Monday, June 27, 2011

Newegg Computer Combo Assembly

     My girlfriend's mother was in need of a new computer. Although she only uses it to play Freecell and search the web, her HP desktop from 2003 wasn't cutting it. Since her demands were so low, I knew it wouldn't be worth spending much money on a new computer so I looked around for a good deal. I came along this computer kit from Newegg and figured it was everything she needed. It has decent specs, an Intel processor (personal preference), and was cheap. I have a copy of Windows 7 to use on it, and she recently replaced her monitor so it wasn't worth buying something where those were included. I had never built a computer from scratch, but have always wanted to, so that was extra incentive.

     Although it was my first time, it was a painless build. Everything went together fine in the kit and in two hours, I had a working computer (including Windows 7 install time). Everything is working fine together, but I do have some complaints. First off, the case does feel very cheap, but it is $40 with power supply included, so that's expected. It also didn't include any fans for the case, so I am going to add an exhaust fan tonight. My other complaint is the CPU fan; it just snaps onto the mother board and feels as though it will fall off, which is definitely not something that anybody wants to happen. Hopefully it holds up and runs for eight more years like her last one...

I didn't take many pictures (because I was too anxious to see it power up)

Monday, June 20, 2011

TI FRAM MSP-EXP430 Overview

     I just received my MSP-EXP430FR5739 Experimenter Board from Texas Instruments. I ordered it Friday morning and got it today (Monday). I went ahead and powered it up and messed around with the demo application. See the following video for an overview of the demo application and check after the break for pictures of the unboxing and included documentation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Homemade PID Controlled Hotplate

     Hot on the heels of my last hack (no pun intended), is my latest project, a PID (proportional - integral - derivative) controlled hotplate. The inspiration for this project came from this post on I choose to build it because I wanted to increase my knowledge on PID controllers and also wanted to get into soldering surface mount components. I got lucky and got all of the components for this project for under $20. Check out after the break for the build details.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Linksys LED Matrix

     My first electronics project of the summer is now finished. Overall, it didn't take me too long to complete, and I'm very pleased with the results. Watch this video overview and check after the break for all the juicy details.