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October 2013

Jameco Electronics Newsletter

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puzzler 15

Jameco Puzzler: Secure Communication between Two Vehicles

By Forrest M. Mims III

Jim Timely, Jameco's ace inventory specialist, wants a highly secure method for the escort vehicle to send information to Jameco's cargo truck. The truck is following behind the escort as the two vehicles roll along the highway. The communication method must be ultra-secure and not employ visible antennas or other clues of the technology. Cell phones, CB radios, WiFi and other traditional radio methods are unacceptable due to their security vulnerability.

How can they safely communicate without a radio?

DIY: Build an Electronic Thermometer

By Austin Mier

We hear about temperature everyday: Twenty below in Fargo. Bake at 375 degrees. You have a slight fever, honey, so you better stay home from school. How do we actually know the temperature? There are conventional thermometers that use mercury. And there are modern thermometers that measure change in resistance within a circuit.

Build your own modern thermometer
Capture Wind

My Story: Kenyan Students Capture Wind to Study at Night

By Ernest Chan

Power lines run straight through the Kenyan village of Elburgon, but only the wealthy can afford the electricity. Everyone else uses firewood and kerosene lanterns at night. Led by a Rice University student bringing little more than a process and some encouragement, the Kenyan locals created their own design and today the wind turbine powers a light and a few computers at the local school every night. The Rice University team has quickly expanded and needs a little bit of help from us to help teach self sufficiency to those who are hungriest for the knowledge.

Find out how Village Innovators designed a wind turbine
The Terminator Winner

CoasterBot Contest Video

In June we challenged designers to use a coaster (CD or DVD) as a chassis and design a robot that could navigate space, avoid obstacles and display an extra sensing system. By all accounts, participants had lots of fun creating their bots over the summer and they now share the fruits of their labor through videos of the bots in action.

And the winner is...

Fuel Cell Pioneers

Who knew the history of hydrogen fuel cell technology dates back to 1838? Our friends from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies have written a fascinating piece on the technology that today powers long distance drones and really fun electronics kits from Jameco. Technology is built on the shoulders of lots of clever people, and the pioneers of hydrogen fuel cell technology stand at the forefront.

A Look Back Beyond the Horizon
3D Printer

Tech Tips: Five Things NOT to do with Your New 3D Printer

By Ryan Winters

It arrived in the Jameco Workshop like the first television on the block. It seemed like all of Jameco was standing around gawking in breathless anticipation. As soon as the box was opened, everyone wanted it to perform instantly. "Make a bunny!" cried one. "The Statue of David" cried another. "Make a gun," said yet another. The pressure was on to print the first object and bypass the instructions. If only we had it to do over again.

Learn from our 3D printer mistakes
LED Cube

Jameco Video Review: 8x8x8 LED Cube

It's a modern day lava lamp! Club Jameco's best selling kit is so popular we featured it on the cover of our October catalog (If you haven't received your catalog yet, order yours free today). With over 200 customer designed electronics kits at, Jameco Product Manager Ryan Winters and VP Greg Harris will be periodically featuring project reviews by video to give you a taste of what the hoopla is all about.

Watch the video and find out about the challenges behind the 8x8x8 LED Cube


Thanks to all the readers who took the Newsletter survey last month. We must be doing something right, eighty-one percent of you think our newsletter is better than other company newsletters. Several of you suggested we feature more customer stories, design challenges and DIY projects, so we need your help! Send your story or project to [email protected]

Club Jameco Hot New Kits

Animated LED Eyes They're creepy! They're funny! The luminous green eyes blink and scan the room in random patterns. If the optional PIR sensor is installed, they pierce ahead when someone enters the room. Add additional sets to see an entire "wall of eyes" move in unison.

Build this kit

Ghost Knocker
Mounted on a door, this device senses a knocking sound and knocks back the same way. It's a great prank or a spooky effect. The simple circuit uses Arduino, an electret microphone module and a servo motor.

Build this kit