Automatic volume tracking for a TV

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An automatic volume tracker by KA7OEI:

It occurred to me that I did have a reference on which I could base an outboard volume control: The internal speakers of the TV. I surmised that I could “listen” to the audio level coming out of the speakers and based on that, adjust the volume of an outboard amplifier. I figured that this could work if I could place a sense microphone very close to the speaker and in this way the sound level at the microphone would be very high as compared to the room volume of the external loudspeakers and I could make it so that not only would the TV’s internal speakers still be quite low for a fairly high volume from the outboard speakers, but also prevent sound from the outboard speakers from being picked up by the microphone and cause the volume to increase even more in a feedback loop.

To test this theory I hacked together a bit of code that did nothing but measure the audio level from two sources:  A microphone and the audio line output and then dump those levels, in dB, to the serial port where I could see what was going on .  It seemed to look pretty good as the two audio sources seemed to track fairly well.

RC2014/LL and RC2016/10

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Scott Lawrence has written an article detailing his Z80 homebuilt computer, the RC2014:

The RetroChallenge is upon us again!
This time around, I plan on working on my Z80 homebuilt computer, the RC2014. (Website for RC2014, Order a RC2014) For a few months now, I’ve had my RC-2014 computer built, and modified to be an RC2014/LL computer. What this means is, is that I have some modified modules using no additional external hardware.
The above picture shows my RC2014/LL system with its extra RAM module, and the C0 Serial expansion board to the left, with the SD card interface board (SSDD1) on it.

Project info at Scott Lawrence’ blog.

Home-Made Metal Brake

Sometimes, the appropriate application of force is the necessary action to solve a problem. Inelegant, perhaps, but bending a piece of metal with precision is difficult without a tool for it. That said, where a maker faces a problem, building a solution swiftly follows; and — if you lack a metal brake like YouTuber [makjosher] — building one of your own can be accomplished in short order.

Drawing from numerous online sources, [makjosher]’s brake is built from 1/8″ steel bar, as well as 1/8″ steel angle. The angle is secured to a 3/4″ wood mounting plate. Displaying tenacity in cutting all this metal with only a hacksaw, [makjosher] carved slots out of the steel to mount the hinges, which were originally flush with the wood. He belatedly realized that they needed to be flush with the bending surface. This resulted in some backtracking and re-cutting. [Makjosher] then screwed the pivoting parts to the wood mount. A Box tube serves as a handle. A coat of paint  finished the project, and adding another tool to this maker’s kit.

While obviously not of the same capacity as industrial brakes — or even some heavier duty models intended for small shop-use — [makjosher]’s brake is compact, and can be set up on virtually any workbench if the situation calls for it. If you find yourself lacking a needed tool for a project, we’ve featured some other home-made tools before — such as this rotary tool, and even a full bandsaw, that may help you out.

[Thanks for the tip, setvir!]


Filed under: how-to, tool hacks

40 dB attenuator

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A 40 dB attenuator project by Hartmut DK5LH.

Hartmut uses the attenuator to measure the power of his transmitter (2 watts) with a power meter for -80 dBm to -10 dBm
The attenuator is used to reduce the output power of the set to a value that is less than 0.1 milliwatt. (-10 dBm)

More details at PA1B’s QRPp blog.

μPC1237 based 2 channel speaker protector

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Dilshan Jayakody has published a new build:

When working with expensive speaker system, speaker protector is an essential item to avoid any damages to speakers. In this project we build low cost speaker protector by using NEC’s μPC1237 IC. The circuit in this project is based on μPC1237 datasheet and it is specifically modified to work with 24V AC power source and with 24V relay.

Project info at Dilshan Jayakody’s blog.

Shop Made Squareness Comparator

[Stefan Gotteswinter] has a thing for precision. So it was no surprise when he confessed frustration that he was unable to check the squareness of the things he made in his shop to the degree his heart desired.

He was looking enviously at the squareness comparator that [Tom Lipton] had made when somone on Instagram posted a photo of the comparator they use every day. [Stefan] loved the design and set out to build one of his own. He copied it shamelessly, made a set of drawings, and got to work.

[Stefan]’s videos are always a trove of good machine shop habits and skills. He always shows how being careful, patient, and doing things the right way can result in really astoundingly precise work out of a home machine shop. The workmanship is beautiful and his knack for machining is apparent throughout. We chuckled at one section where he informed the viewer that you could break a tap on the mill when tapping under power if you bottom out. To avoid this he stopped at a distance he felt was safe: 0.5 mm away.

The construction and finishing complete, [Stefan] shows how to use the comparator at the end of the video, viewable after the break.


Filed under: tool hacks

DIY Desktop CNC with an Arduino

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Bob Davis has been working on rebuilding his DIY CNC machine:

I have been busy rebuilding my DIY CNC machine. It will be all metal when I get done. It will also include a USB interface, likely an Arduino. None of my computers have a parallel port these days. So something has to be done to resolve that issue.
This first picture is the new metal parts all drilled and ready for assembly. Well maybe ready to be filed so they can be assembled…..

More details at Bob Davis’ blog.

Check out the videos after the break.

ICS501 simple frequency multiplier

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Scott from SWHarden has published a new build:

Today I made a high frequency multiplier using a single component: the ICS501 PLL clock multiplier IC. This chip provides 2x, 5x, 8x (and more) clock multiplication using an internal phased-lock loop (PLL). At less than a dollar on eBay, $1.55 on mouser, and $0.67 on Digikey, they don’t break the bank and I’m glad I have a few in my junk box! I have a 10MHz frequency standard which I want to use to measure some 1Hz (1pps) pulses with higher precision, so my general idea is to use a frequency multiplier circuit to increase the frequency (to 80 MHz) and use this to run a counter IC to measure the number of clock pulses between the PPS pulses.

More details at SWHarden homepage.

Homebrew dummy load

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A simple DIY dummy load project from Flathagen:

I have created a simple 50 Ω dummy load to test transmitters. I also added a simple RF diode detector so I can measure the peak voltage, and calculate the power.
The dummy load consists of eight 100 Ω resistors rated at 2 W so the load should handle 16 W, at least for short periods. I constructed the dummy load using a combination of ugly construction and Manhattan style, by gluing pieces of PCB (as isolation pads) on top of a ground plane PCB. Then I soldered the components directly on the copper without drilling holes.

Project info at DIYcrap.