Posts | Comments

Planet Arduino

Archive for the ‘vintage’ Category

After covering a few of his builds at this point, we think it’s abundantly clear that [Igor Afanasyev] has a keen eye for turning random pieces of antiquated hardware into something that’s equal parts functional and gorgeous. He retains the aspects of the original which give it that unmistakable vintage look, while very slickly integrating modern components and features. His work is getting awfully close to becoming some kind of new art form, but we’re certainly not complaining.

His latest creation takes an old-school “Monopak” electronic flash module and turns it into a desk clock that somehow also manages to look like a vintage television set. The OLED displays glowing behind the original flash diffuser create an awesome visual effect which really sells the whole look; as if the display is some hitherto undiscovered nixie variant.

On the technical side of things, there’s really not much to this particular build. Utilizing two extremely common SSD1306 OLED displays in a 3D printed holder along with an Arduino to drive them, the electronics are quite simple. There’s a rotary encoder on the side to set the time, though it would have been nice to see an RTC module added into the mix for better accuracy. Or perhaps even switch over to the ESP8266 so the clock could update itself from the Internet. But on this build we get the impression [Igor] was more interested in playing with the aesthetics of the final piece than fiddling with the internals, which is hard to argue with when it looks this cool.

Noticing the flash had a sort of classic TV set feel to it, [Igor] took the time to 3D print some detail pieces which really complete the look. The feet on the bottom not only hold the clock at a comfortable viewing angle, but perfectly echo the retro-futuristic look of 50s and 60s consumer electronics. He even went through the trouble of printing a little antenna to fit into the top hot shoe, complete with a metal ring salvaged from a key-chain.

Late last year we were impressed with the effort [Igor] put into creating a retro Raspberry Pi terminal from a legitimate piece of 1970’s laboratory equipment, and more recently his modern take on the lowly cassette player got plenty of debate going. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

If you’ve ever wanted a vintage-style timepiece, or to test your soldering abilities, this clock by YouTuber Electronoobs will let you do both at once. 

It features four display modules that resemble Nixie tubes, each made out of LED filaments soldered onto a steel wire frame. If you find soldering enjoyable and relaxing, this is likely a good project for you; though if not, there are of course other options. 

The device is controlled by an Arduino Nano, along with a MAX7219 display driver to power the LEDs as needed. An RTC module keeps things “ticking” at the correct pace, and a pair of buttons on top of the wooden enclose allow the time to be adjusted as needed.

I’ve made some “Nixie” tubes. These are actually 7-segment displays made with filament LEDs but placed in a plastic bottle so it will have a more vintage nixie look. To control the LEDs I’m using the MAX7219 driver that could control 4 x 7-segment displays. To get the real time, I’m using the DS3231 module that works with an I2C communication so it’s easy to use. The project also has 2 push buttons to set the hour and minute. All is inside a wood case painted with varnish so it will look more vintage.

Check it out in the video below, or see the build write-up for more info.

Maker Thomas Meston needed a “mysterious looking device” that allows players to enter codes obtained via an original party game. What he came up with is entitled “Dr. Hallard’s Dream Transmission Box,” and consists of an Arduino, a party light, a smoke machine, and other components stuffed into a broken National NC-33 ham radio.

This radio makes a really excellent enclosure for the electronics inside, and when the device is properly activated the winning team hears a special message via an Arduino Uno-controlled MP3 shield, accompanied by laser lights and smoke. 

How it works:

  • When the box is switched on you hear static and see a yellow light. The device is ready for the codes to be entered.
  • Once all three dials have been set, the player switches the bottom toggle to “send” state, the box will message back whether team blue or team red has entered any codes with a quick flash of either a red or blue led.
  • If all three dials are set to red codes, the red team wins and hears a special message through the speaker just for them. The laser lights and smoke machine will be activated at the same time.
  • If all three dials are set to blue, a different message will play as well as activating the smoke machine and laser lights.

More info on the project can be found here, and while it might seem like a shame to modify this kind of vintage equipment, Meston notes that he sees this as giving it a nice second life since it was previously non-functional.

keyboard-3A custom keyboard could be right at your fingertips, so why are you still using that basic keyboard that came with your computer?

Read more on MAKE

The post 8 Crazy Keyboards That Will Trick Out Your Typing appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

05emile

Julian Hespenheide is an interaction designer based in Germany who submitted to Arduino blogpost a writing machine called émile. It’s an interactive installation created in collaboration with Irena Kukric, David Beermann, Jasna Dimitrovskais and using Baudot code - a binary 5-bit code, predecessor of ASCII and EBCDID – intended for telecommunication and electronic devices, representing the entire alphabet.

06emile 08emile 09emile 04emile

It runs on Arduino Uno and  translates the bauds (/?b??d/, unit symbol Bd) into moving objects that are being sent over physical tracks in order to illustrate  a simple computational process of 5-bit binary information transmission:

The machine was built in six days with four people. In our group we came to the conclusion, that not every process in a computer is really transparent and it already starts when you type a simple letter on a keyboard. To unwrap this “black box” of data transmission, we set our goal to build a small writing machine where you can literally see bits rolling around. After some research we got back to the beginnings of Telefax machines and data transmission using Baudot-code. We then quickly designed punchcards and mapped them to a slightly altered baudot code table and cut them with a laser cutter from 5mm plywood.
Whenever a marble hits a switch, a short timer goes off and waits for input on the other switches. If no other marbles are hitting those switches, we finally translate the switches that have been hit into the corresponding letter.

Take a look at the machine in action:

 

Lug
30

This Nixie Tube Speedometer Gives Retro-Futuristic Life to a 70s Motorcycle

1971, arduino, cafe racer, Electronics, motorcycles, nixie tubes, Retro, retro-futuristic, speedometer, vintage Commenti disabilitati su This Nixie Tube Speedometer Gives Retro-Futuristic Life to a 70s Motorcycle 

nix-bike1Nixie tubes are interesting pieces of equipment. They have a "retro-futuristic" look that has great appeal to electronics hackers.

Read more on MAKE

The post This Nixie Tube Speedometer Gives Retro-Futuristic Life to a 70s Motorcycle appeared first on Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers.

Lug
01

48 Solenoids Transform This 1960s Typewriter into a Computer Printer

arduino, Computers & Mobile, Corona, Midi, pcb, Retro, solenoid, Tufts, typewriter, vintage Commenti disabilitati su 48 Solenoids Transform This 1960s Typewriter into a Computer Printer 

typewriter-solenoidsSeveral years ago, Chris Gregg, a Tufts University lecturer and computer engineer, received a letter from his friend Erica. This wouldn’t be so unusual, except that it was typed on an actual typewriter, not a printer. Gregg is a fan of vintage typewriters, but, as with myself, makes many mistakes, […]

Read more on MAKE

The post 48 Solenoids Transform This 1960s Typewriter into a Computer Printer appeared first on Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers.

Ott
13

Wood Lizzie is a DIY Soap Box Cart controlled via Wi-Fi

Android, arduino, arduino mega, mega, motor control, shield, soap box cart, Toys, vintage, wifi Commenti disabilitati su Wood Lizzie is a DIY Soap Box Cart controlled via Wi-Fi 

soapcart

In the following 10-minute video, the Currah team is showing us all the details of Wood Lizzie, a project experimenting with Arduino Mega and Wi-Fi Shield, a very flexible steering system and the virtually unlimited control range afforded by WiFi and Internet Protocol:

The original plan was to construct one of the two-wheeled robots very popular with hobbyists but it was eventually decided that the resulting vehicle would be of very limited application and capable only of traversing smooth surfaces. However, note that the current design can be viewed as the drive of a two-wheeled robot coupled with a trailer by means of a 360 degree pivot. A slip ring capsule within the pivot enables the heavy battery and bulky control system to be separated from the drive and located on the trailer thereby distributing weight evenly between the four wheels.

soapcart-inside

DIY soap-carts were pretty common among kids in the first part of the 20th century and built from old pram wheels, scrap wood and, typically, soap boxes. They could provide a lot of fun for the family at very low cost and in recent years there’s a new interest in them especially to those appreciating their vintage look!

 

Set
27

Kit Review – Sinclair Cambridge Calculator

calculator, cambridge, kit, kit review, radionics, review, sinclair, tronixstuff, tutorial, type 3, vintage Commenti disabilitati su Kit Review – Sinclair Cambridge Calculator 

Introduction

It’s no secret that I enjoy kit reviews – it’s always interesting to see how well a kit goes together, along with the quality of parts, documentation and so on. But what about kits from the past? And not 2003. Recently a very rare opportunity to purchase a sealed Sinclair Radionics Cambridge calculator kit appeared on ebay – so it was ordered rapidly and duly delivered to the office. And thus the subject of this review.

You may be familiar with the Sinclair name – Sir Clive Sinclair introduced many innovative and interesting products to the UK and world markets in his own style. Some were a raging success, such as the ZX-series home computers – and some were not. However in 1973 Sinclair introduced a range of calculators, starting with the “Cambridge”. It’s a simple four-function calculator with an LED numeric display and a somewhat dodgy reputation.

The design evolved rapidly and at the Mark III stage it was sold assembled and as a kit. At the time handheld calculators were quite expensive, so the opportunity to save money and get one in kit form would have been quite appealing to the enthusiast – in January 1974 the kit retailed in the UK for 24.95 (+ VAT):

Sinclair Cambridge Calculator Kit advertisement

Assembly

Putting the Cambridge together required a balance of healthy paranoia, patience and woodworker mentality (measure twice – cut once). There wouldn’t be any second chances, or quick runs down to Altronics for a replacement part (well … there was one) so care needed to be taken. If you’re curious about the details, I’ve uploaded 82 full-resolution images from the build, including both instruction manuals and schematic onto flickr. Now to get started.

 The kit arrives in a neat, retail-orientated package:

Sinclair Cambridge Calculator Kit box

… with the components on one side of the foam:

Sinclair Cambridge Calculator Kit contents

… and the other side held he assembly guide (underneath which was a very short length of solder and the carrying case):

Sinclair Cambridge Calculator Kit guide

At this point I was starting to have doubts, and thought it would be better off in storage. But what fun would that be? So out with the knife and the shrink-wrap was gone, revealing the smell of 1974 electronics. Next to whip out the instructions and get started:

Sinclair Cambridge Calculator Kit instructions

They are incredibly detailed, and allow for two variations of enclosure and also offer tips on good construction – as well as the schematic, BOM and so on. Like any kit it’s wise to take stock of the components, which gave us the PCB:

Sinclair Cambridge calculator PCB

Sinclair Cambridge calculator PCB bottom

… the passives, diodes and transistor – and some solder wick:

Sinclair Cambridge Calculator Kit

At this point it turned out the all but one of the resistors were anywhere near the specified values in the instructions, and I wasn’t going to trust those electrolytic capacitors after 39 years. The replacement parts were in stock – including the original 1n914 diode that was missing from the kit. Thanks Clive. There was also a coil of unknown value:

Sinclair Cambridge Calculator Kit coil

… and the ICs, which included the brains of the operation – a General Instrument Microelectronics CZL-550:

CZL-550

… and an ITT 7105N:

ITT 7105N

… a bag of battery clips, buttons and adhesive-backed foam (which deteriorated nicely):

Sinclair Cambridge buttons battery cliips

At this point it was time to fire up the Hakko and start soldering, not before giving the PCB a good hit with the Servisol cleaner spray. I was worried about the tracks lifting while soldering due to heat and old-age, however the PCB held up quite well. The first step is to solder in the clips that hold (just) four AAA cells:

Sinclair Cambridge battery clips

… then the resistors and diodes:

Sinclair Cambridge calculator resistors

… followed by the transistor, ITT IC, ceramic capacitor and coil:

Sinclair Cambridge calculator assembly

Uh-oh – that ceramic went in the wrong hole. One leg was soldered where the coil was to sit. Without wanting to damage the PCB, de-soldering it was a slow, slow process. Then of course I didn’t have a ) 3.3nF in stock, so a quick spin to Altronics solved that problem (I bought 50) – one of which finally went in:

Sinclair Cambridge assembly

The transistor was also a bit of a puzzle, I hadn’t seen that enclosure type and the manual wasn’t much help, so the semiconductor analyser tester solved that problem:

transistor analysis

The next step was to fit the display, which is wedged in the large gap at the top of the PCB. The tracks on the PCB are supposed to meet the display, however time had affected the tracks on the display module, so I soldered small wire links across the gaps:

Sinclair Cambridge Display installation

Following the display were the two (new) electrolytics:

Sinclair Cambridge electrolytic capacitors

And now to the main IC. There wasn’t any second chances with this, and after some very gently pin-bending it dropped in nicely:

Sinclair Cambridge CZL550

After a short break it was time to assemble the keypad, which went smoothly. After cleaning all the foam dust off the buttons, they dropped in to their frame which in turn dropped into the enclosure, followed by the keypad layers:

Sinclair Cambridge keypad installation

You can also see in the display window and shroud have been fitted. From here the PCB is inserted:

Sinclair Cambridge assembly

… and a sticker from years gone by, as well as the metal clip over the bottom of the power switch. At this point a quick test with four AAA cells showed signs of life on the display, so the rear enclosure could be fitted:

Sinclair Cambridge Calculator

Now for the battery and final cover, and it’s ready to go!

Sinclair Cambridge Calculator

The digits are quite sharp, but very small – and set back from the window. This makes photography quite difficult. At the time if your calculator didn’t work, you could send it off to Sinclair and they’d repair or possibly replace it for you:

Sinclair Cambridge return form

Using the Cambridge

Well it works, so you have a calculator which is genuinely useful. However the Cambridge has a few quirks, which are attributed to the basic functions of the main IC. For example, when entering numbers the screen is filled with leading zeros until you select a function, however by using the manual you can complete complex work including square roots, percentages, loan repayments and much more.

Furthermore the Cambridge is quite the silent achiever, you can work with numbers as small as 1x10E-20 and up to 9.9999999E79. You simply enter the numbers in decimal form (e.g. 0.000000000123) … even though the display won’t show all the digits, they’re being stored in a register. To then extract the result, you continually multiply or divide by ten (making note of how many times you do that) until the digits appear on the screen. It sounds nuts today – but in 1974 it would have been a cheap way of avoiding a more expensive calculator. In the following video you can see th Cambridge in action, plus the results of dividing by zero:

More about Sinclair

The following video is a BBC dramatisation of the rise of the home computer in the UK market, and the competition between Sir Clive Sinclair (Sinclair) and Adam Curry (Acorn Computers) – which is quite entertaining:

You can find out more about the history of Sir Clive Sinclair here, and the calculator range here. If anyone can connect us with a Science of Cambridge MK14 computer, contact us.

Conclusion

From a 1974 perspective, that would have been a great kit to make, with some love and care it would have been successful. By today’s standards it was quite average – however you can’t really judge it from a 2013 perspective. Nevertheless, kudos to Sir Clive Sinclair for his efforts in knocking out a useful product as a kit. If you’re a collector, and see a sealed unit on ebay or elsewhere, give it a whirl. Just take your time, “think before doing”, and replace as many of the components as possible. I’ve put all the images in full resolution up on flickr, so you can follow along in more detail.

And while you’re here – are you interested in Arduino? Check out my new book “Arduino Workshop” from No Starch Press.

In the meanwhile have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column? And join our friendly Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.

 

The post Kit Review – Sinclair Cambridge Calculator appeared first on tronixstuff.

Ago
23

Using older Noritake Itron VFD modules

arduino, CU40026SCPB-T20A, display, fluorescent, ise, Itron, Noritake, serial, tronixstuff, tutorial, vacuum, vfd, vintage Commenti disabilitati su Using older Noritake Itron VFD modules 

Introduction

Now and again you come across interesting parts on ebay, from friends or just rooting around in second-hand stores. One example of this was a huge Noritake Itron 40 x 2 character vacuum-fluorescent display from 1994 (or earlier) which was passed on from a client. Originally it looked quite complex, however after spending some time the data sheets were found and it was discovered to have a simple serial interface – and with a little work we’ve got it working, so read on if you’re interested in classic VFDs or have a similar unit.

Getting Started

The model number for our display is CU40026SCPB-T20A. Here’s a quick walk-around, the front:

Noritake VFD

… the back:

Noritake VFD

… the interfaces:

Noritake VFD

… and configuration jumpers:

Noritake VFD

The serial interface baud rate is determined by the jumpers (above), for example:

VFD baud rate jumpersSo comparing the table above against the jumpers on our module gives us a data speed of 19200 bps with no parity. Great – we can easily create such a connection with a microcontroller with a serial output and 5V logic levels; for our examples we’ll use an Arduino-compatible board.

Wiring up the VFD is simple – see the white jumpers labelled CN2 as shown previously. Pin 1 is 5V (you need an external supply that can offer up to 700 mA), pin 2 to Arduino digital pin 7, and pin 3 to Arduino and power supply GND. We use Arduino D7 with software serial instead of TX so that the display doesn’t display garbage when a sketch is being uploaded. Then it’s a matter of simply sending text to the display, for example here’s a quick demonstration sketch:

// Working with Noritake Itron VFD modules - model CU40026SCPB-T20A
// John Boxall 2013

#include <SoftwareSerial.h>
SoftwareSerial VFD(6,7); // RX, TX

void setup()
{
  VFD.begin(19200);
}

void loop()
{
  VFD.print("Hello, world. This is a Noritake VFD "); // You can blast out text 
  do {} while (1);
}

… and the results:

noritake vfd demonstration

If you’re not keen on the colour or intensity of the display, try some Perspex over the top – for example:

Noritake VFD

Controlling the display

At this point you’ll need the data sheet, there’s a couple you can download: data sheet onedata sheet two. As you saw previously, writing text is very simple – just use .print functions. However you may want to send individual characters, as well as special commands to control aspects of the display. These are outlined in the data sheet – see the “Software Commands” and “Character Fonts” tables.

If you need to send single commands – for example “clear display” which is 0x0E, use a .write command, such as:

VFD.write(0x0E); // clear display

Some commands are in the format of escape codes (remember those?) so you need to send ESC then the following byte, for example to change the brightness to 50%:

VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x4C); // brightness
    VFD.write(0x40); // 50% brightness

Armed with that knowledge and the data sheets you can now execute all the commands. According to the data sheet it is possible to change fonts however no matter what the hardware jumper or command we tried it wouldn’t budge from the Japanese katakana font. Your screen may vary. If you use the “screen priority write” function heed the data sheet with respect to the extended “busy” time by delaying subsequent writes to the display by a millisecond.

 Putting it all together

Instead of explaining each and every possible command, I’ve put the common ones inside documented functions in the demonstration sketch below, which is followed by a quick video of the sketch in operation.

// Working with Noritake Itron VFD modules - model CU40026SCPB-T20A
// John Boxall 2013

#include <SoftwareSerial.h>
SoftwareSerial VFD(6,7); // rx, tx

void setup()
{
  VFD.begin(19200); // set speed for software serial port 
  resetVFD();  
  VFDclearsceen();
//  VFD.write(0x12); // vertical scroll mode (on)
}

void resetVFD()
// performs a software reset on the VFD controller
{
  VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
  VFD.write(0x49); // software reset
}

void VFDnewline()
// moves cursor to start of next line
{
  VFD.write(0x0D); // carriage return
  VFD.write(0x0A); // line feed
}

void VFDclearsceen()
// moves cursor to top-left and clears display
{
  VFD.write(0x0E); // clear display 
  VFD.write(0x0C); // form feed - cursor to top-left
}

void VFDbrightness(int amount)
// sets VFD brightness - 25/50/75/100%
// uses ESC sequences
{
  switch(amount)
  {
  case 25:
    VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x4C); // brightness
    VFD.print(0); // 25% brightness
    break;
  case 50:
    VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x4C); // brightness
    VFD.write(0x40); // 50% brightness
    break;
  case 75:
    VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x4C); // brightness
    VFD.write(0x80); // 75% brightness
    break;
  case 100:
    VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x4C); // brightness
    VFD.write(0xC0); // 100% brightness
  }
}

void VFDchars()
// run through characters for selected font
{
  for (int i = 21 ; i < 256; i++)
  {
    VFD.write(0x16); // underline cursor off
    VFD.write(i);
    delay(100);
  }
}

void moveCursor(byte position)
// moves the cursor - top row is 0~39, bottom row is 40~79
// vertical scroll mode must be turned off if used
{
    VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x48); // move cursor 
    VFD.write(position); // location
}

void loop()
{
  VFD.write(0x16); // underline cursor off
  VFD.print("Hello, world - line one."); // You can blast out text 
  delay(1000);      
  VFDnewline();
  VFD.print("Hello, world - line two."); 
  delay(1000);    
  VFDclearsceen();
  VFDbrightness(25);
  VFD.print("*** 25% brightness ***");   
  delay(1000);
  VFDclearsceen();  
  VFDbrightness(50);
  VFD.print("*** 50% brightness ***");     
  delay(1000);
  VFDclearsceen();   
  VFDbrightness(75);
  VFD.print("*** 75% brightness ***");       
  delay(1000);
  VFDclearsceen();   
  VFDbrightness(100);
  VFD.print("*** 100% brightness ***");         
  delay(1000);
  VFDclearsceen();

  VFDchars();
  VFDclearsceen();

  for (int i = 0; i < 80; i++)
  {
    VFD.write(0x16); // underline cursor off
    moveCursor(i);
    VFD.print("X");
    delay(100);
    moveCursor(i);    
    VFD.print(" ");    
  }
  VFDclearsceen();
}

 

Conclusion

We hope you found this interesting and helpful. And if you have an inexpensive source for these old displays, let us know in the comments. Full-sized images are on flickr. And if you made it this far – check out my new book “Arduino Workshop” from No Starch Press.

In the meanwhile have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column? And join our friendly Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.

The post Using older Noritake Itron VFD modules appeared first on tronixstuff.



  • Newsletter

    Sign up for the PlanetArduino Newsletter, which delivers the most popular articles via e-mail to your inbox every week. Just fill in the information below and submit.

  • Like Us on Facebook