Society of Robots - Robot Forum

General Misc => Misc => Topic started by: Webbot on November 04, 2008, 05:21:02 PM

Title: Electronics Magazines
Post by: Webbot on November 04, 2008, 05:21:02 PM
Good news for our American cousins is that the Elektor magazine is going to start being released in North America.

I've been reading this mag on and off since the late 1970's and it has always had some good stuff in it and nowadays has a lot of microcontroller based stuff (mainly PIC/AVR). Recent articles/designs have included things like:-

1. Building your own SatNav (yep! a satnav chip that uses TTL rx/tx to chat to your controller or PC)
2. Controlling your home appliances over the web or from your cell phone
3. One volume pretty much dedicated to SMD devices (trying to sell their expensive SMT oven!) but still interesting

But enough of a sales pitch.

It's not cheap but a 12 month subscription saves money. But see ( - to get an idea on the sort of stuff they do (the webiste is fairly rubbish by the way IMHO).

Title: Re: Electronics Magazines
Post by: paulstreats on November 04, 2008, 06:39:08 PM
I buy it occasionally just to flick through. The summer special are the best around july/august where they have about 30 projects into 1 mag.

Electronics magazines are fine but they all seem to concentrate on musical devices like amplifiers and stuff
Title: Re: Electronics Magazines
Post by: Admin on November 05, 2008, 10:59:03 PM
I just added it to the robot books recommendations (
Title: Re: Electronics Magazines
Post by: Asellith on November 07, 2008, 09:35:32 AM
So better or worse then nuts and volts? I enjoy nuts and jolts but they seem to have to many projects that are either stupid (i.e. pointless and doesn't teach anyone anything new it was just the writers last weekend project) or to expensive to be practical. The last issue had a cool robotic lab bench assistant write up but it would cost well over $1000 to build it let alone weeks to program. It could hand him his tools and hold PCBs so that was impressive just not practical. Does elektor offer more of the same or not?
Title: Re: Electronics Magazines
Post by: Rebelgium on November 07, 2008, 07:07:18 PM
I have had a subscription for 2 years now, and I'm pretty pleased with it.
The Summer 2007 edition was the best I've had.
It was an extra large number (summer) all about hobby robotics.

I recommend getting a hold of that edition.
Title: Re: Electronics Magazines
Post by: Webbot on November 07, 2008, 08:03:57 PM
The title of this post is purposely 'Electronic Magazines' rather than just 'Robot Magazines'. Elektor tend to have 'mini-projects' (ie cheap) and 'yes' you may get the odd 'ampilfier' kind of circuit - but you never know when such a circuit might prove useful (like when you/I do a Text To Speech tutorial  ;)  or if you wanted to have a sound sensor on your bot).

They then also do mainstream projects - most of which are very affordable and you can buy PCBs etc direct from them if you need to. They very rarely do mega bucks projects.

But enough about selling on their behalf - check their website.

But I would add that now microprocessors are so cheap then they have pretty much taken over from standard discrete digital circuitry. So a large percentage of what they publish is microcontroller orientated and they do a lot of robotics stuff. For the total newbies you can also buy, via their shop, the controllers already programmed if you want or you can just download software from their site (they dont tend to have long software listings in the magazine).

They often also publish fact sheets on certain standards which is helpful - like, say, the standard msg formats from a SatNav chip or the file formats for POI (Point Of Interest) files to feed a SatNav. I've recently purchased the SatNav chip they used in one of the projects and it looks brilliant - its about 1 inch square and transmits position, bearing and velocity via a serial link. So just plug it into your UART, or Hyperterminal, and get navigating..... 
Title: Re: Electronics Magazines
Post by: Admin on November 08, 2008, 12:44:54 AM
Got a link for this SatNav chip? Sounds interesting, and I'm looking into GPS for a project of mine . . .

Google found about 5 million results for SatNav, none of what you refer to . . . :-\
Title: Re: Electronics Magazines
Post by: Webbot on November 08, 2008, 10:19:24 AM
Go to (

They have lots of GPS products - the new 'UPS dongle' looks good.

I bought what they call a 'module'. Here it is (  The connector is very small surface mount available via Digikey part#SM06B-SRSS-TB(LF)(SN). But its easier to snip off their connector and put an easier 0.1" connector on.  Only other point of note is that the TTL serial voltages are only 2.85V which is a bit low for TTL. This is simply solved by using a 74LS04 hex inverter chip and putting two inverters on each wire just to boost the signal to proper TTL voltages.

Suggest you look at the GPS NMEA frame format. Specifically the CGA and RMC messages.
Title: Re: Electronics Magazines
Post by: Asellith on November 11, 2008, 09:28:33 PM
Ok its late so this might not sound like a good idea in the morning but.....

We should produce a magazine for SOR :) Maybe not a print version but at least an online quarterly publication that could have Ads (to make Admin happy because most of the work will be on him) as well as the best member written tutorials. It could be formated like a magazine and easy to read/print out for an off line manual that would make a nice addition to a workbench near you. Could even just take some of the better tutorials and convert them to pdfs with nice layouts and all the information you need.