Are you a Maker or Engineer and looking for the right gift for the Holidays, or looking for a gift for the Engineer in your life?
This holiday season join the elf14 element14 Community as we help to deck out your workbench or your gift receiver's workbench that needs that extra bit of hardware or component to complete their project or prototype!
We are back again for another year with a wish list of products, suggestions and giveaways to treat yourself or someone you care for, so browse away and click through to enter each competition, good luck and good tidings to you and your kin!
The Community Elves of elf14 presents are Working Hard
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elf14 presents: The Test and Measurement Tool Bundle Giveaway!
Greg, the chief candy striping engineer of tinsel town has a treat for you over at the Test and Measurement Tool Bundle Giveaway ! Head over there to find out how you can win the following equipment:
|Handheld Digital Oscilloscope|
For some it's difficult to master, but the oscilloscope can make a difference between having a component in the right place and knowing if it's your code that's the problem or the circuit, or even the component. Getting to grips with an oscilloscope is necessary in discrete electronics testing and measurement.
Handheld Digital Multimeter
The trusty multimeter, for reading resistance, amps and volts. The engineers most basic of diagnostic test and measurement tools. At least every maker needs one.
Possibly an overlooked aspect of your project, but have you considered whether or not the room where your project resides is adequate? Too much or too little humidity could cause all sorts of degradation or micro-climates that can affect your electronics work!
Test Clip Leads
Has anyone ever told you to 'get a grip' ? There's nothing worse than not having the 'right' way to interface with electronics that you're working with, and you just need to grab onto them. These clip leads should certainly help you to do that!
Test Lead Kits
What use is an oscilloscope or multimeter if you can't connect it to anything? Well it makes sense to be able to hook them up however you want with the right leads!
elf14 presents: Circuit Assembly Tools Giveaway!
Having the right tools for the right job is of utmost importance, especially in the early stages of a hardware project! Enter the elf14 presents - Circuit Assembly Tools Giveaway ! and you'll be in with a chance to win the following hardware:
Anti-Static Wrist Strap
While you may be tempted to pick up your hardware and electronics and get to work straight away, static and electrical discharge is a very real threat to your equipment and some of it can be very sensitive. Bring yourself down to earth with a wrist-strap and ground the discharge before it can do any real damage.
Jumper Wire Strips
Sometimes you work on a breadboard and you just want to use a length of wire that's 'just right' and then not want to move it again, perhaps that's just me, but these neat pieces of wiring allow you to color code your layout and keep it tidy.
When you need to bridge components over one another, or your wire strips just aren't quite long enough by themselves, these are the quick and dirty, but practical, solution to prototyping.
|150W Solder Station|
When you're ready to move on from prototyping in a breadboard, or even if you need to solder on some extra pins so that your hardware can fit into a breadboard, you'll need a decent quality soldering station to help bind your parts together!
Typically used when your parts are surface mount rather than through-hole, having an introduction to solder paste at least for experimentation can make a huge difference, and it's always helpful when you need solder in those awkward to reach repair locations.
Frequently used with a solder mask, this will help you to apply the solder paste in the locations where you need it most, quickly, rather than having to lay it out delicately and carefully.
The fundamental component of every soldering job, flux helps make sure what should stick together, does, and what shouldn't, doesn't, wicking away the solder to the pads rather than the PCB itself.
elf14 presents: The Ultimate Raspberry Pi Bundle Giveaway!
It does not matter if you are new to Raspberry Pi, or if you are very familiar with it, we have an Ultimate Raspberry Pi Bundle to giveaway to you! Featuring the latest hardware and a mixture of features to get you started, all you'll need to add is creativity and maybe a few peripherals to get coding, controlling and making with the Ultimate Raspberry Pi Bundle Giveaway
Here's a sneak peak at the hardware you'll be in with a chance to win when you click through to enter:
Raspberry Pi 400 Starter Kit
New this year, it's the Raspberry Pi 4 clocked slightly higher in speed, and accessible like the early 8-bit computers, except this one is more powerful and integrated into a keyboard! The Pi 400 is great as a small computer, with the same accessible GPIO pinout at the back, like the good old computers, brought into the modern era. These are available in lots of different keyboard layouts: Raspberry Pi - Pi400 - All in One Raspberry Pi, Keyboard and Mouse Computer
Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit
The perfect place to start, while you may use the Pi 400 as your daily driver computer, you also need a Raspberry Pi to build your project around and as a backup, right? Well here's the staple Raspberry Pi 4 in its usual form factor for your projects and embedded hardware requirements, with a bit extra to get you started
Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Touchscreen Enclosure with Power Button
Whether you're recreating a standalone multimedia workstation, or your own smart home internet of things system, we're sure you'll get a benefit from the touchscreen enclosure to fit together the Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi touchscreen
Raspberry Pi Touchscreen
It wouldn't make a lot of sense to give away the enclosure without also giving away the touchscreen to put inside it. This screen communicates over I2C and uses the DSI port on the Raspberry Pi to work as a fully functional LCD display!
Pan/Tilt HAT Kit
With the camera attached, this's an excellent way to control and rotate to get the perfect shot, or maybe even track a plane? Or the International Space Station, of course there're many other uses you can create with a pan and tilt hat on a Raspberry Pi.
Educational MeArm Robot Kit
I have often heard a number of people say that they do not know what to do with their Raspberry Pi once they get a hold of one, well if you're wanting to do a bit more than only create a media centre from it then how about something practical? This MeArm Robot Kit isn't far from playing Chess with you if that's something you'd be interested in coding up, it'd be able to pick up the pieces and move them against you, check!
Raspberry Pi Hi Quality Camera 12.3MP
The third iteration of the dedicated, official Raspberry Pi camera comes along with higher resolutions and better control over the image so that you can take those crisp, delicious photographs on demand with the programming and software of your Raspberry Pi, use in combination with the pan and tilt hat for ultimate control!
Raspberry Pi 6mm Wide Angle Lens
The Hi Quality Camera isn't much use without a lens, it has the ability to have a fixed zoom, or externally attach up some form of servo or motor to control it automatically with Python, you have a great bunch of options.
On/Off Button Shim
The one common gripe from many people is that the Raspberry Pi doesn't come with its own On/Off button, with this add-on hopefully it gives you a bit more control over your Raspberry Pi, just make sure you're giving it enough power.
ChronoPi Real Time Clock Module
While you could use the Network Time Protocol from the internet to set the time on the Raspberry Pi, what if you need to keep accurate time when the device is turned off and back on without internet access? This real time clock should set you right, at least twice a day.
NOOBS MicroSD Card, 32GB
While the starter kits come with their own microSD cards, I find that you can never have enough of them. Running whichever operating system you want it to, or in case you want to keep one static as a backup, so we're throwing in an additional one.
Raspberry Pi 4 Model B HDMI Cables
The Raspberry Pi 4 comes with two connectors for multiple monitor layouts, that's two screens at 4k resolution at 30fps per screen, or one at 60fps, but since the Raspberry Pi models we're giving away only come with one cable each we felt you should have the option of another cable!
elf14 presents: Project14 Holiday Special!
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The fourth annual Holiday Special is an open-ended holiday project competition that challenges you to make a project that reflects what the holidays mean to you. Your project can be related to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus for the rest of us related! It can even be a Star Wars project, if you only believe in the Force. The only thing that we ask is that your holiday project shows heart!
Shows the most heart to win a tool kit (~ $500 value) that includes a handheld oscilloscope, a usb soldering iron, a bench power supply, wire strippers, along with a $400 shopping cart plus a $100 gift to give to another member for their project. Three first place winners will receive will receive a tool kit bundle (~value of $300 value) along with a $200 shopping cart and a $100 shopping cart to give to another member for their projects. All Gift to Gives can be given to any member’s that the winners think are deserving but did not win.
Wishing for an Electronics Based Holiday Season
Scroll down to find other inspiring hardware, equipment and parts for your project! Let us know what you wish for in the comments below.
Wera Advent Calendar
Who cares about chocolates, socks or a picture every day for an advent calendar? As an Engineer or Maker, you want hardware, tools and equipment to build up to the holiday season! Surely this is ideal then? Maybe it's just us that thinks so, but why not start off with something a bit fun anyway?
Connecting up your Prototyping
Male to Male Jumper Cables
For the prototyping engineer and the budding maker, whether you're connecting to an Arduino or a BeagleBoard with a breadboard in between, you'll need a pack of these, and if you're like me, you'll go through a lot of them!
Male to Female Jumper Cables
You'd be forgiven for thinking these are the same or not needed as other jumper cables, however these certainly make the difference if you're connecting to a Raspberry Pi or any other development board that has pre-populated pins instead of sockets!
Magnifier with Helping Hands
"I've only got one pair of hands!" well now you have two! Whether the item you're soldering is too hot to handle, or you just need to get a grip onto a piece of hardware while you look at it, everyone needs a helping hand now and again.
Dry Erase Magnetic Project Mat
I've lost count of the sheer number of times I've been taking apart some hardware, and the screw has rolled off the table. Or I need to make a note and my phone isn't responding to my 'OK Google' request amidst the noise. Suitable for working with hardware that's not so sensitive to magnets
16gByte microSD Card
Even Raspbian now needs at least an 8gByte SD Card to run on your Raspberry Pi. I now have so many of these little cards, they wear out from the constant image writing. Always in need of more *makes note to buy another*
Insulated Screwdriver Set
When you absolutely have to get into that hardware, and you don't know what surprises might lurk inside it. Insulated screwdrivers not only try to protect you, but also what you're working on from making a circuit it isn't supposed to. Makes me shudder to think of it.
Components and Sensor Kit for Raspberry Pi
To get you started with your Internet of Things project or to monitor your garden shed (at least in England) get your blinken LEDs going and read the temperature of your child's cot. Or maybe just your breath, up to you!
Introducing new Engineers and Makers to Electronics
CodeBug and accessories
Running from a CR2032 battery (included, and also a USB cable) the CodeBug is the cutest, easiest to program, wearable, portable embedded electronics platform that is very 'hackable' in what it can do. Introducing including a small LED array and being able to communicate on the 'pins' to other hardware, this is a great starter to embedded hardware control.
BBC micro:bit v2 and accessories
Introduced to the United Kingdom as a spiritual successor to the BBC Micro computer, the BBC micro:bit is a well developed microcontroller platform to introduce programming techniques to young minds and those who want to be introduced to embedded hardware control. This year has brought along an upgraded version to the original micro:bit, introducing additional sensors and a microphone!
Decking out your Workbench
All Purpose Bit Set
When you're short on space, need to immediately repair something and you're not sure what you're going to encounter? This all purpose bit set has you sorted. Perfect for a trip to a repair cafe or hackspace, too.
Large Red Toolbag
How're you going to carry your hardware to the workshop? Or to work, or to the makerspace? Well, with a suitable tool bag, your outdoors store bought bag will only take you so far with those sharp and pointy objects that you're carrying. You need something hard wearing!
Rotary Tool Set
If you're polishing off a project, or cutting into something small you need a fast little motor and nifty tools to get you to that end goal. It's small, it's fast and it spins. Chances are you needed this and didn't realise it.
When you absolutely, totally, need another pair of hands that do not move. Can also act as a makeshift heatsink, though don't try to solder while using it for that exact reason. Also includes an anvil.
Soldering Tool Kit
On a bit of a portability kick, I'll admit that I'm more often asked to repair someone else's computer software problem than to ensure wires are stripped and attached - then again, the solder stations are often in use at Leeds Hackspace, so I could probably do with one of these.
I feel this should be a standard household item, whether or not you have a workbench, having your own soldering station is like a typical item you need to repair any electronics. In fact, I've had to use this to repair ornaments and jewelry as well. Okay, it was dress jewellery, but still.
Multicomp Pro 200W Soldering Station
We may be a bit crazy for including more than one soldering station in this list, but it's all about having a choice with our wishes, right? The Multicomp Pro range is bringing the professional hardware to levels for that professional home office workbench. With 200W you'll enjoy a station that heats up fast and in a responsive manner, maintaining the heat when you need it.
Ratchet Socket Bit Tool Kit
I thought that this type of kit was only useful for vehicles, and even then I wouldn't need one anymore, I have breakdown cover. Yeah I was wrong, sometimes fixtures need to be mechanically put in place, or removed for enclosures and projects can get pretty creative. Not everything uses duct tape.
129 Piece Cased Tool Set
When you need a set of tools, but don't necessarily need or have a carry case for them all. Especially if you want everything in one place, and in its place, without flailing around in your bag and wondering where that one particular sized screwdriver head has gotten to...
With drawers that have catches on them and a carry handle, this isn't just a set of drawers to save you scratching your fine, pine furniture. These are useful boxes to carry around your jumper cables, development boards and parts in at least an assorted way.
Frankly, this is on the Community Engineer Staff wish list, this is a serious piece of kit that combines several different functionalities into one package, not least an oscilloscope with a built in spectrum analyser. If you get this for the holidays from your wish list, can we visit?
Whether you're checking that your 3D printer is actually up to temperature, or if a silicon chip is heating up more than it should (rather than licking it) the infrared thermometer is really , really useful to find out if something's running hot when it shouldn't be, or more to the point, when it should be. At the very least, you can ensure your hot beverage is more than tepid or if it should go back in the microwave.
Embed your Processing Power
Raspberry Pi Camera Board & Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera Board
These almost complete the Raspberry Pi to be feature-full. Connecting to the CSI port on the Raspberry Pi you can opt for the standard or no Infra-Red filter cameras, capturing at up to 60 frames per second and in 8 megapixels, you'd be kinda silly not to want one of these on your hardware.
While the Raspberry Pi HQ Camera is definitely an upgrade to this hardware, this has its own benefits, it has a smaller lens on the camera, and is sufficiently responsive for embedded hardware projects, and still provides a suitable 1080p HD resolution at an affordable price, hardware that's still relevant for project use cases not to be overlooked!
The little pupper of the Beagleboard BeagleBone family, the Pocket Beagle makes for an excellent, open source alternative for a single board computer. This board is teeny tiny small and powerful with a lot of general purpose digital input and output with lots of analog input.
The latest and fastest Raspberry Pi to date, with the same footprint and connectivity as its predecessors, almost everyone has a Raspberry Pi at least lying in a drawer these days, and with it being part of most school curriculum you'll likely be teaching how to program to a younger relative. The onboard WiFi and Bluetooth just seal the deal, especially with the updated processor, USB 3 and Gigabit ethernet!
Raspberry Pi Sense HAT
Not many devices you can say you're working with that have been sent up into space. As part of the AstroPi initiative by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, sensor boards like these are currently orbiting Earth running school children's code. They're great for sensor readouts, displaying them in various ways or creating little games using the onboard joystick.
Unfortunately this isn't available everywhere, but I couldn't resist putting it on this list. This is effectively an extruder from a 3D printer, in your hand. I've used mine to repair 3D prints or small plastic devices where I couldn't really use glue or something similar. Oh, and of course free-hand models for fun.
Arduino Mega 2560
I consider this the grunt horse of the Arduino boards, that launched a thousand 3D printers. RAMPS 1.4 is an add-on board that's typically used with the Mega 2560 and almost every single 3D printer available is based around this combination. So this is one, very capable, Arduino.
The latest offering from BeagleBoard.org is not for the faint maker, to take advantage of this hardware you should be up to the challenge of embedded Linux, push your programming knowledge and get down and gritty with device tree compiling. For this, you get a fully open source, documented processor, board, schematics and the ability to embed it in your design from source or scratch, unlike some other single board computers - this one gives you full control! This time packing more power than its BeagleBone Black counterpart. You can find out more at BeagleBoard
BeagleBone AI Fan Cape
We would be remiss if we didn't advise that you buy the BeagleBone Fan cape alongside the BeagleBone AI, to get the most out of this amazingly powerful single board computer it helps to keep it cool.
Whether you're new or old to microcontroller programming, the ATMega328P based Arduino is the one that started it all and is still a reasonable staple for prototyping a circuit, or just turning your holiday lights on and off, we won't be choosy.
Moving to a project that needs a little more portability, the Nano is effectively the Uno in another package. Small and slim for even wearable projects, and you can never have enough Arduino to work with.
Arduino Portenta H7
Arduino is growing up - this device which is capable of artificial intelligence at the edge of your Internet of Things network devices, as well as being close to a single board computer with the ability to connect to a screen that supports DisplayPort connectivity, is very powerful and worthwhile your consideration for current and future developments as this is the cutting edge of Arduino hardware.
Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense
An upgrade to the staple Arduino Nano, now based upon ARM microprocessor technology, the 33BLE Sense adds Bluetooth 5 amidst the capabilities of a 9 axis Inertial Measurement unit, temperature, pressure, humidity, light, colour and even gesture sensors managed through the Arduino IDE. Did I mention more artificial intelligence at the 'edge' ? TinyML support, plus all the connectivity you're used to from the Arduino Nano model.
Tools to go the Extra Mile with your Project
Borescope with 2.3" Display
Gets to parts that other cameras simply cannot reach, within reason. Need to view down a pipe? Or inside an awkward piece of machinery or electronics? Then let this articulated eye on a stick help you out.
Raspberry Pi IoT Learner Kit with IBM Watson
It's the combination that really drives the benefit of this kit, setting up the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT with the Raspberry Pi and an intelligent place to put the data in the cloud with IBM Watson sets you up for monitoring with the Internet of Things.
While sold as a daughter add-on board for the Raspberry Pi, the Matrix Creator sports its own FPGA and processor to function to some extent on its own. With a microphone array that rivals an Amazon Echo and a ring of RGB LEDs I've seen this device be used at the heart of drones, let alone robotic devices.
|153 Assorted Tool Kit|
For the maker or engineer who doesn't have everything (yet). This useful collection would be suitable for an every day carry or a backup in emergency for the zombie apocalypse.
Pi-Top Modular Development Laptop Kit
Setup and create your own laptop based around the Raspberry Pi, with the GPIO ports broken out to useful components and an added Real-Time-Clock you'll be either creating software or controlling hardware wherever you go.
PiFace Motor, Relay, Control and Display
The PiFace add-on boards for the Raspberry Pi have been an ideal way for interfacing with some real heavy hitting hardware, we're talking higher voltage control, sensors and making things move. These add-ons are controlled via Python for ease and have tried and tested libraries sat behind them for use. They should still be compatible with the Raspberry Pi 4!
Flick HAT and accessories
Touch sensing is finally taking its place in computing hardware, it's on mobile phones, virtual reality controllers and now gestures on your mobile phone. So why not add it to your Raspberry Pi project with the Flick HAT gesture sensor and supporting hardware?
Touchscreen Case Enclosure
There aren't many cases that you can claim are LEGO compatible, as well as supporting Raspberry Pi add-on boards and the official touch screen. At least there's this one!
Working with embedded hardware's all fine and well, however it can help to see what you're doing! Whether it's for while you're developing on the BeagleBone hardware, or if it's for an embedded hardware project, you can use the LCD display with your project.
BeagleBone Robotics Cape
With a footprint not too dissimilar from the BeagleBone Blue, this add-on cape expands the BeagleBone's capabilities to control the very motors needed for robitics to function, and perhaps even drones!
PC USB Oscilloscope
There are times and cases where you may need an oscilloscope on the go, away from your workbench. One that can connect to your laptop or a desktop computer can fill that requirement!
3D Printing and Printers
Multicomp i-20 3D Printer
When you want to get your hands on, deep and dirty into 3D printing and customise every possible setting to configure your 3D print, Multicomp's sturdy offering is there with its metal chassis and solid build while keeping things simple. A decent edition, especially if you have to move it around a bit.
Creality Ender 3 Pro
For a lot of people, this is their first 3D Printer, and with its ability to be customised, is certainly worth a look if you're interested in taking your first dive into 3D Printing.
Creality CR-20 Pro
A back to basics 3D printer with hands-on control, similar in vein to the multicomp i-20, except in a different form factor and not quite as customisable. Creality have a good reputation for building printers that are up for modification at an affordable price point, one to get your hands on if you're familiar with 3D printing and you're not afraid of switching up your slicer!
Some 3D printers we just wish we were able to use and have a go with, the Ultimaker S5 may be more suited to the workplace than the home office, however some people really like to wish big! Capable of handling soluble print materials alonside ABS and PLA, the Ultimaker S5 is a printer with a big reputation, and print volume.
3D Printing Filament
ABS, PLA, your plastic of choice. 3D Printing with a machine such as the Lulzbot Mini 2 or Multicomp i-20, or even a 3D Printing Pen. It's one of the most useful prototyping tools of this century, and filament is the fuel.
The "I Did Not Realise I Needed That" Item(s)
LAN Cable Tester
Alright so a lot of you reading this probably use WiFi or some form of Wireless LAN in your home, personally I run Category 6 cable, and long lengths of it, because I love having at least 1 gigabit ethernet connected between my computers for high speed file transfers, and one thing that really bothers me is crimping cables properly. Or sometimes the cable gets damaged, and that's a pain when the cable's in a wall. Now for most people this is probably overkill, but knowing that your cable is up to specification and capable makes all the difference when you're in the habit of laying your own cable and doing it for friends, if not for work. Though if you're laying your own coaxial cable for DOCSIS cable modems, I've got to ask what kind of level you're setting up your network for your home, if you are!
I have used thermal imagers when benchmarking the Raspberry Pi, and also when analysing the heat dissipation of the BeagleBone AI, so I understand how valuable these can be. I've also needed them to diagnose problems with stepper drivers on a RAMPS add-on board for a 3D printer, and frankly, I've used them to discover which radiators in my house need bleeding for the central heating system, and taken photo's of myself when I'm unwell. Thermal image cameras are underrated and definitely one of those devices you'll buy once and find reasons to use, and then wonder why you didn't have one already.
When I was around my partner's house, their father decided it'd be a good idea to install a hanging basket into the wall. Very quickly he changed his mind, as the wall sparked and instead he found the mains supply to the light fittings. A cable detector can be one of those useful items for working around the home, or any other place where you want to be able to trace something you either want to find, or want to make sure you don't touch.
What's the holiday season without a little reward?
Join in this year with the festivities to win a badge!
Comment on this blog post and get yourself a Christmas Pudding, but if you like and comment on the Wishlist and also each of the Giveaways, then you'll get yourself a golden Christmas Pudding, I'm sure it tastes better! There might be some points in it for you aswell.
Tell the elf14 presents elves What you Want for the Holiday Season
Add a comment below, and who knows, you may find yourself receiving a random act of kindness and you might get what you wish for from the wish list, or if your item isn't on the wishlist, you might get something nice anyway, unless of course, you've not been nice!