Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bloom Box - Advances in fuel cell technology

We are living in a really exciting time. Almost every day I see news about a new development in cleaner greener energy. Be it solar panels on the verge of becoming cheaper than coal power thanks to mega solar panel factories in China, advances in fusion research that gives scientists the confidence to predict we will have fusion power in the foreseeable future, or today I spotted this 60 minutes episode about advances in fuel cell technology. 

Fuel cell technology has been around for a long time, but the rare metals used to make it work have put it out of reach for most applications. Bloom Box claim to have developed a fuel cell technology that will be a fraction the price of conventional fuel cells. They are saying their technology is versatile and can run on many different fuels. 

This could prove to be a very good way to turn methane from excrement into electricity. In poorer countries there are organizations teaching people how to built toilets and capture the methane for cooking purposes. One day we may do away with sewage in our homes and instead trap the waste, generate methane from it which we turn into electricity using bloom boxes to power our homes. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

3D Printers go Mainstream

Well, it has finally happened. 3D printers have gone mainstream. Officeworks, a chain of office supplies stores in Australia, is now selling a 3D printer for the very reasonable price of $1499. Makerbot has been selling cheap 3D printers for a while now, but the fact that you can finally walk into a local retail chain and pick one up speaks volumes about the 3D printing explosion just around the corner. 

Check out their sales pitch. 

"Voted MAKE magazines easiest to use and most reliable 3D printer."
"Just plug it in and start"
"has WiFi"
"certified for safe at home use"
Big things are just around the corner.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Yaego - No More Resistor Markings

Some wonderful news from Yaego
Given Yageo has been devoted to being eco-friendly, we decide to eliminate the marking on the R Chip of the sizes of 0603, 0805 and 1206 as soon as possible. There will be a short period of time that both types of the products, with marking and without marking, co exist while we are changing the production lines one by one.....
So... no more resistor values printed on SMD components. For smaller PCB manufacturers who still do a lot of their smaller runs by hand it is going to make life hell, not to mention trying to debug a batch of circuit boards from dodgy Chinese manufacturers. Just to keep things fun, Yaego won't be changing the part number so when you order your parts it will be Russian roulette as to whether the parts have markings or not.

No doubt other manufacturers will follow and jump at the chance to save a fraction of a cent on their manufacturing costs.

Full product change notification here.