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DK Tech Talk - Volume 5

It’s in our nature

As October ends in Northern Minnesota, I get to spend the last warm weekends picking up the multicolored leaves that have abandoned the trees and now cover my yard. This last weekend while I was out mowing, my neighbor stopped by and when looking at my old rider he said, “I think it’s time you invest in a new mower.” Being frugal I looked at him and said, “They cost too much. A little more Duct Tape and I think I will keep it going for another year.”

What he fails to realize is that it’s not about how it looks, it’s about function. While it looks like I pulled my lawn mower from the losing end of a demo derby, it in fact fell off of a trailer of someone I knew. He was going to haul it to the junk yard and that just didn’t sit right with me. I worked out a deal to buy it and after one short year, 140 zip ties, 7 rivets, and an old Yamaha Air Cleaner glued to the top, I had a hood back on the mower. A little later, with the help of a new bearing and some time behind the welding rods, I had a working deck. Lastly, a new condenser and fresh gas meant I no longer have to push mow my lawn. Now that may seem like a lot of work, but it is more about knowing how something functions and keeping it that way without a reliance on someone else.

Now this story is a bit long, but I think it shows a little about the kind of people that choose to go down the technical paths. It does not have to be electronics. I am sure the car mechanic started by fixing their own car and the maintenance man changes his own light bulbs. There is an undeniable satisfaction in building and fixing items yourself. Have you ever brought something back from the dead or saved a piece of equipment from the junkyard? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Let’s look at some of the NEW Content that has been created here at Digi-Key.

(Image source: Trenz Electronic)

Have you heard of the ZynqBerry? Well in case you haven’t or are having a hard time finding it, it is also known as the Trenz Electronic TE0726 which is a Raspberry Pi Model 2 B that uses a Xilinx Zynq SoC. Over on the EEWiki, Taylor R. takes us through Getting started with the ZynqBerry and covers available resources, downloads, configurations, and more.

On TheCircuit, Eric H. shares some great information on Carlo Gavazzi’s SCTL55 Smart Configurator and talks about how you can use this tool to troubleshoot sensors.

Stephen Evanczuk shared an article titled “Enhance Battery Life in Wearables through Efficient Timekeeping During Idle States.” In the article, he covers basic timekeeping and ways to make it more efficient. Current consumption is a key part of wearable devices and is often part of a buy decision for consumers. Managing battery life when being idle is a big part of that, and Stephen’s article can help with your next project.

Paul B. shared with us some information on Cable Gland Difference – PG vs NPT vs Matric on our TechForum. He gives examples on the different thread pitches and angles.

Yeah, we sell That!

One not-so-well-known category on the Digi-Key site is the Computer Equipment Category. While we do not have a lot of items in this category compared to say resistors, we do have some neat items. We have a number of Joysticks and even a Throttle Quadrant (1040-1006-ND) from CH Products.

(Image source: CH Products)

We also have several everyday items such as monitors, trackballs or a computer mouse. For those who are on the next level, we even have Server Acceleration Cards like Intel’s DK-ACB-10AX1152AES.

Inside the wall of Digi-Key Electronics

Recently, Digi-Key participated in Maker Faire Rome. “Digi-Key loves to be a part of Maker Faires for so many reasons,” says David Sandys, Director, Business Ecosystem Development for Digi-Key. “One of our favorites is to meet the makers who we support on a daily basis and hear about all of the cool creations and inventions they have come up with using our products. The talented people we get to meet at these events inspire us to continue providing more and fueling our customers' innovation each year.” For the full story, check out the Maker Faire Rome press release.

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 in the next edition.

-Robert

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.

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