to bring you another round of Really Cool Reads. Thanks guys!
That's it, enjoy!
The Secret Life Of A Wire
What is your wire out doing right under your very nose?
A perfect wire should conduct a signal without adding noise, attenuation, or distortion. Whatever is electrically happening at one end of the wire should be happening at the other end, exactly in the same form. However, this isn't the case.
Boca Bearings Innovation Contest
Boca Bearings Innovation Contest
Boca Bearings has launched their global contest for makers/inventors/artists featuring innovative, mechanical projects.  

Prizes include 3D Printers, GoPros, and Quadcopters, and a $5,000 grand prize. Voters in the contest also get a chance to win prizes.
Vote for your favorite project, or submit your own!

Learn more
Simple Superhet
A Simple Superhet
The simplest, fully functional superheterodyne receiver one can construct with just a handful of parts.
Almost a century after its introduction - except for sophisticated approaches such as software radio that involve advanced digital signal processing techniques - Edwin Armstrong's "superheterodyne" or "superhet" design reigns supreme in communications electronics.

Read It Now!
The Nuts and Volts 
Workbench Design Challenge Redux
(is coming!)

Way back in June of 2008, Vern Graner, our Personal Robotics columnist at the time, issued the $100 workbench challenge. The setup was simple:

The Challenge: Design & equip a fully-operational, entry-level, electronics workbench
The Catch: Your budget is no more than $100 USD
The Fine Print: Your sole-source for items was Nuts & Volts vendors

Well, now the rules have changed. Time has marched on, the world of workbench options has grown wider, the budget has gotten bigger and the stakes have been raised. So, stay tuned for the official rules (actually they're more like guidelines) announcement coming soon!
The prize pool is getting pretty deep with great stuff from your favorite companies like Parallax, Measurement Computing, Bitscope, Saelig, and Oscium!

Temp Sensor

Last episode, we learned how to build a command interpreter and how to make beautiful music (okay, noise) on a piezo element, using parts from the Arduino Projects Kit. This time, we're going to work with components from the kit that sense light and temperature.

Read It Now!
Triac Symbols
Triac Principles And Circuits - Part 1
Basic triac principles and practical circuits in this special two-part article.
A triac is a three-terminal (MT1, gate, and MT2) solid-state thyristor that acts like a pair of SCRs wired in inverse parallel and controlled via a single gate terminal. It can conduct current in either direction between its MT1 and MT2 terminals and can thus be used to directly control AC power.
  Read It Now!  
From the Nuts & Volts Webstore
Take Your Electronics Project from Prototype to Product

Ever wonder how to use this set of free, open-source, electronics prototyping tools to lay out breadboards, create schematics, and design professional-quality PCBs?  Whether you're a hobbyist, artist, inventor, or student, you'll be able to develop a product from schematic to prototype to professional-quality printed circuit board, all from one easy-to-use software package. - No engineering skills needed!
Fritzing works well with prototyping boards such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and BeagleBone.
  • Use a solderless breadboard to prototype your projects
  • Read and create schematic diagrams
  • Design a PCB, get it fabricated, and solder components onto it
  • Use Fritzing to build an Arduino shield
  • Create and modify parts and add them to the Fritzing parts bin
  • Test your project's reliability and functionality

If you need an Advanced Soldering Practice Kit - We have just the thing!
If you're NOT a subscriber to Nuts & Volts, you should be! (If you like these articles)
If you like robots, then you should subscribe to our sister publication - SERVO Magazine!
Use Promo Code M58ENLN
Use Promo Code M58ENLN
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