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Issue 240   View the articles in this issue >>
Vintage Radio Review: Metrel Instaltest 3017
Led Strobe and Tacho Pt.2 DSP Musicolour Pt.4

18 Sep, 2008

Circuit Notebook

Interesting circuit ideas which we have checked but not built and tested. Contributions from readers are welcome and will be paid for at standard rates.

17 Sep, 2008

Vintage Radio

Manufactured by Raycophone around 1933, the Pee-Wee Midget is an early superhet receiver with a regenerative IF stage. It's an interesting set but is does have a few design problems that limit its performance.

16 Sep, 2008

Review: Metrel Instaltest 3017

Did you know that it's now mandatory for electricians to provide a written safety test report when they install new wiring or do repairs to your home, office or factory? That is quite an onerous and time-consuming task but the Metrel Instaltest 3017 does all the tests specified in the AS/NZS3017 standard. As well, it provides a step-by-step guide for electricians when they are doing visual checks as well as the electrical tests.

11 Sep, 2008

Led Strobe and Tacho Pt.2

Last month, we published the circuit of our new LED Strobe & Tachometer and showed how to build the main unit and the strobe light. This month, we describe the assembly of the optional Photo-Interruptor and IR Reflector Amplifier boards. We also describe how the unit is used.

10 Sep, 2008

DSP Musicolour Pt.4

With a small and low-cost add-on PC board, the DSP Musicolour can be operated via an infrared remote control - very handy if you want to use it in hard-to-reach places.

9 Sep, 2008

Ultra LD Mk.2 200W Power Amplifier Module Pt.2

Last month, we introduced our new Ultra-LD Mk.2 200W Amplifier module and described the circuit. This month, we give the assembly details and describe a suitable power supply.

8 Sep, 2008

Serviceman's Log

There's an old saying that "one man's trash is another man's treasure". Personally, I think it's all treasure so you can imagine my overwhelming joy when a friend recently found an old valve car radio for me to fix!

5 Sep, 2008

Versatile LED/Lamp Flasher

The LM3909 was a legendary IC, which the designers (National Semiconductor) modestly described as a "LED Flasher/Oscillator". Its popularity was surely due both to its great simplicity and versatility. It could flash a LED off a wide range of voltages, at a wide range of frequencies. It could also flash LEDs in parallel, could produce a tone in a loudspeaker, trigger a Triac or pulse an incandescent bulb - among other things. Sadly, though, the LM3909 has been discontinued and is now very difficult to find.

4 Sep, 2008

Ask Silicon Chip

Got a technical problem? Can't understand a piece of jargon or some technical principle? Drop us a line and we'll answer your question. Write to: Ask Silicon Chip, PO Box 139, Collaroy Beach, NSW 2097 or send an email to silchip@siliconchip.com.au

3 Sep, 2008

Railpower Model Train Controller

This ultra-high performance model train controller features infrared remote control. We believe it's the best build-it-yourself train controller ever published!

2 Sep, 2008

Publisher's Letter

1 Sep, 2008

The Basslink High-Voltage DC Power Link

Back in February 2000 a tender was granted for building a high voltage DC power link between Victoria and Tasmania. It was finally commissioned in April 2006 and now feeds power in both directions between Victoria and Tasmania, depending on demand in those states.

1 Sep, 2008

Mailbag

Letters and emails should contain complete name, address and daytime phone number. Letters to the Editor are submitted on the condition that Silicon Chip Publications Pty Ltd may edit and has the right to reproduce in electronic form and communicate these letters. This also applies to submissions to "Ask SILICON CHIP" and "Circuit Notebook".

Issue 239   View the articles in this issue >>
LED Strobe & Contactless Tachometer Vintage Radio
Ultra-LD Mk.2 200W Power Amplifier Module Printing In The Third Dimension

15 Aug, 2008

LED Strobe & Contactless Tachometer

This versatile LED Strobe & Tachometer can be used to observe and measure the RPM of rotating machinery. It offers three different measurement methods and the readout is via a 2-line LCD module.

15 Aug, 2008

Vintage Radio

Prior to the 1930s, virtually all domestic broadcast receivers used TRF circuits. One exception was the 1925 RCA 26 portable which was one of the very first domestic superhets. It used some truly innovative technology for the era.

13 Aug, 2008

Circuit Notebook

Interesting circuit ideas which we have checked but not built and tested. Contributions from readers are welcome and will be paid for at standard rates.

11 Aug, 2008

Ultra-LD Mk.2 200W Power Amplifier Module

This new amplifier module supersedes both the Plastic Power module described in the April 1996 issue and the Ultra-LD module presented in the March 2000 issue. It produces high power at very low distortion. In fact, as far as we are aware, it is the lowest distortion class-AB amplifier that has ever been published.

11 Aug, 2008

Serviceman's Log

Occasionally, when I am allowed out by myself, I wander off to the auctions for the day. I always enjoy the experience but I have learnt that what you might gain is at the expense of a day's lost wages and if you do buy something, it's often a pig in a poke with no guarantees.

8 Aug, 2008

Printing In The Third Dimension

Imagine a colour printer that outputs images not just in the two dimensions we're all familiar with - width and depth - but adds the third dimension, height, so that the "printed" images can be physically held, picked up, turned, inverted . . . just like any other 3D object.

8 Aug, 2008

Product Showcase

6 Aug, 2008

Planet Jupiter Receiver

How would you like to try some basic radio astronomy - listening to the bursts of noise originating from the planet Jupiter, or from the Sun? You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to do this, just the simple shortwave receiver described here. It?s hooked up to a basic dipole antenna (which we describe as well) and to the sound card in your PC, so that you can print out "chart recordings" of the noise signals.

5 Aug, 2008

DSP Musicolour Light Show; Pt.3

In last month's article, we detailed the construction of the DSP Musicolour. In this month's article, we guide you through the final testing of the DSP Musicolour and give troubleshooting tips. We also explain the operation of the firmware in more detail as well as discussing possible accessories.

1 Aug, 2008

TekTronix DPO3034

The 300MHz DPO3034, with its wide "digital phosphor" LCD screen, is a serious oscilloscope with an impressive list of features and an excellent user interface.

1 Aug, 2008

Mailbag

Letters and emails should contain complete name, address and daytime phone number. Letters to the Editor are submitted on the condition that Silicon Chip Publications Pty Ltd may edit and has the right to reproduce in electronic form and communicate these letters. This also applies to submissions to "Ask SILICON CHIP" and "Circuit Notebook".

1 Aug, 2008

Ask Silicon Chip

Got a technical problem? Can't understand a piece of jargon or some technical principle? Drop us a line and we'll answer your question. Write to: Ask Silicon Chip, PO Box 139, Collaroy Beach, NSW 2097 or send an email to silchip@siliconchip.com.au

Issue 238   View the articles in this issue >>
Publisher's Letter Drumroll - Yet Another Picaxe
Bridge Adaptor For Stereo Power Amplifiers Balanced Mic Preamp For PCs & MP3 Players

30 Jul, 2008

Publisher's Letter

Now is the time for Australia to build nuclear power stations

18 Jul, 2008

Drumroll - Yet Another Picaxe

If Swan's 2nd Law is: "Microcontrollers can never have too many I/O channels" . . . what's his first?

16 Jul, 2008

Bridge Adaptor For Stereo Power Amplifiers

Would you like to connect a stereo amplifier in "bridge mode" in order to deliver double the power to a single loudspeaker system? This simple adaptor allows you to do it, without any modifications being necessary to the power amplifiers themselves.

14 Jul, 2008

Balanced Mic Preamp For PCs & MP3 Players

Want to connect a professional microphone with balanced outputs to the line input of your PC's soundcard or an MP3 player, for high-quality voice recordings? This microphone preamp circuit lets you do just that. It features a balanced input, has a clipping indicator LED and can be powered from a USB port or from an external DC source.

12 Jul, 2008

A PIC-Based Musical Tuning Aid

This compact device will help you tune almost any musical instrument - acoustic or electronic. It can produce any note on the tempered musical scale (standard pitch) in any of the eight most commonly used octaves, with an accuracy of better than ?0.08% or 1.3 musical cents. The selected note is compared with that from the instrument either by ear or visually by using an eight-LED stroboscopic beat indicator.

10 Jul, 2008

Serviceman's Log

10 Jul, 2008

Vintage Radio

Developed during the very early days of radio, reflex circuits were used in receivers right up until the 1950s. One such set was the Astor KM.

10 Jul, 2008

Ask Silicon Chip

5 Jul, 2008

DSP Musicolour Light Show; Pt.2

In last month's first part, we described the circuit operation of the DSP Musicolour. In this instalment, we guide you through the construction. The operation of the firmware and troubleshooting tips will be described next month. In this issue there are also notes and errata for the schematic published last month.

5 Jul, 2008

Circuit Notebook

Interesting circuit ideas which we have checked but not built and tested. Contributions from readers are welcome and will be paid for at standard rates.

2 Jul, 2008

House Wiring: Looking At Light Switches

A light switch is a light switch, right? You just flick it and the light comes on . . . Of course - but it is very obvious that many people think what goes on behind the architrave or wall is a black art. Magic, even!

Issue 237   View the articles in this issue >>
A Look At Crash Test Dummies USB Power Injector For External Hard Drives
Publisher's Letter A Quick'n'Easy Digital Slide Scanner - A simple way to copy slides onto your computer's hard drive

30 Jun, 2008

A Look At Crash Test Dummies

Ever seen those video clips of car crash tests where the dummies are thrown about like rag dolls? The dummies are highly engineered to simulate the effect of crashes on human bodies and they carry lots of instrumentation to record the pain (forces & deflections) they suffer.

26 Jun, 2008

USB Power Injector For External Hard Drives

A portable USB hard drive is a great way to back up data but what if your USB ports are unable to supply enough "juice" to power the drive? A modified version of the SILICON CHIP USB Power Injector is the answer.

26 Jun, 2008

Publisher's Letter

22 Jun, 2008

Serviceman's Log

Despite doing my best to avoid computers, I recently became involved with a couple of Apple iMacs. The first was a friend's iMac G5 which had quite a nasty accident, apparently due to his impatient clumsiness.

20 Jun, 2008

A Quick'n'Easy Digital Slide Scanner - A simple way to copy slides onto your computer's hard drive

Do you have a large collection of slides which are deteriorating by the day? Are they growing mouldy or becoming discoloured? Then there is no time to waste. Get them onto your computer's hard drive before it is too late. This method is very quick, simple and does not require any electronics.

18 Jun, 2008

Circuit Notebook

16 Jun, 2008

Review: Altitude 3500-SS Stereo Valve Amplifier

Some readers may be annoyed by the sight of a review of a valve amplifier in SILICON CHIP - but we often get requests to publish a modern design. So we thought it would be useful to put this model through our usual performance testing.

10 Jun, 2008

A new PIC-based Flexitimer Mk.4

Here's a new and enhanced version of a very popular project: an easily-programmed low-cost electronic timer module. It's compact, easy to build and offers a choice of either a single on period or continuous on/off cycling with independently programmable periods.

9 Jun, 2008

Balanced/unbalanced converter for audio work

If you work in the professional audio field, you need to use balanced lines for long signal runs to prevent hum and noise pick-up. This Balanced/Unbalanced Converter is really two projects in one. It can convert an unbalanced input to balanced outputs and vice versa.

6 Jun, 2008

Mailbag

5 Jun, 2008

DIY Electrical Work: Are Aussies DUMBER than Kiwis?

Did you know that it if you want to paint a wall and need to unscrew a power outlet or light switch, you cannot do it legally in any Australian state? Nor can you replace a light switch or power outlet, install a dimmer or ceiling fan. Nor anything else which involves any form of electrical installation, repair or modification. But you can in New Zealand!

3 Jun, 2008

DSP Musicolour Pt. 1

This DSP Musicolour accepts audio input signals and drives coloured lights "in tune" with the music. Its four output channels respond to different audio frequency bands and the brightness of the lights is in direct proportion to the amplitude of the frequency components. A dot-matrix LED menu display is featured on the front panel and this also functions as a spectrum analyser or VU meter.

3 Jun, 2008

Vintage Radio

Despite government opposition, radio communications spread rapidly in Australia following the end of WW2. Released in 1949, the Pye TRP1 was one of the new breed of HF portable transceivers designed to meet the growing demand for suitable equipment.

2 Jun, 2008

Ask Silicon Chip

Issue 236   View the articles in this issue >>
Prototype PC Boards Enersonic Power Saver
Low-cost programmer for dsPICs & PICs Low-Voltage Adjustable Regulator

26 May, 2008

Prototype PC Boards

If you're a small manufacturer, design lab or college without in-house PC board prototyping facilities, who do you turn to? It's a problem a lot of organisations face - even SILICON CHIP - but there are answers out there . . .

26 May, 2008

Publisher's Letter

19 May, 2008

Enersonic Power Saver

Since our debunking of the "Electricity saving box" in the November 2007 issue, another device along the same lines has appeared in Harvey Norman stores. Called the "Enersonic Power Saver" it claims potential power savings of up to 24%. At $59.00, it is considerably more expensive than the previous device but just like that one, it won't save you a cent on your electricity bills.

19 May, 2008

Low-cost programmer for dsPICs & PICs

This low-cost unit can program all dsPIC30F series microcontrollers in the DIP package, along with most PIC microcontrollers. It's easy to build and uses standard parts.

19 May, 2008

Low-Voltage Adjustable Regulator

Need to operate a CD, DVD or MP3 player from the cigarette lighter socket in your car? Or perhaps run a digital still or video camera or some powered speakers from the power supply inside your PC? This Low-Voltage Adjustable Regulator will step the voltage down to what's needed. It has jumper shunts to select one of six common output voltages (from 3-15V) and depending on the input voltage and the heatsink(s) you use, it can deliver an output current of just over 4A.

19 May, 2008

Replacement CDI Module For Small Petrol Motors

If the CDI module in your motorbike, outboard, ride-on mower or other small petrol motor fails, you could be in for a shock. Depending on the brand or model, they can cost up to $400. You can build this one for less than $50 and it will do the same job for most engines.

19 May, 2008

Serviceman's Log

Nothing comes even close to computers when ranking gear that's stuffed by consumers. As a result, I usually try to avoid fixing them but niece Duck's computer was different.

19 May, 2008

Circuit Notebook

Interesting circuit ideas which we have checked but not built and tested. Contributions from readers are welcome and will be paid for at standard rates.

19 May, 2008

High-accuracy Digital LC Meter

Here's a handy piece of test gear you can build for yourself - a Digital LC Meter for measuring inductance and capacitance over a wide range. It's based on an ingenious measurement technique, delivers surprising accuracy and is easy to build.

8 May, 2008

The Vectrix Electric Motor Scooter

The first all-electric production road vehicle available in Australia

8 May, 2008

Mailbag

Letters and emails should contain complete name, address and daytime phone number. Letters to the Editor are submitted on the condition that Silicon Chip Publications Pty Ltd may edit and has the right to reproduce in electronic form and communicate these letters. This also applies to submissions to "Ask SILICON CHIP" and "Circuit Notebook".

8 May, 2008

Ask Silicon Chip

Got a technical problem? Can't understand a piece of jargon or some technical principle? Drop us a line and we'll answer your question. Write to: Ask Silicon Chip, PO Box 139, Collaroy Beach, NSW 2097 or send an email to silchip@siliconchip.com.au

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