Computers & Electronics



  • Elliott Electronic Supply - The only really decent electronics outfit in Tucson, and the "go to" place for Raytheon. Surplus stuff, too!
  • EE Surplus - Sister to Elliott Electronic Supply, a browse-all-day surplus/salvage shop right here in Tucson. Kinda strong on the aviation parts.


  • Digikey
    - A hobby distributor that made good. They have almost everything!
  • Jameco
    - Another hobby distributor that is trying to go bigtime, but still retains a lot of fresh personality. Not as well-stocked as Digikey, but more true to the hobby roots.
  • Mouser - A commercial distributor (like DigiKey, and Raytheon uses them maybe a little bit more) who is perfectly fine with selling to hobbyists.



  • SparkFun - Kits, development systems, modular peripherals
  • Adafruit - Kits, development systems, modular peripherals


  • X10
    - The Original. They seem to be pushing security cameras anymore, but they have their own X10 and X10-Pro lines. Can't get Leviton or other manufacturer's X10 equipment here, of course.
  • Smart Home Products
    - Lots of stuff for home automation, A/V, etc., from a variety of manufacturers and a variety of technologies (including X10)
  • Insteon
    - Another home automation system that includes power-line communication (in addition to RF); some of their devices used to be X10-compatible, but I'm not sure that's true anymore.
  • Home Controls
    - Discount X10 products
  • JV Digital Engineering
    - A small-timer engineer who has designed and produces a small but excellent line of X10 products. Don't know for how much longer, as he has decided to switch full-time to design contracting, and when the remainder of his stock is gone, that's it. I wish he would release his designs as open-source.


  • Chaney
    - Project kits for all skill levels; esp. robotics


  • Nuts and Volts
    - The premier U. S. electronics hobby magazine. Website complements print magazine
  • Circuit Cellar
    - Steve Ciarcia's platform. A bit more involved than the hobby projects in "Nuts and Volts", almost entirely microcontroller projects
  • Electronic Design News - "EDN"
    - Industry magazine. If you work in a tech company, it should be easy to get a free subscription. Website good for articles, adverts, and editorials.


NE555It is the 50th anniversary of the fabulous 555 timer.

I've had several of these, some I pulled off salvaged circuit boards, but I'm sorry to say I never actually played with any. At the time, the big attraction was for a long-term (hours, days) timer, but the inaccuracies of using a RC charging stack wasn't that appealing. But the device is capable of so much more. There are all kinds of resources for learning how to use it and inspiration for applications. Just a casual search turns up: