Feb 032009


APRS Display: W4AEJ, 992 miles away

APRS Display: W4AEJ, 992 miles away

Friday Nights are typically “Satellite Night” for a few of the Resistors.  We get together and aim for the stars (literally) and generally try to communicate with other intrepid radio operators.  Last Friday night, atop an ivory tower in the frigid winter wind, we set out to communicate with the International Space Station.

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 Posted by at 12:58 am
Jan 122009


Free hats!

The road to ham radio is paved with free stuff...

Four of the Resistors made it out to the Ham Radio University 2009 in Bethpage, NY last Sunday.

HRU is a day long convention of amateur radio operators holding forums on various topics of interest to radio operators, including digital modes, best practices, long distance (DX) communications strategies, emergency services developments, and ham radio license exams.

Diana and Bill successfully passed the General Class license upgrade, giving them access to frequencies below 30 MHz on the amateur bands.  30MHz represents the common denominator between the shorter range bands open to the basic class amateur, and the lower frequency bands that typically traverse continents and oceans.

We came away with an appreciation for tiny world-capable antennas, new digital voice gear from Icom, and piqued interest in DX contesting – the art of individuals to wrangle radio waves to reach out to specific parts of the world and communicate with others without relying on anything more than the ether to carry their signal.

… oh, and free hats.

 Posted by at 2:09 am
Oct 202008

Here at Resistor, other people’s technology cast-offs show up on our shelves.  Occasionally we take one down and give it a good thrashing to see whether or not it’s useful.  This time, we have an animation controller manufactured by the strange little company “Gilderfluke” that specializes in robotics controls for the sort of thing you might see at a kid-themed pizza restaurant.  Given that they have an Orlando office, they probably also do business with the big D.

The Gilderfluke device is a heavy I/O, heavy serial process logic controller.  It has facilities for time synchronization between devices, and the company sells add ons to facilitate passing audio over long distances without losing sync as well as driving DMX-equipped theatrical devices.  It’s clearly overkill for Resistor, but only in the sense that we aren’t planning to build a theme park, because otherwise we *love* overkill.  Why use a class 2 laser when you have a perfectly good class 4 available?

This PLC is interesting both because it is a new rabbit hole of neatness, but more importantly because it has lots of LEDs.  Although we are in the age of the organic LED display, where rich text and video can be placed on near about anything – the romance of the LED, the sheer eye-candy of monochromatic lighting will continue to delight us for years to come.

Will keep you updated as we dig out the RS422 adapters and start talking to the world inside these things.

Gilderfluke LIVES!

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Oct 152008

Several of the Resistors made it out to Bug Labs for Alicia’s Open Haus.

Zach (and Jen,) Max, Bill (and Melody,) and Alicia, of course (she’s a Resistor) made it over to Bug Labs for their open haus.  Alicia has arranged a delightful little space with excellent hardware (oh, the joy of corporate sponsorship and a Sparkfun account!)  If you want to go hack there, just contact them and set up some time.  They have all sorts of goodies, like Zigbee boards, Bluetooth transceivers, motion sensors, distance sensors, wire, breadboards, Arduinos, Gumstix, Beagles…  Lots of toys!

We had a good time hanging with the Bug Labs kids!  It’s a fun group and if you’re in New York City it would be worth stopping by.

Now if we can just convince Alicia that Bug Labs really wants Resistor to do a “review” of the stuff.  You know.  That would be real cool… you know…  Alicia?  Hellooooo???

 Posted by at 10:48 pm
Oct 142008
Cyan Cube (SLED)

SLED in Cyan color with diffuser

The “SLED” or, Second Life LED (just one L for clarity) is available as an open source, CC’ed design. It is a USB-attached, Arduino-based RGB “lamp” which can be used to indicate various information from the PC, or simply used to brighten a room with a little color.

My goal in building this device, in conjunction with my friend and colleague Andy Fundinger, was to provide a visual indication of activities within the popular 3D online world of Second Life. Many of our friends and peers had business activities within Second Life and wanted a convenient way of keeping an eye on trends or specific events without remaining logged in or while they were away from their desk. While SMS and e-mail notifications are easy to do, none were so reassuring as simply having a blinky light to tell them when something needed attending – such as a vendor or a shop proximity sensor.

The code for the Second Life component is under construction, but you can build this device today! Either grab the Arduino sketch below and load in your own Arduino developer board, or for a smaller design, run off a few of these customized PCBs and enjoy a little SMD soldering. In the future, I intend to build a batch of these for my less technically-inclined Second Life friends, but for now, I’d like to share it with the community. I’ll flesh out the information as time progresses, but the files provided should allow anyone familiar with Eagle, Atmega and Arduino to get their own done for whatever purpose.

SLED circuit boards in the nude

The design is released under a Creative Commons license.
The schematic, board, and bill of materials are here.

The Arduino sketch is here.

(This project is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Arduino team, but they’re awesome!)

 Posted by at 1:34 am


 Uncategorized  2 Responses »
Oct 122008

Raph installs a disco light…. Hilarity ensues.  Just another Saturday night at NYC Resistor, New York City’s Hacking HQ!

 Posted by at 3:36 am
Sep 232008

Metamorphosis from Glenn Marshall on Vimeo.

How appropriate!  Glenn’s video was generated using Processing, the rad visual programming suite that is so terribly useful for hacking Arduinos. 🙂  Take a look!

This is a fantastic segueway to the PROCESSING STUDY GROUP being hosted at NYCR tomorrow (Wed, 9/24) at 7:00PM by Justin DAY!  Join Justin for an evening of Processing chat, hacks, and general inspiration.

Via Gizmodo (and others)

 Posted by at 3:13 pm
Sep 232008
Possibly the Best Tool EVER!

Vise Grip Wire Strippers - so simple, and yet so much fun!

For the craftsman and the shade tree mechanic alike, tools can represent an extension of oneself and a useful companion who eases the journey to a finished project. This amazing tool is a true companion which turns one of the most tedious aspects of electronics into a simple pleasure.

The IRWIN Vise Grip Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper has a satisfying click and solid feel. As it mercilessly rips the rubber sheath from that offending bit of copper, you can’t help but feel a sense of pico-accomplishment. It’s a smooth action, smooth operator and it takes the tedium out of wire stripping. And I loathe wire stripping. I raise a glass to you, wire stripper mechanical engineer!

These babies should be fairly easy to find, and they seem to sell for about $23.
Photo courtesy of Bre Pettis

 Posted by at 1:33 am
Aug 312008
Nick Bilton surveys the horizon from his high perch in Brooklyn

Nick Bilton surveys the horizon from his high perch in Brooklyn

A few of the Resistors were on the rooftop discussing life, the universe, and everything.  Nick went a little higher to find the answers.  I know who’s going to install the repeater antenna when NYCR’s radio station goes live. 😉

 Posted by at 1:52 am
Aug 182008


Bill Pauluh's Restored Pilot Hi Fi Top View

While we at NYC Resistor pride ourselves on hacking the latest technology, we also have a passion for understanding that which came before – and the history on which our beloved technology is built.  You need to know where you came from, as it were.

My good friend William Pauluh of Hartford, CT is an avid vintage audio restoration hobbyist.  Bill takes care to replace worn passives with appropriate replacements, and salvages as much of the original hardware as possible.  Then he takes the time to refurbish the exterior and bring the gear to an almost-new look.  The audio quality of these vintage pieces must be heard to believe.  While the mainstream world is running headlong into compressed, poorly quantized audio – these relics from last century produce mellow, quality tones from primitive analog hardware. With the right patience and expertise, you too can grab an eBay relic and turn it into something new and wondrous for your audio pleasure.

“I’ve attached some photos showing the amp after I replaced capacitors and a few resistors, testing the unit, the amp & speakers in the cabinet, and the final assembly. I didn’t take any photos of the changer during my standard procedure of cleaning/lubing ( I really should, but my hands get so greasy/oily – I’m constantly washing them).

Pilot was a quality manufacturer in the early days (1950’s) of HI FI (along with Marantz, MacIntosh, Fisher, H.H. Scott, and Harmon Kardon).

Garrard was a quality manufacturer of turntables/record changers (based in England). Japanese price cutting in the 1970’s did them in.

This unit has the original Telefunken 12AX7’s (super low noise) and they test out very strong emission – plenty of life left!

I also received the original sales receipt for this Pilot HI FI (model PT-1015). It was purchased from a dealer in Canton, Ohio on 2/18/58 for the price of $169.50 + 5.09 tax for a total of $174.59 (adjusted for inflation in 2008 dollars, it’s around $1000.00).

I read on some link that Buddy Holly’s producer, Norman Petty, purchased 3 of these units back then (I beleive two were with the black cabinet and one in tan). I wonder if one of those went to Buddy Holly?

Interesting trivia to ponder.


Check out more photos at Flickr!

(All material posted with permission of William Pauluh and copyright by same)

 Posted by at 11:58 pm