CircuitStudio vs. Altium Designer

logoI signed up for an Altium CircuitStudio trial in the interests of seeing if I can live with it instead of Altium Designer for personal projects. I’ve been using Altium Designer (AD) at work for a number of years now and love its ease of use, simple workflows, and extremely good schematic-PCB integration.

A little background – Altium now offers three tiers of their eCAD software:

  • Altium Designer – this is their flagship product, targetted at professional users, and runs around $5-10k per license.
  • Circuit Studio – this is targetted at professionals, and in theory is just a somewhat simplified Altium Designer, and is about half the cost of AD.
  • Circuit Maker – this is their bottom-end software oriented to the burgeoning Maker community. It is even simpler than Circuit Studio, and has a free version that automatically open-sources your designs unless you pay to keep them private.

Continue reading “CircuitStudio vs. Altium Designer”

Teflon Wallet

I’m going through another minimalist phase, and one of the things that’s been bugging me a lot lately is how swollen my wallet has become with all the gift cards, froyo punch cards, random trash, etc. I emptied out my wallet, only to find it didn’t really get that much thinner or smaller, because of how massive just the wallet leather is. I started looking around online for a thinner alternative more compatible with my newfound minimalism, and ran across this Instructable for making a paper wallet. I was really taken with how compact and simple the paper wallet manages to be, while still being functional and a viable way of carrying cash, credit cards, and identifaction around.

I made myself one of the paper wallets as shown in the Instructable, but realized after a few days of use that it would not last long in an abrasive jeans pocket, and would be absolutely wrecked at the first sign of moisture. I took a brief survey of the paper items around my room which could be more suitable materials for a wallet, and found that I had some USPS Priority Mail envelopes, which are made of a pretty heavy-duty teflon. Here’s a quick overview of how I put the wallet together using the envelope: Continue reading “Teflon Wallet”

GoPro Hero HD 960 Interface Cheat Sheet

As almost everyone who’s used a GoPro can probably attest to, they’re amazing little cameras with a completely impossible user interface. I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed to change some setting but couldn’t for the life of me remember how, and of course the user manual was long gone.

I made some GoPro cheat sheets that I printed out and then taped to the box where I store the GoPros, so that it’ll always be close at hand when I need it. I’ve even folded up one of the smaller ones and inserted it behind the camera in the waterproof case so it’s easy to get to if I need it on the go.

I’ve posted the cheat sheet I put together here, in case it’s useful to someone else. There’s a pocket sized 4×2″ version (GoPro HD Hero Cheat Sheet 4x2inch), and a larger, easier to read 7×2″ version (GoPro HD Hero Cheat Sheet 7x4inch), both in .pdf format. I’ve also posted the excel file I used to create them (GoPro HD Hero Cheat Sheet Excel File), in case you want to modify them to suit your particular tastes.


Chip Yates Electric Motorcycle

A pretty cool article describing some of the up-till-now secret sauce on the electric motorcycle project I’ve been working on with Chip Yates for the last few months. The article describes the front-wheel Kinetic Energy Recovery System that Chip designed in great detail. It has some cool pictures of the bike, and an awesome video that someone (ahem, yours truly) put together for the bike unveiling a few weeks ago.

GTI Thumpin in the Trunk

I’ve been a wannabe car audio nut for quite a while, but I’ve never really had the time, money, and inspiration to actually do anything until recently. When I had my Miata, I had planned on installing an 8″ sub in the trunk in a custom fiberglass enclosure. I even went so far as to build up a foam mockup of it, but that mockup just sat on my shelf for four years of college and never got built.

Now that I’m working and have more dollars than sense and finally have a car that’s big enough to hold a decent audio setup, I finally decided to buckle down and install a woofer. Following is a writeup of my install. Continue reading “GTI Thumpin in the Trunk”

Airport Express Power Supply Repair

I bought an Apple Airport Express off Craigslist a couple months ago so I can send music to my living room stereo via Airtunes. The little bugger quit working about a month in though, so I tossed it in a drawer to be put on Ebay for scrap or otherwise dealt with. As is wont to happen this semester, however, one day recently I got bored and went hunting around my room for things to do. I ran across the Airport Express and started wondering what was wrong with it. Here’s the story of the teardown and my attempts at repairing it:

Continue reading “Airport Express Power Supply Repair”

Canon Powershot SX100IS Teardown

Before the teardown

I keep running across more and more stuff that is just begging to be torn apart. It’s like I’m 5 years old all over again, except this time I have screwdrivers instead of just rocks and sticks. Anyway, this time around, I tore down my roommate’s Canon Powershot SX100IS camera. It’s been having some issues with a stuck shutter, so we tried to pull it apart and fix it. Following are the results of that attempt:

Continue reading “Canon Powershot SX100IS Teardown”

Senior Designing

Considering I’m only taking three classes this semester, I’ve been pretty busy with Senior Design stuff so far. We had a technical review paper due two weeks ago and a proposal due next week… too much writing for my tastes.

Anyway, I’m the webmaster for the group, so I’ve been working on getting a website together. I grabbed a .tk domain name for the website, so that we don’t have to deal with the horrible Georgia Tech hosting url. Anyway, the site’s at if you want to see what we’re up to. [Edit: the .tk domain expired and now it points at some spam page. Here’s the direct link to our project page] I’ll be updating it throughout the semester as we get more work done on the project.

Cubeecraft Obama figure build

If there was any doubt up to this point that I have way too much time on my hands, this post should put that doubt to rest. Cruising the web the other day, I ran across a link to Cubeecraft’s new Obama figurine. For those of you not familiar with Cubeecraft, they make print-able fold-up templates for paper figurines with little square heads – pretty cool stuff. They have a bunch of characters, with one of their latest being the Obama one. Following are some pics of my experience “building” one:

Continue reading “Cubeecraft Obama figure build”