March 2016 Issue

A summary of this month's contents.

Teach-In 2016 Introducing the Arduino (Part 2)

Teach-In 2016 is a brand new tutorial series covering the universally-popular Arduino general-purpose microcontroller board. Part One (February 2016 issue) introduced the entry-level Arduino Uno, explaining its core features in a format that’s readable and easy to follow and ideal for microcontroller beginners.


Part Two looks at ways of connecting real-world hardware to the Arduino Uno, using relays, interface boards and opto-isolators in this nine-page bumper feature. Then we have a Coding Quickstart, demonstrating the basics of Arduino coding and programming step-by-step (literally!) and using a simulator program to run routines on-screen.


Don’t miss this great new series dedicated to Arduino beginners! If you want to get up and running with Arduino, Teach-In 2016 is perfect for you!


6-Digit Retro Nixie Clock (Part 2)

A traditional Nixie-tube digital clock display is brought right up to date with a 32-bit microprocessor and optional GPS-derived time setting to automatically determine the time zone around the world. LED uplighters and auto dimming of Nixie tubes and additional mood lighting supplied by blue leds. Complete kit available including a clear acrylic case.


Having described the circuitry in Part 1 last month, this time we describe how to put a full kit together, including wiring for six popular GPS modules.  Using the control interface is also described.


  • A complete kit is available from Gless Audio in Victoria, Australia. Email David Whitby
  • The associated MCU hex file ( ) was made available in Part One - see February 2016
  • Global time zone database that fits in a microcontroller  if you want to build a truly global GPS clock using a compact MCU  see


High voltage design suitable for skilled and experienced constructors


Spark Energy Meter (Part 2)

A digital spark tester for ignition systems, this project displays spark energy levels up to 1,000mJ (millijoules). Containing its own sparkplug for connecting to HT, it will work with spark repetition rates up to 700 per second, equating to 10,000 rpm in a V8 engine. In Part Two this month, full constructional details are supplied along with details of a suitable calibrator module.


High voltage design suitable for skilled and experienced constructors


Modifying the Currawong Valve Amplifier

While the Currawong Valve (Vacuum Tube) Amplifier (EPE November 2015 et seq.) has created a great deal of interest, some readers would like to see it with improved frequency response, better output transformers, more expensive valves, and so on. This follow-up article explores the possibilities and merits of various upgrade options.


Special Product Review - Peak LCR45

Our audio expert Jake Rothman  takes this new meter for a test run. It measures Inductance (L), Capacitance (C), Resistance (R) and Impedance (Z) in a pocket-sized device and displays the results on a 2-line LCD. The test equipment also displays complex device measurements such as Admittance and impedance magnitude and phase, DC resistance and measurement frequency, and even the inductance of a wirewound resistor. Check this article for the reviewer’s full verdict on this amazing test unit.


Also in this month's issue:

  • Techno Talk – magnetic or ‘mag’ amps and mechanical amplifiers too!
  • Net Work – avoiding the Windows 10 upgrade, backward trends in web design
  • Practically Speaking – practical electronics workshop hints and tips
  • PIC n’ MIX – the PIR motion sensor explained
  • Circuit Surgery – an in-depth explanation of voltage references
  • Audio Out – more on audio volume control circuitry and devices
  • Max’s Cool Beans – Max muses over his Arduino-powered clock
  • Electronic Building Blocks – an ultra low current LED flasher from a quartz clock module


Next month

Teach-In 2016 – our Arduino Tutorial (Part 3): displays and keyboards; Low Frequency Distortion Analyser; Appliance Insulation Tester; Really Bright 12V/24V LED Oyster Light. Contents may be subject to last minute change.


EPE is packed with practical electronics projects and theory for the hobbyist. You can order a printed copy of EPE for delivery to your door (worldwide), or try the PDF Version (needs Adobe Reader for Windows), or the Pocketmags for your mobile device. Subscribe now!



Source code file - Spark Tester front panel



In the March 2006 issue EPE's Publisher Mike Kenward paid tribute to the late Fred Bennett, the founding Editor of Practical Electronics and Everyday Electronics. That month's projects included the original Portapal PA amplifier, a Power-Up Intelligent Power Strip, a Telescope Interface and video-audio booster for the home theatre.



PCB artwork


As from July 2013 issue PCB artwork is available free to subscribers only.


Non-subscribers may purchase artwork files for a nominal sum. Please contact our Orders Dept for information or to place an order.


EPE Printed Circuit Boards


We can supply ready-made printed circuit boards (8-digit order codes) to the original design specification via mail order or from our Online Shop.

Custom Search