Youtube channel

Check out my youtube channel!

Thursday 29 September 2011

Open Bench Logic Sniffer "case"

The Open Bench Logic Analyser is a cheap ($50) open source logic analyser board, which talks a standard (ie open) protocol to a PC client. Very useful!

As it's just a bare board, lots of people have designed and build their own case for it. Many are built with 3d printers and related methods. I did one too, but instead of going the real high tech route, I just used a slab of 6mm Perspex, cut into 3 pieces and with slots milled for the PCB to slide into.

Check it out:

Sunday 25 September 2011

Brewing stir plate

As an avid homebrewer, I'm constantly trying ways to improve the quality of my brew. Unless you brew Westvleteren, there is always room for improvement. Tweaks to the recipes, better equipment and better technique are all ways I try to better my beer. And as a maker, I find joy out of building better brew gear.

Whilst reading Brew Like A Monk, I learned of the importance of yeast in beer, in particular how the Belgians don't just chuck in whatever yeast they get their hands on, but rather consider it one of the most important aspects to get right. Careful yeast propagation, concentrations and temperatures all affect beer quite dramatically.

So after been enlightened on the culture of yeast [bad pun, sorry], I decided that my brews were going to get a better yeasting.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Old PCB pen holder

Old circuit boards can be found all over the place. Large boards loaded with logic chips are particularly interesting finds. Rather than let them go to waste, or trying to reuse the chips, why not turn them into a pen holder? That's what I did, and it suits my desk perfectly.

This board has 17 x 74LS chips, and 4 sram chips.. Does your pen holder have 16k of RAM?

All I did was cut the board into 4 equal sized pieces, then joined them at right angles.

For the bottom (not visible in these photos), I used a piece of mousemat which protects pen nibs.

Saturday 10 September 2011

Big ignition coil sparks

An ignition coil typically runs from about 12 volts, and can generate sparks about 1cm max from this input voltage. 1cm sparks re boring though. Sparks several inches long can be created from an ignition coil (IC) by dumping a thousand volts into it.

To do this, a special component called a SIDAC is used. This is a silicon device that blocks conduction, until a specific threshold voltage is reached, at which point it suddenly conducts fully, until current flow stops. It's similar to how a spark gap works.

Monday 5 September 2011

High Voltage Capacitor vs CD

It's hard to beat an afternoon blowing crap up, and my toy of choice is my 0.25uF/35kV capacitor. This beast stores 150 joules of energy and can dump it all in a tiny fraction of a second.

It amounts to a peak energy of millions of watts of power! It's hard to pass up some fun with this baby.

Saturday 3 September 2011

A Nixie Tube clock

This is a repost from my old mothballed blog, this project still gets interest.

For the last couple of years I've been keen to build a nixie tube clock.

Nixie tubes are those early (1950's-70s) display tubes often used in industrial and commercial applications, before the advent of LEDs and LCDs. They novelty and attractiveness led me to finally wanting to build one, but it wasn't until after I'd moved back to Sydney from Holland that I was able to get around to it.

My clock is built entirely from scratch, and is based on 4000 series logic ICs for the actual clock counting, and 74141 chips for the tube drivers. It's self contained, requiring only a 12v AC/DC plug pack to run. It features 6 digits (HH.MM.SS), buttons for setting hours, minutes, and zero seconds, 1 minute per year accuracy, supercap power backup and an LDR to shut the display off after a predetermined period of darkness (switch overridable).