Meet Don – a lifelong technology enthusiast who started his journey amidst the remote tranquility of 1950s Alaska. With a career spanning Clinical Laboratory Science, he’s now a retired hobbyist enjoying electronics, craftsmanship, and bagpipes. Some of his projects include a homemade guitar amplifier, a workshop stereo, and a team song player. Let’s dive in!
Oyvind: Where are you from, and what do you do?
Don: I was born in rural Alaska in the early 1950’s. At that time there were only 2 radio stations and two TV stations that were on the air for only the evening hours. This always left me wanting more of the broadcasting and sparked an early interest in electronics and a curiosity about how these things worked. When I was a teenager my family moved to Oregon on the West Coast of the USA which is where I live today.
My interest in technology led me into a long career in Clinical Laboratory Science. Today I am retired and finding time to indulge in some of those things that I did not have a lot a time for, like electronics, while working. Over my life I’ve had a number of hobbies that involve technological things like SCUBA, photography, woodworking, music, and building computers. These days, when not working on home improvements or electronics projects, I spend time travelling or making furniture in my shop.
I saw Ohmify as a way for me to get further into electronics at my pace and that matched my levels of understanding.Don Toussaint
Oyvind: What was the main reason you joined Ohmify?
Don: I saw Ohmify as a way for me to get further into electronics at my pace and that matched my levels of understanding. I am no stranger to technology but as a hobbyist I was looking for a way to learn what I needed to know without a lot of the heavy-duty engineering stuff. I can get help when I need it and can learn from the questions posed by others. It also gives me a place to show off my projects.
Oyvind: Are there any projects you’ve completed since joining Ohmify that you couldn’t have completed before?
Don: Yes, the Team Song Player is one I would not have the knowledge to build without the learnings from Ohmify. I like this one because I designed it myself from the ground up rather than assembling someone else’s design. I gifted the Team Song Player to a friend of mine and it is still in use today.
Oyvind: What is the most fun project you’ve ever worked on?
Don: In addition to the Team Song Player I really enjoyed working on the robotic car training. I had a lot of fun driving that little robotic car around the house with the cell phone controller. It was fun for the cat too.
I like the idea of having a resource that I can go to in order to get questions answered, to learn new things, and to open doors to developing ideas for new projects.Don Toussaint
Oyvind: What is your favorite thing about being a part of Ohmify?
Don: I like the idea of having a resource that I can go to in order to get questions answered, to learn new things, and to open doors to developing ideas for new projects. I can grow my understanding of electronics at my pace and can go as far as I want to.
Oyvind: What are you currently working on?
Don: I’ve learned enough about audio amplifiers now that I am feeling brave enough to design and build a stereo receiver. This will be a big project for me but I think I can do it. I am also working on serial number two of the 5E3 guitar amplifier that I built. The cabinet is completed and the speaker is installed. I have all the components I need and just need to do the electronics assembly.
I’m also working on version 2 of the Team Song Player. Version 2 will include Bluetooth connectivity and a rechargeable battery. I’m planning to build an electronics lab out of an old steel cart I have in my basement. This will move the mess off of my dining room table.
I am also trying to learn more about Arduino programming and using an ATtiny85 and I2C to display clock, temperature, and humidity information. I have it working with an Arduino UNO but I’m wanting to port that to ATtiny85.
I’m also learning to play bagpipes for some crazy reason.