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So what are you working on right now?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by phaeton, Dec 30, 2005.

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  1. phaeton

    phaeton Guest

    Just curious to see what kinds of projects more skilled people are
    working on. No need to go into detail or give away any secrets, but
    what are you researching, building or debugging right now, and why?
    What lead you to this project?

    I'm in the process of moving, so I'm not doing a whole lot other than
    reorganizing and making a restocking list. And reading. Lots of
    reading. Picked up an "Introduction to Electrical Engineering" at a
    used book store. Previously, I was building a series of small guitar
    amplifiers for kicks. I have a few stompboxes and such in the pipe
    waiting for when I can get back to it.

    I can think of *other* things to work towards in electronics (robotic
    toy controls, etc) but for some reason that just seems "childish".
    Please help me convince myself that that is the wrong attitude.


  2. steamer

    steamer Guest

    --Unskilled, me, but with two Stamp courses behind me, working
    on making big-ass "servos" by learning to get location feedback from
    large-ish motors. Various applications in mind, including my
    tap-dancing Riverdance parody robot project "Paddy O'Furniture".
  3. Tom Biasi

    Tom Biasi Guest

    Hey, I'm always working on something. Not always electronics. If I ever get
    around to it I will update my web page of things my friends and I are
    building. Right now I only have the tag-a-long camper, suspended due to
    weather, on the site. Take a look if you like, I'm
    not selling anything.
  4. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Two VME modules, 16 channel isolated analog/thermocouple input, and 16
    channel isolated analog output/thermocouple simulator.

    And a tachometer/overspeed trip module for gas turbines

    And a small digital delay generator

    And an analog scanner for measuring thermistors on a satellite solar

    And, with luck, a heads-up-display driver for the AC138 and maybe the

    And something for the U2 Dragon Lady, I'm not sure what.

    Maybe some fiberoptics stuff.

  5. Most of what I'm creating these days is software/multimedia. I have been
    involved in seting up a system to digitaly record our church
    service. I also have been setting up my home PC to post process
    the recording into a CD and a podcast. So good so far. But I'm
    6 weeks behind on producing CD's. The podcast went live last week.
    And then today, we wern't in our usual location and the recording
    equiptment wasn't available. Looks like I need to work on
    getting a portable system too.

    Other than that, I tore apart our old microwave that finally
    wore out (the oven chamber began rusting through in places).
    The keypad still works and is simple enough to reuse, runs
    on 110VAC, has an auxillary 110VAC output and a heavy relay
    rated for 18 Amps that switched the magnatron. If I ever need
    a touchpad opperated timer with time of day display and a
    long duty cycle pulsed output, I'm all set.
  6. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Guest

    Same thing I've been working on for the last six months or so, induction
    heater. Final version will be 10 kilowatts (running off a 240V 50A circuit)
    and operate in the 10 or 15kHz range. Hoping to melt 10 to 20 pounds of
    steel (white hot!) in an hour or so.

    The current implementation is a prototype board with a space-wired output
    stage, using six MOSFETs (the final version will use beefier IGBTs) for the
    switching job. This morning I just smoothed out the phase detector, which
    controls power output by regulating phase between the oscillator and tank
    circuit. Next, I suppose, is detecting and limiting tank voltage, then
    measuring, detecting, limiting and protecting current levels (since a 200A
    spike on the output isn't a good thing :).

    To learn more, Google "induction heater". There's lots of basic information
    out there; very little of high detail however, what I've developed on my
    website is about it! I'll put up a complete, functioning schematic in
    public domain when I've got this thing finished.

  7. steamer

    steamer Guest

    --Hey are you blogging this on a website or something? Sounds
  8. phaeton

    phaeton Guest

    Excellent responses, folks....

    What do you plan on doing with these completed projects?

    Just curious. Since day 1 had all sorts of drive to design, build and
    create things and gadgets "just because". No real problem to solve,
    other than to prove i could do it. I got especially excited when I
    could use normal everyday household objects for things they were never
    considered for. Sometimes I integrated Lego Technic or Erector set
    type construction toys into it. Sometimes I gutted cheap RC cars and
    used their servos and radios.

    Somewhere in my mid to late 20s my desire to do these things kind of
    peaked, and now it feels like it's languishing away. I'm trying to
    rekindle it and save it. It's just that at age 31 I don't feel much
    like a 'kid' anymore and accomplishing things like say, building a
    simple bug bot isn't as spectacular for an adult as it was when I was 8.
  9. Jeff Dege

    Jeff Dege Guest

    I'm building an RF digital 418MHz RF receiver into a Radio Shack project
    box to drive a couple of relays.

    The receiver has five pins that go high when the corresponding button on a
    keychain transmitter is pushed. Range is 75 feet.

    The box will have two pairs of binding posts to connect to whatever the
    relays are controlling, and a third pair of binding posts to connect to an
    external 7-25V DC power source. Or there'll be a clip for a 9V battery

    I'm putting in a socket for a Parallax Basic Stamp 2 microcontroller, that
    will read the five receiver pins and which can be programmed to turn on or
    off the relays in whatever ways are appropriate. But I'm putting in a
    pair of jumpers that will have two of the pins control the relays directly
    - so that it provides the default behavior of relay 1|2 is closed when
    button 1|2 is pressed when I've pulled the BS2 to use in something else.

    It's a simple enough little thing to put together, and I'm sure I'll find
    multiple uses for it, in the future. But my initial intention is to wire
    this thing into my doorbell.

    And the reason for that is to train my dog to ignore the doorbell. The
    easiest way to teach a dog to not get excited when the doorbell rings is
    to have nothing exciting happen when the doorbell rings. Nobody gets up,
    nobody goes to the door, and most importantly, there's nobody there.
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