December 2018

This month’s highlights

Teach-In 2019: Powering Electronics
Part 1: Power for your project

EPE’s Mike Tooley presents the latest in EPE Teach-In tutorials, in a new series devoted to exploring the design and development of power supplies. In Part 1, some key power concepts are introduced and a Teach-In practical project is included – a handy variable load with dual metering to test your power supply performance.

Teach-In 2019 examines all the basics of power supply design and performance, spelling out the implications of key parameters like efficiency, load and line regulation, ripple rejection and load resistance. In forthcoming parts, AC to DC conversion and transformer configurations are explained.

If you’re into electronics project construction then Teach-In 2019 will prove invaluable to helping you design and build your own power supply circuits. Check out Teach-In 2019 and don’t miss this great new series.

Touchscreen Altimeter

An interesting project for paragliders and aviation enthusiasts, or just as a ground-based weather station. This accurate altimeter has a bright colour touchscreen that displays altitude, atmospheric pressure, temperature and relative humidity (RH). It can display all parameters simultaneously or provide a larger-scale display for altitude, especially useful for hang gliders, paragliders and other aviation sports.

It is based on a menu-driven Micromite LCD Backpack (v1 or v2) with 2.8” colour LCD and built in two boxes (the smaller sensor unit being connected remotely via a multicore lead). The Touchscreen Altimeter is powered by a Lithium battery and can be topped up with solar power.

  PLEASE TAKE NOTE – Please see the main text regarding variations in the DHT22/ AM2303 Temperature modules, as some minor modifications to the circuit may be needed depending on the actual modules used by readers.

Super-7 AM Radio Receiver (Part 2)

Nothing beats the thrill of tuning in a home-built radio for the first time, so this is an ideal project for anyone interested in investigating the basics of radio technology. It uses through-hole components with no surface mount devices necessary.

In this second article, we show you how to construct and assemble this AM radio receiver and align it for best performance. Details of setting the tuning range (without needing an RF generator) are also included, along with sourcing details for some critical component supplies.

6GHz+ Touchscreen Frequency & Period Counter (Part 3)

This final follow-up article rounds off the project and shows how to use the Frequency/ Period Counter and runs through its many features. Screenshots of the colour LCD screen are included along with detailed operating instructions.

Using cheap Asian Electronic Modules (Part 11)
– Elecrow GY-68 and GY-BM Barometer/ Temperature Sensor Modules

These tiny sensors come under the microscope this month, as we offer design notes and applications for these Bosch-based digital sensors.  Both can write to virtually any micro using I2C while the BMP280-based module also offers an SPI interface.

PICMeter Part 3 – Measuring Current

Our PIC micro expert explains how to add a.c. and d.c. current measurement techniques to his PIC-based digital meter project.

Audio Out
GULP amplifier-speaker combo – Part 1

Following hard on the heels of the ultra-low-power-consumption analogue synthesizer, this month we present a General Ultra-Low Power (Consumption) combo amplifier-speaker to go with it. We start by exploring the considerations of selecting suitable loudspeakers and amplifier techniques best suited to low power consumption or battery operation.

Also in this month’s issue:

  • Circuit Surgery This much-praised tutorial column continues with Part 3 of its introduction to circuit simulation with LTSpice. The LTSpice files discussed in this month’s column can be downloaded from this web page [link, top right].
  • Techno Talk – the perceived perils and threats of InLink, BT’s new free communications ‘phonebox’ service, aka LinkNYC in the USA.  Corrected URL:
  • Net Work – Amazon’s updated range of Alexa-powered devices, the end of Yellow Pages and the latest vishing frauds to be wary of.
  • Lucy’s Lab – news from the science, hackers and maker’s festival EMF 2018
  • Electronic Building Blocks – Quick and easy construction using off the shelf parts – a Peltier-powered fan is described this month.

Next month

Teach-In 2019 (Part 2): AC to DC conversion; Altronics Mega Box; 1.5kW Induction Motor Controller (Part1); low-cost electronic modules (Part 12) – the nRF24L01 + chip;

December 2018 files for download -

  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Circuit Surgery LTSpice

Printed Circuit Boards

We supply PCBs for all our projects going back to 2013.

New PE service – Programmed PICs

Buy programmed PICs for most of our projects.

The December 2018 issue carries a special Editorial written by Mike Kenward, EPE’s founder, owner and publisher. Mike writes:


“EPE’s Editor Matt Pulzer has kindly invited me to provide December’s Editorial, as this issue will represent my final involvement in PE/ EE/ EPE after just over 50 years. It would be very easy to reminisce about that half century, but as I thought about it, I realised I could easily take up four or five magazine pages!

“It has been an interesting, enjoyable and rewarding time, from starting as a sub-editor on PE (Practical Electronics) back in September 1968, to buying EE (Everyday Electronics) and starting Wimborne Publishing Ltd in 1986 (when IPC Magazines made me redundant). Taking over Hobby Electronics, Practical Electronics and Electronics Today International along the way, I edited those magazines from 1978 until Matt took over in 2008. Matt has worked for Wimborne Publishing since 1992, originally as editor of The Modern Electronics Manual, so he has clocked up 26 years with us – Thanks Matt.

“As I finally retire, we will pass EPE to Electron Publishing Limited – a new publishing company owned by Matt – so I know the magazine will be in very safe hands. Stewart will continue to work for EPE for a few months to ensure the handover is smooth. As far as you, the reader is concerned, very little will change, except that payments for subscriptions, PCBs and books will go to Electron Publishing at their address in Brighton, instead of coming to Wimborne.


“Before I go, I would like to thank you, our readers, for all your support over the years (one or two of you for 50 years or more). I have enjoyed our interaction; your comments, praise and positive criticism have kept life interesting.

“Thanks must also go to all our contributors – there must have been a few hundred over the years – but our long-standing regulars deserve particular praise for making our life easier with excellent and varied submissions – long may it continue.

“Finally, thanks to all the staff who have worked for Wimborne Publishing, especially my daughter Fay and son-in-law Stewart for helping to keep it all running smoothly in recent years. Not forgetting our friend Marilyn, who has worked for us from the very start of Wimborne Publishing – over 32 years.

“I have had an interesting and varied career with great support from Pauline, my wife, who has kept me on the straight and narrow and not complained too much about some of the decisions I’ve made along the way!

“One thing I have always enjoyed is receiving a finished magazine each month from the printer – something tangible I had a hand in producing. Life will change, but I feel now is the right time. Over to you Matt, wishing you the best of luck – I’m sure you will enjoy the ride!”

Mike Kenward

Above: a young Mike featuring on the cover of Practical Electronics, July 1969.
Below: PE’s first Editor from 1964, Fred Bennett (left) and Mike awarding a reader’s competition prize, December 1973

Everyone involved with the EPE team thanks you Mike for your tireless dedication, professionalism, encouragement and support extended both to readers and contributors over many decades, and we all join in wishing you a relaxed, peaceful and enjoyable retirement. You’ve earned it and deserve it! – Alan Winstanley

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