Connections: Interesting and Useful Places on the Web

Places to Buy Things


Ada Fruit
Hobby oriented mostly microcontroller stuff.
All Electronics
Alas -- a good store, going out of business (July 2023.) Lots of surplus stuff. Some of the best small robot motors around. Get it while you can!
Anchor Electronics
A rather traditional surplus dealer in silicon valley. Apparently a staple of the area. Very good reputation. Some hard to find items. The couple of times I have dealt with them has gone well.
Chatt Radio
Amateur radio equipment. Just found out about them.
Dan's Small Parts and Kits
Various RF stuff. He has the infamous 2n4416s. Among other groovy stuff for QRP work.
Big Name, Big Time, full line distributor that is also hobbyist friendly.
Electronic Goldmine
Miscellaneous surplus stuff. Prices not great. Large selection. Some really good deals sometimes.
Fair Radio Sales
Electronic military surplus. Interesting selection of old military and some commercial equipment. Been around since 1947.
Retail "chain" for mostly amateur radio equipment
Hatchery Electronics
Provider of my "Ten Commandments of Electronics" sheet.
  Hatchery Electronics
Rick Curl, Chief Engineer
Product Design -- Research -- Development
Computer-Aided Schematic Capture -- Computer Aided Printed Circuit Layout
PO box 1445
Pinson, AL 35126
Herbach Rademan Company
Miscellaneous surplus stuff. Motors and industrial stuff. Some electronics.
Jameco Electronics
A very wide selection of electronic components. Not a very deep selection. Often dont have the "latest and greatest" but they have most of what a hobbyist would want. Great prices and great service. Very hobbyist friendly.
Kits and Parts -- The Toroid King
Selection varies frequently. Some good RF / radio stuff. Lots of toroids and parts for building radios. Some kits. Small operation. Very good service. Not polished, but nice website. Their toroid calculator is simply awesome.
Mouser Electronics
The other Big Name, Big Time, full line distributor that is hobbyist friendly. If it is currently being made, either Mouser or Digikey probably has it. Both are very good to deal with.
Quest Components
New parts distributor. Don't know much about them.
RF Parts Company
Lots and lots of stuff for anyone playing with RF. Not sure I have ever bought from them. Wide selection.
SkyCraft Surplus
Based near NASA in Florida with some occasional space-related stuff. Some nice meters and transformers, as well as various other stuff.
Sparkfun Electronics
The "cool" place to buy electronic parts. Hobbyist oriented. Sell the most popular components, but focus more on modules and kits. Lots of good tutorials. Good pricing on most items.
Tayda Electronics
Good hobbyist dealer. Apparently Chinese with a warehouse in the U.S., they carry a fairly large selection of parts a hobbyist would want. Many parts. Most of the currently popular items and interesting parts. My experience is that shipping is typically 1 to 2 weeks. Great prices and very good products. Highly recommended.
Unicorn Electronics
One of the very few surplus dealers left. They have a lot of old, hard to find items. For instance, 74hc181s! Good service. Decent prices.




Circuit Cellar
Started by Steve Ciarcia from his Circuit Cellar column in Byte. In depth, engineer level embedded projects and information. "Merged" with the European Elektor magazine a few years ago and lost several authors, quality declined, price went WAY up, and they started business practices I didnt like. I dropped and never renewed my subscription when they started making rude, harassing phone calls and telling me I said I was going to do something I never said trying to get me to renew. YMMV.
Never read it. Probably never will. See Circuit Cellar above. Very popular in Europe, apparently.
Nuts and Volts
General, hobby oriented electronics magazine. Over 30 years running. Bought out the other hobby magazines when they folded.
Nuts and Volts sister robotics magazine. Similar to and shares authors with N&V.
World Radio History archive
Humongous archive of magazines and books on radio and electronics.


Computer Stuff

Hardware, Software, programming, architecture, design, whatever related to computers.

Retro Computing

I started working with computers in 1979. A lot of what is considered retro now is what I grew up on. I am interested in all things old-computing. For people who have never used a computer less than 100 MHz and 256 MB of RAM, there is a lot to learn. There are a lot of lessons to learn from looking at how things were done in less than 64K of RAM at 2 MHz. Plus, it's just plain interesting. The history of how we got here is fascinating.

Old Computers
The first place to check when looking at old personal computers. They have a large number in their museum, with lots of information. Links to other sites with more information on specific models.
Retro Technology
Retro Archive
Lots of old computer (more than 10 years old) stuff. Mostly software, with a large collection of CP/M stuff.
The Unofficial CP/M web site
Officially sanctioned, but "unofficial" web site CP/M and Digital Research software. Source and binary code of various Digital Research software and related
Retro Computing
A lot of information, mostly early personal computers up through the 90s.


Electronics and Robotics

There are a lot of sites dealing with electronics and robotics. Here are some of the best.

Dead :-(
Once upon a time there was a REALLY good site for robot building. Alas, it was sold to a -- not wonderful -- company (they've already threatened to sue me once for posting threatening and harassing emails I received from the CEO(
AVR Freaks
AVR Freaks is a great resource for anyone using Atmel's line of AVR processors. A lot of the members are Atmel employees or professional engineers using AVRs. It is mostly a high level site, and if you ask amateurish questions they better be well thought out and researched. You can get a lot of good information without ever asking any questions by looking through the archives.
PCB Design Tutorial
The best PCB design document I have EVER seen. Very comprehensive, yet easy to read. Read lightly through it at first to get started. Come back often to pick up stuff you missed the first time. Download and keep it handy whenever you are doing a layout.


Manuals and Documentation
VERY extensive documentation archive of computer equipment. There are also software, communications, components, and test equipment sections. Constantly being added to.
Boat Anchor Manual Archive
Large collection of mostly radio (amateur) and test equipment manuals. Frequently updated.
Manuals Lib manuals library
Manuals for all sorts of thing. &apos nuff said.


Friends, Family, Coworkers, and other People

Some of my friends, family, and coworkers have websites that may be interesting. I am also including here other peoples sites if they are interesting.


My lovely, wonderful wife. She sells real estate. If you need to buy or sell a house in the Clarksville, TN area, you can't do better. Of course, I'm not biased or anything.
Christana, my multi-talented daughter. Astronautical Engineer / flight controller for NASA. Plays flute, guitar, and piano. Draws and paints beautiful pictures. Creates sculpture. Writes wonderful, creative stories. Makes things. Runs track.
Jacob, my wild son. Best motorcycle mechanic I have ever seen. Mechanical genious. Loves anything that shoots or blows up (wonder where he gets that?). His gun collection makes the national guard envious. Loves You Tube. Builds and fixes things. Weightlifter. Guess I better be nice to him! Will be a GREAT engineer once he realizes that is his destiny. Great man. Often sets me straight when I veer from the right path.

Friends and Coworkers

Aly Farahat
Aly is one of the smartest people I've ever met. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering, a MS in Computer Engineering, and a PhD in Computer Science. Now he's working on Masters in Mathematics. Has done some very impressive research, which you can read about on his site. He also is a talented piano player. I enjoy working with him and learning from him. He even makes me feel good by asking MY advice and opinions!

Other People

Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
RIP: Don passed away in July 2023
Mr Lancaster is one of the true pioneers and very prolific. I have learned an awful lot from him and been inspired countless times. His books are timeless classics. If you can't find inspiration or something new to learn on his website you need to change hobbies. You must check it out.