Providence Geeks 11/21/2007

Providence Geeks holds monthly get togethers to discuss various technology subjects. This months had Paul Badger from RISD talking about his Bare Bones Board which is basically an Arduino but due to name issues he had to come up with a new name, hence the Bare Bones Board (BBB). He was going to charge us $15 for the board but instead charged us $10 and Brian Jepson charged us $5 for the breadboard and hookup wire kit.

I had a really good time there this evening. Got my board mostly soldered up but didn’t put the header pins all on. I did manage to flip the header that connects to the solderless breadboard to the wrong side but I found that’s easily rectified. Just heat the pin for about 3 seconds and push through with a pair of pliers and then let the remelted solder do the job.

I have plans for these Arduino’s. One is for an encrypted door lock over an RF data link. Think key fob except mine will be about the size of a deck of cards, maybe a bit smaller. It is similar to those used for cars except a lot more secure and it opens the deadbolt on your house instead.

The other thing I want to build which doesn’t require any computing horsepower is an RF doorbell but not how you’d think. I frequently have the earphones plugged into my head (The Philips SHN2500’s are pretty sweet, they do have drawbacks though the price is right!) and I will not hear the doorbell when that happens. So I’ll hook one RF unit into the doorbell and the other will have a flasher on it, and maybe some sound device.

And happy of happies, those of us who bought the BBB at the event were entered to win a book. It’s by Tom Igoe and called “MAKE:Projects – Making Things Talk”. And thanks for letting us know you edited the book Brian. Anyhow I was the lucky winner and there’s a whole section on RF that complements my book collection on RF design. And I looked at the Make Store and noted the book wasn’t even available there yet. So there are some definite benefits to attending.

I also met several interesting folks this evening and look forward to seeing them again. In particular I’m very interested in DC401 or DefCon 401. Only problem is that right now even $50 a month is a swing though I’d dearly like to see them find a space and have a nice hacker space for the Providence area.

What I’m clearly getting at here is that I’m glad we’ve reached critical mass in the area for electronics hobbyists. There were a few people there this evening who had never touched a soldering iron before yet were soldering together what I’d consider to be an intermediate level kit. I had fun showing one of the others at the table how to open up a soldered in hole on a printed circuit board.

And for any who may visit my blog here are the electronics and robotics stores in Providence that I know about:

1) A&J Supply/Distributors
Location: 9 Parade St, Providence, RI 02909
Phone: 401-421-0991
Note: Great staff, prices are pretty good too.

2) Wm. Dandreta Co.
Location: 28 Wolcott St, Providence, RI 02908
Phone: 401-NXX-XXXX
Note: Unfortunately Dandreta Co. went out of business a bit less than a year ago.

3) Old Fashioned Robotics
Location: 14 Cedar St, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: 401-276-4216

Now playing: The Gap Band – You Dropped A Bomb On Me
via FoxyTunes

2 thoughts on “Providence Geeks 11/21/2007

  1. > 2) Wm. Dandreta Co.

    Are they still alive? The two old guys who ran that place were ancient in the late 1970s – my last trip there …for parts to build a linear amplifier for 11 meters.

    They were about six months ago. And they’re even more ancient now than they were in the late 70’s. My first exposure to them was in the mid 90’s.

  2. And what about that place in Pawtucket, just off 95? I forget the name, but it was a large electronics parts store, visible from 95N, on the right hand side, just after enterng Pawtcuket.

    Did they close?

    Yes they did close. They still have a yellow pages listing so I called, says it’s disconnected. They were a poor excuse for an electronics shop anyhow, most of what they had was junk.

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