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Modifying a switched USB hub for project power distribution

Most of my projects are fairly simple, low powered and run off 5V. Until recently I’ve used a cheap USB hub plugged into an old iPad charger. This actually worked fairly well, other than the hub connections being a bit dodgy. However, I wanted to be able to switch individual items on and off. You…

Upgrading the NPW classic sound effects machine

Some years ago, the director of our area at work purchased a bunch of sound effects toys and gave them to staff. We had a lot of projects going on and I presume she wanted to add a bit of fun in the office. These effects toys are produced by NPW and is called the…

Experimenting with audio tones using the ESP32 for use in projects

A reader alerted me to the Tone function for Arduino. When I was making my WordPress hit counter I wanted to add in an audio alert. I preferred something other than a constant tone but thought I would have a go using the tone function. It turns out that the tone function is not implemented…

Converting LifeChat headset for external output and mic with Zoom and MS Teams

One thing that I’ve noticed since the pandemic started is that there are far more online meetings in general and also interviews on TV where the guest joins remotely via the web. I like both of these. While not having guests travel to studios is usually fine, sometimes I feel it could easily improved if…

Chroma-chime: A kit using the first commercially available microcontroller

This week I learned that 40 years ago I built my first microcontroller project used the first commercially available microcontroller and didn’t realise either of those things until now. It all began for me around 1981/82 when I built an electronic musical doorbell kit for my sister. It has been in use in two different…

Making an iPad/tablet holder from a bookend

A few years ago, I got some old metal bookends that were being thrown out. These are the bent metal type that are common in libraries. Some of them were slightly unusual in that rather than just being L shaped these had a tongue(?) going out on the bottom for extra stability. Painted in a…

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