Around the world.

(yup, it’s been a VERY LONG while, but since noone was interested in the led giveaway, I just went to do some other things, wich will be covered somehow, someday. Now I’m back, for a while, as always)

No, I’m not talking about this Around the world.

There was a time (2008) before I formally finished my electronics studies, that I was just playing around with stuff. I suppose that more or less, we all have delved with the computer modding concept, with varying degrees of exit.

I didn’t really had money to properly mod a computer, however, I discovered that there was a niche area that had really cool and simple projects that looked awesome in themselves.

That was mouse modding.

Metkumods Project Cryo made me laugh so hard… (no images on the post link, tough)


So I had to do something.

I had recently been playing with the airsoft flash grenade concept, so I had around some fake grenade casings and an idea sprang to my mind…

It’s been so much time, I had to grab an image from internet, because I no longer have the originals ^_^U)

The thing about this, is not the mod per se, it’s so simple it becomes irrelevant to me. The thing is, that I was awake long after posting it in a russian modding blog, and could watch as the idea ran away along the earth. I saw it being linked through europe, then asia…japan…USA…all around the world, literally.
(I just keep googling it and looking at the results, as more and more blogs and webs linked and interlinked (and misinterpreted the plastic casing as coming from a real grenade)

I knew it was not viral, it was just one of those stupid ideas people laugh at, then forget. Still I felt really proud that something I had done, had circled the world.


I am. VERY.

Snippets of what’s to come when I find some time:

“Mistery” circuit giveaway:

152 - Mistery circuit 2

Needle printer head dismantling, because, why not?

154 - Needle printer head

And some more relay guts…

And I’m outta time again…!!

Dat Rack II

Hello, technicians, how are you? Fantastic!

Look at these racks:

149 - Dat Rack II

Now back at me. Sadly, those are our racks, not yours, but if our purchasing manager had asked, instead of trying to use is half-brain, they could be as god as yours. Look down, back up, yes, you just looked at your keyboard, only $Deity knows why. (source, sort of XD!)

Finally we have racks of our own. However, we also have an imbecile* purchasing manager of our own too.

Because, you know, if you buy something for someone else, you might try asking what they need…shouldn’t you? In fact, our racks are all except the middle one, whose size we have been using for eons through our diferent assemblers. The smaller ones belong to our old (and broken) tin wave solder machine, and the new ones, those big, chunky metal…things…are the new racks our personal imbecile bought.

I should be thankful we only have one of the bigger ones, still their size and weight is enormous compared to the normal one. Damn…some days I just don’t want to wake up, just keep designing pcb’s in my dreams.

*from Classical Latin imbecilis, imbecillus, feeble, weak, probably ; from in-, without + baculus, staff (see bacillus): hence “without support”.

Dude, where’s my fiducial?

It’s been a while since the last time you heard about that board assembler that it’s-not-that-good-but-it’s-cheap. But when he screws-up, he does it big time, won’t fail you there. (ROFL!)

If you more or less know how Pick&Place machines work, you know they do some adjustments around for each board, so components fall where they are supposed. Sometimes you must help the machine, because the fiducials fall outside machine expectations due to weird panelizing by the board maker.

That’s a bugger, but nothing you can’t overcome, just move the camera around, find the spots and add those values to the program so the machine knows what to find…


If you happen to write down those coordinates with permanent marker…DAMN, MAN, clean them!
Cos’ you won’t be able to clean them, no matter what, once they go through the oven…


And there you go, a pair of expensive boards we can’t sell, nor clean, no nothing…

Dumbfuck assembler…


This is one of those stupid things that happen at work and then, you just can’t stop yourself of doing…

I was marking some board codes  for identification, and the permanent marker just slipped off the square…and I could only keep seeing a cat tail…so…

147 - Le chat

…I drew a pair of cat ears to match…

The Great LED giveaway gymkhana.

How many leds are too many?

151 - Giveaway
(Small flaws included, but fully working)

Do you want to get a board like this for free? Of course you want. If you had to pay for it, it would be bloody damn expensive!

I have said tons of times that I have a great job, it’s time you taste some of it’s wonders too.

So I have a 5 boards like that one, and do not plan on doing anything with them, so I’d like to have some fun before letting them go. (boards run on 40V 350mA, power supply NOT included. Size: 25x25cm, free shipping within reasonable limits)

Complete as many tests as you can, be polite to strangers and don’t cheat:

    • Internet is for…(7 points for the best image of it)
      Find an image from Miku in a PCB board(I know it’s there, but I can’t find it)
    • I have friends and I know how to use them (1 point per mention):
      Make as many people as you can write your name in the comments.
    • Too much time in my hands (15 points):
      Find the hidden link on a post.
    • I know a thing or two (1 to 10 points):
      Write a (correct) single sentence electronics horror story.
    • Shameless (25 points):
      Make an electronics/engineering youtube celebrity drop a comment/email with your name.
    • Raise the stakes  (1 to 10 points, rated by coolness/ingenuity):
      Write “The Electronic mercenary” in a something electronic.
    • Me too (5 points):
      Write a post about this gymkhana on an electronics blog.
    • Daredevil (5 points):
      Write a post about this gymkhana in a non electronic blog.
    • Patron (3 points per $, fractions accepted, paypal proof required):
      Make a donation in the name of Electronic Mercenary to any other electronics blog
    • Awesomer (30 points):
      Make the voice from Honest Trailers, say “The Electronic Mercenary”.
    • Automatic win:
      Make this gymkhana appear on Hackaday.
      (This is a free board insta-win, apart from the other 5, also, might make the blog explode)
    • There can be only one:
      Achieve everything (except the automatic win) and I’ll give you all five boards, plus a 30W aluminium board (72 LEDS, 1A) Worldwide shipping included, even for you, Aussies. (Just kidding)

Yeah, there’s mischief in there. keep yourself centered on achievable goals, and GO! GO! GO!

You have 30 days!

0603 by surprise.

Unofficial presentation of the mistery circuit:

150a - Mistery

Unfortunately, I made the 0805 footprints just as large as the components themselves, so I can’t solder them by hand.

I will use 0603 instead, wich are still easily solderable, meanwhile, I really wanted to test the circuit, so quickly botched the necessary values from wherever I could:

150bx - Mistery
Yep, C1 is missing, but it was not absolutely necessary for the test.

I could order a stencil for the circuit, or cut one myself on kapton (with the laser), I just didn’t want to bother for the test, as I didn’t had all the components either. (I forgot to order some rarer components…but with 3 weeks delay between ordering and receiving…I keep loosing track of projects).


150c - Mistery
Added fingers for scale comparison.

It works, whatever it is it does, since you still only suspect what it is…

Interestingly, the board fabber did say that the edges where going to be V-Scored, but the boards are nicely machined, so that’s a nice surprise to have.

By the way, I haven’t forgot about the Circuit Giveaway. Once I get the components and have some good photos of the circuit, I’ll announce the winner.