ramblings of an electronic engineer.

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2016 Update

I had meant to write this update at say  the beginning of the year, then failing that at the beginning of the Chinese new year, and well too bad. Now it is. 😛

Looking back on last year I got to do some really cool stuff I’d been meaning to do like traveling to Sydney for Maker Fair, learning to 3d print stuff, and further exploring my hobbies and interests. However for all the stuff I blogged about there were at least three things I could have but didn’t and also some stuff I started but never finished.

So looking at this year I plan to more or less keep on going with the goals I set last year for this blog, that is: sharing work on projects, reviewing books, posting a few blog series and sharing photos I have squirreled away on my hard drives. In particular when it comes to projects I’m putting more emphasis on working them through to completion and reducing the already large pile I currently have on my plate. So far it’s going pretty well with a few out of the way which I’ll write up in the near future. I’m also wanting to put more time towards working on more electronic design projects as my professional work is currently geared to more mechanical work than electrical. I guess we shall see how the year pans out 🙂

I suppose this is also a good time to announce I’m off to Japan later this year. Come the last week of June my sister and myself are flying off to Narita then travelling around for 16 days visiting Hiroshima, Onomichi, Osaka, Kyoto, Kawaguchiko, Mt Fuji and Tokyo! I hope the trip goes all smoothly and I look forward to experiencing Japanese culture and scenery.

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Build: Lego BB-8

Ever since the first trailers for the new starwars movie I was very excited for the new droid BB-8. A little after joining the BB-8 Builders Club Facebook group (which is one of the best groups I’ve ever been a part of) member Henrik Lorentzen posted a really cool Lego BB-8 build to the group along with assembly instructions. 2 weeks later and 5 parcels from bricklink later this guy was then  sitting on my desk. 😀


Henrik also happens to have this model listed on Lego Ideas  so it has a chance of been made into an official kit which is really cool. Upon writing this small build up I also found out that a second revision of the kit has been released with a few extra bits to make the model posable. I might be up for another order of parts soon 😛

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Brickman Experience

The Brickman Experience is an LEGO expedition showcasing the works of Australia’s only certified LEGO professional, Ryan McNaught which had previously exhibited in Melbourne and Sydney. Hearing that it was going to be exhibited at Brisbane end of last year I (and one of my work colleagues) decided to head down after work and check it out. As it turned out heading to it in the afternoon for the last session of the day (90 min sessions) was a really good idea since there were very few people at the session and even fewer as more left leaving lot of uninterrupted space to take photos of the models. Enjoy.

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Sydney Trip: Day 3 – Makerfair

For my third day down in Sydney I was off to Makerfair held the fantastic Powerhouse Museum.


Been overly enthusiastic (and judging poorly how long it would take to walk there) I ended up at the museum a good 40 minutes before the doors open however the wait was well worth it.

Makerfair took over a side room of the museum and consisted of many tables where companies, maker/hackerspaces and people showcasing things they have made. The first table of which I bumped into was a local Sydney makerspace called Robots and Dinosaurs (awesome name by the way) which had among other things a custom Kerbal Space Program game controller. This project definitely set the the tone for what the rest of the show was going to be like.

Moving along there were many other interesting booths most noteworthy of which to me were Sydney Origami Inc. (which rekindles my interest in origami), Sydney Bio-foundry (where I got to try on an Oculus DK1, and talk to some really interesting people) and a maker who was demoing cold casting 3d prints.


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Sydney Trip: Day 2 – Maritime Museum

So for Day 2 of my Sydney trip I headed off the the National Maritime Museum. Taking the advice of the security guard at the door I skipped the “exhibition/display section” of the museum and headed straight to the docks where there exist a few things: a destroyer, submarine, lighthouse and the endeavour. Awesome.

It wasn’t too long until I was looking at the front mounted artillery on the destroyer i.e. HMAS Vampire. I then wandered around the vessel for a while taking a look at the helm, crew quarters, artillery loading and engine room.

Accessed via the destroyer is the HAMS Onslow submarine which was by far my favourite vessel in the dock, In fact I went through it twice. The submarine has many interesting systems onboard but the one that really caught my attention was the emergency oxygen system. Located throughout the craft are numerous red canisters that contain mostly sodium chlorate with a few other elements which can be set in one of three chambers throughout the sub and used to generate oxygen through a chemical reaction.

Located on the dock is also a lighthouse with a great view of the dock and cityscape and also the Endeavour which I later took a tour though.

All in all I really enjoyed my time at the museum and would love to go back there in the future should the opportunity present itself.

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Meta: Off to Electronex and SMCBA Conference

Well I’m off interstate once more, this time to Melbourne for the SMCBA (surface mount and circuit board association) Conference and Australia’s largest electronics expo, Electronex. I’m fortunate to be getting sent by work for the two days it runs over (this coming Wednesday and Thursday) and am looking forward to the conference topic which is the “Control of Noise, Signal Integrity & EMI in High Speed Circuits and PCBs” given by Rick Hartley. The majority of each day will be spent at the conference learning however there are scheduled some breaks in which I can go explore the electronics expo running alongside the conference and meet up face to face with some contract manufacturers and electronic suppliers we use at work. As a side goal I’m going to see which company has the coolest expo giveaway, my work colleague who went last year when it was in Sydney brought back a pcb torch so that is probably the benchmark to beat hopefully this year there will be somthign better!

It looks like I’m going to have a pretty packed schedule over the two days but I also look forward to spending any time I have off visiting some of my favorite melbourne haunts.

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Sydney Trip: Day 1 – Harbour Bridge and Opera House

Having accumulated a reasonable amount of annual leave at work I decided it was about time to take some time off and go have a holiday. Normally I like to take holidays around public holidays to get a little extra mileage with my leave so noting that Brisbane had a public holiday on Wednesday for the Ekka and that Sydney Mini Maker Faire was on the following Saturday I decided to take some leave and head down to Sydney for 4 days with a day free at home either side of the trip to work on projects and relax.

So come Thursday (two weeks ago at the time of posting this) I flew down to Sydney for my 4 day mini adventure. After arriving in the city, dropping my bags off and having lunch and a coffee at a local cafe (one of 5 I visited during my trip) I felt it was time to do some exploring and photography. After a vague look at a map I headed off northwards towards the St Mary’s Cathedral then westwards towards the opera house via the botanical gardens and art museum.

It was somewhat unfortunate that in order to photography some of the points of interest along the way I had to shoot into the sun which messed about with the auto exposure and dynamic range of the shots. However I managed to fix the majority of the issues in post and came away with some photos I was happy with. Going another time though I’d definitely like to go out and photograph the opera house and bridge in the morning and at night.

To wrap up the day I visited a few shops in the city buying some board games to play back up at home, had dinner at a Japanese restaurant which served probably the best Takoyaki (Octopus Balls) I’ve had to date and finally went to a telescope viewing session  at Sydney Observatory. All in all a pretty good first day down in Sydney.