Archives For DIY Projects

DIY Kits from Velleman

eiodotcom —  June 20, 2012 — 4 Comments

Today’s Eio post is on our wide array of Do-It-Yourself Project Kits.

If you have an itch to build or design something electronic, look no further than Velleman, based out of Fort Worth, Texas. They have several kits that are not pre-assembled.

As a side note, the “K” (e.g., K2601) or “MK” (e.g., MK171) series are kits, meaning you must assemble them yourself.

The “VM” series are the pre-assembled versions of the K or MK products.

Velleman FM Radio Kit (MK118)

This build it yourself FM radio kit allows you to assemble your own FM radio. Learn how to build a simple FM receiver with bandwidth of 88-108 MHz. It is easy to assemble, there are no annoying coils to wind, and it comes with a pre-assembled and tested FM front end. All you have to do is set up the development circuit board, attach the FM front end, ON/OFF switch, volume control, and LED indicator on, and get listening to the airwaves!

Velleman Stroboscope Kit (K2601)

Make your own disco party with Velleman’s Stroboscope kit. It creates flashing light effects similar to disco halls, or your own snapshots and lightning light effects. Wow your family and friends when they see the amazing effects of this wonderful DIY project!

Velleman Water Alarm (MK108)

This water alarm kit is tremendously practical. Put it in a corner and it gives an alarm sound when water is detected. It also has an incorporated alarm buzzer. Find leaks in your roof, mildew or mold in your closets, or problem areas in other parts of your house!

Velleman Digital Voice Changer Kit (MK171)

This digital voice changer kit is both fun to design and hilarious to use! Make your voice, no matter how high or low, sound like a robot. Add a vibrato effect similar to how your voice sounds when in front of a fan. It also includes “pitch”-buttons to make your voice sound lower or higher. This wonderful kit comes with a built-in microphone and power amplifier with volume control. All you need to do is just add a speaker. Have a blast wowing your friends at parties, changing your voice to create new characters and personalities, make up group games, even make the occasional prank phone call!

Go forth, DIY enthusiasts, and create, build, form, design, mold, craft, establish, erect, envision, and more!!

See also:


Arduino: an Introduction

eiodotcom —  May 16, 2012 — 5 Comments

Today’s Eio post will cover the Arduino.

Picture of Arduino, courtesy of

What is it?

The makers of Arduino define it as “an open-source microcontroller platform, designed for ease of use in terms of both hardware and software.” In other words, it is a popular open-source electronic development board that “is capable of controlling just about any DIY hardware project.” It possesses a basic code (for example, it can turn an LED on, or fan to a certain temperature), so that you do not have to be a master coder or programmer. And Arduinos are at the heart of most DIY electronic projects.

If you are still having trouble conceptualizing what an Arduino is, Lady Yaya, founder of Adafruit, explains arduinos less by definition and more by example. She says this:

“The ‘what is Arduino?’ is still a little vague, and that’s the Arduino’s strength. It’s the glue people use to connect tasks together.The best way to describe an Arduino is with a few examples. Want to have a coffee pot tweet when the coffee is ready? Arduino. Want to have a Professor X Steampunk wheelchair that speaks and dispenses booze? Arduino. Want to make a set of quiz buzzers for an event out of Staples’ Easy Buttons? Arduino.

Why are they so popular?

As I mentioned before, you don’t have to be a master programmer or coder to use Arduinos. Ehow says there is a certain Arduino programming “environment” which makes Arduinos extremely beginner- and user-friendly. The prewritten software and language is easy to learn for beginners. Arduinos also possess prewritten libraries which “allow you to add complex functionality to your programs quickly and easily.” This user-friendly environment is why Arduinos are so popular.

And if you’re a more advanced user, Arduinos have the ability to program code directly. Or, if you’re super ambitious, hardware design information is available for those who would like to assemble an Arduino by hand.

Furthermore, Arduino related resources, such as tutorials, online-forums, and DIY projects, abound on the internet, making Arduino even more accessible to the electronic enthusiast.

Some helpful forums include: forums and Adafruit forums. Ehow has a whole host of Arduino related posts. There are even entire blogs devoted to Arduino projects, hints, and tips!

Here are some neat Arduino development boards Eio carries:

Arduino Mega 2560

SeeedStudio ARD128D2P Seeeduino V3.0(Atmega 328P)

See also:

Breadboards 101

eiodotcom —  May 15, 2012 — 6 Comments

Today, Eio will briefly discuss breadboards.

A breadboard is used to build and test an electronic circuit design quickly before finalizing its design. Breadboards are construction sites for circuit prototypes,where one tests, samples, or models an idea or concept for an electronic circuit to see if it works.

Standard Breadboard

Breadboards look like rectangular plastic boxes filled with tiny holes, in which you insert wires or other electric components. When you insert electronic pieces into these points of contact (also known as “nodes”) in various patterns, a circuit is formed.

Most breadboards are solderless, meaning no soldering is required to attach the wires into the nodes, and are thus, reusable. The easy thing about creating circuits on breadboards is that you can remove or rearrange wires from the nodes to test if some components work better than others.


There are two main advantages for using breadboards. One, is that they are test sites to experiment on. If you mess up, the breadboard takes the damage, not your more expensive electronic equipment. Secondly, breadboards are often reusable because no soldering is required.


One disadvantage is that breadboards are only useful for experimenting with a few components. They cannot hold thousands of wires or connections, nor can they be used for circuits with high frequencies, voltages, or currents. In these ways, breadboards can only be used for simple experiments on smaller scales.

If you want to make your own breadboard project, I found this site extremely useful in a step-by-step process of what to do.

Eio has all sorts of breadboards, from the simple, such as the Tie Point Mini Self-Adhesive Solderless Breadboard (White)

to the more technical and complicated, such as VELLEMAN SD35N SOLDERLESS BREADBOARD

See also:

Here at Eio, we want to make electronics accessible to all people, experts and beginners alike. We resist assuming our customers will possess or pursue a thorough understanding of electronics, which requires us to provide explanations of electronic equipment in easy to understand, non-technical language. So today’s post is an effort to give a non-technical explanation of capacitors.

What is a capacitor? What does it do?

According to Wikipedia, a capacitor is an electrical component used to store energy by means of an electrostatic field. Capacitors have at least two electrical conductors separated by an insulator, the dielectric (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Picture of a capacitor

The conductors are connected to terminals so that voltage can be applied across the conductors.

When voltage is applied across the conductors, an electrostatic field develops along the insulator resulting in a positive charge to collect on one terminal and a negative charge on the other. The electrostatic field is what actually stores the energy by the pulling and pushing forces of the positive and negative charges, similar to how charges within protons, neutrons, and electrons hold atoms together.

If you’d like more technical and detailed information, such as the mathmatical formula for how capacitance works, please go here or here.

What are capacitors used for?

Capacitors are used in the following areas:

  • Energy sotrage – they can store electric energy and be used like temporary batteries.
  • Pulsed power and weapons – they are used to supply huge pulses of current, such as detonators.
  • Power conditioning – are used as reserves for some power sources.
  • Suppression and coupling – used as noise filters and snubbers.

    Makezine’s capacitor bank and charger

  • Motor starters – starting capacitors are capable of starting rotational motions in many motors.
  • Signal processing – used for tuned circuits to read particular frequencies.
  • Sensing – senses changes in the capacitance structure.

DIY Projects

If you’re an inventor at heart, here are some links to fantastic DIY capacitor projects.

Check out a popular capacitor product at Eio:


See also:

Here at, you can find a wide assortment of LEDs, such as our Velleman MK101 Flashing LED Sweetheart. But what are LEDs, and what are they used for?

In laymen’s terms, the light emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source. LEDs 101 sums up the principle of LEDs as this: “Imagine a grain of sand that emits a very bright light, usually red, amber, green or blue, depending on the material, when an electrical current is applied.”

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