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Author Topic: Anyone in Phoenix Arizona?  (Read 4445 times)
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I'm just starting out trying to learn, having some issues but trying to figure them out. I'd like to see if anything can be started or done in Phoenix for newbies... I went to the Highschools near me they dont even offer electronics as a class or as part of a science cirriculium.... What the hell....

I have a radio shack store that i've been talking to the owner, and may be able to setup some discounts or something. Just looking for a possible mentor or something.

Thanx Lyght
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Well, I'm here in Phoenix, and I know there are a few other guys in/near the area (I guess if you count the back 40 of Tuscon "near").

I haven't visited in a long time, but I came here to Phoenix via going to a school called "High Tech Institute", they are now called "Anthem College" and are on the corner (roughly - a little west of, actually) of Indian School and 16th Street. I don't know if they still offer the course I took in 1991-92 called "Computer Electronics", but that's where I got my start.

You could also contact the DeVry campus; they used to have a similar course (though more focused on the business end). There also used to be (not sure if they are still around) an ITT Tech School here. You also have the ASU campuses, as well as the various community colleges.

Just to let you know, I am 37 years old, and I am not really looking to mentor somebody, but if you need a pointer or something now and then, just post on these forums, and I will usually answer if I know something (sometimes even if I don't!) or PM me.

You can also contact me via my website (see my profile).

As far as parts are concerned - Radio Shack can be useful in a bind, but only if you have no other choice. Your best bet for "new parts needed now" would be to go to Fry's Electronics - there's one in Tempe, as well as one in North Phoenix (I-17 and Thunderbird, roughly).

If you can stand rummaging through old surplus (sometimes really old) parts, then Apache Reclamation and Electronics in South Phoenix is the best bet (I was introduced by my first instructor at HTI to ARE) - its on Apache and 3rd Street, roughly, one street north of the I-10 truck extension. If you've never been there, you have to go! They don't have a website, and it is really a "junkyard under a roof" as far as parts and stuff are concerned (they used to have an outside yard, but they moved it to a different location off of Lower Buckeye, IIRC - and it is only open weekdays, which is a bummer for me - I used to love rummaging thru their yard o' crap - you could find everything from old conveyor belts to industrial robots back there).

Another place (though I am not sure if they are open to the public anymore?) is someplace called "Equipment Exchange" - they are also located in South Phoenix (used to be 7th Street and Grant - but they've moved since then and I can't remember the location off the top of my head, though I did find it once). They tend more toward large equipment (think a wave soldering station - I once also found an old huge Unimate industrial robot there - it was the size of my Ranger!), though they do have some smaller stuff.

Online, locally (Scottsdale), there's the Electronic Goldmine:

http://www.goldmine-elec.com/

I am not sure if they have a real retail outlet - I've never checked. I've also never tried to order from them, but I haven't heard bad things about them - they are legit in my eyes, and have been around a long while. I just tend to get my surplus electronics (if not from ARE) from an LA distributor called All Electronics:

http://www.allelectronics.com/

They've been around for nearly forever - they have fast shipping to the valley (I've seen 2-3 day turnaround); their prices also tend to be cheaper than the Goldmine, as well, for arguably the same product in many cases. But they have different items between them, so shop carefully.

 smiley
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I had been thinking of posting asking if anyone was located in Phoenix also.

I am in the NW valley near the I-17 and 101. I would like to try to do some group meetings sometime. The only one I know of is at Gangplank, or specifically the http://www.heatsynclabs.org/ part of it (or however it works). I think they meet every other week, and maybe once a month do an Arduino specific meeting. But they are in Chandler which is quite a drive for me.

As for mentoring, I am just getting started in the hardware side of things, so I have plenty of my own questions to figure out.
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There is a group in chandler called gangplank. They have a shared workspace there and gangs working on arduino and 3d printing-check it out.
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I'm down in Tucson.  I'd love to come up for some sort of larger gathering / show, but making it up for any sort of weekly meetings isn't really an option.  smiley-sad
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I think they meet every other week, and maybe once a month do an Arduino specific meeting

I think it is the second and fourth Thursday every month (@ 7pm, IIRC); and yes they do have an Arduino specific one once per month, too. I have been meaning to go, but I can't think of a way to get there from my job, while going against rush hour traffic - it would be a gamble as to whether I would make it on time.

I don't know why (proximity to ASU?), but it seems like everything happens over in the Tempe/Chandler/Mesa area in regards to electronics/hacking - even the 2600 meeting moved over there (when it used to be held, when it was restarted in the early-mid 90's - at Metrocenter - they moved over to the current area in the late-90's or early 2000's).

I'm interested in doing some kind of user group or sig meeting; but where, I don't know - I would like it to be more central, so that everyone could participate. What I would really like to do (since it is closer to my interests, but less Arduino specific) is get the PAREx group going again (Phoenix Area Robotics Experimenters - used to be the local robotics group, but now defunct, apparently - but someone is still paying for web hosting of their site).

I just came back from a trip to Apache Reclamation - picked up some 22pF caps, a couple of laser head assemblies (for the heck of it), and a few other miscellaneous parts. I am still in the middle of getting my shop organized, and I have a ton of other personal things going on so I haven't been doing anything lately with my Arduino or my robot project.

Sometimes I hate being an adult with responsibilities (kids, if you read this and wonder why your parents roll their eyes at you when you say in exasperation "I wish I was older" - THIS IS WHY - cherish the freedom you have right now, because you don't get it back, until maybe when you retire at 75, if then).

 ;D
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I'm interested in doing some kind of user group or sig meeting; but where, I don't know - I would like it to be more central, so that everyone could participate. What I would really like to do (since it is closer to my interests, but less Arduino specific) is get the PAREx group going again (Phoenix Area Robotics Experimenters - used to be the local robotics group, but now defunct, apparently - but someone is still paying for web hosting of their site).

I just came back from a trip to Apache Reclamation - picked up some 22pF caps, a couple of laser head assemblies (for the heck of it), and a few other miscellaneous parts. I am still in the middle of getting my shop organized, and I have a ton of other personal things going on so I haven't been doing anything lately with my Arduino or my robot project.
That would be cool. My problem with Gangplank (having never actually gone) is that it seems too much like people will be talking about how to start a business. Great, but not what I want to do as part of my hobby time.

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Sometimes I hate being an adult with responsibilities (kids, if you read this and wonder why your parents roll their eyes at you when you say in exasperation "I wish I was older" - THIS IS WHY - cherish the freedom you have right now, because you don't get it back, until maybe when you retire at 75, if then).
This is the truth. I have an almost 2 year old, and unless she is sleeping, I get no free time.
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My problem with Gangplank (having never actually gone) is that it seems too much like people will be talking about how to start a business.

Are you sure you're not confusing HeatSync Labs with Gangplank?

HeatSync Labs is nominally a hackerspace group. I am sure there are business opportunity aspects of it; I mean, if you created some cool application that someone who attended saw, and wanted to fund manufacturing and selling it - I am sure that kind of thing happens, but probably not as often as you think.

I think Gangplank is some kind of "technology incubator/shared office/???" that probably is assisting the group by providing/sharing space. HeatSync Labs itself, though, is just a group of people who meet up, share what they're working on, discuss issues and perhaps meet like-minded folks who may be able to help on larger problems, while the hackerspace itself, for dues paying members, provides a lab/work environment for members (perhaps with storage) with equipment they may not normally have access to (CNC machines, laser cutters, etc - depending on the hackerspace; I am not sure what HeatSync Labs provides, but such equipment access isn't unheard of in hackerspaces).

Which is another holdback for me, aside from the distance - the monthly dues aren't small, and I already have a workshop at my house...

I think it is more of a central meeting
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I live in Gilbert, but I visit my dad in Phoenix every couple of weeks... Is you are seriously planning this, I would love to learn some things from cr0sh... I know that he is a pretty friggen smart man! How much would admission be?
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Are you sure you're not confusing HeatSync Labs with Gangplank?
Not really, I understand that they are different. But from my reading it seems that there is probably a lot of cross over. Although I will find out at some point once I finally find the time to go meet them.


I would like to have some meetups, but the one issue I see is that without an organized plan, it would just be meeting each other and chatting. Which would be great too, but something organized would be better so that there were more specific learning opportunities. Something like the PAREx would be cool as there is a full spectrum of things to learn about in both the hardware and software areas.
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I live in Gilbert, but I visit my dad in Phoenix every couple of weeks... Is you are seriously planning this, I would love to learn some things from cr0sh... I know that he is a pretty friggen smart man! How much would admission be?


Jeremy1998, thank you for the kind words; please read on...

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Not really, I understand that they are different. But from my reading it seems that there is probably a lot of cross over. Although I will find out at some point once I finally find the time to go meet them.

artjumble, you are probably right that there is some spillover between the groups; there would almost have to be for them to be able to secure their current location.

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I would like to have some meetups, but the one issue I see is that without an organized plan, it would just be meeting each other and chatting. Which would be great too, but something organized would be better so that there were more specific learning opportunities.

I agree - I think perhaps we could use this forum topic to continue to organize, but an initial meetup of interested parties, even if it is just a general get-together and talk session, might be useful, too - at least at the beginning.

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Something like the PAREx would be cool as there is a full spectrum of things to learn about in both the hardware and software areas.

I am not sure if it would be better to be a "robotics experimentation" group, or something more general like a "hacker space" - I like both, and have a bias toward robotics, but I find the general concept of a "hacker space" to be more inviting to a larger number of people, and that perhaps cross-pollination of ideas and concepts might occur in such an arena.

Perhaps its time to seriously consider a meeting for interested people from the Phoenix area who want something more central than what Gangplank/HeatSync Labs can currently provide? I feel that I have been putting off this kind of thing, either visiting an established place or helping to start one up, for far too long, and for a variety of reasons that are really excuses that will never go away (because "that's life" I suppose).

To seriously do this, we would need to decide on at least an initial meeting place. A Denny's can be good if we know that a huge crowd won't show up - but I am not sure whether we know that or not. I don't want to get a big meeting hall, either. I don't think we should meet at anyone's home. I am not sure what it takes (maybe I can look into it), but Bookmans at 19th and Northern has a small meeting place - if it doesn't take much to reserve it, perhaps it could be used?

How serious are we?

 smiley
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All:

I have just sent an email to Bookmans (http://www.bookmans.com/) via their contact form:

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Subject: Booking a small event
Category: Event Booking & Store Tours - Phoenix

I am a frequent visitor to the Phoenix 19th Avenue and Northern store, and have been aware of the meeting space you have for events within the location. I am a software developer and electronics hobbyist, who is a frequent poster to the discussion forums on the Arduino, an open-source microcontroller platform for embedded electronics development and experimentation. Recently, there have been discussions about having a general meeting for Phoenix-based users, and I was interested in what it takes to book a meeting at your space? We don't have as of yet a definite time or date for our meeting, but I volunteered to find out the preliminary requirements, to see if your space would work for our needs. Thank you for any information you can provide.

I'll post again when I have more information; I am hoping that it won't cost much. Ultimately, though, we should discuss here at least when would be a good regular time to meet up. I can do just about any evening time past 6pm on weekdays, and any time on the weekend. Thoughts?

Let's do this!

 smiley
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This is great cr0sh.

Most of the time I can meet 'after work' during the week. I can meet on weekends, but it is family time, so I would prefer the weekdays in general.

Bookmans seems like a pretty good location.
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This is great cr0sh.

Most of the time I can meet 'after work' during the week. I can meet on weekends, but it is family time, so I would prefer the weekdays in general.

Bookmans seems like a pretty good location.

I can certainly respect family time; and I can understand weekends being an important part - a weekday it is, then. How long should our meeting last? I used to belong to the Amiga user's group here in the valley back in the early 1990s, and some of those meetings could last a while, but I think the "official length" was two hours. We'll want a time frame for the booking, I imagine.

I also wouldn't want to conflict with Gangplank/HeatSync here, in case users want to attend/join both. I think they have a lot to offer those who are able to make it to their group, and I would rather foster a sense of community rather than an adversarial relationship. We may need their assistance in the future, you never know. Tuesdays can work good for me, but it can't be this coming Tuesday, because I don't think I can secure a spot to meet that quick. We should pick a day, and then we'll secure a meeting spot for that day, sometime in the future (hopefully soon, though!).

So - what weekday? Tuesday is a suggestion. Any other weekday is possible, to as long as it won't conflict with any Gangplank/HeatSync meeting date (unless otherwise impossible; I can certainly see such a thing possibly occurring).

We also need a length, a starting time...

Also, I would want to be inclusive of all ages, as I firmly believe that older generations can help to educate younger ones. I would like to state that those under 18 should be accompanied by parent or guardian; does anyone have any objection to this, or should we be an "over 18" oriented group? What would be best for this?

Let's continue to discuss these issues, everyone - we can really make something happen here if we want!

 smiley
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Also, I want to state that I will let everyone know on this forum topic when I get a response from Bookmans; if I don't hear anything from them by Tuesday, I will go down there and ask personally. Sometimes, for some reason, f2f is the only thing that works.

 smiley
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