Resistive Troll

May 25th, 2009 by Paul Sobczak

Resistor Troll

My latest creation the “Resistive Troll”. Allthough that might not actually be the case becasue all of the resitors are in parallel so the actual resistace is really small. None the less, Twin Cities Maker has their first mini mascot. Isn’t it cute?

Keeping “More” Smoke in: Basic Electronics for Makers

May 25th, 2009 by Paul Sobczak

Photo by skenmy on Flickr

Mike, the newly elected president of Twin Cities Maker will be putting on another round of his basic electronics class, the first round was at Studio Bricolage and was an overwhelming success. Hence another, this one will be fine tuned and most likely better than the last one. If you are at all curious about electronics and want to learn more, this is the place to do it. Mike has a degree in electrical engineering and has been working in the industry ever since, he also has been making awesome things with resistors and other things that have an affinity for electronics on the side. This event is in collaboration with Studio Bricolage and will be hosted there.

Note there is only room for 8 read EIGHT people so sign up soon if you want to get in. Also there are 4 session so you will get your moneys worth.

* From Studio Bricolage

Keeping the Smoke in: Basic Electronics for Makers – session 1
Date and Time:
Jun 9 2009 – 6:30pm – Jun 9 2009 – 8:30pm
Leonardo’s Basement 4301 Nicollet Ave Minneapolis, MN 55409
$80 for four (4) sessions. Take home materials fee $20. Pay instructor at class. Limit 8 students.

* Tuesday, June 9, (very brief) math refresher, volts, amps, ohms, and using your multi-meter.

With platforms like the Arduino and resources like Make: Magazine, it’s never been easier to get started in electronics. Having an understanding of the basics can make your projects go smoother and save you from costly mistakes that can easily let the magic smoke out of your expensive new Arduino Deumilanove board.

All sessions will include some hands on projects involving solderless breadboards and multi-meters, and all sessions will include some “insider” information on sourcing components (Ax-man, internet shops, etc) and sources for additional information, including books and websites. Bring a meter capable of measuring volts, amps, and resistance.

Instructor: Michael Hord ( is an electrical engineer, perpetual tinkerer and unrepentant dumpster diver.

* Tuesday, June 16, diodes, LEDs, and switches.
* Tuesday, June 23, power supplies and batteries.
* Tuesday, June 30, transistors and a VERY basic intro to the world of integrated circuits.

This program is a collaborative venture of TC Maker and Studio Bricolage.

Excellent Mini Documentary on Fou Lab in Montreal

May 23rd, 2009 by Paul Sobczak

Awhile ago I got the chance to visit Montreal which is an amazing city and headed over to Foulab but nobody was home, I am glad to see that there is some activity going on now. You can read more on that non adventure here. Below is a great little video documentary of the space and some of the people building stuff there.

Fou Lab in Montreal, Yes!

Hopefully this will get all of your quests for a space reviatalized again.

Fou Lab Website

Fou Lab Logo

About half way in you can see Fou Labs new logo which is a version of the ground symbol for circuits, and I like it.


May 13th, 2009 by Paul Sobczak

This image is © Wellcome Images, but has been altered into a Derivative Work by Paul Sobczak by cropping, removing and adding content

Twin Cities Maker has held it’s first elections and they are as follows:


name – forum handle

Mike Hord – uptownmaker

Vice President:
Wayne Martinson – wammie

Brandon Paplow – orion

Theo Durbin – Theo

Development Coordinator:
Michael Freiert – metis

Congratulations, to everybody elected.

The soul of an old machine

May 12th, 2009 by danbackslide

Atwater-Kent Model 20 chassis

Atwater-Kent Model 20 chassis

This spring I’ve been taking a hands-on class on vintage radio repair at the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting. The first radio I brought in (an RCA 96T1, ca. 1938) I thought would be simple. It turned out to be in pretty bad shape — bad power transformer, bad speaker, almost all the caps need replacing… In short, it’s turned into a major project.

So I switched over to my other radio, a 1925 Atwater-Kent Model 20 “big box.” It’s a lot simpler than the RCA: 5 01A tubes, 3 condensers, a handful of resistors and capacitors. I also thought it’d be simple, and I was again wrong. 3 out of the 5 tubes tested bad. The grid-leak detector had been replaced with a soldered-in fuse in an earlier repair attempt. Thanks to the museum’s massive supply of vintage parts those items were fixed in short order, but when power was applied I found none of it was getting to the RF tubes.

Luckily, this radio was made at a time when manufacturers expected people to repair things. Remove 8 screws from the front plate, and the entire chassis lifts out, revealing all the components. A bit of poking with a multimeter (and a trip to Google for a better schematic) soon revealed a bad solder joint. And a wound wire resistor that’s open, so I have to fix that next. Then I’ll have to build a power supply — did I mention this thing runs off lead-acid batteries?

I keep reminding myself that, with all the troubles I’ve run into, I’m learning a lot….

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