Reader Tips: Vibrating Motors from Electric Toothbrushes

By way of an Amazon review by RobinTaylor9640:

Loved the book, especially the Jitterbug Project, but the author did miss an alternate source for the vibrating motor in the bug though, battery operated electric toothbrushes have one and are cheaper than Radio Shack if you shop around, assuming you don’t have one already lying around the house, of course.

Excellent tip! These are 3volt motors (just like the cellphone vibrator), but beefier–which can mean more rattle for your buck (depending on how toothpaste-caked the motor is). Definitely worth saving that broken toothbrush for parts.
*thanks, RT9640!*

Soldering Tip: Buy a Tin of Tip Tinner/Cleaner

Tip Tinner/Cleaner Compound (0.5 Oz.) – RadioShack.com

If you do more than a little soldering, then a pot of tip tinner/cleaner (I’ve been using RadioShack’s brand, stock #64-020) is a worthwhile investment. The heating and cooling of the soldering tip over the course of many sessions tends to corrode it–I’m a little unclear why, as I’ve gotten a lot of mixed explanations. Some chalk it up to impurities in the solder, and others to the fact that, if you tinned your tip with regular strands of solder, you’ve likely done so unevenly, resulting in a blob on one side, and an almost naked face on the other. Whatever the cause, the degradation of a soldering iron tip is *much* more pronounced when you use a cheap tip (which, by definition, is lower-quality metal) or a cheap iron (which is less temperature stable, meaning that even as you work, there are big swings in the temperature of the iron).
In any case, I’ve found that tip cleaner extends the life of a soldering iron tip by years. Here’s the skinny:

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