We got a new tool box to help organize the tools.
Of course I’m talking about gerbv! For those of you who don’t know, gerbv is a free Gerber or RS-274X viewer that comes from the gEDA Project. It’s free, it’s open source, it’s cross platform… (quick link to windows version download here) and that’s awesome.
So, why do you care? Well, if you are building your own circuits and want to get a PCB made then usually the format you’ll need to export your design into is a gerber. The reason you should grab gerbv is to double check for errors. When you design a PCB in your favorite circuit layout tool, whether it be Eagle, Altium, or my favorite DipTrace, you should double check for errors.
The Roly Kit storage box. I vaguely remember seeing these things from my childhood, sometime in the 80′s, but that was a long time ago. I think I had totally abolished these things from memory…until a year or two ago, when one of our members brought one to hack night filled with lots and lots of electronic components. We’ve all used the tiny drawers for parts storage, like the ones on our workbenches. I even have a more modular one that has a handle to carry it around, but nothing compares to the storage capacity of the Roly Kit.
After admiring the sleek rolling storage for so long, I finally decided that I had to have one. Doing a little research, it appears these things were invented sometime in the 70s, and made by a company in the Netherlands. Sadly, the only reliable place I’ve seen them for sale is eBay, and occasionally a thrift shop. They appear to come in a few colors and 2 different sizes (‘big’ and ‘medium’). If you’re a maker and need a nice travel friendly holder for all your resistors / caps / knobs / switches / 555 timers, I recommend you snag one up too.
I recently purchased this logic analyzer. It’s a clone of the Saleae logic analyzer. Available for 50$ here with 10 mini grabbers. It appears to perform exactly like the Saleae except its noticeably larger. It even uses Saleae’s software. It does ship from over seas, and might take a little while but it did arrive, and had free shipping.
The cable that ships with it doesn’t have wires broken out for the power supply pins, but it appears there are 2 extra pins, 3.3v and 5v power sources. I’ll have to see about adding 2 more pins to the connector to utilize them. The factory cable has 8 logic wires, and 2 grounds, but the connector has lots of extra spots for wires, extra grounds and those power supply pins.
Anyway, you can’t beat the price. Oh it’s also supported by Sigrok, an open source logic analyzer that is multi platform.