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Listing contents with tag Electronics:

Re-making a gear for tape memory

2017-09-24 01:47:52,  In: DIY, Electronics

A long time ago I acquired a microcomputer-grade tape recorder produced by Polish factory: MK-450. The problem with this device and a few other tape drives (like Mera one for large cassettes) and even consumer-grade decks (MK-250) was a poor quality of its gears prone to breakage. Usually, during seeking or playback, a loud crack is heard and tape is pulled into recorder or forward seeking stops working while motor is still heard. Recently I got a possibility to print something with 3D printer, so I decided to experiment with it. In this post I'll show how to re-produce the existing, physical gear into computer model. To quickly show things, the result is nice:

   But... why does it fail?

The plastic used to make these two specific gears (in MK450) is different than polymer used in other gears. It degrades into white, crumbling powder with atmospheric contact and probably...

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Curiosities: Inside a lab-grade power supply from 1970s

2017-08-22 01:17:11,  In: Electronics, Curiosities

Some time ago I was looking for an used adjustable power supply unit. Finally I had a possibility to purchase a 300W adjustable (0.1-30V, 10A max) power supply unit for a relatively lower price. The only thing about it was that it was a unit from early 1970s, transformer-based, 25kg of hardware. I finally got it, brought home and decided to restore it.

It is a ZTR-1/71 power suply unit made by Inco in Poland. In 70s and 80s, Inco (Full name: Zaklad Produkcyjny Aparatury Elektronicznej INCO) was known manufacturer of measurement devices, lab equipment and all "special" production e.g. for military, intelligence or security offices (also devices for communication, location of radio stations or radar applications), so I expected quite interesting things inside. It is still possible to get their old catalog on Silesian...

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Making KiCad work offline

2016-10-26 18:22:31,  In: Electronics, Linux

KiCAD is distributed in many Linux distributions repository or as Windows installer package. Unfortunately most of these installation types have one problem - they don't install, or don't register, component footprint libraries. These libraries used by CvPcb are downloaded from Git repository each time user launches CvPcb. Although theoretical goal of this approach was to offer the user always fresh libraries, in practice it results in few minutes of lag (when the files are downloaded) and few hundred MBs occupied on disk each time. More, if someone used a library which is not available anymore, e.g. has been renamed or joined with another, there will be error message. Or maybe you don't have access to the Internet? So you won't design a PCB. Let's get rid of this Git support at all and use locally-stored libraries updated on demand. In this tutorial both Windows and Linux screenshots will be used.

   Windows version

After launching KiCAD, create a blank project and open Eeschema. Now open CvPcb by...

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Programming PICs with Willem Programmer

2016-08-31 22:52:31,  In: DIY, Electronics

After replacing laser I needed a Modchip for my 20-year-old PS1 console. Following the "DIY" principle I downloaded an archive from Eurasia.nu with dumps of MultiMode 3 mod chip for PIC12F629. It contains even source code! I obtained a blank PIC chip and tried to program it in Willem programmer PCB v. 3. Of course Willem has no support for them. But it is still possible to write to the chip.
The first rule when programming PICs in Willem is to avoid Willem software. It is not well prepared for programming PICs. First of all, PICs have not only configuration bits (like AVR's Fusebits), but also factory-configured last 16-bit word called OSCCAL word. This word is used to calibrate internal RC oscillator and is set separately for each chip in factory, where RC characteristics are verified against real timing. So to program a PIC, you have to read it first, get OSCCAL value and program a new dump with old value good for the particular chip you have in programmer. It's really easy to erase OSCCAL with Willem...

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