Japanese Toolbox header

Japanese Toolbox

Japanese Toolbox completeOftentimes, I find myself going to my parents’ house or a friend’s place to build or repair something, and I have nothing to put my larger tools in.  As a result, my drill, saw, clamps and other large items end up either laying on the floor of my truck or stuffed into whatever cardboard box I found laying around.  If I had a large, sturdy box to throw this stuff in, it would make these trips much more convenient and I would spend less time loading and unloading my tools and more time working.  So when I saw Len Cullum’s Japanese Toolbox project in MAKE 34, I knew I had found my solution.

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Night Joule Thief

Night Joule Thief completeI recently reviewed the Color Night Joule Thief by The LED Artist, and tonight I built the original Night Joule Thief.  It works just like the color version, except that it uses two white LEDs instead of a single color-changing LED, and has slightly fewer components.  Unlike the color version, I didn’t run into any problem with the PCB layout; everything fit with no risk of any short circuits.  Assembly is easy and well-suited for a beginner.

night joule thief litLight output is very good using a fairly new battery.  I tried it in my bedroom and it provides enough light to keep me from stubbing my toes on the bed posts after dark.  With that said though, I wish the output was spread out more, it’s very narrowly focused.  This could be adjusted to some degree by soldering the LEDs so they point at different angles.  Another possible solution is using LEDs with a wider output beam.  I purchased two kits, so I may try doing something like this with the other.  Other possible modifications which are discussed on the related Instructables page include using a switch instead of a photoresistor to turn the LEDs on and off, and using alternative battery clips to allow for C, D and other size 1.5v batteries.

Overall, this is an excellent kit, perfect for beginning electronics enthusiasts learning to solder as well as experienced hobbyists looking for a simple circuit to build that offers some room for customization.  It’s available for under $11 from The LED Artist.

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SuperFlux “Piranha” LED testing

I’m planning an LED floodlight project that will use a lot of square 4-pin LEDs, aka SuperFlux or “Piranha” LEDs.  I hadn’t had a chance to use these type of LEDs until now, so after receiving my order this week I immediately went to work on trying them out.  This won’t be a very technical review, just a quick look at the specs and my experience with testing the LEDs and what I thought of them.

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Colour Night Joule Thief header

Colour Night Joule Thief

I recently stumbled upon Akimitsu Sadoi’s website, The LED Artist.  Akimitsu describes himself as a Brooklyn, NY based electronic artist with the motto “Art and Technology are Friends”.  He designs and builds LED Art projects and offers a variety of kits for sale through his online store.  I’m a sucker for anything that lights up, so it didn’t take me long to find several kits I wanted to purchase and build.  I can’t afford to buy every kit I want on there, but I did pick up a couple, the smaller (and cheaper) of which is the Colour Night Joule Thief.

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stagolee shot billy

Robert Hunter and the Myth of Stagger Lee

Stagger Lee shot Billy DeLyon.  It’s a story that’s been told countless times, and in many of those stories Stagger Lee is the hero.  But for Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, the hero was found not in Stagger Lee, but Billy’s widow.  This paper looks at how Hunter accomplished this and compares the song he wrote with another song about Stagger Lee, written and performed by Lloyd Price.

This is a paper I wrote for a university English class, and the paper is still formatted like a university paper, complete with references.  I hope this may be of use to someone else who is researching a topic this paper touches on.

Many thanks to my friend Sarah Masek, who proofread the paper and offered several suggestions to improve it, most of which I followed.  Many thanks to professor Stoker as well for his challenging but rewarding class.

Click here to read/download the paper in PDF format.