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Issue 250   View the articles in this issue >>
Publisher's Letter Hand-Held Metal Locator
Vintage Radio CeBIT: What's New At Australia's Largest IT Show?

21 Jul, 2009

Publisher's Letter

20 Jul, 2009

Hand-Held Metal Locator

Ideal for finding steel frames and studs, steel bracing and nails in plaster walls, this Metal Locator can also show the length of the tang in knife handles, screwdrivers and other tools. As well, it can discriminate between ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

18 Jul, 2009

Vintage Radio

Featuring no less than eight valves, the Lyric Model 70 broadcast-band receiver is an upmarket American-made set from the late 1920s. It's a tuned RF design with single-knob tuning and a number of interesting design techniques.

16 Jul, 2009

CeBIT: What's New At Australia's Largest IT Show?

A quick look at Australia's largest IT show . . .

14 Jul, 2009

Multi-Function Active Filter Module

This versatile Active Filter is ideal for use as an active crossover in loudspeaker systems but has lots of other uses as well. It can be configured as a low-pass filter (for driving sub-woofer amplifiers), as a high-pass filter or as a bandpass filter, simply by moving a few on-board jumper links.

12 Jul, 2009

Lead-Acid Battery Zapper & Desulphator Mk.3

Here is a revised version of the popular Lead-Acid Battery Zapper featured in the May 2006 issue of SILICON CHIP. It is now separate from the Battery Condition Checker and much easier to build. At the same time it has been revamped for more reliable long-period operation with 6V, 12V & 24V batteries.

10 Jul, 2009

Serviceman's Log

As a change this month, a colleague of mine is going to talk about the confusion electronic systems in cars can cause. After all, when it comes to cars, everyone's an expert (or has a mate who thinks he is). I'll let him tell the story in his own words.

8 Jul, 2009

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.

6 Jul, 2009

Review: Two Low-Cost DVD Recorders

He's held onto a large library of VHS tapes for decades so Barrie Smith thought he could make good use of the Easter break by engaging with DVD recording. Here are his reactions to a Tevion DD1018 and an AWA DR711 DVD recorder.

4 Jul, 2009

High-Current, High-Voltage Battery Capacity Meter, Pt.2

Last month we presented the full description, operation and construction details of our new Battery Capacity Meter. This month we guide you through the once-only setup and calibration. We also explain in detail how to use it!

3 Jul, 2009

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".

2 Jul, 2009

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 silicon@siliconchip.com.au

1 Jul, 2009

The Magic Of Water Desalination

What do Perth, Saudi Arabia and cruise ships have in common? They all rely on desalination for fresh water. And the Gold Coast, Sydney and Adelaide are about to join the club!

Issue 249   View the articles in this issue >>
Tech Support: The View From The Other Side Hand-Held Digital Audio Oscillator
Mal's Electric Vehicle Conversion PICAXE Humidity Measuring Using The HopeRF HH10D

24 Jun, 2009

Tech Support: The View From The Other Side

In the first part of this story in May SILICON CHIP Barrie Smith tipped us into the maelstrom of the funny yarns about Tech Support. Now he gets serious and investigates how the major companies handle the floods of enquiries and queries that rain upon enterprises brave enough to market their products... and daring enough to back them up with help and comfort for the buying public.

22 Jun, 2009

Hand-Held Digital Audio Oscillator

Do you need to test audio equipment, including amplifiers and speakers, in the field and in the workshop? If so, you could use this compact and inexpensive digital audio oscillator. It can produce sine, square, triangle and sawtooth waveforms in the frequency range from 10Hz-30kHz and features three output ranges: 20mV, 200mV & 1V.

21 Jun, 2009

Mal's Electric Vehicle Conversion

Malcolm Faed has produced the first electric vehicle conversion using an industrial 3-phase induction motor controlled by a variable frequency, variable voltage converter. As far as we know, it is the first such road-registered DIY conversion in Australia and it is probably one of the first in the world.

20 Jun, 2009

Servicemans Log

In this job, it's all too easy to put in a lot of effort for nothing. I encountered a couple of such jobs recently but then I was stimulated by our glorious leader. All is well, I think.

19 Jun, 2009

PICAXE Humidity Measuring Using The HopeRF HH10D

Recent SILICON CHIP articles on HopeRF 433MHz data transceivers have drawn our attention to other monitoring modules made by this Chinese firm. Amongst their offerings is a well-priced and calibrated humidity sensor, the HH10D. This has shown itself capable of extremely simple interfacing to even the humblest PICAXE, although factory calibration values first need reading via an I2C-level PICAXE such as the 18X.

17 Jun, 2009

Voice Me: A Voice-Activated Remote Control

VoiceMe is a voice-activated remote control. It can be used to control up to ten functions on your TV, DVD player, Home Theatre system or whatever and it can have up to four separate users. If you are one of those who often loses remote controls, it could be an attractive option.

15 Jun, 2009

Digital Radio Is Coming, Pt.4

In this final instalment we discuss the signal formats and give a comparison of DAB+ and DRM. Also included is a brief discussion of antennas suitable for DAB+ reception.

14 Jun, 2009

Salvage It

There is a massive change happening in Australian offices and homes at the moment: CRT monitors are being discarded in their thousands in a wholesale changeover to LCD monitors. This represents a great chance to get a big stock of useful components but you need to do it now because CRT monitors will become a rarity within the next few years.

13 Jun, 2009

Vintage Radio

The AWA 693P is an impressive 3-band 8-transistor set that was manufactured by AWA in Australia during the early 1960s. It doesn't use a PC board but instead employs point-to-point wiring, just like the valve radios of that era.

11 Jun, 2009

High Current, High Voltage Battery Capacity Meter

Ideal for solar power battery monitoring but also perfect for a wide variety of rechargeable battery applications, this smart battery meter monitors the charge and discharge of lead-acid, Nicad and NiMH batteries with an operating voltage range of 9-60V and currents up to 80A. It has settable overload and under-voltage protection and it can be connected to a PC for logging of battery condition.

11 Jun, 2009

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".

9 Jun, 2009

GPS Driver Module For The 6-Digit Clock, Pt 2

Based on the GlobalSat EM-408 GPS module, this compact GPS receiver/driver board mates with the 6-digit display described in Pt.1 to form a self-contained GPS clock. It can also be housed separately and used to provide NMEA 0183 time and date information to a PC, via a serial port.

7 Jun, 2009

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 silicon@siliconchip.com.au

5 Jun, 2009

Build A Beam-Break Flash Trigger

Here's an easy-to-build accessory for the Time Delay Photoflash Trigger described in our February 2009 issue. It triggers the delay unit and your photoflash in response to an object interrupting an invisible beam of infrared (IR) light. Alternatively, it can be used on its own to directly trigger a photoflash.

3 Jun, 2009

Publishers Letter

1 Jun, 2009

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.

Issue 248   View the articles in this issue >>
Vintage Radio Input Attenuator For The Digital Audio Millivoltmeter
How To Draw Circuit Schematics In Protel Autotrax UHF Remote 2-Channel 230VAC Power Switch

20 May, 2009

Servicemans Log

They used to say that God invented cricket to teach Englishmen the meaning of eternity. Personally, I think that this could also easily apply to PCs. Certainly, I've had my fair share of problems with them over the years.

19 May, 2009

Vintage Radio

Manufactured around 1948, the Astor GR/GRP receiver was nicknamed "Football" because of its cabinet shape. It's a low-cost 3-valve TRF set designed for tough times.

18 May, 2009

Input Attenuator For The Digital Audio Millivoltmeter

If you'd like to be able to use our Digital Audio Millivoltmeter to measure AC voltages up to 140V RMS, this add-on project is the answer. It's a simple switched input divider which lets you add 40dB, 20dB or 0dB of attenuation ahead of the meter at the touch of a knob.

16 May, 2009

How To Draw Circuit Schematics In Protel Autotrax

When it comes to contributed projects or circuits, there are few things more frustrating than finding the circuit has been drawn (apparently) by "a thumbnail dipped in tar" - or near equivalent. Here's an easy way to make them look good!

15 May, 2009

UHF Remote 2-Channel 230VAC Power Switch

If you're looking for a mains "switch" which can be operated from some distance away, this low-cost, simple project could be just what you want. With a UHF remote control and two switched "channels", it needs very little power thanks to the use of latching relays.

13 May, 2009

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".

12 May, 2009

Why Calibrate Your Test Equipment?

During preparation of the Precision Voltage Reference project elsewhere in this issue, we consulted with Trio Smartcal on the subject of calibration. This article gives a brief overview.

11 May, 2009

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 silicon@siliconchip.com.au

10 May, 2009

Precision 10V DC Reference For Checking DMMs

Have you ever checked the calibration of your digital multimeter? Yeah, we know - you haven't because there is no easy (read cheap) way of doing it. But now you can with this precision DC voltage reference that can be built in a few hours. Without any need for adjustment it will provide you with a 10.000V DC source accurate to within ?3mV, ie, an accuracy of ?0.03%.

8 May, 2009

HID Lamps: Out Of The Car & Over Your Shoulder

It's taken a while but at last, High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are starting to appear in places other than just in car headlights.

6 May, 2009

Dead-Accurate 6-Digit GPS-Locked Clock, Pt 1

Looking for a digital clock that's always dead accurate? This one derives its time signals from the GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) system, so it never needs setting or adjusting. It features big, bright 58mm-high digits for the hours and minutes, plus smaller digits to indicate the seconds.

4 May, 2009

Tech Support: Terror Tales From The Front Line

This story is dedicated to those fearless men and women who, every day, brave dark and stormy phone calls from the unknown, un-named, ill-informed, querulous public; to those who, with no regard for their personal safety nor deep intrusions into their mental sanity, face hurt, shame and embarrassment in their quest to answer the challenging questions they are thrown.

2 May, 2009

230VAC 10A Full-Wave Motor Speed Controller

This full-range Motor Speed Controller will give smooth control from near zero to full speed on electric drills, routers, circular saws, lawn edgers, food mixers - in fact, any appliances with universal (brush-type) motors.

1 May, 2009

Publishers Letter

1 May, 2009

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.

Issue 247   View the articles in this issue >>
Vintage Radio Build A Microcurrent DMM Adaptor
Half-Duplex With HopeRF's HM-TR UHF Transceivers USB Printer Share Switch

20 Apr, 2009

Vintage Radio

Manufactured in the mid-1930s, the Airzone 520/550 is an early 5-valve superhet that was capable of good performance. It was housed in a distinctive bakelite cabinet and is usually easy to restore to working order.

18 Apr, 2009

Build A Microcurrent DMM Adaptor

You might not be aware of it but your digital multimeter is unable to make accurate current measurements in low-voltage circuits because of its "burden voltage". This precision current adaptor solves that problem and greatly improves the measurement accuracy, as well.

16 Apr, 2009

Half-Duplex With HopeRF's HM-TR UHF Transceivers

Our introductory second-generation UHF data transceiver article in October 2008 showed that using a PICAXE to drive HopeRF's HM-TR 433MHz programmable data transceivers works well. In subsequent months, these well-priced units have become very popular!

14 Apr, 2009

USB Printer Share Switch

This simple device allows two computers to share a single USB printer or some other USB device, such as an external flash drive, memory card reader or scanner. A rotary switch selects the PC that you wish to use with the USB device, while two LEDs indicate the selected PC.

12 Apr, 2009

Review: Tektronix MSO2024 Mixed Signal Oscillope

The Tektronix MS2024 is a compact mixed-signal oscilloscope that is suitable for a wide range of applications or educational use. It has four analog and 16 digital inputs, a sampling rate of 1Gs/s and an operating bandwidth up to 200MHz. It is very easy to use and does not take up a lot of valuable bench space.

10 Apr, 2009

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.

8 Apr, 2009

School Zone Speed Alert

Have you been booked for driving through a school zone at well above the 40km/h limit? It's easy to do and can be a very expensive mistake. Here's a project to help you stay out of trouble. It keeps track of the time and flashes a warning LED during the morning or afternoon 40km/h time periods.

6 Apr, 2009

Wireless Networking With Ubuntu & Puppy Linux

Connecting Puppy Linux to the Internet via a network cable is a piece of cake. Wireless networking can be slightly more difficult but is still easy to do. Here's how.

6 Apr, 2009

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 silicon@siliconchip.com.au

4 Apr, 2009

Multi-Function Remote-Controlled Lamp Dimmer

You probably think that a dimmer is a dimmer is a dimmer, right? This little beauty will definitely change your mind!

4 Apr, 2009

Servicemans Log

Despite the big "R" or even "D" word we hear on the media every night, new plasma and LCD sets still seem to be getting cheaper. Most of this is caused by the never-ending supply of better, newer or more technology for the dollar. Unfortunately this problem is spiralling down to my level because the question is always, is it worth fixing?

2 Apr, 2009

Digital Radio is Coming, Part 3

Last month, we discussed the details of the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC+) used in Digital Radio. This month we discuss how the AAC+ data is transmitted and received. The transmissions combine data with program content and the entire transmission is a multiplexed combination of the many programs.

1 Apr, 2009

Publishers Letter

Issue 246   View the articles in this issue >>
Vintage Radio Build A Digital Audio Millivoltmeter
Mailbag Digital Radio Is Coming, Pt.2

24 Mar, 2009

Vintage Radio

Deadly equipment and difficult faults can present real challenges when restoring vintage radio gear. Sometimes, you just have to say "no" to a set that's just too dangerous to use unless it's correctly modified.

22 Mar, 2009

Build A Digital Audio Millivoltmeter

Versatile unit indicates signal levels in mV, dBv & dbm

Want to measure small signals at audio frequencies? Here's a low-cost digital audio millivoltmeter which will allow you to measure audio signals from below 5Hz to above 100kHz. As well as indicating the level in both millivolts and dBV, it also shows the corresponding dBm level into 600 ohms.

20 Mar, 2009

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".

18 Mar, 2009

Serviceman's Log

It only takes a couple of minor blunders to turn what should be a quick job into a real time-waster. Unfortunately, in this business, it goes with the territory.

16 Mar, 2009

Digital Radio Is Coming, Pt.2

Digital Radio broadcasts will use Advanced Audio Coding (AAC+) of the digital audio signals. AAC+ is a complex compression process which greatly reduces the amount of RF bandwidth and transmission power necessary to broadcast a high quality signal.

14 Mar, 2009

Microcontrollers Can Be A Snap

Thanks in no small part to the SILICON CHIP promotion over the last five years, popular and cheap PICAXE micros are widely now considered the best value educational microcontroller. However, motivated pre-teens and fuzzy-eyed seniors who are "keen to learn about micros" may find PICAXE PC board soldering or breadboard circuit assembly too fiddly. So here's a nifty approach that fits a PICAXE-08M micro-controller into the gutted sound module from a colourful "Snap Connector" electronic kitset.

12 Mar, 2009

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 silicon@siliconchip.com.au

10 Mar, 2009

A GPS-Synchronised Clock

Tired of resetting the time on your wall clock? This GPS circuit will convert a standard battery wall clock into a precision timekeeper that never needs to be corrected. It will even automatically adjust for daylight saving time.

8 Mar, 2009

Reviving Old Laptops With Pupply Linux

Laptop getting a bit long in the tooth? Does it now run like an old dog under Windows? You need a puppy - Puppy Linux, that is. Puppy runs like a scalded cat, even on old hardware (well, almost).

6 Mar, 2009

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.

4 Mar, 2009

New, Improved Theremin Mk.2

This design is an upgrade of our most popular Theremin which was featured in the August 2000 issue. We have added a voicing control, incorporated a larger loudspeaker and increased the power output. We've also changed the power supply to avoid problems with switchmode DC plugpacks.

2 Mar, 2009

Publisher's Letter

1 Jul, 1970

Notes & Errata

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