A few of my Projects

I build things, from furniture to gadgets to electronics. Over the years I have designed and built hundreds – if not thousands – of devices for myself, for sale, and  for my work.When I was forced to abandon the MCC Workshop in November of 2011 (), most of what I had built went to the scrapheap.

However, I did find a box of small assorted things that survived. This is just a random collection, but here it is, for what it’s worth. Click on a thumbnail for full size…

Satellite Monitor Interior

Satellite Monitor Interior

Satellite Monitor

This is a satellite receiver error monitor/recorder/alarm I built for testing of the AP’s first small satellite dishes (M-SAT). I built a number of these to place at various different dish locations


Ultrasonic Receiver interior

Ultrasonic Receiver interior


Ultrasonic Receiver

Ultrasonic Receiver

This is an ultrasonic receiver. It is a lot of fun. Working on the same principles as an RF superhetrodyne receiver, the local oscillator in this case is tunable in the Ultrasonic frequency range (~20khz to 250khz). Besides being fun, it was (and is) useful for testing such things as ultrasonic motion detectors and older remote controls. Somewhere along the way it lost the range and tuning knobs.


Capacitance Meter Interior

Capacitance Meter Interior


Analog Capacitance Meter

Analog Capacitance Meter

This is an analog capacitance meter. Not everything has to be digital! Basically it uses the unknown capacitance to set the pulse width of an oscillator, then measures that pulse width with an averaging meter (PWM in reverse). It is actually rather accurate, and has a very large range.


Voltage to Speech Converter interior

Voltage to Speech Converter interior


Voltage to Speech Converter

Voltage to Speech Converter

During the ’80s, I was fascinated with speech synthesis. I experimented and built a large amount of stuff that talked, both for computers, and in attempts to add speech to ordinary things. Most of it was based around the General Instruments SP0256 AL2 chip, which I came to know very well. This is a voltage to speech converter. Originally intended to be used in satellite dish installations. Many times, it was hard to watch a meter and move the dish as you aligned it for best signal strength. This device constantly called out the voltage from 0 to 9.99 volts: IE: nine point nine nine (Read in “robotic voice).


Text to speech converter - interior

Text to speech converter – interior


Text to speech converter (SP0256)

Text to speech converter (SP0256)

This is an ASCII text to speech synthesizer. Basically a straight forward implementation of the SP0256. While synthesis is common now, in the early ’80s this was pretty cool. This box was specifically configured to plug into an AP Newswire, thereby “reading” the news out loud. (You could almost understand it :-)


ISA (PC) speech synthesizer

ISA (PC) speech synthesizer

Here is a version of an SP0256 based speech synthesizer I built for the PC ISA buss. DOS 3.3 was the OS of “choice” then. I modified the DOS kernal to add speech to it. While my purpose was for use by the blind, there were far more reliable and easier to use systems available even then. (Kurtzwell?)My DOS hack was not the best in the world.

I think I made this one in the mid-80′s as it is built on a JDR Microdevices ISA Prototyping board (Which had buffers and address decoder already ready to go).


Capacitance Meter - Internal

Capacitance Meter – Internal


Analog Capacitance Meter

Analog Capacitance Meter

This is another capacitance meter using the “pulse width” technique…

 
 
 
 


Luna the cat helping

Luna the cat helping

This is our Kitten, Luna helping me with the picture taking…

 
 
 
 


In Circut Transistor Tester

In Circut Transistor Tester

One of many, many transistor testers I have built. This is an in-circut version. If I recall it puts the device under test in a multivibrator. I should look inside :-)

 
 
 


Van Monitor logic board

Van Monitor logic board

This really belongs under the van project photos. This is the logic and driver board I was working on to drive the warning lights on the dash. You know, master caution, and an Annunciator Panel.

Note the reed relays to drive the lamps. They were much more reliable, and used less power than semiconductors.


Carbons Interface

Carbons Interface

One thing I did quite a bit of when with the AP was build interfaces to connect our equipment and services to the newspaper’s systems. This is one.

 
 
 


Coco asking about dinner

Coco asking about dinner

This is Coco the weiner dog wondering when dad is going to put down that stupid camera and feed her.

 
 
 
 


Capstan Tester

Capstan Tester

Another thing I built for our use at AP was testers. This one is a controller that allowed us to operate and adjust the paper drive in the Laserphoto Machine while sitting on the bench.

 
 
 
 


Load Fixture

Load Fixture

This is possibly one of the handiest things I had on my electronics bench. It is a 0-10 amp adjustable load fixture with a current regulator. Used for working on power supplies, charging battery packs, and all kinds of experimenting. It was so handy I built a number of improved and fancier versions – but this simple one ended up being the best


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