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Colin Mitchell
Colin Mitchell
October 21, 2016
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Table Of Contents

Welcome to:
The latest pages, projects and ideas:
Pad2Pad Printed Circuit Board Poll Results:
Invention-assistance FRAUD
Get-Rich-Quick Schemes
More Internet FRAUD
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Welcome to:

This is P1 of a 4-page newsletter Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

Talking Electronics
Dingley 3172
Victoria Australia

Tel: 0417 329 788
+61 417 329 788
Mobile: 0417 329 788

To place an order, simply send an email to:
colin@elechelp.com and mention the things you want to buy.
Include your address.
You will get a reply with the cost, postage and how to pay.

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This website is constantly being updated and new projects are being added all the time. They are included in the index on the left, in alphabetical order as this is the quickest way to find things. We only understand two ways to sort things: numerical and alphabetical.
The site now contains over 190Meg of files and is available on CD for $10.00 (posted) - see offer below for free bag of components.
The website also contains a Basic Electronics Course and PIC Programming course that is constantly being updated. You can subscribe for $10.00 and this gives you lifetime access and a FREE CD.

I am quite sure you will not know where to start… so many topics are covered and there’s so much to know in electronics. But if you read just 3 pages a day you will eventually get through the 2,500 pages on the site.
One customer asked about “how a circuit works.” Each project has a section “If it doesn’t work” and this explains how each stage operates. That’s how you learn electronics. It’s also necessary to build lots of circuits.
Nothing beats experimentation.
As a side note: The web contains everything you could possibly want. It has eBooks, circuits, data, answers and even the minutest question can be answered by Colin Mitchell: [colin@elechelp.com](mailto:colin@elechelp.com?subject=Send your technical question to Colin:) or via one of the forums found here: http://www.electro-tech-online.com The web puts all technical books and even Universities, in the background. If you don’t believe me, look up “Sail University SCAM.”
The first thing to do is use the internet. If that doesn’t provide an answer, you will have to spend money. I have been enormously disappointed on hundreds of occasions and that’s why I am passing my experience on to you. The grass is not “greener on the other side of the fence.” By spending money you hardly ever get value.
Be the first to disprove me.
In the meantime, use the internet first.

The latest pages, projects and ideas:

Remember this: Driving a medium-sized car is equal to 88 x 1-bar radiators (1,000watt bar). 22 bars for propulsion and 66 bars in wasted heat.
Running a shower is equal to 12 radiator bars (7 litres/min - a very gentle flow).
Australia is one of the biggest polluters in the world - exporting over 250 million tons of coal per year. This creates over 650 million tons of CO2. How do you think changing a 100watt light bulb to 22watt CFL is going to make any difference? Where did all the carbon come from in the first place? If it was in the air, how did plants etc survive the high carbon dioxide content?


This site is so large, you will hardly know where to start.

  • If you are looking for projects to build, see our legacy left index.
  • Simple projects, see our legacy left index
  • PIC microcontroller projects.
  • Latest additions, see below
  • Links to other sites Page 1 Page 2
  • Data, resistor colour code, 555 timer, etc etc, see left index
  • A-Z of Electronics details on everything electronic


Here is a Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) course from a University on Combinational Logic. The whole page structure is a mess (it comes from a University), but maybe you can work your way through the pages and get all the information. Here are some of the links:

Weekly Newsletter
Send [your email address](mailto:colin@elechelp.com?subject=Please send me weekly update Newsletter &Body=Please add me to: WEEKLY UPDATE NEWSLETTERS. My name is:****____******)** for a weekly update newsletter.

Lots of projects and pages are being updated all the time but the major additions are:
Testing Electronic Components
The Transistor Amplifier
Videos - a whole range of interesting videos has been created by Dave L Jones
12 Digit Running Sign create running messages on a 12 digit calculator display.
Pen Bug MkIV - a surface mount RF transmitter that fits inside a marker pen 1-9-2010
Latest Issue of Surface Mount Technology. Just look at the on-line features of being able to read the magazine on the screen. This is programming at its utter brilliance.
Read this SCAM article on FREE ENERGY via a magnetic generator. The video does not show any generator working! The testimonials from readers say they have saved thousands in electricity bills but there are no videos!!!!! They must think we are total idiots! Simply show us a generator on a table illuminating a 100 watt globe. Here is a site that covers scams like this: SCAMS. (look under Deceptions)
A-Z of Electronics - lots of details on everything electronic. 30-7-2010
Mechanical TV. Build a project that reproduces the very first 1930’s TV. It was mechanical, and an enormous achievement.
ExpertAuthor There are hundreds of articles on Talking Electronics website.
Email Colin Mitchell if you are looking for something in particular.

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Pick A PIC Project - new projects added to this page 8-6-2010
Watch this video: Time
Click HERE to learn about PIC microcontrollers.Do not buy any Solar Panel System as new high-efficiency solar panels are just around the corner at 10% of the present cost.
PIC Programmer MkV - very low cost programmer 15-5-2010
Pick A PIC Project - get yourself into PIC programming with lots of projects
PIC Projects - lots of new projects 15-5-2010

  • Bike and Car Gears Gives a readout of the gear on a display 21-3-2010
  • LED FX 12 different effects in a set of 3 LEDs (click on LED FX in menu)
  • The most comprehensive eBook on the 555: 50 - 555 Circuits 13-2-2010
  • More projects using PIC micros. See Elektor. 13-2-2010
  • Stroop Game - A very interesting challenge 1/9/09
  • Power Management CookBookII from Texas Instruments .pdf 3.7MB
  • Dial Alarm-2 kit dials 2 phone numbers and listens to audio in target zone 1-10-09
  • Electronic Goldmine has lots of interesting “junk” items each month.
  • The elephant pump is based on the rope pump, first invented 2,000 years ago in China. It can be built in about four hours from local materials. This video shows how one is built and installed. You learn something new every day!
  • Added new project: Counter for Lifts - counts entry and exists 11/8/2009
  • More added to PIC Programmer (now has In-Circuit Programming) 5-8-2009
  • More circuits added to 200 Transistor Circuits 21-7-2009
  • All About Circuits theory for Beginners
    Sparks Fun Catalogue - hundreds of interesting items (13MB .pdf)
  • Whistle Key Finder added 18/7/2009
  • A great new site has popped up: GADGET GANGSTER

    Put your project on their site and get paid 20%.
  • You can even modify some of our designs and submit them for others to enjoy.
  • We don’t mind you coping any of our projects, provided you improve them and change some of the features.

GADGET GANGSTER introduces a lot of “devilish enthusiasm” and really puts a lot of interest into the field of electronics. If you combine the skills of designing a project (with a microcontroller) and submit it to their site, you will get your “name in lights” and you can add one more “ticket to your achievements.”

I tried GADGET GANGSTER website today and it has GONE!! This website was run by a very clever electronics enthusiast who had put an enormous amount of time into designing a lot of very clever and interesting projects.
But he has gone because absolutely no-one bought any of his kits.
That is the way things are going. Sales of electronics projects and components have dropped to less than 10% of previous sales.
One Indian electronics magazine has stopped selling kits and the other magazine obviously does not sell very much as they want $50 postage for a $5.00 kit.
Elektor has resorted to only 6 issues a year in an attempt to save printing costs and Everyday Practical Electronics gets all their projects from Silicon Chip one year after they have appeared in SC.
EPE subscriber base has dropped to less than 10,000 and I stopped producing my magazine when sales fell to 12,000 as it was no longer viable.
The only thing that keeps Silicon Chip active is the sales of editorial material to EPE and when one goes, the other will follow.
However the internet has boosted the interest in electronics enormously. It is free and reaches all over the world
TE is still getting 6,000 to 7,000 visitors each day and each section gets almost the exact number of visitors each day. Some get 300, some get 200 and some get 50. And these numbers remain almost absolutely constant. Statistics is an amazing thing.
If you don’t believe in statistics, you are fooling yourself.
Even page 28 of Spot the Mistakes gets 10 readers each day and this is after readers have covered more than 350 faulty circuits.
We are constantly getting confirmation emails to say the reader has learnt more from Talking Electronics website than anything in any course.
But don’t forget each website costs a small amount to keep running and unless they are supported by purchases, they will close down.
That’s what happened with GADGET GANGSTER.

2 Digit Up/down Counter
Page 2
Page 3 added 18/6/2009

Added more to Discussion-11 - jokes added 13/6/2009
12 FREE PIC Books Only 7 still available. Download via Rapidshare.
Lots of PIC micro information on this website.Electronics Design Magazine. List of Authors. added 14-6-2009
An interesting opto-electronics magazine: Opto-IQ added 14-6-2009
Learn the basics of English and maths at Teachnology
Here is a well-laid-out .pdf for semiconductors/pricing/function from Jameco (2.6MB)
New Site for kits just appeared on the web: Kitstop.
More details soon. More circuits added to 200 Transistor Circuits 1-6-2009
A good electronics design site: Design News added 14-5-2009
Here’s a great site for a lot of basic information: PCB Heaven
Schematic Circuit Archive: PCB Heaven - circuits archive

How many times are you going to watch the ball?

More Sayings added to Discussion 11 5-5-2009
Lots of interesting videos on YouTube:
Added more to page 9 of: ”Spot the Mistake” 3/5/09
More circuits added to 200 Transistor Circuits 27-4-2009
Do you believe a car can “run on water?” Read-up on all the “truths” and “scams” about HHO, “Brown’s Gas” and all the related topics on running your car on water. Start with this article:
Scientific proof debunking the “run your car on water” scams
then go to all the other links. It’s fascinating reading.

What is Atanua?

Atanua is a free real-time logic simulator for individual use. It is designed to help learn basic Boolean logic and electronics.
See the interactive flash demo! Discussion on the Atanua forums!
Download: (Atanua is free for personal, noncommercial use. See license for details.) Atanua win32 1.0.081116 Personal Edition

More added to page 9 of: ”Spot the Mistake” 25/3/09
How transistors REALLY work!
The transistor was really invented in 1920’s. We have been tricked!!!
Added more to 555 article: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 & test

How many black dots:

Discussion-groups and forums can answer almost all your problems in an instant:
Here is a forum: http://www.electro-tech-online.com

Hundreds of “Test Questions:”
This site provides hundreds of test questions on electronics:



I get asked a few times about the type of soldering iron to buy.
Are the cheap $8.00 soldering irons ok?
There are two faults with these irons. The tips are too big and they are too hot.
Here are my comparisons with an $8.00 iron and a $50.00 temperature controlled soldering iron (soldering station):
The soldering station can be set to exactly 340°C for quick soldering. If the temperature is less than this, you will take longer to solder a joint and surprisingly this will heat up the component more than the higher temperature.
If you use fine solder and apply the solder at the joint, the flux will clean the surfaces and create a very quick, clean connection.
Using fine solder improves the connection 200% and using a temperature-controlled iron is 200% easier than using a big, cumbersome, cheap $8.00 iron.
I have improved my soldering 400% and yours will improve 400% by simply using a fine tipped iron at 320°C to 360°C.
Lead-free solders are extremely hard to use and make a very dull connection. The connections are very prone to failure and the temperature needed for this type of solder (soldering) is 40°C higher than 360°C and is very near the “destruction-point” for semiconductors.

Here’s an interesting article, I just received:


Seems like cars have always had radios, but they didn’t.

Here’s the story:

One evening, in 1929, two young men named William Lear and Elmer Wavering drove their girlfriends to a lookout point high above the Mississippi River town of Quincy, Illinois, to watch the sunset.

It was a romantic night to be sure, but one of the women observed that it would be even nicer if they could listen to music in the car.

Lear and Wavering liked the idea. Both men had tinkered with radios (Lear served as a radio operator in the U.S. Navy during World War I) and it wasn’t long before they were taking apart a home radio and trying to get it to work in a car.

But it wasn’t easy: automobiles have ignition switches, generators, spark plugs, and other electrical equipment that generate noisy static interference, making it nearly impossible to listen to the radio when the engine was running.

One by one, Lear and Wavering identified and eliminated each source of electrical interference. When they finally got their radio to work, they took it to a radio convention in Chicago.

There they met Paul Galvin, owner of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. He made a product called a “battery eliminator”, a device that allowed battery-powered radios to run on household AC current.

But as more homes were wired for electricity, more radio manufacturers made AC-powered radios.

Galvin needed a new product to manufacture. When he met Lear and Wavering at the radio convention, he found it. He believed that mass-produced, affordable car radios had the potential to become a huge business.

Lear and Wavering set up shop in Galvin’s factory, and when they perfected their first radio, they installed it in his Studebaker.

Then Galvin went to a local banker to apply for a loan. Thinking it might sweeten the deal, he had his men install a radio in the banker’s Packard.

Good idea, but it didn’t work — Half an hour after the installation, the banker’s Packard caught on fire. (They didn’t get the loan.)

Galvin didn’t give up. He drove his Studebaker nearly 800 miles to Atlantic City to show off the radio at the 1930 Radio Manufacturers Association convention.

Too broke to afford a booth, he parked the car outside the convention hall and cranked up the radio so that passing conventioneers could hear it. That idea worked — He got enough orders to put the radio into production.

WHAT’S IN A NAME That first production model was called the 5T71. Galvin decided he needed to come up with something a little catchier. In those days many companies in the phonograph and radio businesses used the suffix “ola” for their names -Radiola, Columbiola, and Victrola were three of the biggest.

Galvin decided to do the same thing, and since his radio was intended for use in a motor vehicle, he decided to call it the Motorola. But even with the name change, the radio still had problems:

When Motorola went on sale in 1930, it cost about $110 uninstalled, at a time when you could buy a brand-new car for $650, and the country was sliding into the Great Depression, (By that measure, a radio for a new car would cost about $3,000 today.)

In 1930, it took two men several days to put in a car radio —The dashboard had to be taken apart so that the receiver and a single speaker could be installed, and the ceiling had to be cut open to install the antenna. These early radios ran on their own batteries, not on the car battery, so holes had to be cut into the floorboard to accommodate them. The installation manual had eight complete diagrams and 28 pages of instructions. Selling complicated car radios that cost 20 percent of the price of a brand-new car wouldn’t have been easy in the best of times, let alone during the Great Depression —Galvin lost money in 1930 and struggled for a couple of years after that. But things picked up in 1933 when Ford began offering Motorola’s pre-installed at the factory.

In 1934 they got another boost when Galvin struck a deal with B.F. Goodrich tire company to sell and install them in its chain of tire stores. By then the price of the radio, with installation included, had dropped to $55. The Motorola car radio was off and running. (The name of the company would be officially changed from Galvin Manufacturing to “Motorola” in 1947.)

In the meantime, Galvin continued to develop new uses for car radios. In 1936, the same year that it introduced push-button tuning, it also introduced the Motorola Police Cruiser, a standard car radio that was factory preset to a single frequency to pick up police broadcasts.

In 1940 he developed the first handheld two-way radio — The Handy-Talkie —for the U. S. Army. A lot of the communications technologies that we take for granted today were born in Motorola labs in the years that followed World War II.

In 1947 they came out with the first television for under $200. In 1956 the company introduced the world’s first pager; in 1969 came the radio and television equipment that was used to televise Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon. In 1973 it invented the world’s first handheld cellular phone. Today Motorola is one of the largest cell phone manufacturers in the world. And it all started with the car radio.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO the two men who installed the first radio in Paul Galvin’s car? Elmer Wavering and William Lear, ended up taking very different paths in life.

Wavering stayed with Motorola. In the 1950’s he helped change the automobile experience again when he developed the first automotive alternator, replacing inefficient and unreliable generators. The invention lead to such luxuries as power windows, power seats, and, eventually, air-conditioning.

Lear also continued inventing. He holds more than 150 patents. Remember eight-track tape players? Lear invented that. But what he’s really famous for are his contributions to the field of aviation. He invented radio direction finders for planes, aided in the invention of the autopilot, designed the first fully automatic aircraft landing system, and in 1963 introduced his most famous invention of all, the Lear Jet, the world’s first mass-produced, affordable business jet. (Not bad for a guy who dropped out of school after the eighth grade.)

Sometimes it is fun to find out how some of the many things that we take for granted actually came into being!


It all started with a woman’s suggestion!!

Mcclung Boatwright boatmac19311@bellsouth.net

Pad2Pad Printed Circuit Board Poll Results:

We have had lots of replies.
Many hobbyists have paid for a professional PCB and been very satisfied with the end-result.
But there’s one thing you must remember.
If the project is fairly complex, you may need to modify the circuit, add components, change the layout or alter the tracks. And this means your first effort may need a second or third board.
If you think you can go from a circuit diagram to a PC board, and everything will work, you are kidding yourself. Unless you have made lots of projects and know exactly what you are doing, most circuits will not work the first time.
There are lots of things that will prevent it from working - depending on the complexity and the frequency of operation.
Things creep in like stray capacitance or positioning of components and you may need a second or even a third prototype, before you are satisfied with the performance. And will add considerably to the cost of the project.
To reduce the costs, I suggest the use of one of our Matrix Boards, such as the one shown below:

It has the order No: PK-MB2450 and by simply placing the components on the top side and connecting the pads with very fine tinned copper wire, you will produce a very neat layout. Don’t forget to place the IC’s in sockets so they are not damaged. You can even re-use the board and the components, although many of the parts will have very short leads, so the additional cost of prototyping will be very low.
Once you are satisfied with the operation of the circuit, you can copy the layout using the CAD program provided by Pad2Pad and you will have a much greater chance of the circuit working perfectly the first time.
Even if you are not in the need of a board at the moment, go to the site and download the program to create some artwork to get an idea of how to use it.
All packages take a while to learn and it’s best to get some experience before you need make a board - so you don’t get frustrated when the pressure is on.
Try it as soon as you can, you will be impressed with the features.


Do I believe in Perpetual Motion? Yes.
Do I believe it is here? No.
There has not been any scientific evidence that any device can rotate indefinitely without any input-energy or produce any output without any input-energy.
We have got very close (even to the extent of 99.9%) but that magical figure of 100% has not been obtained.
That doesn’t mean we should not keep trying, but as a practical person I prefer to explore the potentials of using the vast amount of energy that already surrounds us.
The sun provides 1kw per square metre on a brightly-lit day, the wind provides considerable energy in a windy location and the tide, waves and streams provide enormous potential for harnessing energy.
So, to get down to practicalities, let’s consider the energy from the sun in the form of solar-cell voltage production and heat via solar-heat collection. (You will need to go to other websites for solar-heat production as we are very interested in this area but it does not involve electronics.)
Some of the new projects we are working on include charging storage cells via a solar panel and using an inverter to provide charging when the panel is not producing a high output. See our solar projects in the index on the left side of the site and these will include links to other projects.


I received an email from Richard L. “Scott” McKie — scotsman7@comcast.net inventor of a “Perpetual Energy Machine” patent number: 5,146,395
When I asked him for a video, photograph and evidence of his actual working prototype he just sent me a rude email: “go ------- yourself.”
If you look at the patent and circuit diagram it is just a mixture of empty boxes and circuit components that make no sense at all. It is something that will impress the uninitiated and in his email he was touting for an investor.
I have received over a dozen letters like this and they are all just as fraudulent.
Suppose his isn’t fraudulent. Suppose he had a box of tricks that produced 5kw. How much do you think it would be worth? Absolutely nothing. A project like this could be copied and produced within a week. You have no hold on anyone copying anything. I already produce 1.5kw mains inverters for $300 and sell them for $1,960. Anyone could produce “Perpetual Energy Machines” in a garage and no-one could find them. To think you could stop a person or close them down is just a dream.
All my kits were copied by a “business acquaintance” in Hong Kong and I could do nothing. The same with the “Perpetual Energy Machine.” After you sell the first device, the mystery is over.
The final email I sent him was: I will buy one for $50,000.
If the idea was genuine, he could supply a prototype or mock-up and claim $50,000. We will see what reply is received. My emails have now been rejected. He has got an inefficient mail server: comcat.net claiming my emails are SPAM.


No actual replies to my emails but just more abuse. It makes you wonder how an intelligent person can act like this. The “Inventor” wants to lease the product and wants a backer to manufacture it.
Who would release such a valuable product for 1% of its value on a lease agreement when you can sell it for 100% of its value!! Secondly, who would be running around looking for a a “backer” when one demonstration on a TV program would generate 1,000 immediate investors. It makes you wonder how an intelligent person could write a spiel for a patent and not have enough intelligence to run the business-end of the “invention.”

Invention-assistance FRAUD

I almost got caught by the Davison Invention assistance company. I have a number of products that need development and Davison had sent me emails as to how they had assisted so many inventors with their inventions.
It all sounded “so easy.”
I sent them an outline of the idea. It was an electronic module for greeting cards. When you open the card, it contains a game such as a Reaction Timer to test your reaction. Two pressure-sensitive buttons and a 7-segment display tested the players timing. The 7-segment display was made from LEDs and was low-profile.
The module needed to be made in tens of thousands to keep the price low.
Davison looked at the idea and gave it the “go ahead.”
Then they phoned me with the spiel that they needed to do a patent search for $685.
I said I could do that myself, and anyway these ideas cannot be found in any greeting cards.
Davison said it was imperative that they do the search before taking on the idea.
I told them that anyone taking on my invention would need to do their own “due diligence” and anything I provided would have to be verified by them.
That was not good enough for Davison.
I said I had absolutely no intention of parting with $685 for a search.
Davison then hung up the phone on me.
I then thought I would Google “Davison.”
What a surprise!
A whole website has been set up, exposing the fraudulent behavior of this company. Some inventors have parted with $10,000 and more, developing prototypes and packaging so Davison can show a photo of all the products they have “developed.” None of these products have actually reached the shop shelves. They are all prototypes in prototype packaging and some inventors have been strung along for 2 years!
In this world, there are only two things you can rely on. And they are on the end of your own two arms.
Getting an invention to market is not easy and is fraught with dangers and high costs. It certainly does not need a “Davison FRAUD” company to enter the picture.
Even getting a thing produced overseas is not easy as most manufacturers have a range of products and they are not really equipped to produce something new.
If you can find a company that produces something similar to yours, you have a slim chance that they can help, but most of the components in a product are made by other, smaller, companies and you will never be able to actually reach the manufacturer.
Secondly, companies do not have the money to develop any of your ideas and the cost of development is very high.
This means you will not make a cent out of the first 10,000 items and that’s why you need to look at very large quantities.
I don’t want to put you off, but don’t think any of the items in a $2.00 store have appeared overnight. Everything is a lot of work and even the packaging and labeling needs a considerable amount of attention.
If you have any “electronic idea” that you want mass-produced, let me know as I have now found reliable contacts in China and the modules are getting organized.

Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

How do you know if a “Get-Rich-Quick Scheme” is a FRAUD?
It’s simple. They are ALL FRAUD.
I am constantly being bombarded with emails on: “how to get rich quick.”
They are all either fraud or simply a business designed to “rope-in” your friends and family.
Many of them are a “Pyramid Scheme” in which you get a commission when you get 5 or 10 friends to join.
I have asked 3 promoters of “million dollar” schemes to fax me a copy of their Tax Return (the only true indication of their wealth). I have never received a reply.
Before you join any “scheme,” ask to see the Tax Return for the business. A non-reply will answer all your questions.
The latest is a revised version of the “Nigerian Money Scam.” It asks for assistance in transferring money into your account. If you see an email with “$1,000,000” on it, delete it immediately. This is the quickest way to get rid or your junk emails. I get hundreds like this EVERY DAY!

More Internet FRAUD

The broad definition of FRAUD is receiving something different to expectations. This may be a “product switch” or a price increase.
Anyone dealing with me gets a refund or the kits gets serviced until it works.
No-one wants to feel cheated, tricked or upset. That’s why PayPal offers a refund. If this policy was not introduced the internet would be a “hive of thieves” as it was 10 years ago.
People bought card that never existed. One Texas woman sold $15,000 worth of computer she did not posses. And the list waas enormous.
But recently I was sent an email from Popular Mechanics for a 12 month subscription for $8.00
I entered my name, address and credit card details and the screen immediately disappeared and payment was approved.
The confirmation email said I was charged $19.00. $11.00 extra for postage outside the US.
This was not clear on the original screen and only popped up in very small text under a large image.
I then tried to reach Customer Service and the link did not work.
The only way I was able to reach the Subscription Department of Popular Mechanics was to email the editorial section.
This smacks of fraud on 4 different levels.
The original email did not disclose an extra $11.00 for overseas subscriptions.
The screen on the website only allowed the extra cost to pop up after the details were entered. The payment page did not include the extra cost and no screen appeared detailing the amount that would be debited from the card.
That’s why Paypal has different screens showing the costs and allowing the transaction to be halted before finally authorising the amount.
This is typical American entrapment.
It just makes you careful NOT to use your credit card over the internet and only use PayPal facilities, where the transaction can be disputed and halted before final approval is made.

Our latest email:
I get lots of emails from readers who have been with me over the past 40 years or so and now they have children. And they want their children to enjoy the excitement of learning and delving into the fun of electronics.
Here’s one such email:

Hi Colin,

Just wanted to say thankyou for all you’ve done for electronics and education.

My own story:

I bought ‘FM bugs’ in a newsagent as a 12 year old and was soon buying kits from you, soldering and testing them, then selling them at school. I enjoyed robots and programming through high school and then studied electrical engineering at uni.

Although I’m not employed as an electrical engineer, I am actively enjoying it as a hobby, and often see the great quality material you’ve put free online when I’m searching for one circuit or another.

I’ve put in a lot of effort to get my girls (now 16 and 18) into electronics and technology. You might enjoy reading the adventures we’ve had http://awesome.tech/day-3-of-the-worlds-largest-makerfaire/. I’m finishing the final bits and pieces and look forward to launching a Kickstarter to sell it as a kit worldwide. Hopefully I inspire a few people in the way that you have !

All the best and thanks again.

Yours sincerely,
Daniel Collins

Just sent in my order for the Pic Lab 1 and the Multi Programmer.
FYI, I attend Burning Man every year and there is a whole range of amazing projects out there. Go to: Cubatron if you want an example of one.
Many projects use LED’s, EL wire and other electronics to achieve interesting effects. This past summer I built two four foot long geckos out of conduit and cyclone fence wire based on a 6” beaded wire gecko sculpture I have at home, a very cute art piece.
I used a PIC-driven RGB color wash board to illuminate the eyeballs of the two geckos, and I strung 400-500 colored LED’s on the ribs to form a beautiful animated skin on the pieces.
It came out pretty well. My ambition and goal is to make similar creatures that are solar powered and animated by PIC chips and LED’s. The Cubatron illustrates what can be done with network addressable LED’s. I’m hoping to work my way up to doing something like that on my pieces.
Thanks. Looking forward to getting the kit and getting started.

An email from a constructor:

Two years ago I purchased a pre-made PIC-lab 1 and multi-chip programmer. It has been one of the greatest investments I have made. I have since taught my self how to program PICs and developed many ideas into working breadboard prototypes. All of this was possible due to the amazing wealth of information on the site and CD. Not only have I been so pleased with the hardware, which is still my only programmer I use but also with the support I have received since my purchase so long ago. Thanks for such a great experience Talking Electronics.

Chicago, il USA

Another email from a constructor:

Good day Colin:
I have just completed another kit I purchased from you (my second PIC LICK). Excellent kit as usual!
I usually use my own solder when soldering but this time I used the one in the kit. I found this solder to be excellent - far superior to the Kester type I am using.
Could you to tell me what brand and where I can purchase it? For your information I have also built a couple of kits from Germany (KENO kits). They are complete junk! If I didn’t need them for a client I would have thrown them in the garbage.
Your kits are by far the best I have ever built, followed by CANAKIT and then by Quasar in England.

Best regards,
Rodney Luck

We are the first kit manufacturer in Australia to provide solder with all kits. It is 0.71mm diameter with 5 cores of flux. It improves the quality of your soldering by at least 200% and makes you look like a professional. The secret is its fineness. You will not believe how it will improve your soldering. Try it. I did and I have never used thick solder since.

Another reader:

Dear Colin,
Electronics has been so confusing and difficult for me. But with the help of your site I am beginning to get clear with the subject. Thank you so much. I can’t believe the effort you have put into creating this huge site with so much information. It’s like a large university dedicated for electronic students.
Thank you so much Collin, for your effort.

Darshana adarshana123@yahoo.com

My name is James, and I am writing this email to thank you for your wonderful website. You have taught me many things indirectly. If I had not discovered your website, Talking Electronics.com, I would not know nearly as much as I do now! I’ll explain…

I have built over 50 circuits from your website. Most of your transistor circuits, and around half your 555 timer circuits. I have not had a problem with any that you designed. Your schematics are very easy to read, and I recommended a few to my friends to get them started. I even featured most of your circuits on one of my videos. You are a wonderful designer. I am 18 years old and am fortunate to have found your material at an early age. Keep up the good work.

He has some videos on the web.

And from another constructor:

Thanks for publishing your 5x7 LED matrix project. I doubled the size of the display to 7x10 and designed the board in Proteus 7.1 I made the project and it works fine. I changed the programs so the logic is inverted. In my design the port sees 0v when a button is pushed. The photo below shows the final design:

7x10 Matrix from one of our readers

Gustavo - from Columbia

This is exactly what we want you to do.
It’s only when you change something and it works, can you say you really understand what you are doing. This is a perfect example of “going further!”

Here’s another email from a reader who has been buying Talking Electronics magazines since 1988 and has now stumbled on our Talking Electronics website:

Hi Colin,
I’m writing to you to let you know how much I’ve appreciated the work you’ve done over the years in promoting electronics through your very easy-to-understand tutorials and very reasonably priced kitsets.

I first became interested in Taking Electronics in 1988, when I was 15. I had had an interest in electronics since I was about 11, when my parents bought my a Dick Smith Funway into Electronics kit, but I always found the Funway books quite confusing, and never really had faith that what was written in them could be believed. However, it was when your first “FM Bugs” book came out, with a circuit board taped to the cover, that my interest and understanding of electronic circuits really took off.

I started buying the components to make the bug for the circuit board taped to the magazine cover. I don’t think it worked very well, so I ended up buying a couple of kits from you in Australia. At the time it was quite a big deal, as I hadn’t had much real-world experience at that stage, so ordering something from an overseas company was a bit of a learning curve for me. My bugs were so popular at school that my friends all wanted one, so I made a bulk order for more. In the years that followed, and as your other bugging books were released, I placed more orders.

I also bought one of your books that was designed to teach people about electronic circuits. What I still think is incredible, is how easy-to-understand you make everything. You explained in the bug books exactly how each section of the bug worked, and would explain tips we could try to tweak it, etc. You explain things extremely well, and you go to a great deal of effort to help people learn and become interested in electronics.
About 10 years ago I searched the Net and found that Talking Electronics was still around, and just last night I was curious again, and my search rewarded me with the great news that you are still in existence. I was up late last night browsing your web site, as you have a wealth of incredible information and I see you’re now providing a number of your books for free download.

I just wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated all the great work you’ve done over the years, and how incredible I think you are for your desire and great effort to make electronics interesting, enjoyable, and easy-to-understand for those who are starting out in the field. As I say, it was you alone that really made me understand how electronic circuits work, and that really inspired me to learn; I can’t thank you enough.

After discovering that you still sell the kitsets, I’m thinking about ordering a few more. Could you please let me know which Bug you think would be the best general-purpose bug to build (ie if you were to pick one, which would you pick?) I still have all my Talking Electronics books that you’ve written.

Anyway, thanks again, for writing your easy-to-understand books, selling the cheaply-priced kitsets and for your continued enthusiasm in helping people learn about electronic circuits.

Scott Barker
Hamilton, New Zealand

Any subscribers who have/had a subscription to POPTRONICS Interactive will be entitled to receive a lifetime entry to TALKING ELECTRONICS Interactive (this site) by contacting (Colin Mitchell).
All subscriptions entitle you to a lifetime entry to the site - not just a “one year” or “one month” entry!


It was sad to see the demise of POPTRONICS. The magazine had a history of more than 50 years of publishing with its forerunners going back to the days of electricity and crystal sets.
It was one of the editions (under a previous name) that presented the world’s first computer in kit-form. Even though it did almost nothing (compared to today’s standards), it started a revolution that is today’s “miracle of electronics.”
Don’t be fooled. It was not the corporate enterprises that created the interest in computers. It was the back-yard hobbyist. It was the enthusiasm of programmers that turned the computer from a number-crunching scientific monster to a household, user-friendly, product.
And for this you can thank brilliant hobbyists/programmers. They were all phenomenally clever - even thinking of the @ sign for an email address is brilliant!
Computers were originally the size of a room and cost $1,000,000. After spending a year or more on simplifying the design and reducing the size, IBM came up with a $15,000 desk-top product that was enormously complex and almost impossible for the average user to get operational. It flopped totally.
It was the kit (mentioned above) and lots of hobbyists that changed the whole picture. They produced software and games that absolutely exploded the capabilities of the computer.
The two things that accelerated this was the concept of exchanging programs AT NO COST and COMPUTER SWAP-MEETS - these concepts are completely foreign to “industry.”
Exactly the same explosion took place with the internet, to make it the most valuable technological introduction of the past 20 years.
Again, you can thank the “hobbyist.”
It is undeniable that an enormous amount of capability lies in the hands of “you” and “me,” the hobbyist. That’s why we are so important. That’s why it is such a pity that we have not banded together to create an electronics hobbyist’s magazine for the “paper-formatted” market. Unfortunately this hasn’t happened and it was sad to see POPTRONICS go.

This site is produced by Colin Mitchell and the approach is completely different to anything you have seen before. We answer your emails and help you with anything within our capability. We are here to help you achieve a goal. This must be of an electronics nature - as this is our only field of expertise. We have been active in this field for the past 30 years and are fully conversant with the basics.


I have always said the web is the most amazing “product, item or thing” to be invented in the 20th Century, and this has been confirmed by a recent email.
It said the majority of Americans spend more time on the internet than watching television!
It went on the say 160,000 new customers are signing up for the internet each week.
You can multiply this figure many-fold when you include world-wide subscriptions and as new features are added to search engines, you will find it much easier to reach the type of sites you are looking for.
You may not realize it, but the Internet started in 1963 as ARPAnet - an Advanced Research Program of the US Military.
It was designed to get messages through, no matter what happened or which computers (& areas) were no longer accessible. Over time their suppliers were added in, then the Universities & Libraries, and eventually the world.
There were no graphics then - everything was done in UNIX commands.
By the 80’s, users could visit the CERN labs in Switzerland, Chiba University in Japan, and the archives of the University of New South Wales in Australia and download the info … all with a 2400-baud dial-up modem!
But things rapidly improved.
In 1994 the “Internet” was replaced with the “World Wide Web.”
Suddenly we were thrust into an arena of brilliant graphics, flashing text & a whole lot of really great designs. In the 12 years since then, everything has evolved. No one could foresee how HTML would evolve, languages like PHP and Java would enter, modems would go from 2400 baud to broadband - or the rise of entities like Yahoo! and Google.
It’s SO different we really shouldn’t even refer to it as the Internet any more. Everything since 1994 has just been incremental - little steps that constantly upgraded the users experience. Overall they had a major impact, but not any one step itself. The next MAJOR change is already underway, though really just taking it’s first steps.
This year, 2006, will see the first real strides in converting the Web to an audio-video universe - complete with infomercials.
We’ve all seen small videos online, and audio is becoming more prevalent every day. But as of the end of 2005, half of all American Internet connections are broadband, using either cable or phone lines for the most part. And numbers are similar in many parts of the world.
This will enable full-screen recorded video or live streaming video sites to come.
We are in the process of producing small videos of our kits and products to show how they operate.
Keep watching for more news about this.

We have added two pages of links we found very interesting and they can be found here: P1 links P2 Links


Just when I thought the internet was going to provide us with better communications, we find scammers and junk email clogging up the works.
I thought the time was ripe for a global network of technical information to be introduced via this amazing medium.
No only would it arrive instantly, but it could be presented in full color, at almost no cost and consist of text, photos, animations and audio links.
By combining the output from universities, R&D departments, technical journals, Patents Office and other technical resources, we could have the most up-to-date information at our fingertips each day.
Technology is advancing and changing so rapidly that some technical electronics journals are now being printed every 2 weeks - as an indication of the need for immediate information.
Imagine the savings in paper, printing and postage, to have the “magazine” sent to each subscriber via the internet!
I wonder why it hasn’t happened?
Maybe the number of subscribers with internet access (or regular use of the internet) is smaller than we think?
Maybe I’m thinking too far into the future.
I know it will happen.
It’s the future and it’s a brilliant concept.
Can you imagine getting all the latest articles, journals, projects and releases from around the world, each day?
Each newsletter would consist of thumbnail photo’s, a brief description and a link.
By clicking the link you would be taken to the full article.
Surely this is not too difficult? It’s just a matter of getting all the separate sectors to combine.
I had hoped the technology sector would have done this by now, rather than junk email operators filling up the internet, sending me phony emails to say I had won $2,000,000 in a lottery, or $500 cash from a casino!
Not only am I receiving 95% junk but they are all fraud!
Even low interest loans or $2,000 cash into your account, are either deceptive or fraud. They all have to be deleted. But you need to be careful not to mix them up with an email from a legitimate source.
“Scam Software” or any form of filtering is useless as it cannot differentiate between a request and a scam … unfortunately I have to laboriously go through every email!
The filtering networks consider the short note I send to subscribers as “SPAM!” This proves filtering is absurd! What word or combination of words could I possibly use in a short note to infer you don’t want to receive my message?
And the most stupid part is, university teachers apply the filter to my emails and don’t get my messages! What can I say?
How can we reduce junk emails and increase technical thru-put?
The big problem is the technology sector does not provide enough funding to keep the internet profitable. It takes fraudsters to keep it operating!
What a distorted world!


It doesn’t matter if you want to sell electronic items, design them; or build them, you will need to “talk” like you know the subject. This “talk” is called “jargon.” It uses correct terminology as well as short words such as “micky” for microfarad, “puff” for picofarad and bezel for the covering over a globe (not benzel or beeeezel), to name a few. This is the sort of thing we will be teaching you, as well as the basics of electronics and how to program microcontrollers.
The site contains two sections - the FREE section and the subscription section containing the Basic Electronics Course and PIC Microcontroller Course.
There are hundreds of pages of theory, notes and projects for the beginner-to-electronics as well as the hobbyist. You need to go to FREE projects and Subscription Index to see the content and go through the pages methodically, to prevent missing anything. The web is the medium of the future. Printing costs are zero, the pages are endless and color can be added at no extra expense. But unlike a book, you cannot see how much is available as it is “hidden” on our server. That’s why you have to go though things slowly.
Once you get the “hang of things,” it will prove to be everything you have ever wanted.
To make sure you are kept up to date with the latest additions to the site, sign up to our newsletter .
You will not be bombarded with advertisements but the cost of the site will have to be covered and that’s why our back-up features including the sale of kits, CD’s, subscriptions to the PIC Programming Course and Basic Electronics Course will be promoted throughout the pages.
Hopefully, other contributors will be adding to the site. Some schools have informed me they will be presenting their material on the web and I will let you know as soon as this is available. It has been 12 months now and nothing has been received!
This site has over 400 pages. Rather than download the 30Meg of material, our CD is a convenient way to peruse it.
At the moment we are the only interactive site on the web and the feedback we are getting is enormous. Readers are saying they are starting to understand electronics in a way they have never experienced before. With a little bit of effort, you can learn too.


The emphasis is to TEACH ELECTRONICS and not merely “present an item.” Everything is backed by a kit of components and a professionally-made PC board with overlay (legend), tinned-lands and solder mask.
The author of the site is Colin Mitchell. He has produced over 25 books and sold over 750,000 copies, spanning some 20 years.
All his knowledge has now been channeled into this website and you will find his approach is completely revolutionary. Some say it’s “Mitchellism,” some say it is “reverse-learning” and others liken it to being “thrown in at the deep end.”
In essence, the thrust is to get you to start putting projects together as soon as possible and go to the theory sections as the need arises.
This has proven to be a much faster way of learning as enthusiasm is maintained, and the act of handling components cements your understanding.
That’s what this site is all about.
It’s designed to make electronics fun.
It offers a wide range of projects , from a simple “Light the LED” design to a microcontroller project - and lots of ideas between.
The site offers two main courses. BASIC ELECTRONICS and PIC MICROCONTROLLER PROGRAMMING. In these courses, mathematics has been kept to a minimum as there are plenty of text books to weigh you down with formulas.
Our aim is to “shoot you ahead” as fast as possible and show that once you get an “interest in electronics” - you can be heading for a career-path.
We have a number of letters and articles on the site, from readers who have made a career-path along the lines we are promoting. You will see these as you work your way through the material.

Newsletter continued: Page 2

Colin Mitchell

Colin Mitchell



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