I get a lot of email with requests to build circuits for people. Most are more than I would want to take on for a simple Hack A Week project without some monetary compensation but this one was unique. The email tells the story.
I love your site and have a request if you are taking them. I’m member of a small volunteer fire dept. I’ve talked to many members of many fire depts over the years and they are always talking about where to get reasonably priced emergency response lights like Whalen or Code3 makes (they run in the hundreds of dollars from these companies). In our state the lights would be flashing red LED’s.
I think it would be great idea if you could show how to build a relatively inexpensive set of flashing lights (if possible) – even better if they can have variable flash patterns.
We don’t make any money and we don’t receive any equipment for personal vehicles, so being able to make our own would be a great benefit to our cause.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and all the great videos!”
How could I turn that one down? My first thought was to use the venerable 555 timer because it’s readily available and easy to use. Since I wanted two banks of lights to flash alternately I could use two 555s in astable mode and drive one of them with pin 3 when it’s off and goes low to ground. The first 555 would be driven by another 555 in astable mode oscillating at the rate of 1 hz.
Once again I referenced Rob Paisley’s awesome 555 timer page where you’ll find all kinds of info and applications for the 555.
I’ll post the final schematic, a PCB layout and a parts list in part 2 next week.
It all becomes clear in the video.
Keep on hackin!
Suppose you’re out on a hike or a hunt and you get stranded by weather and you have to just hunker down and tough it out. How do you start a fire to keep warm? Well here’s a great solution I learned from my Dad. He was an avid hunter and fisherman in the Adirondack mountains where I grew up and he showed me this when I was a teenager. These waterproof fire starters are easy to make and can be easily stashed in a back pack or jacket. No matter how wet they get they’ll still be ready to start a fire.
Follow along now as I show you how to make them.
Keep on hackin… and stay warm!
I received the tubes, a new phono cartridge and needle this week! After installing everything the sound was definitely better but the right channel is still louder than the left one. I pulled the amplifier chassis out and tested the capacitors. These capacitors are of the older paper wound variety and they have a tendency to dry out and fail. After I tested three with the results being bad I decided to just replace them all.
I started looking for these capacitors on the internet and found it hard to find them. They’re non polarized high voltage caps with the leads in an axial configuration meaning they have a lead on each end like a resistor. After searching long enough I found them on the Allied Electronics website. I’ve ordered them and should have them all in a couple weeks. Some were on back order.
In my searching I found several good sites about vintage electronic repair:
Antique Electronic Supply
The last half of this weeks video explains how a phonograph produces sound from a needle in a groove on a record. For a more in depth explanation visit this page:
I hope you enjoy this video and come away with an appreciation for this wonderful old technology that all of us older folks grew up with.
Keep on hackin!
Last year I was given a bunch of vintage electronics and in the pile was a Zenith console stereo from 1960. It actually worked but needed a tune up. I stashed it in our shed for the summer while I worked on other things but now that I seem to be stuck inside due to the cold weather I figured it was time to haul it out and restore it.
After some testing I discovered that a few tubes were in need of replacement. I found the ones I needed on Ebay along with a new phono needle and cartridge.
Follow along now as I take you back in time to 1960.
Enjoy the video and…
keep on hackin!
In the past few years I’ve received a few emails from people asking me to do a video on how to read schematics. Schematics are like a road map for an electrical circuit with lots of lines and symbols that can be confusing to the untrained eye. They are actually not that hard to decipher if you know what all those symbols mean and what the components do. In this week’s video I’ll explain some of the more common symbols and when you’re through watching you’ll have some basic knowledge about schematics.
Here’s a couple of good links with more info on schematics:
Reading schematics for beginners
Enjoy the video and…
keep on hackin.