Screaming Circuits: Announcements

Tell The World...

4mil top viewAnnouncing our "We thank you" customer referral program.

Screaming Circuits always appreciates it when a customer tells someone about us and that second person becomes a customer. We love helping engineers get their projects finished, and the more people that let us help, the better for everyone.

So, in appreciation, if you tell another engineer about us, and they become a customer, read below to see if you'll qualify for our $500.00 new customer referral bonus.

I don't like fine-print, so Here's the deal in big print:

  • First, we know that not everyone can receive personal gifts due to company policy. We have an solution for that. If the referral qualifies, you can choose either a $500.00 credit card gift card, or, a coupon for $750.00 off the cost of your next assembly order of $2,500 or more.
  • You, the referrer, must be a current customer of Screaming Circuits.
  • The new customer can not have been a customer, or registered on our website, as an individual, or company, prior to the referral. Sorry, but it can't be Elliot (or equivalent) in the next cube over.
  • The new customer must place a Screaming Circuits assembly order of at least $2,500.
  • The order from the new customer has to be placed and paid for during the period from November 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015, and it must be delivered by January 31, 2016.
  • If you and the customer qualify, we'll deliver you the gift card or coupon after they have received their qualifying order.
  • If more than one person refers the same new customer, the first person who sent us the referral gets the bonus.
  • There is no limit to the number of referral bonuses, as long as each one qualifies as a new customer and their first order is placed and delivered, during the program period.
  • You're responsible for any taxes due. If you earn more than one cash bonus, we'll need to send you a W-9 for you to fill out and return. You'll have to properly fill out and return the W-9 before we can send the second gift card.
  • And, to the person in the next cube over from me; sorry, but anyone affiliated with Screaming Circuits, Milwaukee Electronics, or any of our partner companies is not eligible. (If you're a customer and refer someone, you're okay. You just aren't eligible if you work for any of us or our partners)
  • Finally, you must be in the USA.
  • Yes. I know, that's a lot of "conditions", buy hey - it's $500.00, so give me a break.

That's a mouthful. If all that fits, all you need to do is send me (dbenson @ screamingcircuits . com) an email with the following information:

  • In the email subject line, put "New customer referral"
  • In the email, put:
    • Your name, company name, and your Screaming Circuits customer number or log-in name.
    • The name and company name of the person you are referring, so we can match them up with their qualifying order.
    • Whether you're interested in the $500.00 gift card, or the $750.00 assembly coupon.
    • Your T-shirt size (optional)

Once you do that, we'll track them and their order. If they qualify, we'll contact you. If for some reason, they don't qualify, we'll let you know rather than leave you hanging.

Duane Benson
For those about to refer, we salute you


Mark Those Diodes!

MarcoPOLOLogo5Every now and then, I write about ambiguity with diode marking; like here, here, or here. It's a pretty important subject to get right, but what does it have to do with Marco Polo, you ask? Well, that depends on whether you're asking about the person or the game.

In the game, people try to find someone, without sufficient information. One person, designated "Marco" closes their eyes and periodically yells out "Marco." The other people respond with "Polo", and the Marco tries to find one of those other people with just the audible cue. For some critters, that's an easy task, but for the average human it's not always so easy - especially when the diode doesn't audibly respond to "Marco."

If you're talking about the explorer, Marco Polo; well, he set off on an adventure, got lost, and either saw a bunch of cool stuff, or made up a bunch of cool stuff (depending on whom you ask).

Again, you ask... "What does this have to do with hamburgers in a handbag, or with diodes?"

It has to do with the fact that he didn't know where he was going, and, that without clear marking, it's not always possible to know which way to point the diode.

BlackPOLOSo, we're celebrating Marco Polo month with our Screaming Circuits Marco Diodo Polo shirt.

If you place an order with Screaming Circuits during May, 2015, we'll send you an email with instructions telling you how to get a free Marco Diodo Polo shirt after your next order (provided the order is placed between May 1, 2015 and on or before June 5, 2015). If you place an order between now and then, and promptly respond to the email, you can get one for free (a shirt. Not an order).

Duane Benson
Fifty-four fourty, or fight!

Internet of Things Got Your Tongue?

By now, most of you have heard about the Internet of Things (IOT). If not, here's a quick summary:

The Internet of Things is the concept of having pretty much everything connected to the Internet in some way shape or form. At the simplest, it's the ability to turn a light bulb off and on with your smart phone. At a more complex point, it is all of the devices in your house, car, recreation, services, and office connected and talking.

Lights will automatically go on and off as you move through your house or office. When it's time to get up for work, your coffee will be brewed, your car will pull up to your door, your house will know when you leave and will lock down and turn off unnecessary devices - all without any intervention from you. The streets will talk. Utilities will talk. Everything will talk, coordinate, and manage.

It won't be enough for your computer to "ding" when an email arrives, or your phone to "buzz" when a text comes in. No; the IOT wants to control your life. And, it wants to nag you about all of it too.

The IOT will be good for us, because it will require a lot of super small parts, which we happen to like. In honor of that, we declared April, 2015 to be Internet of Things month, and created an "Internet of Things gone Bad" poster. The poster, by local graphic designer Kyle DeVore, is 18" x 24" and suitable for framing.

The early birds already have theirs, but we have a few more. If you're a current customer and would like one, shoot an email to We'll give them out until we run out. First come, first served.

Iot_poster_final_OL copy

Internet of Things Month

I’m not sure exactly when the term “Internet of Things” (IOT), was coined, but it’s become one of the hottest topics in the electronics industry. The IOT is all about connected devices, most small and independent; many from makers and new start-ups.

In the IOT of the near future, virtually every household, office, and personal device will be remotely controllable to some degree. And, it’s not just about control. Most of those devices will also sense conditions, respond, and communicate appropriately.

If you were to take a tour of our factory floor today, and compare it to a tour of a few years ago, you’d, of course, see more large boards loaded with complex components. You’d also see a lot more super small boards crammed with microcontrollers, wireless communications, sensors, and tiny parts. Many of them are no larger than a US quarter. Those are Internet of Things devices.

The number of different devices being churned out is staggering, yet is a trivial number compared to what we’ll see in the next few years. Scoff, if you must, but there will come a time when your favorite ball-point pen can let you know just who stole it off of your desk and where they've hidden it.

In honor of the spirit of innovation brought forth with the IOT, Screaming Circuits has declared April 2015 to be Internet of Things month.

A_small_cup_of_coffee 250You too may be able to join in the celebration by placing an assembly order during March 2015 and requesting our “Internet of Things Gone Bad” poster: a contrarian view into a possible dystopian world where humans have to argue with their clothes, coffee pots, and cars, before leaving the house.

If you places an order with us in March 2015, will get an email asking if you want out Internet of Things poster. Just reply in the affirmative, and we'll send it out to you.

Duane Benson
All things on the Internet are relative
All my relatives are things
My relatives took all of my things

Rossum's Universal Robots Month

I'm not sure who first used the term "drone", but "Robot" was first publicly used by Karel Čapek in his 1921 play "R.U.R.", or "Rossum's Universal Robots." January is not only the month the play premiered, but Karel Čapek was born on January 9, 1890. With that, Screaming Circuits is declaring January, 2015 to be Rossum's Universal Robots month!

RUR T-shirt mock upIn celebration of this momentous occasion, we've produced an exclusive "Rossum's Universal Robots month" T-Shirt. When the singularity comes, wearing this shirt will inform our new robot overlords of your support for their cause. Not that it will protect you or anything, but perhaps they will assimilate you with a bit more care.

Every customer who places an order before January 9, 2015, 5:00 PM, PST, will have the opportunity to get a Free "Rossum's Universal Robots month" T-Shirt, designed by local graphic artist, Kyle DeVore.

Look for instructions via email on how to get a free T-shirt after your next order (provided the order is placed between today and on or before January 9, 2015). If you place an order between now and then, and promptly respond to the email, you can get one for free.

But, what if you don't have anything to order? Well, you can still celebrate our impending doom at the hands of our own creations by buying the T-shirt from our page on [Click here to buy on Teespring]. We don't want grease money, so we're selling them on teespring at our cost.

Robot revolutionDuane Benson

Poor Alquist ceded care of the world to Primus and Helena.
He set off on a hopeless search to find any last human survivors.
To no avail, he searched the seven continents and the seven seas.
Until at last, he saw beings, not robots, on a small island near Sumatra.
Poor Alquist, being not a newt, was never again seen on land or at sea.

Not too late for a Screaming Circuits electronics business card holder

In November, we started our electronic business card holder program. We ended up building more than we had planned, so it will be available for December as well - at least until we run out.

Business card holder top viewHere's how you get one: If you're an existing customer of ours, we’d like to share with the world, and with our production floor, a little about you. Us marketing folks keep a close eye on what you need, but it's more difficult for the people a little further from the phone to do so. Little videos help.

Send us a short video - somewhere around 30 seconds to 2 minutes - about who you are and what you do. No need to worry about equipment. A cell phone video is fine.  If you send it in before we run out, we'll send you a free business card holder.  We only have 40 of this limited edition available so submit your video today! 

Here's the rules:

  • Must have ordered from us to submit an entry.   
  • You can use any video recording device (cellphone or video camera)

Still not sure if you need one?  Watch this video. 

New Electronic Screaming Circuits Business Card Holder

It isn't easy to differentiate yourself from the rest of the world.  Use this electronic business card holder to impress your peers and customers. And well, it's just plain cool.  


If you are an existing customer of ours, we’d like to share with the world a little about you.  Submit a 30 second to 2 minute video about who you are and what you do.  If you are one of the first 40 entries, you will receive a free business card holder.  We only have 40 of this limited edition available so submit your video today! 

Here's the rules:

  • Must have ordered from us to submit an entry.   
  • You can use any video recording device (cellphone or video camera)

Still not sure if you need one?  Watch this video. 

National Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Month

Sputnik 1Coming soon, on the heals of National High Voltage AC month, Screaming Circuits has declared October 2014 to be National National Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Month in honor of the October 4, 1957 launch of Sputnik.

This month, rather than T-shirts, we're offering a custom coffee mug sporting the schematic diagram of Sputnik 1's transmitter. The first 100 customers who place an order in September, 2014, will have the opportunity to get one of these mugs for free.

After your order is confirmed, we'll send you instructions explaining how you can get yours and what the deadlines are.

If you don't have anything to order, you can still get your mug by buying one (through ebay) for a measly $10.00. The whole price, less ebay/PayPal fees will be donated to FREE GEEKs. From the FREE GEEK website: "a Portland-based
NLEO month mockup501(c)(3) nonprofit offering free computers, technology and education powered by reuse & recycling in association with Oregon E-Cycles."

We think that's pretty cool, so the money from these mug sales will go to them.

Also, the first person to build a working copy of the transmitter will get another mug free. It could be hard, though. You might have to fabricate the tubes yourself (People do that, you know). If you can get it working and into ordit, you'll get one more for free.

Duane Benson
WARNING! This is a plot complication!
WARNING! This is a plot complication!

National High Voltage AC month

N_TeslaIn honor of Nikola Tesla, hero to engineers', birthday (July 10, 1856), Screaming Circuits has declared this to be National High Voltage AC Month.

For those of you who don't know Nikola Tesla... Never mind. If you don't know who he is, you're probably not an actual engineer. If you are an engineer, but still don't know, I challenge you to use your powers of self-education, and spend a little time learning about the person who pretty much made the modern world possible.

Part of our homage comes in the form of a free T-shirt. Every customer who places an order before August 10, 2014, 5:00 PM, PST, will have the opportunity to get a Free "National High Voltage AC Month" T-Shirt, designed by local graphic artist, Kyle DeVore.

T-shirtLook for instructions via email on how to get a free T-shirt after your next order (provided the order is placed between today and on or before August 10). If you place an order between now and then, and promptly respond to the email, you can get one for free.

But, what if you don't have anything to order? Well, you can still celebrate life threatening high voltage induction by buying a T-shirt from our page on (link here).

Any profits from the sale of the shirts will be donated to the Tesla Museum at Wardenclyffe.

How Teespring works: Orders can go in during a 21 day window. If you buying one, you don't get charged until the closing date. After that, they send you the shirt about a week or so after. They send any profits we made on the shirt directly to Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe; a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization registered with the State of New York.

If you're a recipient of one of the free shirts, you won't pay anything. Your shirt will be mailed at about the same times as the paid shirts.

EELive The Show is On it's Way

If you're going to be in San Jose during the first week in April,stop by the EELive show (formerly known as the Embedded Systems Conference). We'll be in booth 972. Stop by and see what we can do for you. Maybe earn a fabulous T-Shirt.

While you're there, check out my two sessions:

"FPGAs - Light at the End of the Learning Curve", at 3:30 on Tuesday. It's not exactly PCB Assembly, but FPGAs are quite cool and getting more useful by the minute. Get some basic knowledge and see how to avoid many beginner traps.

My second session: "Best Practices in Circuit Board Design", part of the "Hardware Startup Engineering Summit," is set for 2:15 on Tuesday. You can watch that one and then run with me to my FPGA session at 3:30. Place bets on whether I can make it in time.

Duane Benson
Ach, Captain. She Canna Go Any Faster