Software Development

Battery-powered USB chargers made with Altoids tins

Altoids tin for MintiBoost workshop

Members of Let Them Tweet Cake, a female-only group in Louisville, KY that meets to discuss tech and geek-related stuff, were invited to LVL1 Hackerspace for a workshop on how to make MintiBoosts, battery-powered USB chargers made with Altoids tins. Check out this gallery to see images of yours truly trying to learn some geek skills and build my own MintiBoost!

It all starts with an Altoids tin.

Photo courtesy of Grace Simrall (@greendrv)

For more details about the project, read my Geekend post MintiBoost workshop for geek women at LVL1 Hackerspace.

About

Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

15 comments
romieship
romieship

I'm sorry Nicole, but the previous comments have it right and you should pay attention. When I saw the article title I was intrigued. When I saw that it had been written by a women, I was delighted. As a woman in IT, with a degree in Electronic technology, I still deal frequently with male bias. Even my own husband can't give me any credit. Example: I've moved our Entertainment system to a different location which necessitates that it be entirely disconnected and then reconnected. He can't help but to say something like " I'd better help you get that thing back to gether..." to which I reply " Here's the remote....Can't you hear it playing already?" Even in the face of facts, He will still insist on "checking it out..." What is his expertise? Nada! He is a concrete finisher! Not to dis that....it's extremely hard work...but..so when I see a woman publishing something kinda geeky or technocool I gotta cheer for them, but in this case I am so disappointed! Not only did you misidentify components, your descriptive narrative of the process focused on the inconsequential detracting from the topic. In Fact I found the entire presentation lacking in substance and an embarrassment for all competent women. I dislike being so harsh, but feel it is necessary in light of the damage done to demonstrating intellectual equality of the sexes!

sboverie
sboverie

The pictures and descriptions were good and help show that electronic assembly is not that difficult to learn; don't fret about the component names as long as the component is in the correct location and alignment. This kind of project helps people understand how to assemble electronic projects. I built this project a couple of years ago and it was easy to build. The new crop of DIY projects, web sites and magazines is showing people that technology is not for engineers and that amatuers can do complicated projects. Having a local hacker space to learn soldering and troubleshooting techniques is a big help. I am working on the next challenge and learning surface mount technology. The challenge is to solder tiny parts without shorting out the connections. There are a lot of articles online to help people get started and also how to modify tools for reflow soldering.

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

If you're going to publish a technically detailed article or photo sequence, please get the terminology correct. The photo of "The front of the motherboard with four transistors mounted" actually shows the motherboard with NO transistors, just 3 resistors and a capacitor. It's like showing a picture of a field with 3 cows and a bull and describing it as "a field with 4 giraffes".

Regulus
Regulus

You spend so much time and effort producing these really excellent and important slide shows. (- actually Power Point presentations) Sorry, they are totally useless to me in that format. You don't even offer us the ability to download the slide deck. Most valuable to me would be a 'Print' version that I could drop into a 'Word' document / File. If that is too much to ask, maybe a PDF version? Thank you for your consideration. -- Yes, I'm going to continue bugging you about this.

eftpotrm
eftpotrm

Sorry to be a pedant, but transistors have three legs; the components that I can see look rather more like resistors and a capacitor.

jeromemueller
jeromemueller

Adafruit.com provides a kit and complete instructions

netmon
netmon

Is there a step by step How To, parts list, or schematic available on this project?

znewsletters
znewsletters

She's trying to learn something here... don't make her afraid to try things without fear of criticism... everyone has to learn.

The Joat
The Joat

Yep. I fondly remember taking a bag of tubes to the local 5 & dime store to test on a neat machine with many sockets and dials you had to set for each different tube before pushing the "test" button. I learned to solder making my first Heathkit AM clock radio. LOL

The Flaming Maiden
The Flaming Maiden

I guess that explains why I couldn't get mine to work ;) ! Obviously, I need to attend more Hacker workshops!

asmg48
asmg48

If you Google, LT1302, you'll find this is a DC/DC converter and necesary components show capacitors, resistors, a Zener diode and a coil to build a circuit similar to the one mentioned. And yes, no transistors in there.

pgit
pgit

I still have boxes full of tubes, probably several hundred. Everything from basic triodes out of old short wave radios to high frequency detectors used in aircraft navigation and communications. (avionics) I used to rebuild old tube type amps and short waves, haven't had the time or money the last few years. Everyone thinks their broken down Silvertone amp or Ward's airline short wave is worth a fortune anymore. People used to give me a lot of the stock I'd work on. Tube amps are far superior to solid state, producing even-order distortion whereas solid state creates odd-order. The ear can tell the difference... Of course tubes suck for high speed digital switching. I can't believe people actually tried, univac and that era. I think the vacuum tube "supercomputers" are the most awesome machines ever built. I'd love to see one in action. I wonder if you could hear the tubes operate? I knew a Danish fellow who made a massive transmitter for a HAM that was allowing him to use his rig to communicate with the folks back home. The output power was illegal, 10kw, but he had a limiter he could switch in and out, so if he absolutely needed to reach, he could jack the output temporarily. Not sure how they were prepared to explain this to the authorities. But when in full power, when you clicked the mic these 2 foot tall output tubes just screamed. It was almost deafening, I wondered whether we were being radiated, and if so what frequencies. You could also hear the modulation, you could just about make out what the operator was saying. That rig would have to be #2 in my book behind a tube computer. There's all manner of considerations in tube circuit design that you don't have with solid state. Tubes have physical characteristics, slopes, cutoffs, sensitivities... a tiny increase in the input voltage range could make or break a tube guitar amp, depending on the tubes the circuit is built around. A 6V6 system will distort and red plate easily, you have to 'soften' the pre amp. But an EL34 system can be pushed and will provide clean, wide dynamic range at higher volumes. Unfortunately such skills as tweaking tube electronics is merely an expensive hobby any more. No market in which to make a living. (unless, perhaps, I moved to Russia)

Morti
Morti

Maybe you could look into taking some basic electronics classes. Hackers, the good ones, know their subject first and then experiment based on their foundational knowledge. If there are no community college courses available to you, there are mail order courses from places like Cleveland Institute of Electronics that can give you a good foundation.