DK Tech Talk - Volume 3

Back to School

Recently we had representatives from a few of our suppliers come to Digi-Key to share some of their most current products and technologies with us. Between the flashy new pamphlets, I get to go back to school. Each of the suppliers takes the time to sit down with our technicians and engineers and teach us about the features and specifications of their newest products. The tips and information handed out at these trainings is often essential to our ability to help our customers answer questions on these products.

Tronex Model 5071 cutters (Image source: Tronex)

I had a chance to talk to Randall Restle, our Vice President of Application Engineering, on the importance of these trainings. He stated, “As many customers know, Digi-Key offers technical support 365 days per year, 7 days per week, 24 hours per day.  Customers especially ask for help to find just that right part and we list over 9 million of them.  People might wonder how we do this. It is in part due to the excellent exposure to new technologies that our suppliers present. We are very thankful they support us this way.”

In addition to technical information, we were introduced into a couple of new products. Tronex, which is a newly acquired division of Menda/Easybraid, showed off one of their new subminiature Tip Cutters . The model number 5071, or part number 154-5071-ND, is a Razor Flush Cutter and is now able to buy on our site. Being a new supplier, we have just a limited number of items in our system today, however, more are coming soon and if there is an item you are interested in from Tronex, we can order most of the items in their catalog.

Kester was on hand and shared some general soldering knowledge. One important note was that you can order solder in any diameter from 0.250” to 0.010”, however, the most common diameters are 0.012”, 0.015”, 0.020”, 0.025”, 0.031”, 0.040”, 0.050”, 0.062”, 0.093” and 0.125”.

Another neat product collection that was shared was a selection of Audio Exciters from Sobertron. Exciters, which are driven similar to speakers, offer a wide variety of options for creating sound. Unlike normal speakers they mount onto the surface of an object and turn that object into a sound-generating device. Because of this technology, there are some unique options for making dust and waterproof projects.

Let’s look at some of the recent content on

Maker: There was a recent article and video on using a Raspberry Pi as an IoT Device. The article covers the BOM, schematic, interfacing with IoT services, and walks you through the code. It is a great start to your IoT Raspberry PI project.

Reference Design Library: Have you seen the BME680 shuttle board? If you are looking at Gas, Humidity, Pressure, and Temperature, take a look at the Reference Designs in our library. Here you will find the User Guide, Datasheet, App Notes, BSEC Software, BSEC Arduino Library, and Driver Code. We also have the shuttle board schematic.

Blog: Ashley shared a New Product Discovery on Digi-Key’s The Circuit blog page. In this edition you can find out more information on the Siretta SNYPER-LTE and the MikroElectronika MIKROE-3512.

Article: Over in our Article Library section, Jacob Beningo shared an article on Designing your own Low-Cost 3D Gesture Controller. In the article, he talks about interfacing with the Broadcom APDS-9960 gesture controller as well as detecting gestures using Python with the APDS-9960 Breakout board and the Circuit Python Library.

TechForum: Over on the TechForum, we recently saw a user bring up a question on crimping a double wire ferrule (Using and Crimping Wire Ferrules). While the article is not new, the original post helps to show some of the reasons and benefits to using wire ferrules and why I feel they are often under used.

Yeah, we sell That!

(Image source: McGraw-Hill)

So, I did not know this was a thing until it was shared with me. For your most important assembly projects, use Nuclear Grade Duct Tape. While 3M160809-ND is not the most economical choice for assembling your project, it will be the coolest teacher/student conversation at science fair.

Since we are on the topic of going to school, we do have a great selection of electronics-based learning books. Currently my favorite is Arduino+Android Projects for the Evil Genius. It has a neat selection of projects that allow you to control your Arduino with your tablet or smartphone.

Inside the wall of Digi-Key Electronics

With a recent market downturn, there are lots of stories and conversations going on in the electronics market. Personally, I have never felt better about my current job and company. The management has always conveyed a sense of community and commitment to the employees no matter the environment. Our President/COO Dave Doherty continued to convey this message in a recent post he shared on the Digi-Key Insider: “Who is Being Served in Market Downturn – Customers or Shareholders?”. I believe it truly tells the story of how our company embraces our Northern Minnesota culture and how it allows us to continue to serve our customers at such a high level.

Thank you for stopping by and as with all the content I write, I am open to discussion, questions, and contributions. Please feel free to comment below or send me your Digi-Key questions so I can answer them in the next edition.

About this author

Image of Robert Fay

Robert Fay, Senior Applications Engineering Technician at Digi-Key Electronics, has been with Digi-Key since 2010 and is currently the TechForum lead, working on the forum since its inception in 2017. He holds a certificate in Aerospace Propulsion from his time in the Air Force and degrees in both Powersports Technology from Minnesota West, and Electronics Technology and Automated Systems from Northland Community and Technical College. When not at work or tinkering in his garage, Robert enjoys introducing robotics and engineering to kids at a local elementary school through an afterschool program.

More posts by Robert Fay