Hi, my name is Tom. Welcome to the Grumpy Engineer’s blog!
I’ve been working in the field of embedded electronic systems and programming for the best part of 15 years. None of this is particularly new to me, I just make a living from it now. Coming from a long line of engineers I got an early start. By age 8 I was starting to play with BASIC on a Beeb model B and had already managed to connect myself to the mains. No-one told me bell wire was not mains rated!
By age 10 I could solder pretty well and now in my 30’s (ish) I’ve only added a couple more self-electrocutions to my total. I’ve also treated myself to the odd new soldering iron over the years. After using Metcal irons (now Oki) at work I finally relented and bought my own for home.
I grew up reading the Maplin project books, ETI and Elektor along with countless trips on the train to visit my local Maplin counter. Long gone are the days you could buy proper electronic components over the counter, and it really was a counter! Anyone remember the NICAM decoder kit or the satellite weather receiver? OK, you can get Arduino and Raspberry Pi kits, the usual selection of basic passives and some active components. I still go there in emergencies.
I did cringe somewhat one visit when I overheard a staff member trying to calculate the value for an LED limiting resistor. ‘Absolute maximum’ is not the same as ‘recommended’. And people wonder why their LEDs burn out….