15th of April 2017
I have been a little distracted but back on target now. I have been having a play with my current webcam which I use only for skype. It's a Logitech C615, so I thought I should pick up its bigger brother the C920 since it had been reduced. I also had a play with a Nikon Coolpix L31 which I have had for a few years now. I bought a Floureon condenser microphone BM-800, you can see the results of these little tests on my second YouTube channel which is leaning towards art content. A little update to the site as well to reflect the difference of being a content provider and not being tied to a single platform. If the current and ongoing shenanigans that are happening on YouTube teaches me is, don't put all your eggs in one basket.
13th of March 2017
Another interesting sound chip ordered from eBay today (General Instrument AY-3-8910 and the Yamaha YM2149 which are very similar). Some other bits and bobs, mostly job lots of mixed components which I need to sit down and sort.
8th of March 2017
I really wanted to pick up the MOS Technology 6581/8580 SID chip which was the built-in programmable sound generator chip of the Commodore 64 amongst others but I am late to this party by several years and they are well out of my budget. So instead I am looking at using the Yamaha YM3812(OPL2) chip. More components have arrived which has been mainly liquidated stock from eBay. Also a couple of breadboards have arrived with jumper leads and more power modules so I should really start prototyping some ideas.
25th of February 2017
The Casio PT-1 arrived today and the case and keyboard which I bought it for are ok. Not sure how this was kept but I could have an educated guess. At some point the batteries leaked and then with the batteries removed it was thrown into a garden. I couldn't resist spending an hour or so trying to get something out of the audio stages but the PCB is just rotten. I have also been ordering some more chips, mostly op-amps although there are a few ttl/cmos chips thrown in as well for good measure. Thought I would also order some MN3007 chips which are a 1024-stage long delay low noise BBD (bucket-brigade device) that provides a signal delay of up to 51.2msec. They should be interesting to play with and will make it into the synth project. A few more books mostly covering MIDI have been ordered, I have read a few things online and I am keen to synchronize tempo between multiple devices. I have another week off work, using up what paid holidays I had left. I also wanted to link to a good tutorial by Julian Ilett called PIC Assembly language tutorials and his YouTube channel is pretty nifty as well.
21st of February 2017
Again side tracked by eBay, picked up another faulty music keyboard. This time a little Casio PT-1 which is a good contender for a 555 timer project. I also want to get my hands on a working Casio VL-Tone.
20th of February 2017
Well it looks like I have the first project lined up, I was going to start with radios but I was kind of leaning towards a musical project. I should stress I am probably the least musical person you're ever going to meet. There is a retailer called Gear4Music who sell all kinds of musical equipment but more importantly to me is that they sell their b-grade stock on eBay, bless their cotton socks. So I picked up one of their own branded model MK-5000 music keyboards. I have no intention of repairing it but will instead use it to house my own synthesizer project. I will try to recycle what I can. This has however given me a thought, rather than rattling a tin for money which I don't like. I should be thinking about selling off finished projects to fund the YouTube channel.
15th of February 2017
Another day and another batch of components ordered and mostly all bargains. The girlfriend reminded me that I need a workshop/shed. She's right as I am running out space (a small moan). The idea behind buying bulk/cheap components is that they are readily available for the YouTube viewers following along at home. I am also using that rational for through hole components, they are readily available, cheap and very easy to work with although my projects are going to be a mix of through hole and smd. That again is simply price, if I can do something equally well but cheaper with either style then its happy days. Ok it will make the finished pcb slightly larger but it's all cool. Since I am talking about pcbs, I really have the cnc machine bug for milling pcbs.
11th of February 2017
The never ending quest for components continues, with some interesting purchases. Beyond ferrite rods, Philips/Rubycon capacitors, light dependant resisters and thermistors I picked up more books. I want to recommend a few of these and I will start with 'The complete handbook of radio receivers by Joseph J. Carr (1981)'. It's a good book if you're starting out with radio and it was cheap as chips on eBay. I also bought two new books from Ko Tilman who has a YouTube channel, click here to show some love/support. The two books I bought are 'Schematics 2 - Audio amplifier and loudspeaker boxes' and '2-10Mhz shortwave receiver and 1 transistor VFO's' and I recommend both. I also went to my local scrap yard which was a very good source of transformers when I was a boy but things change and I came away empty handed. So I decided to add some components I am yearning after on the support page here on the site, it's mostly all rf stuff from the 70's/80's which I want to play with these old chips before they completely disappear into the void if they haven't already.
28th of January 2017
Looking at components again, mainly coils and formers. Struggling to source them at this point as I want to really concentrate on the lower frequencies and there does seem to be a glut of higher frequency coils. There are lots of formers but mostly all lacking the slugs, so I have ordered a couple of second hand books about constructing them. A couple more books from the series called 'Radio and Television servicing' from the 1980's have arrived. I am going to share a wanted/shopping list here on the site just in case anyone has any surplus components they no longer need. Rattling the tin a little but needs must and all that. I went back into the attic for another attempt at finding my books I had at college, found another two but there is still one missing. If your interested in learning electronics then you should check out this video from Mr Carlson's Lab.
20th of January 2017
Pretty much running on vapours financially this month so I have spent some time buried in books.
10th of January 2017
Delving back into theory after replacing my old Casio fx-82sx with another Casio fx-83gt plus, I left the batteries in it (silly boy). Still a few interesting books to arrive which are part of a set called 'Radio and Television servicing'. I managed to win three on eBay covering 1967-1968, 1972-1973 and 1977-1978. They should make for some interesting content looking back at these designs and should give us lots to experiment with. I am not sure what year they stopped publishing these volumes but I am going to keep my eyes peeled for more appearing on eBay or similar books. They are a snapshot of the technology in that given year, full of information and are worth about £4. I would love to know more about the engineers behind the designs. I think after listening to interviews on YouTube I am getting spoilt, I am sure you already know but do check out The Amp Hour. This also reminds me, I need a links page here on the site.
5th of January 2017
I thought I should have a fiddle with recording today. I have three webcams of varying quality with the best being a Logitech C615. The Creative VF0640 and an Advent AWC113 are pretty poor but for playing about with today served a purpose. For recording I used a program called OBS Studio and I also had a play with an editing program called DaVinci Resolve, links below.
3rd of January 2017
No mail today but I am expecting a lot tomorrow, mostly technical books. I think it's my generations default way of learning although there is a wealth of information on the internet. I still prefer a physical book,luckily there are a lot of good well written and more importantly affordable second hand books looking for a new home. So today I will be mostly finding out about the ins and outs of being a YouTuber, also about the tax side of it. I have also moved the site from a folder on my art/photography site to a subdomain (http://electronics.xplosivbadger.co.uk/) of its own which http://xplosivbadger.me redirects to. The shopping list is getting less I am glad to say.
30th December 2016
Another day and another batch of components arrive in the post. I have been thinking about upgrading my desktop for a while now. To be honest the AMD Phenom II X4 840 Processor which has been and countinues to be my main computer has been a work horse. I intend to strip it down and retire it to the shed to record for YouTube. That does mean I need something to replace it and I was thinking the Intel Core i3 6100 was the best bang for my buck but with AMD Ryzen(Zen architecture) on the horizon I will wait. This is turning into an expensive adventure, so I have set up a Patreon page which I won't share until I am underway. It feels funky asking for money but I would have a real hard neck to make it public before I have even uploaded a single video.
28th December 2016
I decided to take down a wordpress blog I wasn't using and recycle the domain name for this project. Work starts on a simple site to really just act as a directory for the YouTube channel, contact details and a wee journal of the adventure so far. The site is built using Gridiculous a fully responsive grid boilerplate, link below.
17th December 2016
A few random thoughts about hacking one of the webcams to use as a close up camera. A flatbed scanner arrives and is gutted to use as a UV exposure box. I also get my hands on the inside gubbins of two old televisions, a few components are worth scavenging. I need to keep my eyes peeled for some transformers for linear power supplies.
15th December 2016
Ordering components, hardware and a few more pieces of test equipment means this month is a bit of a stramash. I set up the YouTube channel and start reading up on how to best record myself waffling. I already have more than a few webcams which have been used for Skype over the years but none are really going to cut the mustard. Keeping in mind I am doing this on a shoe string budget I have decided a Audio-Technica AT2020USB microphone and a Logitech C920 HD Pro webcam will do the job but I will hold off ordering this at the moment. I couldn't go any higher than 1080p as my internet connection is somewhat lacking. A shed is also required as I need a separate space for this indoors as art rules the roast indoors. Picking up several bargain technical books on eBay.
12th December 2016
I unexpectantly won a small Metrix OX71 Oscilloscope on eBay, it has been well looked after and so far looks to be in spec.
10th December 2016
Although there is a glut of test equipment on eBay when it comes to crt oscilloscopes they are overpriced. So I find myself ordering an old Metrix OX 712 from a surplus store in the Czech Republic. Given the age of this scope I never expected the case to make it in one piece and sure enough it resembled a jig saw when it arrived and they packaged it well. I am not fussed about that, it works but needs a service and the capacitors replaced. It also looks cool. Well worth checking this company out as they has some funky stuff, link below.
1st December 2016
Started playing about with making a header after seeing a photograph on Pinterest, I am trying to get close to the front pages of the early practical wireless magazines.
25th November 2016
I decide in a roundabout way that I would concentrate on analogue radio and audio circuits before venturing into digital. A quick look in the attic and I did find some books on electronics but no sign of my first multi-meter which we all collectively clubbed together to buy in college, back in the day. I am more annoyed at not finding any components, I am sure I kept them along with air spaced variable capacitors. When I was in college there was no internet so now it's like being in a kid in a candy store. It is also a treat having such easy access to datasheets.
14th November 2016
Start looking into designing and making my own pcbs for a few pieces of test equipment. Things have moved on from the adhesive tape/pads system I remember. So I find myself playing about with KiCad and Eagle, both very capable programs. In the short term I am hand drawing the circuits then transferring this loose design onto Microsoft paint. It's not ideal but until I get up to speed with a CAD program it is a means to an end.
Eagle pcb design
12th November 2016
I decided to get back into electronics after being inspired on by several YouTubers. It would be rude not to mention them here so do pay their respective channels a visit,
Mr Carlson's Lab
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