søndag den 26. maj 2013

Clock Box v1.0

I wanted to be able to sync my various modules and homemade instruments so I came up with a little device that would produce a main clock with a number of divisions of the main clock for scaling down the tempo but still be in synch with the main clock.

I found the CMOS 4040 IC to be an obvious choice for the mission and the 40106 for producing a clock. The 4040 has 12 outputs which are divisions of the input. That is, it's a counter that counts the input N times before it outputs a HIGH, which is the same thing as having a clock frequency input divided by a factor of N.
The output divisions are /2, /4, /8, /16, /32, /64, /128, /256, /512, /1024, /2048, /4096.
I find the higher divisions to be quite slow so I don't reckon I'll be using them very much.

The device runs on 9V so I'll be installing voltage regulators in my devices I want to sync with the Clock Box, mostly it'll be regulated to 5V for arduino-based modules and floppy drives or 3V for walkman stuff but if I get to choose, I just run everything on 9V as it's easy to test with batteries and switch to a 9V AC/DC adapter for the final product.

I drew this layout for the circuit board, if you are going to build it from this layout note that the numbers indicate the connections between the chips and the 12 position rotary switches.

Gotta love CMOS chips! vast possibilities.

Over and out - yours truly,

tirsdag den 14. maj 2013

Snaps from the Lab

I thought I wanted to show you a few shots from where it's all going down - I am located in Aarhus, the 2nd largest city in Denmark, just on the brink of the old Moesgaard forest where I enjoy taking walks and getting in tune with my ancestors.
At home I use our bedroom/office for tinkering and chilling, my lovely woman is very tolerant of the mess I tend to make. My brother dropped by on my 27th birthday with his new fisheye-lense and got some great shots of me in my natural habitat.

To the far right, I've placed my Amiga 600 - a must have memento for the g33ks of the 90's
Caught in the act: at the top shelves are my first tape deck ever, a reel-to-reel tape recorder and an old sine-oscillator
Sending audio signal to small television hacked into an oscilloscope (look in post beneath for how-to)
The sine wave oscillator is a donation from a friend's dad who's a physics teacher. Think it's from the 50's/60's.

søndag den 12. maj 2013

Sony Watchman Oscilloscope Hack

This is a demonstration of how you can turn any CRT-television set into a nice visualizer/oscilloscope.
Please take caution when opening up any TV with Cathode Ray Tubes as they can store thousands of volts for a long time after last usage. Use rubber-gloves and ground yourself as a minimum protection. Stay away from the anode (the suction cup hose) as this is the mofo responsible for storing these high voltages.

I take no responsibility for any accidents caused by this guide.
When that's been said - I've fiddled around with quite a few TV-sets during the last couple of years and I have a weakness for very small TV's, so when I came across this Sony Watchman from 1986 (this thing is as old as I am!) which I'd never heard of before, I had to have it as I thought it would be neat as a portable oscilloscope or visualizer for my setup. I am thinking of getting some more of these small CRT's for built-in oscilloscopes in some of my future DIY-synths!

The image to the right shows the Watchman as it were when I bought it, I thought it would be shame to tear it out of its original casing so I decided to keep it intact.

disassembled watchman
gaining access to the PCB
hack done! 

In the beginning I wanted just to have it display the horizontal axis for this traditional oscilloscope-mode but the ray is very narrow this way, only taking up a fourth of the area on the screen so I attached a switch for selecting wether to send the signal to both the horizontal and the vertical axis or just the vertical (signal to vertical axis = horizontal line. Check the wiring circuit further down)
This way it functions well both as a visualizer, showing galaxy or whirlwind-like formations or as a small waveform display.

Here's the final result:

For anyone urging to try it out, I made this circuit which should make things a bit more comprehensible. Wire-colouring of the axis' differs for each TV-set but should be easy to locate as they are attached to the end of the tube. And again: DON'T GET ELECTROCUTED!