After a confusing start, (entirely self inflicted complications caused by not just simply doing what the instructions said) the Scope Clock is nearing completion. The final steps went really fast, in fact much easier than expected, and after only a few minutes, it was clear that we are on the right path.
The poor DAC chip looks like it had a tough journey. It was squashed completely flat in the package, and the first task was to straighten the pins, solder the socket onto the board and put the DAC into the socket. There were no other components needed. The two turret pins also needed to be soldered. In total this only took two or three minutes.
At this point, the temptation was simply too great. Even though I only have one lead made up and could only look at a single channel, I just had to have a look what the scope was doing. In the video you can see what it looked like. It was of course totally unreadable, but staring at the pattern for a few seconds, it became clear that something good was going on.
There is no need for the RS232 interface at the moment, but I know I'll just lose the parts if I don't put them on the board right now. One of the cool features of the Dutchtronix Scope clock is that you can link it up to another computer and use it as a terminal (with only very few characters per line, and only few lines.
To complete the build, the RS232 chip (a HIN232ACP, a new one to me) was added and the chunky D-Type socket.
After all that, plugging the board into the scope with both channels immediately gave a picture that was recognizable. It was turned on it's side and back to front, but it was clearly a clock face. Switching the X and Y axis and turning off a channel invert made the clock face appear correctly.
How cool is that?
Recently a Dutchtronix Oscilloscope clock module arrived by post, and it seems a really nice kit. Oscilloscope (or just "Scope") clocks have a fairly limited appeal, but the people they appeal to really, really like them. They are, in all seriousness, the pinnacle of geekness.
Q1: Who has a scope?
A1: A geek.
Q2: Who has a scope clock?
A2: A cool geek.
This article takes us through the first part of the build of the clock.
I really struggled when I was writing this, and even after thinking about it some more, I'm still not convinced I got the right answer. Perhaps I'll never know, and will always have to live with that nagging feeling that things might have been different, if only I had made a different decision...
I was poking around on http://hackaday.com/ and found this: http://hackaday.com/2015/07/14/unusual-nixie-tubes-lead-to-unique-clock/. It's a clock. That's what the title says.
My issue was that it was hard to decide what category to put it into, and in the end, only a process of elimination gave me an answer. The title says that it's a tube clock. Those are clearly tubes in there, but is it a clock? It's not based around Numitrons or VFDs, so clearly it doesn't belong there. It wasn't found on eBay, and no one submitted it, so those categories don't fit, either. But I can't quite bring myself to put it in the "Nixie Tube Clock" category, because I'm not sure it's really a clock.
So, apparently, according to the Merriam Webster definition, it is a clock, because you can tell the time with it. Only I can't. I guess it is my lack of imagination, or just that I'm neither fluent in octal time nor do the symbols mean very much to me. (Meaning they do, individually, in different contexts, but not here).
Octal? Yes, well, the tubes only have 8 cathodes in them, so as well as not understanding the digits, it's not even a number system you can use. Even the guy who made it has a chart next to it to decode the time it tells you. For example, the decimal time"12:34:55" becomes "14:42:67" in octal, or in the language of this clock "FV:VHz:HA". Or something. In any case, you're going to be late for that meeting.
Maybe I need to have a new category "Nixie Tube Stuff, but not a clock".
I do understand the idea. If you have a box of tubes with symbols on them, and don't make equipment to measure Frequency, Resistance or Volts, what are you going to do with them? I have a box of IN-15s, and I have no idea what to do with them.
So, in the end, I put it into the "Non-Clocks" category. Perhaps I'm wrong.
Here's a full video of the madness:
Let me know what you think in the comments. Am I a small-minded bourgeois square with no imagination, or should we all have one of these?
We're clearing out the catalogue at the moment, and found this design for a tried and tested Adjustable High Voltage Generator, which we used to sell, but have archived now, simply because there are so many designs out there, we can't make any money off it.
So, we're putting this design out there in the public domain, for anyone who wants to use as they see fit. There's nothing really special about the design, but it's a tried and tested unit, of which we have sold hundreds in the past.
The output voltage is continuously adjustable from 40V to over 200V and the output power is up to 5W.
The Eagle project is here:
This is a decommissioned Eagle project, which we used to sell, but there are so many possibilities out there, we decided to just make this public domain.