November 2022

This month’s highlights

USB Cable Tester (Part 1)

This handy ‘intelligent’ gadget will test the integrity and performance of all common USB cables (A-type, B-type, USB C, Mini b and Micro B), displaying the results on an alphanumeric LCD display. It pulse-tests the current at 100mA, 500mA and 1A and can distinguish between power-only charging cables and USB2 and USB 3.2 cables. It can also report faults with individual cable ends, detecting short or open circuits as well. This PICmicro-powered device will be indispensable for IT and computer users with loads of USB cables stashed away — now you can test them all, with ease. The circuitry is described this month with assembly details following in Part 2 next month.

Contains some surface-mount components requiring good soldering skills

Pocket Weather Station

This is an excellent beginner’s project that utilises ready-made modules to form a compact weather station that you can carry with you. Based on an Arduino Nano, it displays the current temperature and humidity on an OLED screen. It has a built-in Lithium-Polymer battery and charger. An optional 3D printed case is also described.

Model Railway Carriage Lights

A super little project for model railroad enthusiasts, this clever module is designed for OO-gauge rolling stock and will add an extra degree of realism by lighting up the carriage from inside. It’s self-contained, battery-powered and the five white LEDs positioned inside your carriage can be toggled on and off using an external magnet. It uses a tiny PICmicro, and some surface mount soldering is needed.

Self-contained 6GHz Digital Attenuator

This new digitally programmable module can attenuate signals from 1MHz to 6GHz by 0 to 31.75dB in 0.25dB increments. It’s controlled using five small pushbuttons and a tiny OLED screen shows the current setting. Our article describes how to get the best out of this ready-made module.

Electronic Building Blocks
Selecting and using actuators (Part 3)

A practical insight into using gear- and stepper motors is offered this month.

Also in this issue:

  • Techno Talk – hidden chemical hazards lurking in your workshop
  • The Fox Report – problems with the lack of a universal UK photo ID
  • Net Work – commemorating some technological milestones we saw in the era of Queen Elizabeth II (see the Net Work blog)
  • Make it with Micromite: a self-contained PicoMite computer with TFT display and PS/2 keyboard
  • Max’s Cool Beans – Max has plenty to say about the merits of gears and cogs, and there’s an insightful piece on the merits and applications of rotary encoders
  • Audio Out – another fantastic and informative article from our audio expert, this month’s feature offers an extensive list and insight into audio transformers and associated circuitry.
  • Circuit Surgery – Electronically-controlled resistance (Part 3)

Next month:

Hummingbird Audio Amplifier; Geekcreit’s 35MHz-4.4GHz Signal Generator; SMD Trainer Board; USB Cable Tester (Part 2). Contents subject to change.

November 2022 files for download -


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