Numitron Clock

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Oct 052009

Numitron clock

Just before he silently stole away on a secretive mission to distant lands, Ranjit left a hoard of lovely obsolete electronics at the lab.  Among the treasures were a couple of old counting units with 7-segment incandescent displays, sometimes called numitrons.  I’ve turned this one into a simple clock.

7400 love

Thanks to Charles for the spare pushbuttons, Ranjit for the original unit, and Evil Mad Scientist for the protoboard.

 Posted by at 2:01 am
Sep 062009

Sometimes you find interesting things in the oddest places.

Cloud funnel

Like a funnel of crashing foam.


Or a new Jovian moon.

 Posted by at 12:55 am

Laser down!

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Feb 122009

A quick note: our R1 filtration droid finally gave up its wee little electronic ghost this week, so the laser will be unavailable until replacement parts arrive. The L2 and L3 filters apparently took a little more carbon scoring than they could handle. We expect we will once again be vaporizing materials in futuristic fashion within a week or two.

 Posted by at 6:49 pm

Magic fail smoke

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Jan 072009

Sometimes I blow out transistors.  Sometimes they smoke.  Sometimes they fizzle.  And sometimes, like today, they fail so catastrophically that they blow the face of their encasing epoxy across the room:

transistor fail

(The transistor behind it merely cracked in two.)

 Posted by at 11:26 pm


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Sep 122008


I built a fantastically hacky boost converter to light this lovely Soviet nixie tube. One cap, one inductor, one resistor, one mosfet, one diode, and an ATTiny13. Or, as Raph put it, “one of everything”.

Boost converter and nixie

Equally tacky, hacky clock coming soon!

 Posted by at 8:56 pm
Aug 012008

Query: what the hell is this thing I’ve been lugging around for the past three years?

phooky's new toy!

An enigma, wrapped in a mystery, under acrylic

It’s some sort of StrongARM development system.  I think it may be related to the Intel “Brutus” eval boards, but I’m not certain.  The daughterboard is labelled “SA1110 daughter card”; there’s nothing useful on the larger board.  There’s a fairly anonymous StrongARM chip in the ZIF socket.  It feels like some sort of demo unit, given how it’s all gussied up and under acrylic.

phooky's new toy!

A profusion of useless geegaws

What’s on the big board?

  • one USB client port
  • three USB host ports
  • two classic RS232 ports
  • nine general-purpose indicator LEDs
  • eight general-purpose switches
  • two four-bit rotary switches
  • eight seven-segment w/ decimal LED displays
  • six audio jacks
  • a CF slot
  • a PCMCIA slot
  • and innumerable spare headers, LEDs, switches, etc.

Intel sold off all its StrongARM/PXA properties years ago, and scrubbed pretty much anything useful from its website. hasn’t been too helpful.  Anyone have any leads?

 Posted by at 9:02 pm