On June 24, 2015, a NGO named NatureBytes began a KickStarter campaign to raise money for a wildlife camera kit based on the Raspberry PI. Based in Berkshire UK, west of London, this conservation group set out to encourage kids to get off the couch and explore nature.
Within a month, the campaign raised £34,164 from 303 backers. This was 108% over the goal of £28,995. At that time, Ol’ Sopwith was living in London and was one of 50 backers who pledged £85.
It was expected the kits would ship in December of 2015, but there were delays caused by the complicated molding process used in creating the cases. I followed the updates closely because I felt their pain. Anybody who has ever been involved in the injection molding process of plastics knows how difficult this can be.
Being far from home and living in London is very interesting. As a hacker, maker, and hobbyist from the US, a Radio Shack or an order from Mouser, Adafruit, etc is taken for granted. Things are different here.
There is not a Radio Shack nearby. The nearest equivalent is Maplin and these stores are everywhere. Every time I walk by one – I ‘pop in’ as they say here.
Last Saturday I ‘popped in’ to one and found a very interesting electronic kit. The Velleman Digitally Controlled FM Radio (MK194). Velleman is a Belgium based company that makes all kind of neat stuff. The kit was on sale for £12. How could I resist?
This kit is about as close as you can get to re-living the good-ole’ days of Heathkits. In the 60’s and 70’s Heathkits were all the rave among us geeks. I built a digital alarm clock that worked for more than 25 years. What is the big deal? Well, I was 14 years old when I built this clock. And it served as my alarm clock until I was 39. Every day – it was there. The power supply finally failed and its service ended.That my friends, is the definition of loyalty. Hand built and reliable.
Anyone that ever built a Heathkit remembers the yellow assembly manuals. They are legendary for their quality. Oh the joy of a Heathkit!
Heathkit Digital Clock