profile-image-display.jspa?imageID=32487Congratulations go out today to element14 member jack.chaney56, who's been selected as our Member of the Month for December, 2015!

Jack's selection was once again thanks to a discussion held among the Top Members, who drew attention to all his excellent contributions during a month that's typically very busy. Making the effort visit, comment, blog and help out on the element14 Community when Christmas is looming is no easy task, and we appreciate how Jack -- and many of you, of course -- put that effort in.

So join me in a round of virtual applause, and in getting to know jack.chaney56 just a little bit better. Over to you, Jack!


JACK: Wow, this is wonderful. I'm very humbled!

e14: Can you tell us a bit about what first got you interested in engineering, and in electronics?

JACK: I will be happy to give you background about me, but keep in mind that I have a tendency to keep things light. Mostly a side effect of working with instruments where the outcome is life and death. But I digress.


What first got me interested in engineering and electronics, is my father was a radio amateur (W8UMI), was also in the signal corps in the US Army in WWII, and then worked as an engineer for “the phone company” when AT&T was running everything. The scent of ozone and rosin were more familiar to me growing up than any other. I just kind of fell into it, sort of like a family business.

e14: What's your educational background, and current profession? What kind of work do you do?

JACK: My official education (the people that gave me the sheepskin) is from Cleveland State University, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Got that about a hundred years or so ago. Worked in control systems at a brake testing facility. Then got into video gaming with the Commodore, and Atari with a game company. I was contracted out to AMC to help with their vehicle diagnostics, and then got hired away by Chrysler and lived there for about 20 years.

e14: How did you first find the element14 Community, and what made you decide to start participating?

JACK: I tripped over the element14 Community quite by accident, when I was learning everything I could about Raspberry Pi, and Arduino. I became enamored with the whole Raspberry Pi philosophy, and cheered the launch of the two devices at the end of last year. The thought of having the ability for elementary and middle school children being given the opportunity to run experiments on the ISS is extraordinary. When I remember my days in high school just getting limited time on a 110 baud batch station, as a leading edge educational experiment. How far we have come.

e14: I see you’ve been taking part in a couple of campaigns (The IoT of Santa, RoadTests) recently. Were those valuable experiences?

JACK: I have had nothing but fun in discussions with other members of the community and the level of free exchange is comforting and very helpful. I like to put in my two cents when I either; see a discussion heading down a road that I remember doesn’t end well, or pointing to a possible way to get something off the ground. My background is chiefly programming, and software. I do have a smattering of electrical background because of osmosis (my dad, and my work in vehicle diagnostics), but I am not really an electrical engineer. I know Ohms Law, and can piece together a divider circuit, and have a good understanding of transistors, but I get fuzzy in the areas of circuit protection, noise suppression, and RF.

e14: Are there any projects you're working on right now, or thinking about starting, that you'd like to tell us about?

I Like to play around with cost and part reduction, so when I see a lot of the kits that are available for playing with sensor inputs and test measurement, my background tasks kick into high gear, and ideas pop up for making new things. The Sana’s weather station idea is really a disguised effort for remote monitoring, to possibly offer to NOAA or a similar group. My latest is to try to put together a combined ignition fueling controller for a friend that has an old Porsche.

e14: What advice would you give to someone who's new to the maker scene, and to the element14 Community?

Advice to newcomers, is don’t be afraid to play, and while being sure to protect yourself from any harm, don’t be afraid to break things. Engineers can’t test limits without exceeding them from time to time.