If its stupid and it works it ain’t stupid

This is an effort to document my work with electronics and prototype scale manufacturing.

There are other sites that do this more or less successfully.  Hopefully mine will be different.

Most electronics sites tend to be:

  • Playing with LEDs and batteries, Arduinos, kit building, etc.
  • Professional types making TTL CPUs, ARM based stuff, heavy reverse engineering, etc.
  • Very mathematical analogue or RF wizardry.

Here’s an example of wizardry and extreme steady-hand soldering action from the very excellent and highly esteemed Elm-chan. Look at the pitch of those pins! The base board is standard 0.1″ pitch…

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My interests:

I mainly deal with digital electronics (TTL, microcontrollers, PC interfacing) and power electronics with motion control in mind. There is also the challenge extreme difficulty of making your homemade gadget actually look good to other (non technical) people. You could be the second coming of the Holy Feynman himself and your brand new secret elephant project, patented cuntwiping machines and gods know what else will look like complete rubbish because they’re not in a shiny chrome/satin look injection molded masterpiece. 3D printers are a bit of a joke unless you spend mid 6 figures so there’ll be none of that here.

I repair things for people quite a lot. It offends me to see perfectly good stuff headed for landfill when its usually a trivial fix. I sometimes advertise free electronics repairs on Freecycle.  No TVs, DVD players or anything cheap and built by the million. It’s all been cost optimised to the point where if it isn’t the power supply or something that moves you might as well forget it.

Why will this site be different?

I suppose I’m moderately bright.

What I am not is good at mathematics.

I’m quick enough at arithmetic but anything beyond basic algebra has me stumped. So I have to cheat: pillage other peoples work for formulae I can plug my numbers into, use wild guessing, trial and error etc, all that good stuff.

Trial and error can work alright, you breaks a few eggs but you gets your omelette. But not great for peace of mind.

The trouble is you’ve no idea where the limits are, and how close to them you’re skating. I want to be able to leave stuff I’ve made running when I’m out without the paranoia of wondering if its going to burn my house down or murder my cat.

There are a lot of great electronics sites but mostly they assume too much (or too little) about the reader’s skill level and skip over how or why something is done. I’ll probably end up doing that too, you can’t explain everything from scratch. But I will try hard to not leave out any vital details.

There are a lot of useful rules of thumb and cunning tricks I’ve gathered over the years. No formal methods and deriving everything from Ohms Law or Maxwell’s equations for me, but I WILL show you how to cheat and just make stuff work.

Remember: If its stupid and it works it ain’t stupid

Like the man said, ‘always yield to the hands-on imperative’.

Don’t take ‘their’ word for it: get stuck in and find out for yourself. Most things are cheap these days, you’ll learn more from 10 mistakes than from 1 perfect thing that you’ve followed someone else’s instructions to do. Don’t be scared to break things. Hardware is called that because its HARD. Reality is unforgiving, you can’t recompile or copy-and-paste physical objects. My favourite aphorism, which I think I invented, is: Software scales; hardware fails

Why is this site called NAND Hate?

Its a play on NAND gate, the universal gate that can be used to build any form of digital logic. Hate should be obvious…

NB: There appears to be someone on Twitter called @nandhate – that ain’t me. I’m one of the last people on earth who doesn’t ‘do’ social media.

I’ve got to admit I really fucking hate it. I have no Facebook or Twitter account, and I’m not intent on changing. I don’t post on forums either, although I may from time to time join one to ask or answer a question. I get bored of all that stuff too quickly and I’m interested in too many real things to get swept up in the circle-jerk drama of it all. Real life is enough of a cake and arse party without going looking for more.

I know to have a successful internet presence these days you need to spam yourself across every channel known to man or reptile but I’ve no desire to chase ad revenue or ‘likes’ or any of that shite.

But if I put something up that gets a million views I might change my mind.

Will this be just another 1 page WordPress site?

I have other interests so I can’t promise anything. Probably there’ll be a surge of interest every now and then and several pages will appear at once.

Even if this isn’t a great site I’ll keep the domain and hosting up, I hate it when bookmarks disappear.

I’ve no modern web design experience (Dreamweaver on 98 was the last) but I’ll try to find a download as PDF plugin so if there ever are any useful pages here you should be able to download them without scattering HTML everywhere.