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Is there an easy way to SEARCH the forum for topics containing specific words  or keywords? (IE:  accelerometer,  rotation, force sensor, SPI, shields)

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use site :

and these operators.

http://www.google.com/help/cheatsheet.html
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THE searching  forum is use site :

and these operators.
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I am in agreement with other posts . . . . the Google search is crap.
Arduino would be improved by having its own.
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Depending on Google for search makes some things a real pain. For instance, how do I get a list of topics that I participated in that lists one topic per result, not every instance of my user name.

Google has gotten better at searching forums but it still is less than optimal and almost always gives multiple redundant results.

According to the project site, YaBB, at least in its current v2.5 release supports forum search.
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I would really appreciate a proper search being implemented. Google search does not find what I'm looking for.
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we had it but a couple people said it was rubbish, so now its google and frankly its difficult to find anything other than general topics

meaning it was much easier to pinpoint specific threads with the built in system
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