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What do you think of the PICAXE microcontrollers?

Love them and use them all the time!
No votes
I like them, they are quite useful.
No votes
I don't really know much about them.
I tried them and don't like them.
No votes
I hate them, a complete waste!
No votes
Total votes: 1

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Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:08 pm
Location: North Eastern USA

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Post by mark01970 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:18 pm

First let me say hello to all of the forum members, moderators and administrators. My name is Mark, obviously, and I learned electronics assembly and took courses in both basic and intermediate electronics technology. Unfortunately, when I was studying electronics it was for use as an entry level computer support technician. You see, way back when I was young computer technicians actually performed computer repairs right down to the component level. I mean, when was the last time you saw a computer technician using a soldering iron inside of a PC? Exactly! I think it is a safe bet to say that, if I had to venture a guess, 80% or more of today's computer technicians would have no idea whatsoever as to how one operates an oscilloscope. Well... That was a mighty long time ago my friends.

Since those days of high adventure in the world of electronics I slipped further and further into the guise of a board swapper. It seems that computer technicians were more involved with swapping out a PC or running ghost. I mean, we don't even install software anymore. Instead, we rarely leave our phones. I admit that it was fun incorporating the many methods and systems involved with what I like to call "Helpdesk Automated Solutions Beyond End-user Error Notifications" or as I like to call us, HAS BEEN. Someone calls the helpdesk, I take their IP address and automatically PUSH a new image to their computer. That's it. It does not matter what the problem is if it is software. All of the computers are configured with every software package the company owns and uses. Every computer gets the same settings for every detail. Every computer gets the same exact image. The image itself, after it is PUSHED to the desktop configures itself as soon as the user reboots and logs in. The users login determines what applications will run, which drives get mapped, etc, etc.. In other words.. I am no longer a senior technician with 25+ years experience programming, building, troubleshooting and repairing PC's, Server's, HUB's, etc. I am a phone boy. I don't even get to make a darn cat-5 patch cable anymore. They buy them premade. Waste of money. I can make patch cables 999 out of a 1000 will work everytime. They pay electricians to run the network cables. They outsource the wireless/wan/radio work to another company. They outsource laser printer repairs. BORING!!!

What is the point of all that? Well.. All this means that I have completely and utterly lost touch with my electronics background. I am lucky that I rememnber the old Bad Boys R---- Our Young Girls But Violet G---- W---- to read a resistor!! I have been on other forums and typing up basic electronics information articles for so-called "newbs" to electronics. This is helping me re-learn every bit as much as it is helping them learn. I am remembering as I write luckily, but there is so much I fear has completely gone from me.

So I am here on this site and these forums and plan to get back into the electronics in depth.

Initially I was brought back into the fold by way of learning to "MOD" my electronic cigarettes, and now build my own completely and am trying to come up with as many advanced features as I can. I build and sell them to friends and family at cost right now. If I manage to come up with a flawless design that can compete with the brand names and, indeed, out perform them as well, then I might start marketing them to the general public, but then again, maybe not. Not sure on that yet. Since I found this website and also learned about these new PICAXE micro-controllers I have tons of ideas and projects I would love to do!

So, here I am. I signed up for the forums, and I have to say, there are a lot of very sharp people on these forums and I have no doubt that I will easily re-learn all that has been drained from me over the years. I hope to even work on some projects with other people as well. I love joint efforts. Just not too many cooks at once is all.

Currently I am still concentrating on my e-cigarette mods. They are all very basic designs for the most part. There is a battery(ies) and the devices run at voltages that range from the lowest e-cig mods at 3.3v on Li-Ion batteries to 7V burn your lips and boil your e-juice levels. Then there is the atomizer unit which is a coil of NiChrome wire (the heating element) that generally sits around 1.5 to 3 amps depending on the usual electronics numbers (resistance, voltage, etc). The atomizer draws in this e-liquid that is vaporized by the heating coil into a cloud of vapor. This is so that you can inhale the nicotine in vapor form along with flavors and glycerine that produces the visible vapor. So you LOOK like you are smoking, feel like you are smoking and you get your nicotine. It is the best method of getting off the cigarettes aside from quitting altogether. I won't go into my usual tirade of why everyone needs to quit and how great the e-cigs are. That is for other forums. This forum is all about the electronics. So..

Currently my e-cigarette made at home consists of, with the simplest MOD, a 3.7v battery (runs from 4.2v down to about 3.0v before protection circuit in battery kicks in and you have to recharge), the atomizer unit and a cartridge. There is a simple Momentary On switch. This most basic of e-cigs is generally throwing about 2-3 amps across the switch so I always use at least 3 amp switches. That is about it. No other circuitry or anything. They get progressively more complicated from there up though.

Generally speaking, the next step up for MY homemade MODS is my 5v pass-thru which is simply an e-cigarette that I plug into the USB 2.0 port of my PC. This gives me a 5v supply and no batteries to worry about and I do most of my "vaping" right at my computer. This involves the USB cable, a switch and the atomizer except I also throw in a 5vc regulator into the mix for no necessary reason. Just because! :)

Now there are many features that can be added to an e-cigarette and I would eventuaqlly like to have them all. Size is a problem. People want their e-cigarettes to be as small as possible. When you are making them at home with components purchased individually online it is difficult at best to shrink things down. It ius not like I have the resources to pay some microchip company to turn my circuit into a chip after all. LOL. Here is a list of the features I would like to one day have in one of my MOD designs.

* Temperature Sensor
* Variable Voltage (from 3.7v to 6v) configurable through the USB port by PC
* Variable Current (from 1A to 4A across the atomizer coil) configurable through the USB port by PC
* Variable Resistance (across the atomizer) configurable through the USB port by PC
* Touch Sensor for a switch (maybe the dual transistor style)
* Automatic switch in the form of a pressure sensor detecting when you inhale on the e-cigarette
* Configurable Cutoff time for a drag in seconds. configurable through the USB port by PC
* LED to show when device is atomizing
* LED brightness configurable through the USB port by PC
* Battery Recharge Circuit Built In and done through USB port to PC or to an AC to USB adapter
* Small LED display showing devices current settings
* Ability to completely configure the device with a button and a thumb wheel

There are more but that is all I can think of for now. So as you can see, I have a long road of learning ahead of me. For instance, I need to re-learn about capacitors and transistors in a big way. I remember that CAPS store a charge, but that is about all I can remember off the top of my head. I remember that transistors can be used as switches. The emitter, base and collector but I remember pretty much nothing else about them. Diodes? Not the LED's but regular DIODES I can not remember what to use them for except as voltage cutters and to act like a one way sign in my circuit sort of.

I have a LOT to re-learn. So expect to see a lot of me. I will try to be much less verbose in the future, except where lengthy descriptions might be warranted or requested. :D

...and again, Hello to all and I look forward to becoming an active part of the forums and ordering some of the really cool stuff from the site.

(EYE-in' the PICAXE micro-controllers for making many e-cig features come to life I think!)

Mark Linehan
Administrator of DO IT FROM SCRATCH!
(BRAND NEW FORUMS FOR DIY PEOPLE! I need members, moderators, board ideas and POSTS!!!!! BRAND NEW FORUMS!!)

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