Member Since: January 12, 2008

Country: United States


Programming Languages

C, Java, XSLT, assembler


Vacuum tubes, neon, microcontrollers, electronics


Neon, reading, building, making


http://www.vitriol.com/ http://bodger.dreamwidth.org/

  • I’ve been at this for a very long time, and it’s still fun for me. I still burn components from time to time, and I’m still surprised on a regular basis. I enjoy all of it, and try to learn from each mistake and surprise.

  • I had a heating pad once that I was using as a warmer for a sick pet. The automatic 2-hour shutoff wasn’t a feature I wanted, so I opened the controller, and found well-marked pads for choosing 2 or 10 hour shutoff and to disable it entirely. I documented it on my website, and I’ve actually gotten a couple of emails thanking me for doing so, as other people doing similar things could use the information.

  • Yeah, a half watt is plenty at a reasonable current, but many manufacturers run the neon bulb at way too much current to get more brightness. In those circumstances, the resistor usually burns before the neon bulb dies.

  • “Delete” was also known as “rub out”. It was useful when there was a typo on punched paper tape. Since it was all holes punched (all 1s in binary), punching it on top of any character would replace it with “delete”. It was easy enough to make paper tape readers just ignore any such instances, avoiding the need to repunch a whole tape if one character was mistyped.

  • Saying the lithium cells have more energy density than coin cells is odd, as coin cells are also lithium cells. Also, another option to get 5V from a single cell is a DC-DC converter.

  • I’m a little unclear why a 3-axis controller comes with 4 stepper motors. It’s like hot dogs and buns.

  • I doubt they want to release it with a share-alike license, as then they’d have to release circuit diagrams, source code, sound files, etc. and they may well have used some licensed content there. Some attribution would have been nice, however.

  • I too must disagree. You make the point that learning to program a microcontroller has benefits elsewhere. This is true, but learning how passive analog components actually work and how the math behaves also has benefits elsewhere. The fact that the 555 can run on a wide voltage range, run on dirty power, and source or sink a whopping 200mA also makes it a low parts count solution for many problems. The original (bipolar) version is also very robust, and will operate reliably in an environment full of interference and voltage spikes. While I agree that microcontrollers have encroached on much of the territory the 555 originally held, there are still plenty of niches where it’s still arguably the reasonable choice. Hans Camenzind (the designer of the 555, alas no longer with us), wrote an excellent book on IC design. At the end, he revisited his own 555 design, explaining how he’d do it differently with decades more advancement and experience. But the original design persists.

  • Done. What’s your address?

  • But that’s a different product: Pick and Place Spare Parts Grab Bag