Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Never dink and DIY!

I am writing this post with somehow mixed feelings.

Today I received 2x transparent breadboards from gearbest,com.

I've decided I must posses one of these the moment I saw them. They were listed in several online stores in my country, but in all of them they were out of stock. My usual site for Chinese parts, www.banggood.com, did not offer them at all. But another Chinese site, www.gearbest.com, where I bought my favorite quadcopter from, just happened to have them in stock. Jackpot!

So, today I received 2 of them, and after some tinkering, my "blank" breadboard now looks like this:

Now, if you don't think this looks super mega cool, please unsubscribe from my blog and never ever come back. You're simply not my target audience.

If you're still here and wondering what the hell is that, I'm not going to explain what a breadboard is. Look it up if you really want to know.
Just for comparison, here is what the actual breadboard looks like:

And here it is compared to a standard breadboard:

This is after I put 2 blue LEDs in the new transparent breadboard. So it is a bit unfair - like comparing a picture of Jessica Alba with perfectly made stage makeup against a picture of Britney Spears with no make up just after she gave birth (or just before that).
But, life is not fair, and us men tend to favor the good looking newcomers, especially if they wear something semitransparent.

So, why the "mixed feelings"?

Everything would be perfect, if I did not suffer casualties during the process of setting up the new breadboard.
I received the new breadboards today at noon. But the weather today was really nice and I went to a really nice restaurant with some very close friends of mine after work. One thing lead to another and I came home decently drunk.
But I still wanted to play with my new toy, so I gave it a go. I moved one of my Arduino Nano's to the new breadboard and connected ground and 5V to the power lines on the top. Then I added the blue LED on the left and I was amazed how awesome it looks (remember I was a bit drunk, so I was easily amazed). Then I decided to add another blue LED underneath the Arduino, on the right,

I don't know what went wrong here. Really. I blame the alcohol. But the result was that I somehow managed to kill the Arduino! It is dead now, and I am pretty sure it is my fault! Here is a picture of the poor chip, lying there lifeless even though it is connected to USB:
No lights are shining, no "tada" sound when I connect it to the USB. It is dead. I killed it. And I don't even have a clue how. It just happened somehow. I am so sorry. I felt terrible.
I am sure if I haven't been drinking it would still live.

Anyway, I was still drunk and still too excited about my new transparent breadboards, so I just took the next spare Arduino, soldered its headers (that was a risky move in my condition), placed it on my new shiny breadboard, connected the 2nd LED and took the 1st picture you saw on this post;

But I have this bitter taste in my mouth. It might be the beers, but it might be the guilt from killing the innocent Arduino.Yes, I replaced it with a new one, but this is like shouting: "The Arduino is dead! Long live the next Arduino!". I am sure I am quoting that wrong :)

This is the first time I ruin something "complicated". Until now, I have only blown  2 infrared LEDs, The first time it was because banggood.com meseed up their pinout. The second time was more like an execution - I was frustrated about how bad the same IR LEDs were, so I demonstrated my son how they burn by deliberately wiring them wrong (actually it was the same wrong wiring banggood.com had shown in their pictures). There was a bit of fire and a cracking sound. It was awesome.
It is like stepping on an innocent animal (e.g. an ant) after you have stepped on a strawberry twice.
It feels bad.

But hey, I got these new transparent breadoards, and they look super mega cool. And I still have enough spare Arduinos to keep me going.

Yet I have learned another lesson - when you've been drinking, it is not only not ok to drive, it's not ok to mess with electronics either!

Good night.

UPDATE: It is not completely dead! When I power it from an external battery it works, even communicates with the PC over USB. So it looks like I have shortened something and killed its USB power lines. But it is not totally unusable.
So, I didn't kill it, I just crippled it - I'm not sure which is worse.
Anyway, even the simplest thing like connecting an LED can go wrong and cause damage. So, just don't touch electronics when you have been drinking!

P.S. Ouch, my head :)

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