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Issue 265   View the articles in this issue >>
Build A GPS Boat Computer Vintage Radio
Designing & Installing A Hearing Loop For The Deaf, Pt.2 Ask Silicon Chip

24 Oct, 2010

Build A GPS Boat Computer

For all the boaties out there, this one could literally be a life saver! You'll never be lost again: as well as telling you exactly where you are at the moment, it will also show you your speed and heading and can even navigate you back to your starting point ? or to that secret fishing spot! It can even tell you how much fuel you're using, along with a host of other vital information.

22 Oct, 2010

Vintage Radio

The Astor DL is a little broadcast-band 4-valve mantel receiver that's housed in a bakelite case. The circuit is quite simple but it still had quite a few challenges in store for me.

20 Oct, 2010

Designing & Installing A Hearing Loop For The Deaf, Pt.2

Last month we introduced the subject of hearing aid inductive loops and explained how they were designed. We also mentioned that most amplifiers could be used to drive hearing loops, albeit with a bit of tweaking in most cases. Now we move on to some of the commercial equipment designed specifically for driving hearing loops.

18 Oct, 2010

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

16 Oct, 2010

Two Toslink-S/PDIF Audio Converters To Build

Do you have a DVD or CD player with a TOSLINK (optical) output but only coaxial S/PDIF inputs on your amplifier? Or do you have the opposite problem? What about hum from your speakers when running digital audio via a coaxial cable? With these simple converters you can easily solve these problems.

14 Oct, 2010

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 Oct, 2010

Digital Controller For Christmas Light Shows

Want one up on your neighbours? Instead of a static Christmas Lights display (so passe!) now you can have the ultimate in Christmas extravaganzas. This amazing controller will bring your Christmas lights to life, making them flash, dim up and down, you name it, all in time with your favourite Christmas music. It's easy to build, easy to connect and, best of all, easy to program!

10 Oct, 2010

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 Oct, 2010

Jamboree On The Air . . . And Now The Internet

On October 16 and 17, up to half a million Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world will join together by radio and the internet in what has become known as JOTA - the Jamboree on the Air - and now JOTI, the Jamboree on the Internet.

6 Oct, 2010

A High-Quality DAB+/FM Tuner, Pt.1

We know you've been waiting for it and after more than a year in development, we are delighted to present this world-first high performance DAB+/FM stereo tuner design. It has all the bells and whistles of DAB+ in a sleek pro-quality case, with all features accessible by remote control.

4 Oct, 2010

Serviceman's Log

There's a lot of high-end audio gear around from the late 80s and early 90s but try getting it repaired these days. It's no wonder many people are now electing to tackle repair jobs themselves rather than consign what was expensive gear to the scrap heap.

2 Oct, 2010

Eye-Fi: Wireless Digital Photography

Digital cameras and memory cards are fantastic - no more worrying about the cost of film, the cost of developing and printing . . . you can shoot to your heart's content. But then you have to "upload" all those photos to your computer. What if you didn't even have to do that - they just appeared on your PC all by themselves?

1 Oct, 2010

Publisher's Letter

Issue 264   View the articles in this issue >>
Ask Silicon Chip Electrolytic Capacitor Reformer & Tester, Pt.2
Vintage Radio Charlieplexing: What It Is & How It Works

27 Sep, 2010

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

25 Sep, 2010

Electrolytic Capacitor Reformer & Tester, Pt.2

Last month we introduced our new electrolytic capacitor reformer and tester - ideal for anyone working with vintage radios, valve equipment or indeed the hobbyist who has gathered a collection of electrolytics over the years. Now you can not only test them, you can (usually!) breathe new life into them if they've suffered from the ravages of time!

23 Sep, 2010

Vintage Radio

Valves reigned supreme in the electronic world for more than 40 years, being the essential components of radio receivers, transmitters, early computers and many other devices. When television first came to Australia, it was black & white and the sets used valves. It has now been 50 years since the end of the valve era.

21 Sep, 2010

Charlieplexing: What It Is & How It Works

"Charlieplexing" is a multiplexing technique for driving displays and is particularly suited for use with microcontrollers. It reduces the number of outputs required to drive a given display but implementing it can be a little tricky. Here is an in-depth explanation of how it works.

19 Sep, 2010

Build A Hearing Loop Receiver

This receiver is designed to pick up the signal from a hearing loop and will drive a pair of headphones. You can use it with a hearing loop you install in your own home or with commercial loops already installed in halls and churches.

17 Sep, 2010

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".

15 Sep, 2010

Designing & Installing A Hearing Loop For The Deaf, Pt.1

Many people have hearing impairment. Whether they are watching TV, listening to radio or music, attending a concert, meeting or religious service, they have difficulty hearing, or understanding, what is going on - and that may be in spite of using a hearing aid. Hearing loops, which inductively couple an audio signal to a hearing aid, are an increasingly common method of helping ease that difficulty.

13 Sep, 2010

High-Performance Microphone Preamplifier

Some recording devices, especially computer sound cards, have poor sound quality or insufficient gain when used with certain microphones. This tiny module provides a line level output from an unbalanced or balanced microphone and has very low noise and distortion. It runs off 5-20V DC, consuming just 6mA.

11 Sep, 2010

Serviceman's Log

Faulty electrolytic capacitors have been a common problem in electronics gear over the last few years. In fact, some items only just make it through warranty before their power supply electros develop lumpy bits and fail.

9 Sep, 2010

LED Replacements For Fluorescent Lamps

36W fluorescent tubes are the main source of light in supermarkets & retail stores, offices and many factories. There are hundreds of millions of them in use around Australia and many billions in use around the world. But while they are the most efficient light source in offices and the home, they are now being challenged by LED tubes which can directly replace them.

7 Sep, 2010

Ultrasonic Anti-Fouling Unit For Boats

Marine growth on the hull is the bane of all boat owners. Left unchecked, marine growth slows the boat down considerably and if it's a power boat, leads to large increases in fuel consumption. If it's a yacht, marine growth will also slow it down and make it less manoeuvrable, to the point where it becomes very sluggish. The cure is to haul the boat out of the water every year and water-blast and scrape away all the growth and then coat the hull in toxic anti-fouling paint.

5 Sep, 2010

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.

3 Sep, 2010

Review: Fusion 600 Marine A/V Series

Boaties like to have access to radio, music and on larger vessels, video. Whether they are cranking the music up on the long run to fish the continental shelf, relaxing at anchor or keeping track of weather reports, they want performance and state-of-the-art gear.

1 Sep, 2010

Publisher's Letter

Issue 263   View the articles in this issue >>
Vintage Radio Electrolytic Capacitor Reformer & Tester
Ask Silicon Chip Review: Hameg HMF2550Arbitrary Function Generator

27 Aug, 2010

Vintage Radio

Designed in 1938, the Airzone 612 was a 6-valve battery-operated receiver specifically designed for use in remote areas. It's an excellent performer and even after 70 years, the alignment of the set featured here was almost spot on.

25 Aug, 2010

Electrolytic Capacitor Reformer & Tester

Got a bunch of old electrolytic capacitors you'd like to use . . . but don't know if they are any good? Or do you need to re-form the electrolytics in an old valve amplifier or vintage radio set? This Electrolytic Capacitor Reformer and Tester will do the job for you, at any of 11 different standard voltages from 10V to 630V.

23 Aug, 2010

Serviceman's Log

It's not often these days that electronics gear is faulty out of the box but it does happen. Usually, we return the item for an exchange or refund but what happens if you've left it too long and lost the receipt into the bargain?

21 Aug, 2010

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

19 Aug, 2010

Review: Hameg HMF2550Arbitrary Function Generator

This signal generator can deliver a 14-bit arbitrary waveform at 250 megasamples per second, a sine or square wave up to 50MHz or a triangle wave up to 10MHz. It can modulate the amplitude, frequency or phase by another generated or external waveform. It also does Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), Frequency Shift Keying (FSK) and more.

17 Aug, 2010

Build A Large Ultrasonic Cleaner

Most readers would know that you can obtain small ultrasonic cleaners for jewellery and similar small items. So why not a much larger version? It would be great for cleaning automotive and other mechanical parts, fabrics which cannot be machine washed, ornate bric-a-brac and a host of other hard-to-clean items.

15 Aug, 2010

Remote-Controlled Digital Up/Down Timer

This remote-controlled digital timer has a bright 20mm-high 7-segment red LED display & can count up or down from one second to 100 hours in 1-second steps. Its timing period can either be set and controlled using the remote control or it can be automatically controlled via external trigger/reset inputs. An internal relay and buzzer activate when the unit times out.

13 Aug, 2010

Quad HiFi Gear: How It Stacks Up 30 Years On

Thirty years ago, any hifi enthusiast worthy of the name would have hocked his soul for a Quad hifi system with electrostatic loudspeakers. But how does the Quad gear of that era stack up against modern hifi gear?

11 Aug, 2010

Solar Power When The Sun Doesn't Shine

It is often said that solar power plants can't 'do baseload' - that they only provide power when the sun shines. Not so: Richard Keech and Matthew Wright* explain how solar thermal plants work and how the Spanish now get solar power around the clock using advances in thermal storage.

9 Aug, 2010

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".

7 Aug, 2010

High-Power Reversible DC Motor Speed Controller

Here's a 12-32V 30A speed controller that's easy to build. It's available in two versions ? reversible and non-reversible ? and features soft start, relay switching of motor direction and PWM speed control.

5 Aug, 2010

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.

1 Aug, 2010

Publisher's Letter

Issue 262   View the articles in this issue >>
Dual-Tracking ±19V Power Supply, Pt.2 Ask Silicon Chip
Lab-Standard 16-Bit Digital Potentiometer Vintage Radio

22 Jul, 2010

Dual-Tracking ±19V Power Supply, Pt.2

Last month, we introduced our new Dual Tracking ?19V Power Supply and explained how it works. This month, we show you how to build the PC boards, install them in a case, wire it up and get it going. Both the mains-powered and plugpack-powered versions are covered.

20 Jul, 2010

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

18 Jul, 2010

Lab-Standard 16-Bit Digital Potentiometer

No, this is not some kind of fancy digital volume control for hifi systems. Instead, it's a low-cost digital programmable voltage divider. It's used to provide an accurate adjustable output from a precision voltage reference for meter calibration and other tasks.

16 Jul, 2010

Vintage Radio

Valves were expensive in the early days of radio and so designers came up with clever techniques to minimise the valve count. One technique was known as "reflexing" and involved using the same valve to work as both an RF or IF amplifier and as an audio amplifier.

14 Jul, 2010

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 Jul, 2010

Programming PIC Controllers: How It's Done

Many SILICON CHIP projects include a PIC microcontroller as the central component. But how do you program the PIC if you're not buying a kit or if you want to upgrade the firmware to a later version? Here's a step-by-step guide to doing it yourself.

10 Jul, 2010

PICAXE Project Development System

With the abundance of microprocessor/microcontroller variations available these days it is no small wonder that many of the designs produced by electronic enthusiasts use one type or another of these components. And most commercial equipment these days has a micro controlling it. But how do you get from an idea to a working design?

8 Jul, 2010

3DTV: From Stadium To Living Room

On Wednesday, 19th May 2010, Nine Network Australia and SBS Corporation began the first free-to-air 3D television broadcast in the world. We take a look at the technology involved in getting 3DTV live from the sports field to your home.

6 Jul, 2010

Serviceman's Log

Will I or won't I? Should I fix it or not? Should I keep it or send it to e-waste? Procrastination is the thief of time but I think I've finally made my mind up that I'm probably not going to be hurried into making my mind up - well, maybe.

4 Jul, 2010

An Intelligent 12V Fan Controller

Does your computer make more noise than it should? It's probably mostly fan noise! Slowing the fans down will reduce the noise but if you go too far, you could end up with fricassee of CPU!

2 Jul, 2010

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.

1 Jul, 2010

Publisher's Letter

Issue 261   View the articles in this issue >>
A Solar-Powered Lighting System, Pt.2 Build a Digital Insulation Meter
Circuit Notebook Breakthrough Aussie Innovation: Making 3D Movies

23 Jun, 2010

A Solar-Powered Lighting System, Pt.2

Last month we described the operation of our new off-grid lighting system, featuring free power courtesy of the sun! Now we move on to the fun part: building it!

21 Jun, 2010

Build a Digital Insulation Meter

Think all your double-insulated power tools are safe, just because they are double insulated? As many have found to their ultimate cost, wear and tear on tools can mean that they become decidedly unsafe. Here's a meter that will give you back your peace-of-mind ? on tools and many other electrical and electronic devices.

19 Jun, 2010

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 Jun, 2010

Breakthrough Aussie Innovation: Making 3D Movies

While there has been a lot of publicity around the latest introduction of 3D movies and the accompanying 3D screens and glasses, 3D movie production is very expensive. In fact, it comes as a surprise to most people to find that the blockbuster ?Alice in Wonderland? was actually shot in conventional 2D and labouriously converted to 3D later! Now there is a new Australia camera rig, the SpeedWedge, which promises to streamline the whole process.

15 Jun, 2010

Vintage Radio

In Pt.1, we looked at the origins of automatic gain control (AGC) systems and described some of the techniques that have been used over the years. This month, we look at simple, delayed, quiet and amplified AGC systems and describe some common faults in these circuits.

13 Jun, 2010

Dual-Tracking ±19V Power Supply, Pt.1

This linear bench supply can deliver up to 1.6A from positive and negative outputs with a range of ?0-19V. It has adjustable current limiting for both outputs and can display the voltage or current reading for either rail. If powered from an AC plugpack, no mains wiring is required, although less current is available. It also has a 5V 750mA output for powering digital logic ICs and microcontrollers.

11 Jun, 2010

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, 2010

Air-Quality Meter For Checking CO & CO2 Levels

This Air Quality Monitor indicates carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) levels on a dual bargraph and sounds an alarm when either level reaches a preset concentration. You should use it if you have an unflued heater in your home, boat, caravan or any indoor space.

7 Jun, 2010

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, 2010

Review: LeCroy WaveAce 112 Digital Storage Oscilloscope

This two-channel, 100MHz Digital Storage Oscilloscope takes up to 500 million samples per second, has comprehensive USB connectivity and a wide range of features in a stylish, compact package

3 Jun, 2010

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: An Australian Perspective

Most readers would be aware that UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are used extensively for surveillance and for bombing missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But did you know that UAVs are being made in Australia? Not only that but they are being sold around the world for a range of applications. The manufacturer is Silvertone, a company with decades of experience and run by Bob Young.

1 Jun, 2010

Servicemans Log

Not all faults in equipment are hardware or software based but are instead due to carbon-based failures or CBFs, as in carbon-based life forms. Unfortunately, CBFs can really waste your time.

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