BOMtools: Python scripts build Kicad part database

Steve Rodgers has been busy coding. He’s developed a set of Python scripts (BOMtools) which allow you to extract part numbers from a Kicad schematic and match them to a part number database. There are two scripts. One which does the part merge operation and is called from Kicad and the other which manages the […]

Another way to store your electronics components

As a response to yesterday’s Workshop Video on how we stock our parts, Alvaro made a video of his own storage system. He predominately uses portable boxes, which have 4 removable compartmentalized containers. We also talked with Alvaro at the Bay Area Maker Fair 2012, and his wireless friend finder project. Via Twitter.

Arena PartsList free BOM management tool

Nabilt tipped us to Arena PartsList. It’s a BOM manager that’s integrated with the Octopart component database. It has neat functions like auto-fill, that automatically adds a part to your database directly from a sales page of a electronics component distributor like Farnell, Digi-Key, Mouser, etc… Octopart just tweeted a free tool for BOM management. […]

Partlist Wednesday: Lithium-polymer battery charger chips

Lithium-polymer batteries are an excellent choice for portable projects. They are relatively cheap, hold a significant charge, and last for a long time. The drawback with these batteries is that they require rather complicated charging protocols. You have to watch out for overcharging, undercharging, overheating, etc… We are looking for a standard part to use in […]

Partlist Wednesday: Tantalum capacitors

Every Wednesday we highlight a component from the updated Dangerous Prototypes partlist. This week: tantalum capacitors. We use tantalum capacitors sparingly, usually only when a datasheet specifies. The element tantalum is a conflict mineral, and it’s expensive. For example the PICs on the Logic Sniffer and Bus Pirate have an internal voltage regulator that specifically […]

Partlist Wednesday: Clock sources

Every Wednesday we highlight a component from the updated Dangerous Prototypes partlist. This week: clock sources. As always, there are footprints for all these parts and more in our public domain Cadsoft Eagle part library. In our workshop the first rule of crystal selection is ‘use a surface mount HC-49/US package if it will fit’. […]

Partlist Wednesday: Ferrite beads

Every Wednesday we highlight a component from the updated partlist. This week: Ferrite beads. We usually use ferrite beads as a power supply filter. You’ll find them on the USB supply in circuits with an FT232 USB->serial converter chip, like the Bus Pirate, and on the ethernet interface of the web platform. For general purpose […]

Partlist Wednesday: NPN transistors

Every Wednesday we highlight a component from the updated partlist. This week: NPN transistors Transistors do lots of analog tricks, but we only use them to switch high powered stuff with a weak microcontroller pin. Usually an LED. See the IR Toy, #twatch, PICqueno, or USB POV Toy for the sad truth. We’ve standardized on the BC818 […]

Partlist Wednesday: Buttons and switches

Every Wednesday we highlight a component from the updated partlist. This week: buttons and switches. Let’s talk buttons. The 6mm button is the classic button. It comes in surface mount and through hole versions. The 6mm surface mount button, DTSM-6 seems to be one package name, has nice beginner-friendly pads that are easy to solder. […]

Partlist Wednesday: Voltage regulators

Every Wednesday we highlight a component from the updated partlist. This week: regulators. This week’s part: voltage regulators. We try to use the cheap 150mA voltage regulators in SOT-23 package whenever possible. These are cheap (from 25 cents in 1s) and super resilient to shorts, over temperature, and over load. 150mA is enough for the […]

Partlist Wednesday: Ceramic capacitors

Every Wednesday we highlight a component from the updated partlist. This week: surface mount ceramic capacitors. Ceramic capacitors are cheaper than aluminum and tantalum SMD caps, but come in smaller values. Typical values are in the pF to 1uF range, but we’ve noticed some 2uF+ ceramic caps at Mouser recently. Most have a maximum rating […]

A simple part: Pinheader connectors

From the Dangerous Prototypes partlist: pinheader connectors. 0.1″ (2.54mm) header is the standard width of bread boards Straight and right angle versions They are used on every project we’ve made so far. Their standard pitch spacing makes them easy to use with breadboards, jumpers, and wires with female connectors on them. We use them on […]