Joined: February 17th, 2016, 1:31 am

September 11th, 2018, 10:45 pm #111

tcurt wrote: Thanks for the insight and advice on that anode lead! By the way speaking of wiping the dust off.. my first computer was a TRS-80... model II .. look it up it existed :)
That was the "business" model
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Joined: August 20th, 2018, 6:23 pm

September 14th, 2018, 6:46 pm #112

Sorry for the lack of updates, work is continuing but it is virtual.

I'll spell out my plans and progress here not so much because I think anyone will be interested, but for my own record.

First and foremost, I have decided on a semi-final project title, this machine shall hanceforth be known as the *AETHERIC TRANSLUMINATOR "Pocket Colossus"* or just Transluminator for "short" Thanks Doc for the inspiration on Aetheric.

I plan to have quite a few dynamic showpieces (things which can move/blink under programmatic control) short list is:

4x Incandescent Edison-style (led) lightbulbs wired to separate relays but all dimmed through the same dimmer, which I plan to have under software control some day, but not in the first pass.
2x 'furnace' style LEDs probably red/amber which will live in the two upright pods and probably be tied to disk activity.
1x Hydraulic Pressure meter under mechanical servo control
1x (by 4) mechanical"fuel gauge" with 4 separate needles which can be deflected under software control
several RGB 'pixel' style LEDs lighting up at least the bubble-thermometer and probably pump
20x or so Red/Green/Amber LEDs scattered in strategic places to cause back/front lights and simulate a glowing/moving computer bank
6x (a 4-digit and 2-digit) Nixie Display.

Everything aforementioned will be under the control of the GPIO plug of a single RaspberryPi Zero-W: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/ra ... pi-zero-w/ It will run on a [very] local LAN network running a custom network console server which will have a human interface as well as respond to REST queries so I can drive it with javascript or something on a webpage. I've already written the base software and tested servo and nixie tube control and they both work great.

I will also be using at least one daughter board, the TLC5947 breakout board shown here: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1429

I've wired it up and it works great, can drive arbitrarily enough LEDs on a single loop and is addressable with the PI's SPI bus (the I2C bus is being used for just the Nixie tubes). I've also tested the PWM output to drive a servo and it works very well.

Will very likely need some MOSFETs to drive high-voltage toggles like the 24v relays and deflect the fuel-gauge needles, but I have piles of those lying around and will likely wire them up discreetly.

The console application works great, I'll publish the source code for it eventually, but here is an example of it in action (the pi is on my wifi at 10.0.0.62, this is from my main linux dev box, eventually I will put the zero on a wired RJ45 dongle and wire it to an on-board hub so I am not reliant on network connectivity)

Code: Select all

<falcon>[curt|/raid/r/dv/ps/dna/devkit/dna]$ telnet 10.0.0.62 9000
Trying 10.0.0.62...
Connected to 10.0.0.62.
Escape character is '^]'.
% help

AETHERIC TRANSLUMINATOR "Pocket Colossus" command usage:
nixie <1/2> <0000-9999>
hydro <0-100>
led <1-24> <0-100>
rgb <1-8> <r:0-100> <g:0-100> <b:0-100>

quiet
pwm <clock> <low> <high>

% nixie 2 4432
Set nixie bank 2 to [4432]
% 
I'm planning to power the pi directly from the PC 5v supply, and run the reset externally for emergencies. I've left generous amounts of space under the build deck for wiring and that's where most of this is going to live. I'll post pics once' it's not an uninteresting tangle of prototype circuitry on my test bench.

The intention is to write some automation scripts to turn lights on/off in fun and interesting ways, glowing/blinking/running whatever. Not sure exactly how I'm going to customize it yet except for brute force. But I want the Nixie's to display system up time, or coolant temperature or something, and the lights to likewise respond to what the system is doing, so there will be some feedback.

-Curt
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Joined: August 20th, 2018, 6:23 pm

September 14th, 2018, 6:59 pm #113

Oh and the RCA-out from the Pi Zero will be driving the B/W CRT. I plan to run at least an Apple simulator on it (nostalgia) and perhaps some kind of Steampunk Orrery like this: https://www.deviantart.com/yereverluvin ... -455720507

Which is dated and would run too slowly on the pitiful Zero, but perhaps I can create a slideshow or share the desktop and offload the actual graphics calculations.
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Joined: August 20th, 2018, 6:23 pm

September 18th, 2018, 1:47 pm #114

update_20.jpg Got the hardware in and mounted the pi-z (w) and the daughter board underneath. ran the cables for the servo and it works perfectly, I can remotely twiddle that gauge, I can now individually control up to 24 light loops (constant current, so no real limit on the number of LEDs except what the chip can source, and it's a lot) with 12-bits of PWM controlled brightness so gonna have loads of fun creating light shows from hidden LEDs.

update_19.jpg

Also got THIS bad boy in from China. It's a Tesla Coil with the added circuitry to modulate the sparks with a line-in sound! The fidelity is surprisingly good and is a *perfect* "steampunk" speaker. You can have your Jacob's Ladder, I can play symphonic music by shooting purple sparks into the air! I still want to 3D print some appropriate gramophone-like thingies but not as urgently anymore. Wait until I have it mounted and I'll take a video.
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Joined: July 12th, 2017, 12:19 am

September 18th, 2018, 5:10 pm #115

You mean you're not just going to stick a Raspberry Pi inside the typewriter case? ;/

Tim
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Joined: September 12th, 2014, 4:00 am

September 18th, 2018, 7:46 pm #116

You will find that the Tesla coil produces a lot of fairly powerful EM noise as well as sound. I recommend some serious shielding around the electronics. Or you could leave it as is and watch the pretty fireworks.

Regards
Jim
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Joined: August 20th, 2018, 6:23 pm

September 19th, 2018, 3:01 am #117

Yes the RFI is my greatest fear. I have chosen a mounting location as physically far from the mobo as possible, although its still a bit close to the Pi. Only way is to fire it up and check :)
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Joined: September 12th, 2014, 4:00 am

September 19th, 2018, 3:13 am #118

Any device that can light up a fluorescent tube at a distance of a foot or so should be treated with respect. Of course my coil is a bit bigger than yours, so you will probably not get that much energy. I would still recommend playing with the coil at a distance from your electronics until you get a feel for it.

Regards
Jim
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Joined: February 17th, 2016, 1:31 am

September 19th, 2018, 10:58 pm #119

Amazon or other for that coil? Care to share the link? It's even more impractical the the .458 Soc upper I've been coveting, therefore I practically *need* one. (joytech? LOL)
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Joined: September 16th, 2014, 7:01 am

September 19th, 2018, 11:28 pm #120

Go up on Mount Wilson and you can play Uncle Fester - just hold up a 4' fluorescent lamp and "Bing!" Full brightness. (Might have to put a finger on the filament pin at one end to add a little capacitance and get it to strike.)  And you're 60 to 100' away from the tower, outside the fence and standing in the road.  

Even after the ATSC digital changeover they've got several legacy TV stations running 1MW or more Video and 500KW Audio into a high-gain antenna system, all in a row at the top of the hill.  The RF Levels are stupid high up there.  
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