Archive for the ‘Cool Tools’ Category

  • Friday, November 21st, 2014

    Holiday Gift Guide – 2014



    It’s that time of year again!  My 2014 Holiday Gift Guide has been released and is available at KGO San Francisco (, KABC Los Angeles (, KFSN Fresno (, WABC New York (, WLS Chicago (, WPVI Philadelphia (, KTRK Houston ( and/or WTVD Raleigh-Durham ( ABC television station sites.

    Lots of great gift ideas ranging from rechargeable batteries to the ultimate espresso machine.  I’ve used and tested everything in this guide so you don’t have to!  Be sure to check my guide before you start shopping and let me know your thoughts.…

    Posted on Nov 21st | no comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, Electronics, Fun & Games, Gift Guides Read more
  • Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

    Father’s Day Gift Guide


    Mavromatic’s Father’s Day Gift Guide is now available at KGO San Francisco (, KABC Los Angeles (, KFSN Fresno (, WABC New York (, WLS Chicago (, WPVI Philadelphia (, KTRK Houston ( and/or WTVD Raleigh-Durham ( ABC television station sites.  There are 7 gift ideas that I’m sure your dad will love — if you order now on Amazon (using prime), it should arrive in time.…

    Posted on Jun 11th | no comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, Electronics, Fun & Games, Gift Guides Read more
  • Thursday, May 1st, 2014

    Square Jellyfish Tripod Mount for iPhone and Smartphones

    I was looking for a tripod mount for my iPhone and actually found a pretty neat little contraption by Square Jellyfish.  The name is a big silly, but the product is solid.  At $15, it’s a must have item for the accessory bag.  Great for taking photos or video, even works for handsfree FaceTime.   Watch the video for the details on how it works.

    Available from Square Jellyfish Tripod Mount

  • Monday, April 28th, 2014

    Probe Master – Quality DMM Probes That Are Made In U.S.A.

    I prefer to buy Made In U.S.A. products when I can and was surprised to find out that Probe Master makes their probes right here in America. While you can find multimeters still made in the U.S.A. (Fluke), the test probes are typically made in China.

  • Thursday, January 16th, 2014

    Programmable DC Electronic Load Tester (Array 3710A/ProTek L-300)



    As many of you know I’ve been busy finishing my latest hardware creation, Myro:Air and as part of a certification process, the USB port on the back of the unit must be able to provide a stable 5V at both 1A and 2.1A loads.  Long story short, it’s been quite the process to test the power supply consistently until I found this nice Programmable DC Electronic Load system.  It’s marketed under many different brands like TekPower, Circuit Specialists & ProTek but it usually also contains the model number of 3710A and is made by Array.  The best part is the price — $349 for the 360VDC/150W and $499 for the 360V/ 300W version.

    I purchased the unit from Circuit Specialists and will post a full video review soon.  It’s allowed me to easily test different component profiles as well as test the required overload protection of Myro:Air’s USB circuit.    The unit also features a built in multimeter that can also measure the voltage of the circuit under load though I still prefer to use my DMM for more accurate measures.   I’ll also demonstrate the PC software it ships with in the video.

    Feel free to post an questions in the comments and I can answer then in the video.

    - Circuits Specialists CSI3710A

    - TekPower TP3710A via



    Posted on Jan 16th | no comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, DIY, Electronics Read more
  • Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

    Saleae Logic16 – Logic Analyzer

    saleae logic16I purchased the Saleae Logic16 a few months back to “sniff” a SPI bus and since then I keep on using it as my default Logic Analyzer — that’s when you know it’s money well spent.   Saleae offers two models — a 8 channel ($149) and a 16 channel ($299).  I went for the 16 channel version because it offers a bit more bandwidth (sample 2 channels at 100MHz, 4 channels at 50MHz, 8 channels at 25MHz, or all 16 channels).

    The hardware is solid and well made and ships with everything you need — a nice hard case, USB cable and color coded wiring harness with micro-hook probes.  The best part, however, is the software — I use a MacBook Pro (also running WindowsXP via VMWare)  with 16gb ram and it’s always better to run native apps as much as possible but most companies don’t provide native apps for OSX, hence VMWare.  Saleae actually offers ports of their software that runs on all major platforms (Windows, OSX, Linux).  The software offers almost endless sample captures but the most useful feature is the protocol analyzer.  It currently supports I2C, Async Serial, SPI, 1-Wire, CAN, I2S, PCM, UNI/O, Manchester, and MP Mode — making it easier to see the decoded results along with the waveform   So far I have used I2C, SPI, I2S/PCM and Async Serial with it working flawlessly.

    Highly recommended!

    - Saleae Logic 16  [ Buy Now @AMAZON  ]


    Posted on May 14th | no comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, DIY, Electronics, Hacks & Mods Read more
  • Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

    What’s The Best Soldering Iron?



    I currently have a Weller WES51 Soldering Station that I’ve owned for about 10 years.  While it have served me well all these years — I feel like the thermal recovery time can be a lot better.   Hand soldering prototype boards with many different types of footprints is the latest challenge my WES51 is having a harder time with.   It feels like it cannot keep up and I have to pause a few seconds while the temp recovers — I believe this is caused by the LEAD FREE solder I’m using that requires higher temp than the old LEAD based 60/40.

    So I’m asking the readers of Mavromatic for their recommendations of “Best Soldering Iron”.   I’m leaning towards the JBC CD-1BC (or the 2012 JBC-CD-1BB) — what do you think?


    Posted on May 2nd | 3 comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, DIY, Electronics, Hacks & Mods Read more
  • Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

    Gladiator Garageworks – Possibly the best garage system and made in the U.S.A.

    gladiator_garageI’ve been meaning to organize my garage and turn a section into a place where I can work on my Myro Control stuff. I have been researching and looking at all sorts of “Garage Systems” and everything I have seen is either VERY expensive or VERY cheaply made using flimsy metal or thin wood/melamine.

    My dream garage would be filled with Lista Cabinets (as seen on American Chopper) as they offer both of my requirements: American Made and modular cabinets on casters. The only drawback being cost.

    Sears Craftsmen’s popped into my mind — thinking everything Craftsmen’s would be American made, right? Uh, nope. Then right next to the Craftsmen benches was this product called Gladiator Garageworks by Whirlpool Corporation. Modular cabinets on casters, check. Made in the U.S.A.? YES! Apparently all their “premium” welded case products are made in the U.S.A. That includes the benches and the gearbox. The ones you need to assemble are not so keep that in mind.

    The only design element I’m not too big on is the “tread” or “diamond plate” texture on the doors. I would have liked a smooth finish or options for different colors (silver, red, black, blue, etc) like the Lista Cabinets offer. Not a huge deal and the pattern is growing on me.

    Overall, I dig them! The price, the quality and the fact they are Made in the U.S.A. — I couldn’t be happier.

    Off to finish organizing the garage!

    - Gladiator Garage Works

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