Eye on NPI – Orion Fans’ ML2010 Mini-lab #EYEonNPI #DigiKey #Adafruiit @digikey @Adafruit

This weeks EYE ON NPI (video) is a real throwback for us, it’s the Orion Fans’ ML2010 Mini-lab, a portable engineering toolkit built into a suitcase for easy transport.

This Mini-lab reminds us of the MIT Nerd-Kit used in digital and and analog design classes that require construction of circuit labs.

These suitcases were durable …and super heavy! Thankfully we did not have to carry them back and forth to home each day – there were lockers in the lab.

Many a digital-lab student wished we could keep the kits after finishing the course but sadly nerd-kits were not for sale – and we shudder to think what fate would befall us if we neglected to return them.

Which is why this NPI caught my eye…finally I can have my very own nerd-kit thanks to Orion Fans and Knight Electronic Products.

This silver suitcase contains many common analog and digital-logic tools to help prototype projects on a breadboard:

  • Breadboard
  • Power supplies
  • Function generator stimulus
  • Sweep ramp generator stimulus
  • Pulse generator stimulus
  • Protoboard
  • I/O ports
  • Switches
  • Indicators
  • Heavy-duty carrying case

The solderless breadboarding area is made of three 630-point solderless breadboards, so large circuits with many breakout and dev board PCBs can be laid out.

There’s also a separate perf-board area for higher-frequency work that could be affected by the breadboard capacitance, or when you want more mechanical stability. The perf-board snaps out when your project is done.

The power supplies are where analog hackers are going to be happy, particularly folks who are designing exotic motor/power systems or audio/synthesizers: it has both +5, -5, +12, and -12V at 1 Amp output split supplies, and isolated-ground +18 and -18V at 1 Amp outputs, all with 0.1% line/load regulation and short circuit protection.

For AC supply design – rare to find, so if you need it this will be a blessing – there’s 15VAC center tapped that can supply 500mA. The power supplies are fused, and controlled by a large on/off rocker.

Another great feature for analog hackers: there’s also a full-featured function generator, with sine/square/triangle out – up to 18Vpp and +-10V DC offset with selectable decade ranges from 1Hz to 1MHz, and low distortion under 100KHz.

There’s inputs for FM, AM and sweep modulation, for low-frequency RF experimentation.

There’s also a plethora of connectors and switches so you don’t have to figure out how to panel mount connectors or work out mechanical stabilization. For toggle switches, there are 2x SPDT momentary toggles, 2 x SPDT toggles, and 8x logic level toggle switches. D-Sub connectors also: DE-9 and DE-25 in plug and socket format.

For connecting to other test equipment, 3x BNCs. And for input/output, 8x red LEDs, a 1K pot, a 100K pot, and an 8 ohm 1/4 W speaker.

The Orion Fans’ Mini-lab toolkit would make a great resource at a lab, workshop or classroom. It’s hefty and durable but that also means it’ll last a long time. It’s an excellent step up from just cobbling together parts that can come loose, and you can put it away safely between hacking sessions without the risk of someone ‘borrowing’ a part! And best of all, it’s in stock right now at DigiKey for immediate shipment! Order today and you can be prototyping in style on your very own Mini-Lab by tomorrow afternoon.

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