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www.poptronics.

com JULY 2000

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www.americanradiohistory.com
July 2000, Vol. 1, No. 7
Et cs ular Electronics

O troniCS
THE MAGAZINE FOR THE HANDS-ON ELECTRONICS ACTIVIST!

PR1 ProService Review-follows page 103.


FEATURES
The 2000 National Professional Service Convention, building great
29 A HIGH -POWERED Web sites, and more.
TESLA COIL
Everyone loves high - voltage equipment!
The sheer excitement of man -made DEPARTMENTS
lightning and the smell of ozone instill
awe and wonder in anyone who has 6 COMPUTER BITS
witnessed this equipment in operation. Film at 11. Ted Needleman scans and digitizes film slides to store
Our Tesla coil is large enough to throw them on a disk.
30 -inch sparks.
-Robert lannini and 9 NET WATCH
Chester H. Lawrence Joe Black takes a look at various services for making free or low -
cost telephone calls over the Internet.
43 CALL ALERT
Unsolicited telephone calls can be very frustrating. One solution is 15 PROTOTYPE
to turn off your phone's ringer when you don't want to be dis-
Neural -network avionics, quantum computers, high -performance
turbed. Give your friends a secret code, and they can let you know
search -engine chips, microgravity -generated optical fibers, com-
when they are calling.
puter- security protocols, and thunderstorm detectors.
-Raymond C. Buck Ill
20 AMAZING SCIENCE
48 PC KEYBOARD
Learn the basics of superconductors from John lovine in prepara-
Learn how the IBM AT keyboard works. With that knowledge, you
tion for some super -cold experiments.
can recycle old keyboards into a new project, add one to an exist-
ing device, or even build an input device that can take the place of
a keyboard. 24 Q &A
-Craig Peacock You've got questions? Michael Covington has the answers.

59 SERVICE CLINIC
Sam Goldwasser discusses VCR sensors.
PRODUCT REVIEWS
3 GIZMO 62 ROBOTICS WORKSHOP
Digital -audio player, wireless modem, voice -controlled car stereo, Gordon McComb shows you how to use DC motors.
two -way family radio with weather reports, laptop carry case/desk,
all -in -one boombox, digital-video camcorder, Internet streaming - 65 BASIC CIRCUITRY
audio broadcaster, high-definition receiver/computer monitor, sig- LEDs for fun and "prophet" with Charles Rakes
nature digitizer.

AND MORE
2 Editorial 71 Poptronics Shopper
12 Letters Inside The Back Cover:
55 New Gear Advertising Index
57 New Literature Free Information Card

Poptronics (ISSN 1526 -3681) Published monthly by Gernsback Publications, Inc. 275 -G Marcus Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788. Second -Class postage paid at Hauppauge,
NY and at additional mailing offices. One -year, twelve issues, subscription rate U.S. and possessions $24.99, Canada $33.15 (includes G.S.T. Canadian Goods and
Services Tax Registration No. R125166280), all other countries $33.99. Subscription orders payable in U.S. funds only, International Postal Money Order or check drawn
on a U.S. bank. U.S. single copy price $4.99. Copyright 2000 by Gemsback Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Hands -on Electronics and Gizmo trademarks are regis-
tered in U.S. and Canada by Gemsback Publications, Inc. Poptronics trademark is registered in U.S. and Canada by Poptronix, Inc. and is licensed to Gernsback
Publications, Inc. Printed in U.S.A.
Postmaster: Please send address changes to Poptronics, Subscription Dept., P.O. Box 459, Mount Moms, IL 61054 -7629

A stamped self -addressed envelope must accompany all submitted manuscripts and /or artwork or photographs if their return is desired should they be rejected. We dis-
claim any responsibility for the loss or damage of manuscripts and /or artwork or photographs while in our possession or otherwise.

As a service to readers, Poptronics publishes available plans or information relating to newsworthy products, techniques, and scientific and technological developments.
Because of possible variances in the quality and condition of materials and workmanship used by readers, Poptronics disclaims any responsibility for the safe and prop-
er functioning of reader -built projects based upon or from plans or information published in this magazine. 1

www.americanradiohistory.com
Poptronics Editorial
Larry Steckler, EHF, CET,
editor- in-chief and publisher

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT
Joseph Suda, managing editor
Sharing The Wealth
Evelyn Rose, assistant editor
Nancy Serenita, editorial assistant There's one common trait that everyone-including you and me- shares,
regardless of our race, creed, ethnic background, social status, or even educa-
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
Joe Black tional standing. In his book, The Dilbert Principle, Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame)
Michael A. Covington, N4TMI said it best:
Sam Goldwasser
John lovine We're all stupid.
Gordon McComb
Ted Needleman
Charles D. Rakes What he meant by that is not as a blanket condemnation, but rather as an
Teri Scaduto assessment of a person's knowledge base in a particular subject. For example,
I feel that have a somewhat functional knowledge in terms of the piano from
I

PRODUCTION DEPARTMENT both a technical (how it works) and musical (how to use it) standpoint; don't con-
I

Ken Coren, production director


Kathy Campbell, production manager sider myself "stupid" in that subject. On the other hand, while understand the
I

Michele Mus, prepress specialist very general concepts behind doing a "ring job" on an automobile engine, have I

absolutely no practical knowledge or experience in performing such a task.


ART DEPARTMENT When the time comes that get tired of dumping extra quarts of oil into my old
I

Russell C. Truelson, art director "diesel" Saturn (gasoline goes in the fuel tank, but boy does it burn oil!), I'll have
a qualified mechanic do the work; at least I'll be comforted in the knowledge that
CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT
Gina L. Gallo, circulation manager most, if not all, of the parts that are supposed to go back into the engine won't
be left behind on the shop floor.
REPRINT DEPARTMENT
Nancy Serenita, Reprint Bookstore Assuming that the mechanic doesn't know anything about classical music, who's
the stupid one?
BUSINESS AND EDITORIAL OFFICES
Gernsback Publications, Inc. Answer: Both and neither at the same time.
275-G Marcus Blvd.
Hauppauge, NY 11788 We can't know everything; as far as know, only the Supreme Being's resume
I

631 -592 -6720


has that entry. The best that we can do is to pick up hints, tips, and pointers as
Fax: 631 -592 -6723
President: Larry Steckler we travel through Life. After all, we aren't born with knowledge; someone else
Vice -President: Adria Coren has to teach us. As sometimes respond to the question, "May ask you a ques-
I I

Vice -President: Ken Coren tion?", "I can answer every single question in the world. Most of the time, unfor-
tunately, the answer is 'I don't know. -
SUBSCRIPTION
CUSTOMER SERVICE/
ORDER ENTRY We are now living in what has been referred to as the Information Age -where
800 -827-0383 Knowledge is the measure of Power and Wealth. Teaching others can be one of
7:30 AM - 8:30 PM EST the greatest thrills you can experience when you see the light of understanding
fill their eyes as they say, "Oh...now get it!"
I

Advertising Sales Offices


listed on inside back cover
Have you picked up a little trick when testing equipment? How about a sneaky
shortcut when designing circuits? What have you learned that's useful and prac-
Cover by Michele Lyn Mus tical in the electronics field? Have you read something in one of our magazines
Cover illustration by Amy Cott that you use in an unusual or novel way? If you think that others would benefit
from what you've learned, tell us about it; we'll print the best ones as space and
VISIT US ON THE INTERNET AT: time permits. Through the pages of Poptronics, you can teach others.
www.gernsback.com/poptronics
Help fight stupidity -share the wealth.

Since some of the equipment and circuitry


described in POPTRONICS may relate to or be
covered by U.S. patents, POPTRONICS disclaims
any liability for the infringement of such patents
by the making, using, or selling of such equipment
or circuitry, and suggests that anyone interested in Joseph Suda
such projects consult a patent attorney. Managing Editor
2

www.americanradiohistory.com
GIZMO
Personal Digital Audio Player
The latest version of Philips' Rush Model SSA107 digital audio player
($299.99) accepts a 65- megabyte SmartMedia Card that allows it to
play up to two hours of CD-quality digital music that's been down-
loaded from the Internet. Rush is bundled with RealNetworks'
RealJukebox software, which provides everything needed to acquire,
play, manage, and transport your digital music collections, including
songs from CDs that have been "ripped" (converted) into digital music
files as well as audio files downloaded from the Net. The player is also
"AudibleReady" you can play any of the more than 20,000 hours of spoken -
word audio that's available at audible.com. The software for Audible's Internet
audio service is also bundled with the player.
The Rush player connects to a PC via a parallel -port interface. The included car
adapter provides easy connection to a car stereo. The device measures less than three
inches square and one inch deep. Because the player has no moving parts, playback is not
affected by bumping or jarring. Bookmark functions make it easy to find a desired song or talking book, and extended long play
mode provides up to 12 hours of listening.
Philips Consumer Electronics, 64 Perimeter Center East, Atlanta, GA 30346 -6401; 770 -821 -2400; www.philips.com.
CIRCLE 50 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD

Surfing, Anyone?
Internet- related products such as computers and WebTV are finding
their way into the living room, and more homes are adding multiple com-
puters. This fall, to accommodate this new trend, Thomson multimedia is
introducing the RCA WMJ900 wireless modem ($249) that provides
access to the phone line from any location in the home.
Consisting of two transceiver units-a base and an extension, the col-
orful modem has a high -tech look that complements most any room. The
base connects to any phone line in the home, while the extension unit is
connected to a laptop, PC, or other Internet product. Data is transmitted via
RF from the computer to the base unit where the modem connection is
' Fl

made, as well as between PCs at speeds of 115k.


The 56k duplex modem incorporates 900 -MHz digital speed spectrum circuitry and is V.90 compatible. The extension unit
operates off the power of the laptop or PC, but also comes with two DC power adapters for extended operations. The WMJ900
comes with a three -foot RS232 serial cable, a six -foot phone with RJ -11 plugs, one mini DIN /DC jack with PS /2 connectors
for connection to the extension, and a 3.5 disk with setup drivers.
Thomson Consumer Electronics, 10330 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46290; www.rca.com.
CIRCLE 51 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD

FRS + Forecasts
How can you stay in touch with the other members of your camping (or hiking, or biking, or hunting) party
and stay up to the minute on the latest weather conditions? Uniden's FRS550W Family Radio Service radios
($99.95 each) provide two -way communications and are equipped to receive all seven NOAA weather fre-
quencies, allowing you to tune in the latest forecasts and warnings. The radios boast a range of up to two miles
and offer 14 channels and an automatic channel -scan feature to find an open transmission. A backlit LCD indi-
cates the channel being used, and 38 "privacy codes" (CTCSS tone codes) are available to cut down on chatter i Q
from other on- channel conversations. The FRS550W features voice activation as well as a vibration mode that .. , O
makes the radio vibrate when there is an incoming transmission.
Uniden America Corporation, 4700 Amon Carter Blvd., Ft. Worth, TX 76155; 817- 858 -3300;
3
www.uniden.com. CIRCLE 52 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD

www.americanradiohistory.com
GlZ1V1O
"This is Your Driver Speaking II

JVC's ELKameleon KD -LX50 in -dash CD- player /receiver ($429.95) uses proprietary voice - recognition technology that
allows the driver to control the system using spoken commands. Without taking his hands off the wheel, the driver can, for
example, operate the system by speaking commands such as "CD," to switch the unit from FM to the CD player. The system
can recognize and respond to 25 spoken commands. The set includes a microphone, a remote control, arld a hideaway unit
powered via JVC's J -Link system. A button on the remote is used to
activate the voice-recognition system.
The mobile stereo also features JVC's aKameleon anti-theft sys-
tem, which automatically retracts the system's controls and switch-
es off the LCD display to make it blend in with the console when
the ignition is turned off. The unit's BBE II High- Definition Sound
system is said to correct phase delay and distortion to ensure that
the output sound (rated at 45 wattsX4) remains true to the origi-
nal recording. Audio Cruise mode automatically adjusts volume levels to
offset changing engine, wind, and road noises. CD changer control functions, including Direct Disc Select and two-mode
repeat /random play, will provide complete control over a JVC 12 -disc changer, which can be connected easily using the com-
pany's J -Link connection. For "car theater" applications, full- function VCR control is included. Other features include a large,
multi-color LCD and CD Text capability.
JVC Americas Corporation, Mobile Entertainment Division, 1700 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ 07470; 973 -315 -5000;

-ter
N'WW.JVC.COm.
CIRCLE 53 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD

Signature Capture System


An interactive pen and tablet system with LCD graphic display, the
SignatureGem LCD4x3 from Topaz Systems ($495) is used to electronically fill
out and sign transactions. The LCD4x3 supports navigation functions, allowing
the user to move between computer -guided screens with a tap of the pen, dis-
playing graphics, instructions, text, and logos, while activating checkboxes and
capturing handwritten e- signatures.
Featuring a 4- by 2.5 -inch LCD screen that displays "electronic ink" under
the pen as you sign, the system completely eliminates the paperwork involved
with gathering form information and signatures. Organization, storage, and
retrieval of signed transactions or documents is instantaneous. Topaz
GemTools software completes the package, which transfers and binds the sig-
nature to an e-document by means of encryption and provides signature verification. All
software updates are available free from the Web site.
Topaz Systems, Inc., 650 Cochran St., Unit 6, Simi Valley, CA 93065; 805-520 -8282; www.topazsystems.com.
CIRCLE 54 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD
i

You Can Take It With You


Although laptops offer many conveniences, laptop users
have had to make do without a solid work platform and writ-
ing space when on the road. Until now. The LapPro from
Quantum Creations ($139) incorporates a versatile one -strap
system, work -in -case design, and padded internal frame in a
portable desk -top computer case.
It is ergonomically designed for use in vehicles (strapped to
Sitting Down passenger seat), in airplanes (slim design fits under seat), and
in any type of chair. It also can be used hands free while stand-
Standing Up ing since the back strap allows users to work at their laptop
while in line or in the field. Despite its thin profile, the case
boasts a large carrying capacity with expandable compartments for peripherals, files, and legal -size documents.
Quantum Creations, P.O. Box 2011, South San Francisco, CA 94083; 800- 289 -2537; www.lap-pro.com.
CIRCLE 55 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD

Gizmo is published by Gernsback Publications, Inc., 275 G Marcus Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788. Senior Writers: Christopher Scott
4 and Teri Scaduto. Copyright 2000 by Gernsback Publications, Inc. Gizmo is a registered trademark. All rights reserved.

www.americanradiohistory.com
GIZMO
Mini DV Camcorder !111TH
Ready to jump on the digital video bandwagon? Check out Samsung's Model SCD70 -

Mini DV camcorder ($1099.99). The compact camera has a flip -out, three -inch
color LCD screen and a color viewfinder. It boasts a 22X optical zoom and
a digital image stabilization function. The camcorder doubles as a digital still
camera and uses a 4 -MB SmartMedia Card for storage. Stills are captured
with a resolution of up to 640 X 480 pixels. The camcorder comes with all the
software and cables needed to interface with a computer through a serial RS-
232C port or an IEEE 1394 (Firewire) port.
Samsung Electronics, 105 Challenger Road, Ridgefield Park, NJ 07600-0511;
201 -229 -4000; www.sosimple.com.
CIRCLE 56 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD

Full -Flat Monitor /Receiver


You can view virtually any type of television or computer image on Proton's
WDT-3401 VT 34 -inch Full-Flat high -definition TV monitor /receiver
($6000). The widescreen set offers 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios and is fully com-
patible with all 18 digital TV formats. Dual RGB inputs (one rear and one
front -panel RGB -A/V) allow easy connection of computers; the monitor dis-
plays standard VGA (640 X 480), SVGA (800 X 600), and XVGA (1024 X
768) images. S-Video and A/V inputs are also conveniently located on the
front panel. Dual component inputs are available for connecting a DVD play-
er and an HDTV /SDTV set -top box.
High DC restoration, special three -line digital comb filters, black-level exten-
sion, and video noise - reduction technology are said to produce a brilliant, finely detailed picture. The monitor offers parents a
channel -block feature and V -chip. The built -in audio system includes dual 10 -watt bi-amplified speakers and dual -18-watt
subwoofers. The audio -effects switch can be used to select stereo, mono, extra bass, or spatial expansion mode, which uses the
Spatializer audio processor to create a three- dimensional surround-sound experience.
Proton U.S.A., 13855 Struikman Road, Cerritos, CA 90703 -1031; 562 -404 -2222; www.proton-usa.com.
CIRCLE 57 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD

Cool Boombox
Taking aim at Generation Y, Casio's CD -312S CD Boombox offers hip styling in two
trendy colors (silver or white) and an appealing $49 price tag. The portable music
system includes a CD player with one -key operation, five -second intro play, and
one-repeat /all -repeat function. Up to 24 tracks can be programmed into mem-
ory for customized playback. The CD -312S also contains a cassette player with
automatic record -level control and auto -stop, an AM /FM stereo tuner, and a
Bass Boost System
20665 Manhattan Place, Torrance, CA 90501;
Casio Communications, Inc.,
310- 618- 9910; www.casiocommunications.com.
41,=M
CIRCLE 58 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD

Radio From Your Computer


The Broadcast Vision Netplay Radio FMP3 transmitter ($189) turns PC /MAC computers
^. 7
;PLAY RADIOS Musk FW into personal wireless radio broadcasting stations, enabling the receiving of downloaded
Transmitter Modal FMF

V
music or entertainment files with any FM receiver. The included cable is plugged into the
computer's sound -out port, and patch cords connect to the Netplay FMP3 transmitter's
right and left stereo input channels. Sound level is controlled by the computer and moni-
tored by an LED readout on the front panel of the FMP3.
Files stored on the computer are then selected, and any open FM stations (from 87.5 to 107.9) is tuned in on the FMP3 trans-
mitter. The transmitter, which is a compact 5fi by 4 by 1/inches, broadcasts clear stereo programming on home stereo syst-
ems, Walkman -type receivers, boom boxes, or car radios. The unit includes an adjustment for near and far reception and has
a built-in antenna.
Broadcast Vision, 5126 Clareton Dr., Suite 160, Agoura Hills, CA 91301; 800- 770 -9770.
CIRCLE 59 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD
5 f
www.americanradiohistory.com
TED.E.o.....
COMPUTER

FILM AT
There are two recurring themes through the media onto the sensor,
that you'll find in the topics I
rather than reflecting it from the object
cover in this column. The first is graph- being scanned -isnot really the best
ics, which Iam fascinated with, but way to capture small format (such as
have little actual talent for. The second 35mm) film, negatives, or slides.
is organization, such as using the PC The reason for that has to do with
to reconfigure and organize my music resolution. Normally, most flatbed
collection from vinyl LPs to polycar- scanners have a true optical resolution
bonate CD -Rs. This emphasis on of about 600 dpi. Using a mathemati-
organization, which this and a few cal technique called interpolation, the
upcoming columns will touch upon, is scanning software can estimate what
no coincidence. Aside from calculating the scanned image will look like at
ballistics tables for the Army, which much higher resolutions, often up to
many of the earliest computers were 9600 dpi. The problem is that despite
developed to do, some of the earliest its fancy name, interpolation is just a
Before you can scan, you must first mount the
uses for computers were organization- process of guessing what the unseen
fbn into a special holder
al in nature. pixels actually look like. The guess is
For example, the first large -scale old boys, Bryan and Scott, took over. made by sampling the pixels around
use of tabulating equipment and The artwork is pretty much all scanned, the one that can't be imaged and using
Hollerith cards (those old 80- column the printable CD -Rs almost finished a statistical process to estimate the
punch cards that many of us grew up printing, and about 30 percent of the color, shade, and brightness of the un-
with) was by the US Census Bureau. albums transferred. After all, one of the imaged pixel. The big problem is that
Many of the businesses that pur- terrific benefits of having kids is that they to get to a decent resolution, such as
chased the original general -purpose can finish the projects you start. 4800 dpi, you have to perform multiple
computers did so to store business The success of that project, howev- interpolations. Doing this results in the
records, usually on large reels of tape. er, has also sparked an expectation software "guessing" pixels based on
that I'll make an effort to organize other pixels that it has previously interpolat-
EVERYTHING IN ITS areas, such as the boxes of photo- ed, rather than imaged.
PLACE? graphic negatives and slides and the In many "normal" scans, you'll
I've had computers since they 33- gallon tubs that contain magazines hardly ever need to interpolate the res-
became practical for individuals to own and papers with the more than 2000 olution up. For most image printing,
them. Yet I've been able to steadfastly articles, reviews, and columns I've
avoid becoming overly organized. To written. How could throw those out?
I

be honest about it, I'm about as far Actually, both problems are pretty
from organized as a person can be similar, at least conceptually. I'll solve
and still survive to mention it. the photographic problem this month,
That wouldn't be half -bad, except the paper problem next month. Both of
that I'm also something of a pack rat. It these problems require a two -step
bothers me to get rid of anything. My approach. The first step is to convert
wife and kids do help, egging me on to the media into an electronic digital for-
dump software that's come for review mat. Then, once that has been accom-
and will never be looked at again. But plished, can apply an out-of- the-box
I

not only do have the photos that were


I solution to organizing the media.
taken on my honeymoon, more than We've talked about scanners sev-
30 years ago, still have the negatives
I eral times in this column. I'm a big fan
as well. of flatbed scanners and have several
Several issues back, detailed the hooked up to various PCs. But a The film or slide holder is then placed into the
I

great record-to -CD -R project. Once I flatbed scanner -even with a trans- slot in the scanner's front panel, and the TWAIN
6 nailed down the procedure, my 13 -year parency adapter that directs the light driver is launched to perform the scan.

www.americanradiohistory.com
about $225 for the model with a USB
adapter that used.
I

The scanner itself is very compact,


measuring only 8 X 4.4 x 4.6 inches
(LDH) and weighing about 4.5 pounds.
The standard model comes with a paral-
lel -port interface. The one used also
I

provided a USB adapter that plugs into


the parallel -port connector on the scan-
ner and a USB port on the PC. prefer to I

use USB wherever possible, as find that I

adding peripherals into the printer


stream, even when they provide pass -
C,screen throughs, frequently tends to muck things
up. For example, the parallel -port version
of Intel's AnyPoint home phoneline net-
work simply doesn't work if you also have
a parallel -port Zip drive in the series. USB
also tends to provide better performance,
as it is a very fast I/O port compared to a
parallel -printer connection.
The ArtiScan 2400FS comes with
several CD -ROMs -worth of software,
The AtriScan 2400FS's TWAIN driver provides an easy -to -use interface for capturing film and slide
images and making initial adjustments on them. including two different imaging and
document management applications,
the rule of thumb is to scan at half the Olympus, one of my favorite vendors, DocMan and DocPal. There's also a
resolution that you'll print with. And offers a nice scanner, the ES -10, for very comprehensive TWAIN driver that
except for photographic quality, you about $399. If you also shoot a lot of works with other TWAIN -compatible
can usually get away scanning at even film in the new APS (advanced photo Windows applications you may have
a lower resolution than that. system) format, the ES -10 is a good installed.
The exception to this rule is when scanner to consider, as it offers an That's convenient, as tend to stay
I

you are scanning a photograph (or APS adapter for $199 that lets you just with those applications I've grown
slide, film, or negative) that will be drop in a cartridge containing devel- comfortable with (and facile in) over
enlarged before printing. In this situa- oped APS film and scan the film direct- the years, including Ulead's Photo -
tion, you need to scan at a very high ly into the software. Impact and Adobe PhotoShop for
resolution, as you need as much My needs were a bit more modest image editing, and ScanSoft's Paper-
image data as possible available when and were easily met by the ArtiScan Port for image and document manage-
you are printing at a size that's larger 2400FS scanner from Tamarack Tech- ment. ScanSoft keeps buying other
than the original. If you're just going to nologies, Inc. The ArtiScan 2400FS companies in the low-end of the docu-
scan a couple of slides or negatives, handles only 35mm film, negatives, ment- management market, and at the
and image quality doesn't need to be and slides. It offers great 2400 dpi opti- current time, now provides PaperPort,
that high quality, a transparency - cal resolution, and it is a bargain at Pagis, and Caere's PageKeeper, as
adapter- equipped flatbed scanner is $200 for the parallel -port model or well as a host of other software prod-
fine. Plenty of vendors, such as ucts for OCR (optical character recog-
Genius and Microtek, offer them at VENDOR INFORMATION nition) and image manipulation.
reasonable prices. It's a different story, Installing the ArtiScan 2400FS took
however, if you have lots of transmis- about five minutes, and was in busi-
I

ScanSoft, Inc. ness. The scanner comes with two


sive media that you want to capture at 9Centennial Dr.
high -quality resolution levels. Peabody, MA 01960
plastic holders. One is for strip film or
The answer to this dilemma is a 978 -977 -2000 negatives; the other will hold a bunch
specialized film scanner. These are www.scansoft.com of slides. Mount the film (or slides) in
especially designed for small- format the holder and gently place the holder
transmissive media. They also feature Tamarack Technologies, Inc. into the slot in the front of the scanner.
1521 W. Orangewood Ave. You can launch the scan process in
denser CCD image arrays, which pro-
Orange, CA 92868
vide a much higher optical resolution one of two ways -from a desktop icon,
714-744 -3979
than a flatbed. That allows you to inter- www.tamarack.net
or, the way Iusually do, through the
polate, when necessary, without intro- Acquire menu choice on a TWAIN -
ducing multiple generations of inaccu- Ulead Systems, Inc. compatible Windows application. This
racies into the final file. 970 West 190th St., Suite 520 brings up the scanner driver, where
Many film scanners, from vendors Torrance, CA 90502 you can adjust the settings and scan
310 -523 -9393 either the individual images /slide or
like Minolta and Polaroid, aren't cheap,
www.ulead.com
with prices up to and over $1000. the entire holder's worth. Scanning 7

www.americanradiohistory.com
time depends on the resolution you've
set, but at the optical maximum of 2400
dpi takes about 90 seconds per image. It
Books that Bridge
really depends on the resolution as well
as what type of PC you have the scanner
hooked up to. Mine is attached to a real
rocket, a Micron Millennium Max 600
Theory & Practice
electronics enthusiasts discovered that the bridge from
Many
(600 -MHz) Pentium Ill.
I'm currently scanning the image
classroom theory books to hands -on project building is difficult
into PaperPort 5.0 first, then using the to span at times without a handy pocket guide. Even the equipment man-
link at the bottom of the PaperPort ual to operate a gadget often makes things murkier rather than clearer. A
desktop to launch Photolmpact 5.0, compact text authored by a seasoned expert with hands-on knowledge
adjusting the brightness and color to and a knack of writing in an easy -to- understand style is many times
try and make up for old film sitting in a
box for years. When I'm satisfied with
more valuable than the price of ponderous theory and equipment manu-
the results, let PaperPort save it into
I
als or the parts for a project that could be damaged. Here's a sampler of
a "filing cabinet" drawer, so it will be some titles you may want to own!
easy to find in the future. The great
ELECTRONIC HOBBYIST DATA BOOK -The info you need to transport you
thing about this is that can get a cou-
I

from the schematic diagram to project parts. Pin -outs, color codes, truth tables,
ple of strips of film scanned and
parts parameters, etc. Order BP396- $10.99 Includes S & H
tweaked in 15 minutes or so. may
-A
I

take a couple of months to finish off, PRACTICAL INTRODUCTION TO SURFACE MOUNT DEVICES technolo-
but, at the end, I'll burn some CD -Rs, gy that spun off the automated assembly line into the grasp of experimenters
make up labels that describe the con- and project builders. Order BP411- $9.99 Includes S & H
tents, and have the images safely THE PRE -COMPUTER BOOK-Aimed at the absolute beginner with little or
stored on optical media. no knowledge of computing. A non -technical discussion of computer bits and
Next time, we'll start to attack the moun- pieces and programming. Order BP115- $2.99 Plus $2.00 S & H
tains of paper that have built up here over PRACTICAL OSCILLATOR CIRCUITS -If
your budding project requires an

-I
the years. My wife will appreciate that! P oscillator, you can design it and build it from the many types described here in
a hobbyist- friendly style. Order BP393- $9.99 Includes S & H

tVnX PRACTICAL PIC MICROCONTROLLER PROJECTS-This book covers a


wide range of PIC based projects. In most cases the circuits are very simple and
HOME AUTOMATION KIT they are easily constructed. Order BP444- $7.99 Includes S & H
Software Included
Use Existing Wiring
Simple Inexpensive 1d +* Th. Pr.- computor
1-800 -928 -5299 www.marrickltd.com Boats Book
(r A Practical
O.
Introduction to
Surface Mount
Devices
MULTIMEDIA
on the PC!
What is Multimedia? What can
it do for you? It can do lots
of nice things! This 184 -page
book helps you create your own
multimedia presentation. Mul-
timedia applications by people like you can BP998 BP411 BP115 BP393 BP444
revolutionize educational and business applications as r
well bring more FUN, FUN, FUN into your leisure
computer activities.
Electronics Technology Today Inc.
P.O. Box 240
Number of books ordered =
rMail coupon to: 1 Massapequa, NY 11762 -0240 Amount enclosed $
Please send me the following book(s) that I checked:
Electronics Technology Today, Inc.
P.O. Box 240 BP396 - Electronic Hobbyist Data Book-$10.99
Massapequa Park, NY 11762 -0240 BP411 - Practical Introduction to Surface Mount Devices -$9.99
Please send me my copy of Multimedia on the PC BP115 - The Pre -Computer Book-$2.99 + $2.00 S & H
(PCP120). enclose a check or money order for $18.45 to
BP393 - Practical Oscillator Circuits -$9.99
I

cover the book's cost and shipping-and -handling ex-


penses. NY state residents must add local sales tax. BP444 - Practical PIC Microcontroller Projects -$7.99
Name Most above prices include shipping and handling
ET05
Address Name/Company
City State ZIP Address Apt.
All orders must be paid in U.S. funds only. Sorry, no City State Zip
orders accepted outside of USA and Canada. Please allow Sorry, no orders accepted outside the USA and Canada. All paynents must be in US
6 -8 weeks for delivery.
M02 1 funds! NY state residents must include local sales tax. Allow 6 -8 weeks for delivery.
J

www.americanradiohistory.com
JOE BLACK

NET_

MAkiNq FREE PhONE CALLS

The word "free" is a very powerful


Office ; V V FI_

word. It implies something for noth-


ing, and that is magic to most of us. In anad
e
Nute
d
halt Center Font
n
My Files
4.
My nut rannt it

real life, however, we find that very little is Advanced Internet


About Par max
truly free. There are offers for free mer- Products
Telephony Solutions

chandise of all sorts just


pay for the Order Nor
shipping. Perhaps it's a free dinner -after Free Download Newt Kuehn*
Portable Internet
you pay for the first one. But now we are In the news Telephone
Press Releases
all reading about making free long dis-
Confect Us
tance phone calls over the Internet. And Employment'`
this time free really means free -some- Links
2 Exciting New
times. Of course, you do have to have a Fennel ProducsNu!
computer and an Internet connection;
however, if you are reading this column HARNES WER o1 PHONYI

you are likely to already have those, so Just es the Internet fen revolutionized the way we work, play end communicate. Internet Telephony will
transform vole. communicetionl To be successful, mtemet telephony must offer the same level of
the phone calls we are talking about here queley end ceaability se traditional telephones The eoiwsre.only telephony options that are currently
available fell short of this goal.
are often, indeed, free!
The new Misshape hardware is technological breakthrough that improves gourd queldy and provides
superior features no other telephony product otters This advanced, portable solution allows you to lake
the power of Internet Telephony with youl Connect the MatPhone in minutes between any telephone
WHAT IS INTERNET end any computer then make crystal clear phone calls over the Internet for FREEI

TELEPHONY? IYnaAsl nmr axlr.


geyNelG trau.
I
lw.w.ansatr..a.
I Igeold
IlnNavil aeldnrmau
" I Yoke Item
In its simplest definition, Internet
Telephony is a method that uses the
Internet to transmit voice communications Paramax's software and hardware solutions to Internet telephony keep you in touch no matter where
from one place to another. It is sometimes you are.
feasible to transmit video as well, but in this
column, this month, we are going to con- from your computer and connecting to matter where you are calling; as long as
centrate on voice transmission. an ordinary telephone somewhere in the computer is connected to the
There are two forms of Internet the United States or Canada. In some Internet, you can speak to whomever you
Telephony. One has you talking from instances you can make international want.
computer to computer, with the Internet calls as well, but these are not free so Obviously, along with the comput-
carrying the voice signal. The two they will not be discussed here. ers and the Internet connections, it
computers can be located anywhere in would be wise if you were both using
the world. The only requirement is that HOW COMPUTER -TO- the same telephony software. While
they are both connected to the COMPUTER INTERNET some different software packages are
Internet. The second has you talking TELEPHONY WORKS compatible, it works best when both
When we place a call over the parties are using the same software.
HOT SITES Internet, we speak into a microphone Making an Internet phone call is
connected to our multimedia computer. easy. In most instances, you simply
dialpad The signals produced by the mike are enter the e-mail address or Internet
www. dialpad. corn converted to electronic signals. These Provider address, and if you and the
signals are then converted into packets party you are trying to reach are both
MaxPhone of data that are then sent via the Internet online, you'll be speaking to each
www.paramax.com other-free!
to the party we wish to speak with. When
the data packets reach this other party, When you make an ordinary tele-
Netphones
home. rochester, rra con/netphones they are reassembled into voice signals phone call, a connection between you
and the person you are calling hears your and the person you are calling is made
zeroplus voice through the speakers or headset at the telephone exchange for that
www.zeroplus.com connected to their computer. It doesn't specific call. Your voice signals are 9

www.americanradiohistory.com
.1:,I,Ipluohlo lY1C."G9U packets from different calls and
d jyk^Jnw ry+Olt Ado even different kinds of data can trav-
u.
Read
CV
Write IyaRCenter
n
Pont
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Myf
.
AA.
My ROL
.
n . ... e,
rl:.nn. pennte
el simultaneously along the same
Quotes Perks
P IabM roc Pe, .r coo Calendar

line at the same time. The way it


flfi4f t/
A Resource to FREE Long Distance Telephone Calls works is that your voice travels
verl@v.e! II4M.G MeaC1 Q.4 evn fi91 P4g.IJ.ns
along the Internet for as long as it
I I

no EneN.d PI.IPad end

Welcome to NetPhones. This site is dedicated to finding new and better ways of making free APl can before transferring back to con-
long distance telephone cells. Now you can talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, for as long as you Nn Annual
went, for FREE. Here you'll find information on several different telephone programs that have I
Feue ventional telephone systems to com-
found to be the best. Some even let you make calls from your PC to a standard telephone for free
don't know about you, but got tred of dialing 10- 10.321, 10- 10-220, or whatever else the phone
I
I
Pet FRFF plete the call.
companies have been making us do. Telephone calls over the intemet is new technology that's Share. N SLUCk

getting better everyday And there is rarely a day that goes by that don't use it myself. Why not- it's 91412501v
I
Egrvone Y141

3talEa Pavsa
FREE. And I don't put anything here that don't use myself. I
S120-1J2 SYSTEMS I HAVE TRIED
Roov..
=EMI
C,nr+mea
pow NarPhones Work
Sen,/ and
If you want to find out just how
many companies are offering Internet
CaeMt Rotant
COMING S00Ni

INtmtlESn.
Cal. to Any Standard
ein 5e. Mo Phone Picks Hera FREE International Fives Without a
Fax Machin.
Telephone Call software and systems,
true Telephone Calla
NM.auw
dial
Live Demonstration Check back Often
for FRPO
log on to the Internet, go to your
speeAent
YLaPAO.e
yawn,.
Tired at oiahnp
1010 -7t0
favorite search engine (I like
Met Plant Try This,
HotBot.com [Lycos] and Snap.com),
Snmeane Called
Here are Some More Neat Freebees that use and Recommend I
Whlln You oyes and search for "Internet Phone Calls."
r NEE Service nn -I Ire"
FREI Internet
I REE
You will be surprised at how many you
Answering myTalk
Machirre
Secure,/ Send and Recent Finml Oyer the Phone for will find. Now can't tell you about
I

xE e `FEE -ec6 e Out


each and every one of them, but have
Saad I j ?a 'I " Aeafsa Online INe. .ApM tried a few and can tell you about
I

Netphones collect., together many different methods of contacting others through audio or video those.
solutions.
MaxPhone by Paramax
transmitted over a fixed telephone line prices from as low as 5 or 6 -cents a Paramax Inc. says that their soft-
through a dedicated connection. minute up to -well, you tell me. But no ware is a technological breakthrough
In a PC -to -PC Internet call, you matter how you cut it, they do have a that improves sound quality and pro-
simply get your computer up and run- cost -plus monthly fees, minimum vides superior features no other tele-
ning, connect to the Internet as you charges, etc. phony product offers. Look them up at
normally would, and start the tele- PC via Internet to telephone calls www.paramax.com /. Their advanced
phone software. Then you enter the ride partially on the Internet and par- portable solution makes it easy for you
other party's IP or e-mail address and tially on the existing network of fixed to take the power of Internet Tele-
press the call button. The person on telephone lines. The newest lead- phony with you. Connect their Max -
the other end will hear their PC phone ing -edge technology is used to com- Phone in minutes between any tele-
ring and can press the answer button press voice signals and take full phone and any computer and then
to respond. Now you can talk to each advantage of the maximum capacity make crystal -clear phone calls over
other just as you would if you made a of conventional telephone lines. Data the Internet for free!
conventional phone call-except that
this call is free. , tlllirr' 1tIE1 l'.rl
A. AWr ec.+ tiolvou 1++ Nrlu+ Loon
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tor
.t _a
Inh mrt Ihr.
w
ay Mh PC-lo Phone Phorwlaa'C rabphare Smoke/
Microsoft
The compressed data packets
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that carry your voices are each sent Rctd /Mite Mall Center Print My irles My AOL raver tes Infer r Channels Puente dos. Peru (aldnr
out into the Internet with a destina- 4 ern., corn

tion address. Each data packet


makes its own way along various
and different routes to their destina- zeropkez,cont
tion. There the computer at that end eteltl[.
regroups the data packets and con-
fat!! Monct PC Csrm("1'
zrroplus.coni ntermet 11 i

verts them back into the original SIMS


e-Net Chanties Name to
voice signals, which are played back
..oPle. e.l re.ndr. oek a th.
through the sound card and speak- , nt o .rt rRltara
trait nS/to-Phon PA..-
ers of that computer. Many PC -to -PC o.
.. .r
sa
R.ad M. PLW
lets Now Wru4ar
software programs even let you n m.rrts
t

ntee
leave a voice -mail message if the .ean.
ptenn.re i phone
reek. Pe-ee-
person you are calling is not at his n. rep
..phem urn
aia ky urina
and r.v.
Wew your ra wnrnuntaeta.e rrFUi em. Jun saiLLtao
computer when you call. autlalti 444,,'
ul .ds, and mer.. Just
.. eolu u..
McNV ara, and
.,, o.n .Men of'Iry A,/ 1.Z=
Min Ttms to reek.

PC VIA INTERNET TO WARI NOW 5 ,0,' More Money


PHONE CALLS a on n.klnatPhen tuns
Leek and
.IN"
e--_.
,t
romp,.. our surv.vSt.rt a. !ro<NS.m
Long distance phone calls have
become relatively inexpensive. You 'Amiga onRr -.far

10 have all seen offer after offer with Another portal for Internet telephony is zeroplus; here, you are chargedfor your calls.

www.americanradiohistory.com
VCR
dial user login

s now what's dialpad?


Cross Reference
Welcome to
dialpad
egs company Info
NOW Find the right Part
Make unlimited free
vorn Pos: ,ord=
for your VCR
long-distance phone
calls to anyone in the
1.1.5. at dialpad.com.
More thal
There's nothing to
5,000,0033 people
download or install-
are USIO Sign Me Up Now!1
your web browser
dialpad.com to
uses our lava -based make free long -
technology to place distance calls
calls while you're
online. And System Rwonrnree
dialpad. corn is Microsoft Wi, doaap5a38/NT. Me iE+plorr40 of
bettealabcaa Naviaaloi 4.5 or biter Internet
completely free! Connection, Mund card beadad

dialpad in the. news what's NEW?


The Oregonian (1-24- Diaload,com reaches 5

-
2000) MILLION reuistered user mark
San Francisco faster than any other web service.
Chronicle (1-13.2000) (4/4/7000)

- USA Today (11 -22- eVoice and Dialpad.com

With the
While free, dialpad restricts you to calls within the US only.
VCR I
Netphones WRAPUP CROSS REFERENCE
This fascinating Internet site at I've only discussed the systems
home .rochester.rr.con / netphones/ that have actually tried for myself.
I
This 172 -page reference contains
Some work better than others, but they both model and part- number cross -
states that it is dedicated to finding
references updated as of Feb, 1997.
new and better ways of making long - all do work and are far less costly than
distance telephone calls. Now you making conventional long- distance VCR's are made in a few factories
can talk to anyone, anywhere, any- domestic and international calls. The from which hundreds of different
time, for as long as you want for quality may fall a little short of hard- brand names and model numbers
wired telephone communications, but identify cosmetically- changed iden-
free. Here you will find information
tical and near -identical manufactured
about several different telephone conversations are definitely satisfacto-
units. Interchangeable parts are very
systems. Some even let you make ry-and the prices are hard to beat. common. An exact replacement part
calls from your PC to a standard One last site to look at is www. may be available only a few minutes
telephone. deltathree.com. did not spend much I
away from you even though the
time here, so I'll let you decide what manufacturer supplier is out -of- stock.
zeroplus.com you think of this one for yourself. Do let You may be able to cannibalize scrap
Here is another site that offers a me know what other systems you units at no cost!
way to save money on phone calls. It's uncover or are currently using and I

The ISCET VCR Cross Reference


at www.zeroplus.com/ and says Save can do an update sometime later this is pre -punched for standard loose -
Money -PC Convenience, zeroplus year. Also send along your comments leaf binding. . .$29.95 includes ship-
Internet Telephone. You can register at on any system you are using or have ping in the United States for each
tried -good, bad, or indifferent. Send Reference.
this site for your free Intenet Tele-
phone number, but the calls are not your comments and suggestions to me
-
Claggk Inc.
totally free. There is a rate schedule at jblack @gernsback.com. P VCR CROSS REFERENCE OFFER,
for domestic and international calls, P.O. BOX 12162
HAUPPAUGE, NY 11778
and you do have to prepay for your
connect time. Maybe this doesn't
Wireless & Electrical Name

belong in a column about free phone


Cyclopedia Business

yy'. rk-11', `. it'r ETT1- Wireless Address


calls, but thought that it was worth
I
I I r 11 'N & Electrical
I L`Ncltqtcdr. Cyclopedia $4.99. Step City
mentioning. e a; back to the 1920's with this
reprinted catalog from the State Zip

r.
Electro Importing Company. Phone
dialpad.com Antiquity displayed on every
This is more like it. Just go to i page with items priced as
low as 3 cents. Product
Enclose $29.95 for the Eighth Edition of the ISCET
VCR Cross Reference including shipping for each
Reference in the United States. All other countries
www.dialpad.com/. They say you can descriptions include: Radio
add $5.00 (surface mail).
make unlimited free long- distance components, kits, motors The total amount of my order is $
and dynamos, Leyden jars, Check enclosed-do not send cash.
phone calls to anyone in the United hot -wire meters, carbon mikes and more. The or please charge my creditcard.
perfect gift for a radio antique collector.To order
States. There is nothing to download ETT1, send $4.99 (includes s &h) in the US
Visa MasterCard Exp. Date / /

or install. Your Web browser uses and Canada to Electronic Technology Today Card No.
Inc., P.O. Box 240, Massapequa Park, NY 11762-
Java -based technology to place calls 0240. US funds only. Use US bank check or
Signature
New York State redddents must add applicable local
while you're online. In addition, dial International Money Order. Allow 6 -8 weeks for sake tax to totaL US funds only. Use US bank check
delivery. MA11 or International Money Order. c802 11
pad.com is completely free!

www.americanradiohistory.com
LETTERS

these columns intended as a course for interest. I am definitely not a physicist.


VCR Repair: Can It Be Done? VCR repair professionals. Perhaps this allows me a less "biased"
I enjoyed reading the past few However, there are still millions of view of Relativity, which is so basic to
"Service Clinic" columns by Sam "middle-aged" to older VCRs out there modern physics. However, I am well
Goldwasser. In regard to VCR repair, whose life could be greatly extended read in Relativity and aware of its basic
everything he talks about is true; howev- with a little tender loving care. If you points, such as the relative velocity
er, he is about 6 or 7 years too late. buy a $79 VCR, you get what you pay between two particles is NOT the sum
Modern-day VCR repair (which almost for. Don't expect it to last more than a of their velocities. This appears to be
doesn't exist in terms of business profit) year or so. However, if you have some- true between a particle with mass rela-
does not relate to most of what is dis- thing that is a few years old, it may be tive to another particle with mass, and to
cussed in Mr. Goldwasser's material. worth the effort to keep it going. Newer a particle without mass relative to anoth-
Unfortunately, gone forever are those VCRs don't have significantly better er particle with mass. The variable factor
wonderful Panasonic VCRs and their picture or sound quality; they are just is, of course, Time.
clones from the 80s because too many more cheaply made to optimize the How this all relates to two particles
people believe that newer is better. The manufacturer's bottom line. without mass is (in my eyes) not very
material that Mr. Goldwasser talks SAM GOLDWASSER clear-cut. Thus, my relativity experi-
about, such as belts, idlers and loose ment was born and proposed to postu-
guide post, just isn't the case any more. late that it just might be possible for a
Instead repair men deal with broken Hugo's "Hugo Award" particle without mass (the graviton) to
nylon or plastic that is molded into the Paul Krueger stated in his letter in the exceed light speed. Are gravitons subject
mainframe and cannot be replaced with- June issue that he witnessed a presentation to Time variations? How about pho-
out replacing the entire mechanism. to Hugo Gernsback at New York University. tons? For a different view, let's look at
Other typical problems are tuner-RF That certificate of recognition is displayed at three other currently "accepted" theories.
breakdowns where surface -mount com- our offices and is reproduced below.-Editor
ponents are not only nearly impossible Photons (and thus all electromagnet-
to replace, but are not available from ic radiation) propagate at 1C, the speed
manufacturers. How pitiful. I spent over MEMBERS OF STUDENT BRANCHES of light.
15 years perfecting VCR repair and now Of
Gravitons (and thus gravity waves
THE INSTITUTE OF RADIO ENGINEERS AND
it is all but obsolete-what a shame. THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE Of ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS and other gravitational effects) also
STAN BOGOVICH AT
propagate at 1C.
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING
Daytona, FL Black holes (by definition) have
PRESENT INS SCROLL escape velocities within their event
TO
horizons greater than 1C.
Yes, It Can
What Mr. Bogovich says is absolute- MR. HUGO GERNSBACK We know that photons can't escape
ly true for VCRs that are less than a few PUBLISHER, RADIO ELECTRONICS
from a black hole's event horizon-so
years old. The consensus of those in the how do we explain the hole's gravita-
business is generally that these machines IN PECOGNIDON C% EYS PRONILRIHG CONTRSUDON tional effects found external to its event
are built to last through the warranty TOWARD lNE AKOSS
Of horizon? Can a graviton traveling at 1C
and then either be too expensive or sim- AN HISTORIC TELEVISEOR DEMONSTRATION escape any easier than a photon? (Please
ply impossible to repair. They are not WHICH TOOK PUCE ON DIE SAME SITE TWENTTIWO YEARS AGO
DON'T tell the Particle Physicists that
IN AMPHITHEATRE, PNROSOENY HALT. UNIVERSITY NEWNTS
designed like the older Panasonics, space remains curved without graviton
which could be maintained almost indef- interaction!) Is it possible that gravitons
WHEN STATION MINT
initely with minimal effort and expense. INAUGURATED ROLLAR DART TELEVISION BROADCAST %EVKE actually propagate faster than 1C, thus
The "Service Clinic" articles were PRESENTED NOVEMBER I. ISSO
escaping the event horizon? If so,
never intended to apply to those throw- AMPHITHEATRE nEROSOMY HAIL, UNNEESITY NEI6NTS might a black hole have a limited life-
away machines -at least beyond the IIIH SHM and U.rwMy Arww
Now York CM
time? Perhaps its gravity well collapses
general cleaning and inspection. There below the event horizon, after its
is still a pinch roller, there are still many escape velocity finally exceeds graviton
places where dirt can collect, and video propagation velocity. Or, perhaps, what
Falling Into a Black Hole?
heads still wear out or get damaged. It we are observing are NOT black holes
isn't unknown for lubrication to dry up Don't Forget Your Flashlight! at all!
or never be there in the first place. It appears that my article "Measuring Be sure that you don't trip over those
It is perhaps my fault for not making Gravity Waves" (Electronics Now, unturned stones, folks.
12 this clear in the introduction. Nor are October 1999) has stirred up a bit of SKIP CAMPISI

www.americanradiohistory.com
...1........ _

As I said above, the article presents a very confusing, and I teach this subject
Whole lotta Shakin' Going On valuable contribution to the art and sci- to college students. I suspect there are
The article "A Seismic Detector" ence of data recording. The limitations many readers who could not match this
(Electronics Now, November 1999) is a of its use with a geophone in no way explanation to the graph in Fig. 3B.
credit to your magazine. The electron - diminishes its value. The text states that a parallel reso-
ics/PC portion is a real classic and presents RICHARD M. SHAPEE nant circuit in series with the signal
circuitry that will be useful in many data - Concord, CA causes maximum attenuation, which is
gathering applications. While its use with a correct. However, the solid curve in 3B
geophone is novel, there are some caveats shows minimum attenuation at reso-
that should be considered. Confused About Wavetraps nance. In addition, the words tell how a
First of all, a little about earthquakes I found the article "Curing Scanner series resonant wavetrap provides a low
and seismographs. There are many sim- and Shortwave Receiver Overload impedance at resonance, also true, but
ilarities between detecting earthquakes Problems" (Poptronics, March 2000) the dotted curve rises to a maximum
and detecting other weak signals, radio very interesting. However, I found the attenuation at resonance. Finally, com-
signals, for example. One of the most text labeled "Wavetraps" (page 78) to be bined with this reversal is the fact that
important points is that you have to lis-
ten on the right frequency if you want to
hear the signal. And you must be mind-
ful of noise and how to deal with it.
The earth is a really noisy planet. We
have noise caused by wind, pipelines,
gel Ready!
tides, coastal waves, automobiles, and
the general noise caused by people. gel Sei!
Earth noise is maximum at a few fre-
quencies. One is around .167 Hz, better
stated as a signal with a period of about
go!
6 seconds. Its primary source is thought
Design a board with the EAGLE
to be ocean wave action. Other noisy
frequencies are around 10 Hz. Modern freeware version, and see how EAGLE 3.5
Schematic Capture Board Layout
seismographs are designed to respond to fast you will be productive. Autorouter
signals peaked at periods of 1.25 seconds Boards designed under EAGLE are found In patient
and about 15 to 25 seconds. Geophones, monitoring equipment, chip cards, electric razors,
on the other hand, are part of a system hearing aids, automobiles and industrial controllers. for Windows9e/NT
They are as small as a thumbnail or as large as a PC LinuxA
designed to "listen" around 20 to 30 Hz. motherboard. They are developed In one -man
So, who cares? Well, geophones are businesses or In large
windows n a raoaata,.
intended to listen to the signals from test Industrial companies. i411lB (-H M--t'1 4IW%IiY W i 6,111 7 .raaa,na. n,
Corporation
EAGLE Is being used In hinitnr- MIL,osOM

explosions, sources close at hand. many of the top companies. ,adema;


ara0

Seismographs are usually designed to ,ns .oralas


The crucial reason for
listen to signals from distant sources, selecting EAGLE Is not
many thousands of miles away. In order usually the very favorable
price, but rather the ease of
to detect any but the strongest of earth- use. On top of that comes
quakes, a seismograph must be operat- the outstanding level of
ing at the right frequency and must be support, which at CadSoft is
IQC.,
always free of charge, and
situated in a quiet location. It is impossi- is available without _
ble to detect all but a very few earth- restriction to every customer.
quakes in a metropolitan environment. These are the real cost killers!
One other point The detector or a geo-
phone, in the case of the article, must be
You can use EA i ht for testing and for
damped. That is, the response of the electro- nonconmercial applications without char. e. The Freeware
magnetic transducer must not be oscillatory in Version is restricted to boards up to half Eurocard format,
with a maximum of two signal layers and one schematic Prices Light Standard Professional
nature. This is commonly done by placing an sheet. All other features correspond to those of the
Professional Version. Download it from our Internet Site Layout 199$ 399$
electrical load across the winding of the or order our free CD.
Layout +
dynamic coil, although other means are If you decide in favor of the Commercial Light Version, you Schematic 398$ 798$

sometimes employed. If steps are not taken to also get the reference manual and a license for commercial
Layout +
applicalons. The Standard Version is suitable for boards in Autorouter
398$ 798$
prevent the inertial mass from oscillating like Eurocard format with up to 4 signal layers (max. 99 schematic
sheets). The Professional Version has no such limitations. Layo n
a weight on a spring, the output of the system Schematic + 49$ 597$ 1197$
Autorouter
will be interesting but not meaningful. The
value ofa seismogram is to determine the ori-
http://www.Cad r r. Acorn
gin time and something of the strength of the
event. If the system is not properly damped, it Cad ral Highway, Delray Beach, FL 33483
will be nearly impossible to use the recorded Hotline (561) 274 -8355, Fax (561) 274-8218, E -Mail info@cadsoffusa.com :

information for any scientific purpose. 13


CIRCLE 283 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD

www.americanradiohistory.com
the series resonant circuit as shown in also (and probably should) use an 1/s -inch eral places in Poptronics, and in
the schematic (Fig. 3A) is not in series jack instead of the 1/4 -inch unit specified; Popular Electronics before that.
with the signal, but shunts the signal to most modern headphones and earphones MARK LLOYD
ground. Thus, at resonance, it actually use that size. via e-mail
provides the equivalent of maximum Although the magazine doesn't spec-
attenuation, since its path to ground is ify such things, the ceramic -disc capaci- [The cause of the occasional accidental "fi" is
minimum. I assume this is why the dot- tors should have a 16 -WVDC (25- due to how the magazine is prepared for
ted curve is drawn the way it is. WVDC in the case of CI) rating to pre- printing. Our production department uses
The text in Fig. 3 also makes similar vent damage if they are rated too low. Quark Express for Windows while our
unclear statements. When the article Granted, most ceramic capacitors that printer uses Quark Express for the
refers to "maximum attenuation at the you buy today are rated at 25 to 50 volts, Macintosh. Normally, you would expect that
resonant frequency," it should refer to but there's always a risk if you're using Quark would have no crossplatform prob-
the dotted trace, not the solid trace. One something from your spare -parts box. lem when reading files, right?
of the reasons this gets a little mixed up ROBERT OLDS Unfortunately, the answer is "no."
is that a series trap does, in fact, present Although the file formats are the same,
minimum impedance at resonance, but Quark for the Mac seems to randomly gar-
it is referenced to a curve that shows How Many Metric s In A p? ble anything in a Postscript Type 1 font
maximum attenuation at resonance. In the April 2000 issue of Poptronics that's more complex than simple text. The
Again, I think the dotted curve was on page 23, the second sentence of the "fi" symbol is usually an accidental TrueType
drawn to show the effect of the trap as it first paragraph beginning in the center font substitution for the "1/2" symbol.
is wired in the circuit, not the trap itself. column reads, "The board should be If you think that's bad, you should see
However, if that is the case, then the about 1 fi inches from the front panel."
solid curve cannot be correct. The par-
allel tank is wired in series with the sig-
What are "fi inches "? I've seen this sev-
what happens occasionally to sub- and super-
scripts when we get the galley proofs!
Editor.]
-
nal, and thus presents maximum attenu-
ation as wired in the circuit. Yet, the KEEP IN TOUCH
solid curve shows minimum attenuation. We appreciate letters from our Don't Misspell My Name
The bottom line is that for the way the readers. Comments, suggestions, As the publisher of Bebop to the
two traps are wired in Fig. 3A, both the questions, bouquets. or brickbats ... Boolean Boogie, we were pleased to
dotted and the solid curve should be we want to hear from you and find note the letter and response in the
identical. Perhaps most readers won't out what you like and what you dis- Q&A column ( Poptronics, February
get deep enough into the article to 2000). I suspect that Max, the author,
notice this discrepancy, but I had to read
Fig. 3 three times, and then figure out
like. If there are projects you want to
see or articles you want to submit
we want to know about them. And
- might be a little concerned that nei-
ther Rich Joerger nor your editorial
why the picture didn't match the words now there are more ways than ever staff got his name right. Clive (call me
or my understanding of traps. That to contact us at Poptronics. "Max ") Maxfield (not Maxwell) has
notwithstanding, the article was most You can write via snail mail to: also written Bebop BYTES Back and has
enjoyable. a Web site called EPE Online:
CRAIG CRICHTON Letters http://epemag.com.
via e-mail Poptronics HOLLY WADEY
275 -G Marcus Blvd. LLH Technology Publishing

-
[We're glad that the enjoyment you're refer-
ring to is the article and not the confusion!
Editor.]
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Please note the above address is


Eagle Rock, VA

the snail -mail way to get the quickest Haves & Needs
response. Some readers send letters 1 need help with a question. How can

Microphone Swapper Corrections to our subscription address, and I turn any telephone into a speaker
I'd like to point out that there's an error although the mail is forwarded to our phone? If anyone can help me with this,
in my article "PC Microphone Swapper" editorial offices, it does increase the I would appreciate it. Please reply
(Poptronics, April 2000). In both the time it takes to answer or publish directly to me at the address below, as I
schematic and parts -placement diagrams, your letters. do not get the magazine here.
J3 is shown wired wrong. The output con- Send e -mail to: VICTOR GARCIA
nection should go to the tip connection, Prado #59 c/Revolucion y
not the ring as shown. While it will work popeditor@gernsback.com 20 De Mayo, Vista Alegre
with stereo headphones, plugging in a Holguin, 80300
mono unit will short the output to ground. Of course, e -mail is fast. Cuba P
In the parts-placement diagram (Fig. 3), Check the end of your favorite
wire J3 similar to J2. Connect the tip to the columns, too. Many of them list indi-
pad for the output; the ground pad next to vidual e -mail addresses for their FREE CONSUMER
respective authors. INFORMATION CATALOG.
it is for the sleeve connection. The addi-
And don't forget to visit our Web Call toll -free 1 -888 -8 PUEBLO.
tional ground connection going to the
14 cable shield is for the shield only. You can site: www.gernsback.com/poptronics.

www.americanradiohistory.com
A L O O K AT TOMORROW'S T E C H N O L O G Y

Planes That Think for Themselves


Numerous automatic systems pro -
vide support for jetliners and the
pilots that fly them. Such systems allow
the plane to fly unattended at times, and
they kick in quickly if a wind blast desta-
bilizes the airplane or the pilot flies too
close to the terrain or other traffic.
What happens if an automatic sys-
tem, or any of the vital flight surfaces
controlled by such systems, alters or fails
at a critical moment, requiring major
adjustments throughout the plane's
flight -control system? In the future, the
answer may be "The neural network will
take care of it."
Much like the human brain, artificial
networks consist of collections of pro-
cessing elements that are highly inter-
connected. Each collection transforms a
set of inputs to a set of desired outputs.
Artificial neural networks, already used
for such applications as pattern recogni-
tion and process control, are being re-
engineered by Georgia Institute of
Technology scientists. The redesigned
networks will perform a host of moni-
toring and adjustment functions in air-
craft-known as "adaptive control."
"We're pursuing adaptive control
using neural networks on a whole spec-
trum of aircraft," says Dr. Anthony J.
Calise, professor of aerospace engineer-
ing. Calise and his colleagues are
engaged in seven aircraft- related, neur-
al- network projects, funded by NASA,
the Air Force, industry sponsors, and
Georgia Tech.
A neural network has been installed
aboard an experimental aircraft, the X -36, Artificial neural networks, already used for such applications as pattern recognition
and process control, are being re- engineered by Georgia Tech scientists led by Dr.
by Dr. Calise, his colleague Dr. J. V. R
-
Prasad, and their research team working
closely with Boeing Phantom Works. The
Anthony Calise (right). Redesigned networks will perform a host of monitoring and
adjustment functions in aircraft.

X-36 is a one -fifth -size unmanned jet recently at Edward Air Force Base. Its neur- Aerial Vehicle Lab, Calise, post-doctor-
research aircraft that simulates conditions in al network functioned successfUN but tests al researcher Dr. Rolf Rysdyk and a team
a full-sized plane. The X-36, developed were cut short due to hardware problems. of graduate research assistants are work-
under NASA auspices by Boeing, was tested At Georgia Tech's Uninhabited ing with Guided Systems Technology
15

www.americanradiohistory.com
?l.\ n:1 r ;, our LI eht:or,. functioning flight control system-even to new environments -and be ready to
I i i

if you get part of a wing shot off, which deal with unpredictable failures. To train
is just one of the failures we've mimicked aircraft networks in real time, the
in simulation." Georgia Tech team has had to bring in
"A neural network is working all the new tools. Even formulations used in
time," Calise says. "When something other cutting-edge neural network
goes wrong, it adapts just like a human research, such as robotics applications
being might adapt to a failure." But, he and automation, don't apply to aircraft
adds, with one crucial difference: The neural networks.
neural network has the potential to deal
Neural networks are typically organized in
with failure more quickly and accurately A Software Add -On
layers. Patterns are presented to the net-
than any human pilot. Ideally, the recov- Rather than strip out existing flight
work via the "input layer," which communi-
cates to one or more "hidden layers" where ery process would happen so rapidly it control software and replacing it with a
the actual processing is done via a system would be virtually transparent to the pilot. new system, the Georgia Tech scientists
of weighted "connections." The hidden lay- chose to insert the neural network into
ers then link to an "output layer" where the Imitating the Brain existing flight control systems.
answer is output as shown in this graphic. In an aircraft -based system, the neur- "That ability, to add on rather than
al-network algorithm becomes part of, replace, has been a key to our being able to
Inc. to test a neural network in a remote- and works cooperatively with, the flight - get to where we are today, " Calise says.
ly piloted helicopter. control system computer. Like other This integration of neural network func-
software, such algorithms have to be tion with flight control promises to
Similar, but Better tested and refined until they do the job improve aircraft design and testing, along
For obvious safety
ern aircraft have redundant controls
backups in case of a primary control
reasons, all mod-
- right. As Calise puts it, "The key to
using a neural network is to be able to
develop efficient algorithms for training
with enhancing flight and flight safety.
Today, flight control systems are
designed for many different operating
failure. However, redundancy alone neural networks." conditions. As an aircraft moves from
can't adjust automatically for a major A neural network tries, in so far as one operating condition to another, a
system loss. possible, to mimic human brain func- flight control system must be adjusted to
Pilots must be trained to manually tions, Calise explains. The brain's active compensate -a process called "gain
compensate if an engine should sputter ingredients, so to speak, are its neurons, scheduling." In today's digital flight con-
or a rudder fail. During such an emer- which have mechanisms for receiving trol systems, which are implemented in
gency, the pilot must explore the and sending signals to other neurons. the form of computer code, "gain"
remaining options to learn what actions Neural networks, too, have "neu- means multiplication of an error signal
will restore control. In effect, the pilot is rons" that receive signals from other by a number. Gains are varied, either
quickly retraining himself/herself to fly neurons, process them, and then output automatically or manually, for speed,
a degraded vehicle. a signal. These "neurons" are units of altitude, dynamic pressure, payload, and
The complexities of modern flight computer code that are mathematical numerous other factors.
control systems makes this process much representations of a human neuron's Designing a sound gain schedule for
more difficult. Many of today's aircraft, input- output functions. They are linked a given aircraft is laborious and expen-
including military jets, have intrinsically together by connections called "weights;" sive. Extensive wind tunnel and other
unstable designs and cannot be flown
without so- called "feedback systems"
highly sophisticated flight control sys-
- changes in these "weights" allow the
network to learn by recognizing patterns
or configurations.
tests are necessary to gather data, fol-
lowed by demonstration of the gain
schedule in flight.
tems that can sense aircraft performance One well -known approach to neural Neural networks can alter the entire
and angular rates and then feed back a network training involves "back propa- process by simply removing gain-sched-
corrective signal that automatically gation," where repeated exposure to dif- ule design, Calise says. Instead, schedul-
helps stabilize the body. ferent objects and patterns is combined ing is done automatically in real time.
Neural networks may be able to dra- with retraining of the weights whenever The neural -networked controller adapts
matically alter this process. By focusing there is a mistake. In other words, the as it flies, automatically rescheduling
on two main areas-how a vehicle flies system learns through experience, by itself to current flight conditions. For
and the potential failure scenarios for trial and error. But back propagation instance, changes in the aircraft's load
that vehicle-researchers are trying to involves many computations and experi- would not require rescheduling the con-
train the neural network to deal with any ments, Calise notes. Much of the work is troller; rather, the neural network would
system failure. done off line in a tedious, time- consum- automatically learn the shift in the cen-
The neural network system is suffi- ing process, then put on line when the ters of gravity and the system would
ciently sophisticated that it can even deal system works correctly. reconfigure itself.
with damage to the airframe. Calise says, "In flight control we don't have that Ultimately, Calise says, neural net-
"The neural network is there to main- luxury," Calise says. Such a system must work development may even allow a
tain the handling qualities of a well- learn on line in real time as it is exposed one -size -fits -all approach throughout

www.americanradiohistory.com
ype
entire aviation areas. A flight control
system for one aircraft could be moved > Give Me Warp Speed,
to a different aircraft type, and it would
reschedule for that vehicle automatically.
Mr. Sulu
Lara Networks recently introduced the
"That's kind of like the dream of adap- second member of its Search Processor
tive control-to be able to do something family, the LN17020, a two-megabit user -
like that," Calise says. "And I think we're configurable, variable -width Search
very close to realizing that dream." 0 Processor for high -performance Internet
devices. Up to 31 of Lara's SuperCAM
devices can be cascaded without perfor- A two -megabit user-configurable
mance penalty to create search tables silicon -based search engine, the
Quantum Leap with unparalleled depths of one million LN17020, empowers high -end
68 -bit addresses. network device manufacturers to
Scientists at the Department of The LN17020, using O.1811 copper design products with unprece-
Energy's Los Alamos National process technology, sustains throughput dented levels of performance and
Laboratory have made yet another experi- of 66 million searches per second. A search intelligence. This full
mental leap forward in the quest for a func- user -configurable silicon -based search ternary device, which implies a
tional quantum computer capable of engine, it empowers high -end network mask bit for every data bit, han-
device manufacturers to design products dles 34-, 68 -, 136 -, or 272 -bit wide
solving large mathematical problems or
with unprecedented levels of perfor- operation.
cracking secret codes faster than today's mance and search intelligence. This full
fastest supercomputers. Emanuel Knil, ternary device, which implies a mask bit
Raymond Laflamme, and Rudy Martinez for every data bit, handles 34 -, 68 -, 136 -, or 272 -bit wide operation.
of Los Alamos and Ching-Hua Tseng of As the demands on network processors and bit- stream processors
MIT described their results in the March have outpaced silicon process technology, new ways are being adopt-
23 issue of Nature.
ed to supplement the capacity bottlenecks of these processors. Due to
its extra -large width, the LN17020 makes possible a broad range of
Using nuclear magnetic resonance searches within the same cycle.
techniques, researchers created a seven - Also, as demand increases for intelligence in networking, devices
qubit quantum computer within a single need more capacity for searching IP packets and A cells for filtering,
drop of liquid. The laws of quantum routing, handling multiple protocols, and security encryption.
physics allow quantum particles to exist SuperCAM technology addresses this high-performance and high -
in multiple states: quantum particles can capacity need, providing the hardware acceleration that Internet appli-
represent both zero and one simultane- cations desperately need. co
ously. This concept allows bits, in this
case qubits, to be encoded at speeds
beyond what is possible in a classical cles in the atomic nuclei of molecules of future technological developments will
digital computer. trans -crotonic acid, a simple fluid con- do. Of course, if Moore's Law is at work
The quantum computer uses nuclear sisting of molecules made up of six here," Laflamme added, "then we could
magnetic resonance to manipulate parti- hydrogen and four carbon atoms. The have a 30 -qubit quantum computer in
particles are like tiny bar magnets spin- less than five years."
ning in a magnetic field that can be A 30 -qubit quantum computer would
"lined up" by applying an electromag- be roughly equivalent to a conventional
netic pulse from the nuclear magnetic computer running at 10 teraflops, or
device. The lining up of spinning parti- trillions of operations per second. The
cles in positions either parallel or fastest supercomputers in the world have
counter to the magnetic field allows the achieved speeds of about two teraflops.
quantum computer to mimic the infor- If functional quantum computers can
mation encoding of bits-zeros and ones be built, they will be valuable in factor-
in classic digital computers. ing large numbers and therefore
"What we find particularly intrigu- extremely useful for decoding and
ing," said Laflamme, "is that this latest encoding secret and confidential infor-
advance seems to follow Moore's Law." mation. Their arrival could spell trouble
Raymond Laflamme and his team used Moore's Law says that density of transis- for Internet users.
nuclear magnetic resonance to manipulate tors on integrated circuits, and in turn "You realize, of course, that if we had
particles in the atomic nuclei of molecules the calculating speed of the computer, an operational quantum computer today,
-a
of trans -crotonic acid simple fluid, which
doubles every 18 months. The birth of nothing on the Internet would be safe,"
he is holding here, consisting of molecules
the three -qubit quantum computer Laflamme said. "Our current methods
made up of six hydrogen and four carbon
atoms. The particles are like tiny bar mag- came roughly 18 months prior to this of encrypting secret or personal data,
nets spinning in a magnetic field that can be development. "I think it is a bit prema- like the RSA public key encryption algo-
"lined up" by applying an electromagnetic ture, however, to really assume it follows rithm currently used in Web browsers
pulse from the nuclear magnetic device. Moore's Law, but who knows what would be nearly worthless."
17

www.americanradiohistory.com
type
smaller than 2 to 20 nanometers -of "The viability of e- commerce, already a
Something New semiconductor and metallic materials major sector of the U.S. economy, depends
made of polymers. upon the security and confidentiality of
Under the Sun Microgravity may help enhance the size network transactions, which makes pro-
it erials from semiconductors to and shape of these particles. More uniform tecting e- business a critical priority,"
M exotic glasses will be studied by size and shape will make these semicon- Matzner stated. "Besides commerce, other
five Alabama scientists who received ductors usable as transistors in microelec- components of critical infrastructure rely-
NASA grants for four years of micro-
gravity material science research. Dr.
tric devices and compact lasers. m ing on electronic security include the
nation's financial, telecommunications, and
Don Gillies, Dr. Ching -Hua Su, Dr. military networks."
Konstantin Mazuruk, and Dr. Edwin m
Ethridge are leading research teams at Hackers, Keep Out
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Rscent hacker attacks launched
(Huntsville, AL) and Dr. Jimmy Mays is against major electronic commerce Beware of Lightning
conducting research at University of sites have called attention to the need to
Alabama (Birmingham).
The scientists are using microgravity
improve computer network security and Strikes
to develop systems that detect security Now with greater availability in North
to examine the properties and structures breaches rapidly. Researchers at the America, the SAFe system promises
of materials and the role of processing in Applied Research Laboratories at The to perform without any missed or false
creating the materials. "By subtracting University of Texas at Austin (ARL:UT) warning signals. The system provides
gravity from the equation, we are better led by Program Manager Sara Matzner advance warning of potential lightning
able to see what is happening as a mate- developed a new line of defense to help strikes, identifying three hazard levels with
rial is produced," explained Gillies. protect e-commerce and other computer- appropriate warnings for each level. The
Led by Dr. Ching -Hua Su , a team of based systems. The Network Exploitation pre -warning level indicates thunderstorms,
researchers at several sites is studying Detection Analyst Assistant (NEDAA) the warning level detects lightning hazards
density and other critical properties of provides a method for detection of com- two to three miles from the station, and the
semiconductors at crucial points during puter intrusion and misuse as they alert level indicates imminent risk of a
the molten state. The information will occur-significantly faster than the cur- ground -to- lightning strike.
be used to improve the quality of semi- rent methods. In case of potential lightning strikes,
conductors and the electrical and optical The system plugs in various combi- the system warns people so that they can
devices made from them. nations of artificial intelligence tech- take shelter or interrupts hazardous
When semiconductor crystals are melt- niques coupled with the domain industrial processes; and it enables sensi-
ed, convection often creates currents in the knowledge of human experts. Matzner tive, strategic equipment to be protected
molten liquid, resulting in defects in the said NEDAA guards against network against surges or micro -cuts.
final crystal. Dr. Mazuruk is researching intrusions by assisting human analysis to The SAFe can detect active thunder-
how to use magnetic fields to control con- filter through the large volumes of data storms as much as 15 miles away and
vection and improve semiconductor quality. traveling on computer networks. The identify incipient thunderstorms at a
Producing a unique glass for fiber optic program can react while an attack is tak- distance of 6 to 9 miles away. Because
cables to transmit telephone or Internet ing place. It can also detect past attacks the system allows site managers to take

investigated by Dr. Ethridge. The glass


called ZBLAN-is made from heavy met-
-
signals across continents or oceans is being through analysis of attack patterns.
"NEDAA employs advanced database
access techniques and applies domain
appropriate precautions in real time, the
level of permanent lightning protection
can often be reduced.
als such as zinc or lanthanum and metals knowledge and artificial intelligence to The SAFe system, which uses auto -
combined with fluorine. Improved perform that monitoring. At the same controlled calibration of electric field mea-
ZBLAN fibers could eliminate the need time, it can retrieve information about past surement, is based on a digital electric field
for expensive signal amplifiers required for attacks for forensic off-line analysis," sensor with a 10 -Hz sampling rate and syn-
today's undersea cables. Matzner said. Matzner added that the sys- chronous demodulation. This sensor,
Dr. Gillies is leading a team that has tem "can prevent damage as it occurs. One which can operate in temperatures ranging
modified computed tomography to exam- of the main advantages of the NEDAA sys- from -13 F to +131 F, is connected to the
ine materials during and immediately after tem is the speed and efficiency with which warning terminal by a fiber -optic cable
processing in space. Similar to CAT scans, it can do this monitoring." immune to lightning- induced electrical
computed tomography allows scientists to Matzner's group, which is part of surges or drop-outs. The warning terminal
study samples rapidly and increase the ARL:UT's Information Systems Laboratory, displays and logs four-color warnings and
quality of subsequent samples. is evolving new ways to adapt and deploy monitors the status of the entire system. A
Development of smaller and lighter NEDAAS plug- and -play implementation. PC can be used as the central station for a
electronic and optical devices is the goal This capability means that the system is ide- network of up to 16 SAFe systems. In
of research by Dr. Mays at the ally suited for adaptation to a wide variety of addition to the standard system, DIMEN-
University of Alabama. He is studying computer security applications, including SIONS also offers a small, easily installed
how to make nanoparticles -particles those for e- commerce. detection station. co
18

www.americanradiohistory.com
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AMAlIG SCIENCE JOHN OV NE

Superconductors

As you can tell from the title of school, but the phenomenon does occur completely. Once that happens, you
this month's column, we're under special circumstances. can't make anything colder because
going to have some fun with supercon- there's no more heat to take away. That
ductors. Actually, that's not quite the Temperature Scales and temperature, called absolute zero, occurs
case. This time around, we're going to Other Definitions at -273.15 C or -459.67 F Since deal-
lay the foundation on superconductor In the realm of superconductivity, tem- ing with all those negative numbers can
theory and practice; next month will be perature plays a big role. Because of the become quite a mouthful, the Kelvin
the actual experiments. low temperatures involved, the Kelvin scale scale is usually used. In that scale,
Superconductors, for those few that is usually used. You're probably familiar absolute zero is assigned to the 0- degree
haven't heard of them, are materials that with the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales. In reference; the "tick marks" on the ther-
demonstrate no resistance to the flow of the former, water freezes at 32 and boils at mometer follow the Celsius spacing.
electric current. That's zero electrical resis- 212 , whereas the latter uses 0 and 100 for Water freezes, therefore, at 273.15 K.
tance. Therefore, an electric current initi- those temperatures. The Fahrenheit scale has its equivalent
ated inside a perfect superconductor will As matter cools, the molecular to Kelvin: it's called the Rankine scale.
not dissipate with time and will flow forev- motion within it slows; it is that motion
er. Granted, that probably goes against that gives an object its temperature. At A Short History
20 everything that you were taught in public some point, therefore, motion stops The Dutch physicist Heike Onnes

www.americanradiohistory.com
discovered superconductivity in 1911. even a weak magnetic field could quench make a material superconductive. Since
He observed that mercury, when cooled the superconductivity. This sensitivity to its discovery in 1911, the critical tern-
to within about 4.2 K, lost all of its elec- magnetic fields limits the amount of cur- perature of superconductors was raised
trical resistance. Onnes also coined the rent that can pass through a supercon- only slightly over the next 75 years. By
term superconductivity to describe the effect. ductor, since the magnetic field generat- 1986, it had risen only to 23 K for a nio-
It was known at the time that the ed by the current itself will extinguish bium alloy. That year marked a break-
resistance of a metal decreases with its the superconductivity if too great. The through in superconductor research.
temperature. That was certainly the case critical magnetic field, notated as Hc, rep- Researchers K. Mueller and J. Bednorz
with mercury. The unexpected part had resents the level at which a magnetic at IBM Zurich were experimenting with
to do with the non -linearity between field quenches superconductivity. a possible new alloy that required baking
temperature and resistance. As the tem- Scientists continued to study the super- at high temperatures to form the corn-
perature of the mercury decreased, its conductivity of elements and compounds. pound. When they removed the sample
resistance decreased as expected, but at They found 12 superconducting metals. Even from the oven, they found that the disc
about 4.2 K, the resistance disappeared: common metals like lead and tin became was green in color -a
sure sign of oxy-
Onnes had found the critical temperature superconductive if sufficiently cooled. gen contamination. Normally, they
of mercury where it suddenly goes In 1933, K.W. Meissner and R. would have disposed of the faulty mate-
superconductive. "Tc" is the notation for Ochsenfeld discovered that superconduc- rial; oxygen in a metal turns the com-
the critical temperature in a supercon- tors are strongly diamagnetic-they are pound into a ceramic, which is not con-
ductor. To prove that the metal was truly repelled by magnetic fields. In 1945, ductive. For whatever reason, they
superconducting, an experiment was set Russian physicist V. Arkadiev nicely decided to test it anyway since they
up in which a ring was charged with an demonstrated this property by levitating a would have to wait for a new batch. To
electric current. As long as there is no small bar magnet above the surface of a their amazement, the sample went
resistance, the electricity would flow superconductor. This has become the clas- superconducting at an amazing 30 K!
with no drop in current. Scientists final- sic experiment demonstrating the Meissner- The race was now on in the quest for
ly became convinced of Onnes' discov- Ochsenfeld effect (MOE); it is usually high -temperature superconductors. Several
ery after seeing that the ring was still referred to as simply the Meissner effect. other labs began work on ceramic super-
conducting the same current after a year! The largest impediment to the prac- conductors, and the critical temperature
While studying the superconductive tical use of superconductors is the need for superconductivity was soon
state of mercury, Onnes observed that extremely low temperature needed to raised above an important milestone for

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21

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repelling a magnetic field as stated
before. Have you wondered why the
magnet doesn't just flip off the super-
conductor? After all, the magnet's mag-
netic field is being repelled. Why does
the magnet stay levitating above the
superconductor?
The answer lies in flux pinning. Flux
pinning occurs in tiny defects in the
crystalline structure of the supercon-
ducting material. Imagine the magnetic
One unusual aspect of superconductors is their ability to repel magnetic fields as seen in these clas- field around the magnet -like lines of
sic experiment demonstrating the Meissner effect. force. The superconductor repels the
majority of the magnetic force lines,
practical use outside the laboratory-the Ceramic Superconductors which support and levitate the magnet.
temperature of liquid nitrogen (77 K, The ceramic materials used to make A smaller portion of the lines of force
-196 C, or -321 F). superconductors are a class of materials become trapped in the defects in the
Being able to use liquid nitrogen for called perovskites. The superconductor superconductor matrix and are held in
superconductivity is a tremendous boon that we will be experimenting with is an place. These trapped lines of force (flux
to the technology. Liquid nitrogen cools yttrium (Y), barium (Ba), and copper pinning) are why the magnet doesn't
20 times more effectively than liquid heli- (Cu) composition. The chemical formu- slide or fall off the superconductor.
um, it's /lo the cost of liquid helium,
1 la is YBa2Cu3O7. This superconductor Doping the superconductor's ceram-
and is much safer to transport and handle. has a critical transition temperature ic formula with silver can enhance flux
Superconductors are now much more eco- around 90 K, well above liquid nitro- pinning in superconductors. An enhanced
nomical to use in equipment and experiments. gen's 77 K temperature. flux -pinning superconductor can not
The ceramic superconductors that Superconductors are readily avail- only levitate a magnet above itself but
we'll be using in our experiments need able through a number of science supply also suspend a rare -earth magnet in mid
to be cooled with liquid nitrogen to stores. The YBa2Cu3O7 superconduc- air beneath itself as well. We will do this
become superconductive. tor material, along with a rare -earth experiment next month.
magnet to demonstrate the Meissner
More on the Kelvin Scale effect, is available for $33 from a source Liquid Nitrogen
As I mentioned before, the critical given in the sidebar. Liquid nitrogen is a clear colorless
temperature of superconductors is usually liquid. While liquid nitrogen is non-
given in degrees Kelvin. The Kelvin scale Type I and Type II toxic, it is extremely cold (-321 F); one
is named after the 19th Century scientist Superconductors must exercise care in handling it. You
Lord Kelvin, who suggested that absolute As Onnes discovered, the supercon- might have seen the experiment where a
zero become the base of a new tempera- ductivity of a material can be quenched flower is dipped in liquid nitrogen and
ture scale. This temperature scale makes it when the material is exposed to a strong then crushed into tiny pieces. The same
easier to use superconductivity formulas enough magnetic field, depending upon thing can happen to you if you acciden-
because you're plugging positive numbers the material. The first superconductors tally come in contact with it. Although
into an equation rather than the negative discovered were easily quenched by rel- the image is extremely gruesome, we'd
numbers encountered in the Celsius and atively weak magnetic fields. These are hate to see you break a finger off after
Fahrenheit scales. Type I superconductors. pouring liquid nitrogen on it. We will
Meteorologists also used the Kelvin Type II superconductors are more cover handling procedures next month
scale in many calculations to avoid using robust. They have two critical magnetic when we begin to perform our super-
negative numbers in their computations. fields. The first is a low- intensity mag- conductor experiments.
To convert between the different netic field (Hcl) that partially quenches Procuring liquid nitrogen locally will
temperature scales is easy using a few the superconductivity of material. The be a more challenging task than obtain-
simple formulas. To convert Kelvin to second is a high -intensity magnetic field ing a superconductor for experimenting.
Celsius, subtract 273: 100 K is equiva- (Hc2) that completely extinguishes Check your local classified telephone
lent to -173 C. superconductivity. directory under "Gas- Compressed,
Once we have a Celsius temperature, The Type II superconductor allows Industrial, and Medical" for suppliers.
the time- honored formula: sufficient current to flow to generate Call these suppliers and find one who is
strong superconducting magnets. The willing to sell a small quantity (such as a
F = 9/5 C + 32 superconductors that we'll use are Type II. liter) of liquid nitrogen. If you happen to
live in the New York Metropolitan area,
converts Fahrenheit to Celsius. The Meissner Effect and I've listed a supplier who is willing to sell
Conversely: Flux Pinning small quantities of liquid nitrogen.
The classic experiment of floating a After finding a suitable company, the
C = 5/9 F - 32 rare -earth magnet above a superconduc- next problem is finding a container to
tor is pretty interesting. This shows that bring to the supplier to carry and hold
22 changes Celsius to Fahrenheit. the superconductor is diamagnetic, the liquid nitrogen. Most suppliers will

www.americanradiohistory.com
SOURCES FOR that allows a rare earth magnet to be lev- An Introduction
SUPERCONDUCTING SUPPLIES itated (suspended) underneath a super- to Light in Electronics
conductor and electrical conductivity
Liquid Nitrogen tests that store an electric current in a Taken for granted by
An Introduction to us all perhaps, yet this
superconducting toroid. Light in book could not be read
TW Smith Co.
885 Meeker Ave. Next month, we will perform a num- Electronics without it, light plays
Brooklyn, NY 11222 ber of superconductor experiments. In such an impressive role
in daily life that we may
718 -388 -7417 the meantime, locate and secure a liquid be tempted to consider
nitrogen supplier so you can perform just how much we
Superconducting Kits and Supplies are the experiments yourself. P understand it. This book
available from Images Company, 39 makes a good start into
Seneca Loop, Staten Island NY this fascinating and
10314; 718 -698 -8305: 1 -liter Dewar
Flask (DEW-1L), $ 89.95; YBa2Cu3O7 Don't lose sight enlightening subject. It
has been written with
the general electronics
Superconductor Kit with 1 -inch diame-
ter 90 K superconductor disk, rare -
earth magnet, non -magnetic tweezers,
of Glaucoma. enthusiast in mind.

To order Book NBP359 send $6.99 plus $3.00 for

IE
NATIONAL shipping in the U.S. and Canada only to Electronics Technology
and 36-page booklet (S1), $ 33; EYE
Today Inc., P.O. Box 240, Massapequa Park, NY 11762-0240.
Bi2Sr2CaCu2O9 Superconductor Kit HEALTH
EDUCATION Payment in U.S. funds by U.S. bank check or International
with 1 -inch diameter 110 K supercon- PROGRAM Money Order. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.
ductor disk, rare -earth magnet, non- ET08

magnetic tweezers, and 36 -page


booklet (S2), $42; YBa2Cu3O7
Superconductor Kit with Flux- Pinning
Suspension includes 1 -inch diameter
90 K flux-pinning- enhanced super- From Not -Worki
conductor disk, two rare -earth mag-
nets, non -magnetic tweezers, and 36-
page booklet (S3), $63. to Networking!
not sell you liquid nitrogen if you do not Troubleshooting
have a suitable container. For instance,
you would not store liquid nitrogen in a
Local -Area Networks!
closed vessel because as the nitrogen
evaporates into a gas, dangerously high Now, complete for the first
pressures can build that could rupture time in one detailed booklet!
the container or cause it to explode.
Typically, super -cold fluids are trans- Gain a fuller knowledge of network
ported in special containers called
Dewar flasks. Dewar flasks are so well
fundamentals and how they
insulated that they can hold a quantity of developed from the early days of
liquid nitrogen a few days before it evap- main frames, from XNS to Ethernet
orates. In an open, non -insulated con- technology, the OSI stack for
tainer, the liquid nitrogen will only last a
few hours before evaporating complete- interconnecting different computers,
ly into a gas. basic and specialized test instruments, etc. Several
tough LAN case histories brings you from theory to
Superconductor Experiments the practical side of troubleshooting.
You can perform a wide variety of
superconductor experiments. However, CLAGGK Inc., Reprint Bookstore
complex experiments require the more P.O. Box 12162, Hauppauge NY 11788
expensive superconductor kits. I've made
available several superconducting kits Please rush my copy of From Not -Working to Networking." enclosed I

through my company to help you get payment of $4.99 which includes shipping charges. U.S. -First Class,
started. Available kits include a standard Canada and Overseas -Surface Mail.
YBa2Cu3O7 superconductor compound
with a rare -earth magnet to demonstrate Name
superconductivity and the classic Meissner Address
Effect. If you want to experiment with a
higher temperature superconductor, a City State Zip
bismuth compound (Bi2Sr2CaCu2O9) All Payments must be in U.S. funds. Send check or money order payable to
that becomes superconductive at 110 K CLAGGK Inc.-do not send cash or stamps. New York State residents add
is also available. applicable sales tax. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery RBS02
Other kits include a flux -pinning kit 23

www.americanradiohistory.com
Q &A
READERS' QUESTIONS, EDITORS' ANSWERS
CONDUCTED BY MICHAEL A. COVINGTON, N4TMI

AOops! The requirement to function at 20


REF
Non -Functional 1 MHz completely went past me; the 19
GND OUT
circuit shown in the March issue (p. 12) 18
Function Generators GND

regard to the function generator ques-


tops out at around 200 kHz. In fact, the R4
6.2K 4
AO

Al v+ -'
1

QIn
tion in the March Q&A, there is an error
original article that I referenced stated
that the circuit was designed for a 100-
+5V 'OA
=6
COSC DV+
16

15
GND DGND
in this circuit. Capacitors C6 and C7 are not kHz limit. Additionally, there's a mistake
returned to ground. Does this circuit really
go out to 1 MHz like the reader wanted? I
doubt it. Anonymous, via e-mail
in the diagram; the junction of C6 and C7
should be grounded. The circuit requires
a split supply (both +12V and 12V). On -5 1M
RS
tOK 7'
-8

9
7

10
DADJ
FADJ
GND
SYNC
POI
PDO
14

13

12

11
top of that, Jameco's part number for the R6 IIN GND

I saw your March column and was surprised 8038 is 51879, not 58179. 6.2K IC1
MAXa38
to see you recommending the 1CL8038 as a Shown in Fig. 1 is a better circuit. This
function generator. Sure, it works, it's avail- IC, the Maxim MAX038, will reach 20 Fig. 2. You can set the duty cycle of the MAX038
able, and it's inexpensive; but it also requires MHz when the circuit board is laid out by feeding a varying voltage to pin 7.
dual voltage supplies, uses lots ofpower, runs
hot, and is difficult to get a good sine wave
especially over a wide frequency range. I
- carefully for high frequencies. Choose
squarewave, triangle wave, or sinewave
output by connecting Al and A2 to
as a phase -locked loop.
Even when oscillating at a low frequen-
think the XR8038 was also mentioned, but ground or +5 volts as shown in the table. cy, the MAX038 is a high-frequency device
as far as I know, Evar no longer produces In addition to the selected waveform, the and it is prone to parasitic oscillation unless
that part. My currentfavorite for this appli- oscillator also produces a TTL -level (5- high-frequency wiring precautions are fol-
cation is the MAX038 from Maxim; it volt) squarewave that can be fed to a fre- lowed. Keep the leads to R1 very short. If
works up to 20 MHz. Wouldn't you quency counter or other control circuitry. possible, use the circuit board in Maxim's
agree ?-R. K, Portland, OR There are even provisions for running it evaluation kit (see below) rather than a sol-
derless breadboard.
+5V -5V Figure 2 shows how to adjust the duty
cycle of the output. Although really nar-
row pulses cannot be obtained, this gives
Cl C2
1F 1F you enough control to use the MAX038
as a pulse generator under some condi-
K tions. The frequency depends on Rl,
C3 C4
1F F R2, and C6. For best results, keep the
combined value of Rl and R2 in the
TTL SQUARE 20 neighborhood of 10,000 ohms; make
V+ V-
WAVE OUT SIGNAL OUT 16
DV+ PDO
12 large frequency changes by changing
1 t 19
OUT PDI
13 C6. The component values shown will
F_ 5 14
DADJ
7 give you about 0.3 MHz to 5 MHz, but
(R1 + R2) x C6
SYNC
15 high-frequency performance may require a
REF DGND
05 R1 18 carefully laid -out circuit board. You can
T .001F C6
.001F
20K
FRED
R2
GND
GND
11
use much larger capacitors for lower fre-
(SEE 1K
10 9
quencies, down to 0.1 Hz or so.
TEXT) IIN GND
6
The MAX038 requires a well -regu-
1C COSC GND lated split power supply at +5.0 and -5.0
8
Wh FADJ GND volts; Fig. 3 shows a suitable power sup-
= R3
Al ply circuit and Fig. 4 gives you the
10K
AO pinouts of the chips used in it. Note also
IC1 Cl, C2, C3, and C4, the filter capacitors
Al AO WAVEFORM
MAXO38 in Fig. 1. For best high- frequency per-
GND GND SQUARE. formance, use 1 -1.LF tantalum electrolyt-
GND +5V TRIANGL ic capacitors in parallel with 0.1 -1.LF
+5V GND SINE ceramic or film capacitors.
You can view the MAX038 data sheet
online at www.maxim -ic.com. You can
Fig. 1. With careful board ayout, this function generator can hit 20 MHz. Note how you can select order small quantities of the chip for
24 different waveforms with dgital signals on pins 3 and 4. $14.70 each online or by calling 408-

www.americanradiohistory.com
D1
IC1
7805
o
+5V
1,
81
1.5V DLED1
1N4001 G 1/
1000F
COMMON C1

T1
120V:6.3V - D2 G R2
300 mA 1N4001 R1
IC2
7905 5V -"VMr-
1

Fig. 3. The MAX038 requires an accurately regulated split power supply. LEVEL
DETECTOR
LM3909

737 -7600, extension 3468. The full des- LED for months or years from a single
Fig. 6. How the LM3909 worked its magic:
ignation of the chip in a dual -inline C cell or the like. This is a particularly
When the capacitor charges to 1 volt, its positive
(DIP) package is MAX038CPP. Maxim neat trick because a red LED requires terminal is suddenly grounded, bringing its neg-
also sells an evaluation kit with a ready - 1.8 volts. While it doesn't answer your
ative terminal to -1 volt. Voltage across the LED
made circuit board for high-frequency precise question, look in this issue at the is then 2.5 volts, even though you use a 1.5 -volt
operation; if I wanted to get the most "Basic Circuitry" column. There are battery as a source.
out of the MAX038, I'd probably start several LED circuits shown there.
with that. Unfortunately, the LM3909 was except that you need a 3 -volt source
Special thanks go out to Norman discontinued in September 1998. At the (2.7V from a lithium cell will do). The
Diefenderfer, who also spotted the miss- time this was written (April), a few units pulses are very short because R2 is so
ing ground connection in the March are still available from Jameco much smaller than Rl, and, as in Fig. 5,
diagram. Electronics (1355 Shoreway Road, the LED does not require a series resis-

GND IN
R1
o o LEDI
1 MEG

(RED OR
GREEN)
7805 7905 R2
10K
6

IC1
LM3909
+T 81
1.5V
Cl
GND IN OUT Cl 2 1NF
IN GND OUT
100F
Fig. 4. Note the different pinout arrangements -3I+
between the 7805 and 7905 regulators. Since Fig. 7. This CMOS 555 flasher circuit consumes

one tab is at ground and the other at a negative Fig. 5. The LM3909 IC, now discontinued, flash- only 0.2 mA but requires 3 volts. No series resis-
voltage, don't connect them together. Ifyou use es an LED from a single 1.5-volt cell, drawing tor is needed because the pulses are very short.
a common heatsink, use mica insulators to iso- only 0.4 mA. A nice trick, considering that the
late the tabs. LED requires 1.8 to 2.1 volts to operate! tor. Be sure to use a CMOS timer
(TLC555, LMC555, or 7555), not the
Belmont, CA 94002; 650 -592 -8097; conventional NE555. The flashing rate
wwwjameco.com) for $4.95 each, but they is set by R1 and Cl, which you can vary
Farewell, LM3909 probably won't last long. over a wide range. Figure 8 shows
The LM3909 works its magic by another low -current flasher circuit you
LED Flasher alternately charging a capacitor and then can try. This is a relaxation oscillator
QThe LM3909 LED flasher chip has grounding its positive terminal, so that using two transistors, one NPN and the
become rare and expensive. Please suggest the negative terminal briefly goes below other PNP, in a latching configuration.
a circuit that willflash an LED using one or ground voltage, as shown in Fig. 6.
two 1.5 -volt cells, have very low current That's how it delivers about 2.5 volts to
consumption, and offer an adjustable flash the LED from a 1.5 -volt supply.
rate if possible. I've experimented with a The low current consumption of the
CMOS 555 but battery life has been disap- LM3909 is the result of the short duration of
pointing. Thanks! -S. H., Montesano, WA the pulses it generates. On each cycle, the
LED is on for about 1/1000 second, then off for
AThe National Semiconductor a full second. Thus, its average current is only
LM3909 makes a red LED flash 1/1000 of its peak current Because the pulses
about once per second, using only a sin- are so short and the voltage is relatively low, the
gle 1.5 -volt cell for power, and drawing LED does not require a series resistor.
less than 0.4 mA (see Fig. 5). That Figure 7 shows how to use a CMOS Fig. 8. Here's another low-current LED flasher
means that you can power a flashing 555 timer chip to get the same effect, 25
circuit.

www.americanradiohistory.com
nal generator into the input of the op-


R1
LED1 R4 amp. If you can get the relay to pull in,
(RED)
01
10K
03 the rest of the circuit is probably OK,
11 'OA
2N4401

Q2
2N4401
2N4403 and the problem is with the transformer.
Otherwise, move toward the relay, stage
by stage, until you can get a response;
then you can figure out where the signal
/1
Cl is being lost.
100F B1
1.5V
r:T
R5
1K
f, R6
A/1/ Optical Illusion?
15K
04 While trying out a high -brightness LED
2N4401 ti in a dark room, I was surprised to see a
1 ball of sparkles seemingly hanging in the air
Fig. 9. For the truly determined, here is a discrete- component substitute for the LM3909 LED flasher. around the light source. I thought it was my
eyes, but my wife sees them too. The sparkles
Again, the pulses are very short. works only on AC. Since you haven't indi- do not move. What causes them ?-F. K,
Finally, if you need complete authen- cated the exact problems you had or the Gold Beach, OR
ticity, the circuit in Fig. 9 actually simu- corrections you made, I can't go any fur-
lates an LM3909. It is based on the cir- ther. Since the author's address is given in A It is your eyes -and your wife's eyes,
cuitry inside the LM3909 with a few the article (on page 64), you may want to too. To prove it, tilt your head while
simplifications. Using this circuit com- contact him. viewing the phenomenon. The sparkles
mercially might violate National Semi- Before you do that, though, follow will tilt with it.
conductor's patent, but you can certain- our general "Why- doesn't -it-work ?"
ly use it experimentally or as a source of troubleshooting strategy. First, under-
ideas. stand the circuit. If possible, look at the
Finally, I'd like to challenge our readers. circuit and figure out how it works, Port Access in
The circuit in Fig. 9 is probably not the rather than just building it blindly.
simplest one that does the job. Can you Second, if possible, get help locally. Visual BASIC
simplify it further? Or can you make some- Get another hobbyist to look at what QSome time ago I wrote a QuickBasic pro-
thing similar out of, say, an LM10 low- you've built and help you check that it's gram to gather measurement data
voltage op -amp? I'd like to hear from any- wired correctly. It's possible that you've through parallel port LPT2. I'm trying to
one who comes up with a better design. overlooked or misunderstood something convert the program to Visual Basic to run
in the schematic. A simple solder splash under Windows, but parallel I/O is a major
on a PC board can remain amazingly problem. What do I use in place of the INP
invisible for hours on end if you keep function and OUT statement of
Why Doesn't It Work looking at the same object. A fresh set of QuickBasic? -R. L., Overland Park, KS
QI'm having problems with the "Electronic eyes can sometimes spot an obvious and
Fuse" in Radio-Electronics, December simple error to which you've become A In Microsoft BASIC on the original
1991, pp. 63 -68. I could not get it to work. accustomed. You can often locate other IBM PC, the INP function and OUT
I've built it two times and made some cor- electronics enthusiasts through a ham- statement gave you direct access to port
rections but am still unable to get it to work. radio club. addresses. That is, you could put a port
Can you help me with the circuit or recom- Third, check the wiring. Maybe some- number on the CPU's address bus and
mend a better one ? -C.B., Louisville, KY thing's connected wrong, or maybe read or write data to whatever device
there's a bad solder joint. Sometimes you happened to respond to the address, if
AThe "Electronic Fuse" is an can't tell by just looking. any. This made it easy to do low -level
adjustable unit with a relay that will Fourth, check the parts, especially fail- manipulation of parallel and serial ports,
drop out when excessive current is ure-prone components such as ICs and and even to build your own ISA cards
drawn. You use it in place of a fuse in the transistors. Take nothing for granted; I with their own port addresses (see this
AC line supply of equipment you're have bought surplus NPN transistors column, May 1997, for an example).
working on, and you can adjust it to any that turned out to be PNP! All this was possible because DOS
value from /10 amp to 10 amps. For
1 Fifth and last, trace the signal. If the whole was a minimal operating system; basical-
those who are wondering, Radio - circuit doesn't work, find the part that does ly, all DOS did was load your program
Electronics was the name of our maga- work, and work backward from there. into memory, start it running, and get
zine before the last two name changes. The "electronic fuse," for instance, is out of the way. As a result, low-level
The article was published before I came basically an amplifier that takes a small control of the hardware was very easy.
on board, so I don't know if any problems AC signal (from a current transformer) Besides, your program is the only one
were noted with it at the time. Looking at and uses it to pull in a relay. A good running on the system; it has the hard-
the circuit, I don't see any obvious flaws. It strategy would be to remove the trans- ware all to itself and doesn't have to
does contain a toroidal transformer, which former and feed an audio -frequency sig- share with other applications.
26 is probably fairly critical, and of course, it nal (perhaps 1 volt at 60 Hz) from a sig- Not so with Windows 95 and higher.
HOW TO GET INFORMATION ABOUT ELECTRONICS for growing; do you think it's possible?
O.L., Orleans, Ontario, Canada
-
On the Internet: See our Web site at Electronics (post 1995 only) and Poptronics
www.gemsbackcom/poptronics for information are avai able from our Claggk, Inc., Reprint
and files relating to Poptronics and our former Department, P.O Box 12162, Hauppauge, AA thermistor is a resistor whose resis-
magazines (Electronics Now and Popular NY 11788; Tel: 631 -293 -3751. tance varies with temperature. Most
Electronics) and links to other useful sites. thermistors are NTC (negative temper-
To discuss electronics with your fellow Electronics Now and many other maga-
zines are indexed in the Reader's Guide to
ature coefficient), which means the
enthusiasts, visit the newsgroups sci.elec
tronics.repair, sci.electronics.components, Periodical Literature, available at your pub- resistance falls as the temperature rises.
sci.electronics.design, and rec.radio.ama lic library. Copies of articles in other maga- To test them, simply use an ohmme-
teuchomebrew. "For sale" messages are zines can be obtained through your public ter to measure the resistance at various
permitted only in rec.radio.swap and library's interlibrary loan service; expect to temperatures. One of the most common
misc.industry.electronics.marketplace. pay about 30 cents a page.
types has a resistance of about 20,000
Many electronic component manufac-
Service manuals: Manuals for radios, Ns, ohms at room temperature.
turers have Web pages; see the directory
at http: / /www.hitex.com /chipdir /, or try VCRs, audio equipment, and some comput- A thermistor can indeed serve as the
addresses such as http: //www.ti.com and ers are available from Howard W. Sams & basis of a temperature -control circuit.
http: //www. motorola.com (substituting any Co., Indianapolis, IN 46214; (800 -428- You'll need to arrange a switching tran-
7267). The free Sams catalog also lists
company's name or abbreviation as appro- sistor and relay to turn on the heating
priate). Many IC data sheets can be addresses of manufacturers and parts deal-
ers. Even if an item isn't listed in the catalog, element when the temperature falls
viewed online: www.questlink.com features
it pays b call Sams; they may have a sche- below a certain value.
IC data sheets and gives you the ability to
matic on file which they can copy for you.
buy many of the ICs in small quantities
Manuals for older test equipment and
using a credit card. You can also get
ham radio gear are available from Hi
detailed IC information from www.icmas
Manuals, PO Box 802, Council Bluffs, IA
ter.com, which is now free of charge
51502, and Manuals Plus, PO Box 549, S -Video to
although it formerly required a subscrip-
Tooele, UT 84074.
tion. Extensive information about how to
repair consumer electronic devices and Composite Video
Replacement semiconductors: Replace- QI'm trying to help a friend hook up a com-
computers can be found at www.repair ment transistors, ICs, and other semicon-
faq.org ductors, marketed by Philips ECG, NTE, puter DVD player with an S-video output
and Thomson (SK), are available through to his television set, which has only an RCA con-
Books: Several good introductory electron- most parts dealers (including RadioShack nector for composite video. How can I obtain or
ics books are available at RadioShack, on special order). The ECG, NTE, and SK build a converter?-T. C., Austin, TX
including one on building power supplies. lines contain a few hundred parts that sub-
An excellent general electronics text- stitute for many thousands of others; a
book is The Art of Electronics, by Paul directory (supplied as a large book and on A"S- video" is video with the color (chromi-
Horowitz and Winfield Hill, available from diskette) tells you which one to use. NTE nance) and brightness (luminance) signals
the publisher (Cambridge University Press, numbe-s usually match ECG; SK numbers on separate wires in the cable; composite
800 -872 -7423) or on special order through are diffarent. video has the two mixed together.
any bookstore. Its 1125 pages are full of Remember that the "2S" in a Japanese
information on how to build working circuits, As you noted in subsequent corre-
type number is usually omitted; a transistor
with a minimum of mathematics. marked D945 is actually a 2SD945. spondence, an adapter cable is available
Also indispensable is The ARRL Hand- from VideoWare Inc., 711 E. Main St.,
book for Radio Amateurs, comprising over Hamfests (swap meets) and local orga- Riverton, WY 82501; 307- 852 -2049;
1000 pages of theory, radio circuits, and nizations: These can be located by writing www.teachcam.com.
ready -to-build projects, available from the to the American Radio Relay League,
American Radio Relay League, Newington, Newington, CT 06111; (http: //www.arrl.org).
CT 06111, and from ham-radio equipment A ham=est is an excellent place to pick up
dealers. used test equipment, older parts, and other
items at bargain prices, as well as to meet
Copies of past articles: Copies of past your fellow electronics enthusiasts -both
articles in Electronics Now, Popular amateur and professional.
2

Axelson, whose books on parallel-, serial -, S-VIDEO


v COMPOSITE
VIDEO OUT
Wmdows is a multitasking operating sys- IN
tem in which several programs run at once and USB-port interfacing come in very
and have to be protected from each other. handy when you're trying to make a PC
Because of this, all hardware access is sup- communicate with test equipment or cir-
posed to go through device drivers (special cuits of your own design. Fig. 10. To convert S-video to composite video,
operating-system extensions). In reality, for by mixing chrominance (pin 4) and luminance
compatibility reasons, Wmdows 95 and 98 (pin 3) with a pair of I50 -ohm resistors.
still allow direct port access, but Wmdows
NT and 2000 do not. Programming lan- Thermistors Although I haven't tried it, it will
guages designed for Wmdows NT and QI recently inherited a bag of components probably be easy enough to build your
2000 therefore do not provide for direct that I'm told are "thermistors." They are own, since all you have to do is mix the
port access. little black blobs about 1 to 2 -mm across, two signals. Try the circuit in Fig. 10,
Fortunately, you can get the device dri- with two leads. Can you explain how I can and experiment with resistor values until
vers you need from Lakeview Research test and use them? I'd lik to build a device you get good results.
(www.lvrcom). That site is run by Jan to keep my bread yeast at a good temperature (Continued on page 69) 27

www.americanradiohistory.com
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www.americanradiohistory.com
Generate 3fl-incli sparks with this

ROBERT IANNINI AND CHESTER H. LAWRENCE

Here's one of the largest experimenter Tesla coils you can build.
It can produce electrical discharges as great as 30 inches in length!

IMPORTANT WARNING NOTICE


Befora we start, here is some important information that must b brought h your -Mention.
If you decide to b.ld and opc rate this device, you must place it r3ide a screen roue or Faraday cage to prevent the electromagnetic
interference it wil, produce fr?m disturbing your neighbors.
The c'evice descbed in this article involves the use of materia'.; and substance= that are hazardous to health and life. DO NOT
attempt to implement or use he information contained in this artule unless you are experienced in the construction and safety con-
siderations that a- ply to high-voltage devices of this nature. Alth: ugh all possible -7easures have been taken to ensure the accura-
cy of the informaJon presented, Gernsback Publications Inc. is rrot fable for dam-ges or :juries, misinterpretation of directions, or
the mrsapplicatioes of information.
Testa coils produce large am'unts of electromagnetic energy fT 4 At I WIPE OUT Cl}MPU -ER SYSTEMS AND CAUSE DEST RUC-
TIVE INTERFERENCE TO COMMUNICATIONS AND OTHER . NSITIVE ELEC -FICAL AND ELECTRONICS EQUIPMEir+- The
sys'e.n must be operated wit -iin a shielded enclosure such as a Fare day ca'e. All he ds gang into and out of this enclosure ra.ist be
properly filtered to attenuate any electromagnetic interference from occurrirg on t .e line. 29

www.americanradiohistory.com
The Tesla Coil described in this article is a dangerous electrical device for the following reasons:
The T1 -T4 transformer array produces lethal currents. HUMAN CONTACT WITH THESE POINTS WITH THE SYSTEM
CONNECTED TO A POWER SOURCE CAN RESULT IN ELECTROCUTION OR SERIOUS BURNS. Never stand on a con-
ductive surface, such as cement, wet ground, etc. when operating this equipment.
Omitting line -bypass capacitors CI and C2 can create a fire hazard within your house wiring.
Never operate this device in a flammable atmosphere; the sparks can cause ignition. Low overhead wood structures are also
prone to be fire hazards.
Always provide adequate ventilation for the large amounts of ozone proai.'ced
It is often a merit of Tesla coil operation to make physidal contact with the secondary spark discharge for demonstration pur-
poses. Only a qualified person should do this, and only after verify.ng proper operation. THE SECONDARY RETURN OF
THE OUTPUT COIL MUST BE DIRECTLY GROUNDED TO EARTH.
Never leave the system unattended where children or any other unqual fed person might be able to power it up.
The coil should never be energized for longer than 10 to 20 seconos at a time.
This Tesla coil can produce a spark discharge up to 30 inches long Poston the main power switch at some remote point,
as sparks may jump to the operator if he/she is standing close to the output coil. Insulate all metal controls as contact can
cause irritating burns to the fingers.
DO NOT USE NEAR PACEMAKERS OR OTHER SIMILAR DEVICES. ALWAYS WARN SPECTATORS AS TO THE DAN-
GER OF BEING NEAR THIS DEVICE IF THEY ARE WEARING OR USING SENSITIVE EQUIPMENT.
DO NOT OPERATE NEAR COMPUTERS OR ON THE SAME POWER LINES.
These warnings are serious. It is vital for your health and well being, as well as to those around you, that they are followed.

esta coils have been around


for a long time. This maga-
zine's predecessors have from time
to time published articles about
other versions of this device. All of
these articles are based on the
principles developed some 100
years ago by Nikola Tesla when he
conducted his famous experiments
with the wireless transmission of
energy from a mountaintop research
laboratory in Colorado Springs, CO
during the late 1890s. Almost all
Tesla coils built today use line -oper-
ated step -up transformers to gen-
erate the high voltages required for
the Tesla coil's primary circuit. Our
Tesla Coil follows that same tech-
nique; the difference is in the huge
high -voltage output it produces.

How It Works. Tesla coils, when


reduced to their basics, are simply
high-frequency step -up transform-
ers designed to operate at a reso-
nant frequency. The easiest way to
understand how the Tesla Coil
works is to jump right in and study
the schematic diagram. Follow
along with the schematic shown in
Fig.1 during the following discussion.
Transformers Tl through T4 form a
bank of step-up transformers con-
nected in a series -parallel arrange-
ment. They take 117volt AC house- This 14- second time exposure, while graphically showing the Tesla Coil's ability to generate high-volt-
hold current and boost it up to 8000 age streamers, does not do justice to actually watching the bluish purple discharges emanating from the
volts at 60 mA. Connecting the sec- terminal atop the secondary coil. Note the intense bright light coming from the sparkgap assembly.
30 ondaries to a common neutral point When running your Tesla Coil, don't stare at that light without adequate W eye protection.

www.americanradiohistory.com
C3 OUTPUT
.01 F TERMINAL
10KV
AC
MOTI
1111 1111
T3
CHOKE 1

OPTIONAL BLOWER FOR


EXTENDED OPERATION 117V C4
4 KV 4 KV
AC .01F
10kV
OAC
SECONDARY

T4
SPARK
GAP o COIL

(T2
a
o
117V
a 4 KV a
Cl C2 AC
ALLIGATOR
.47F .47F
o CLIP
400V 400V
. r
C
1111 1111
Fl CHOKE 2
LP1 J1
10A *BLACK "PHASE" ID SQUARES
INDICATE RED LEADS NEUTRAL GROUND LINE

117V HEAVY SCREW STUD FOR


DUTY DIRECT EARTH
AC (
LINE CORD
P1 )
GROUND AND SAFETY SHORTING
& PLUG DISCHARGE PROBE PLUG
TO 117V AC

Fig. I. Full schematic of high-voltage Tesla Coil. Note that C3 and C4 are connected in parallel and
can be replaced with one capacitor with a value of 0.02 F.

creates a midpoint ground. That way,


4000 -volt transformers can be used;
14.0
the outputs are wired in series.
It is important to take a careful
look at the phasing dots shown
iO i

adjacent to the transformer wind-


ings. These must be followed in both
the primary and secondary circuits.
While it is easy to do series and par- FABRICATE TWO PIECES OF 1/2"
allel connections in a DC circuit, AC PLYWOOD FOR TOP AND BOTTOM
BASE SECTIONS
circuits require you to think about
the phase as well as the polarity.
Caution: The primary wiring must
be isolated from the secondary. The
14.0
secondary coil is connected directly
to the ground plate bracket.
Fuse F1 carries a 10-amp rating
o
CENTER HOLE FOR LS1
to protect against any catastroph- GROUND POINT
ic damage caused by any faults
during operation. If this fuse fails, be
sure that you determined the cause
before replacing it and operating
the Tesla Coil again. The heavy -
OPTIONAL 7/8 -INCH DIA.
duty 3 -wire line cord has its neutral COUNTERBORE 1/8 -INCH DEEP
lead connected to a ground plate
that is also used as a connection
point for all grounds in the system. It, O;
_. 0.625
in turn, must be connected to a
dedicated, solid earth ground. -- -
0.625
Note that capacitors Cl and C2
NOTE 1/4" HOLES PLACED ON 5/8"
are connected across the AC lines CENTERS FROM OUTSIDE EDGES
to the ground plate. These bypass
capacitors prevent any "kickback" Fig. 2. The top and base sections are made out of plywood following this pattern. 31

www.americanradiohistory.com
1 .00 1.25 125 - PARTS LIST FOR
THE TESLA COIL

O
C 1, C2- 0.47 -11F, 400 -WVDC capacitor
C3, Cl 0.1 -F, 10 -kVAC polypropy-
2.00 lene high -current pulse capacitors in
O O
parallel (or single 0.02-F unit)
1.00 O Chokel, Choke2-see text
F1-10-amp fuse
r 0 J1, P 1-RCA -style connector,
4.00 panel -mount
LPl -Primary coil (see text)
MOT1 -41/2 -inch 117 -VAC high -output
muffin fan (optional -see text)
Tl T4- --4000 volts, 30 mA, current -
O O limited, open -core coil transformer
Heavy -duty 3 -wire line cord with
plug, line-cord strain relief, alligator
clip, 3/16 -inch OD copper tubing, 12
2.00 x 3 -inch toroid terminal (or optional
stove -pipe bellows -see text), tool -
steel or tungsten electrodes, 1/2 -inch
plywood, PVC pipe, sheet aluminum,
O O wire, hardware, etc.
Note: The following items are available
from Information Unlimited, P.O.
8 0
1.75
Box 716, Amherst, NH 03031; 603-
673 -6493; info @stdtl.com;
www.amazingl.com: Plans (BTC4),
$20; Full kit of all parts with plans
O O (BTC4K), $899.95; Assembled and
tested unit (BTC40), $1199.95; Video
of setup and operation (BTC4VID),
$25. Please add $5 for shipping and
2 0 handling. NH residents must add
appropriate sales tax.

O O tance of C3 and C4 set the reso-


nant frequency of LP1. That reso-
nant energy is coupled into the
1.25
USE DIMENSIONS AS SHOWN FOR
secondary coil, which is also tuned
PROPER PLACEMENT OF TRANSFORMERS to the resonant frequency of the
primary circuit.
The secondary coil's energy
1;7;1 0.35
"rings down" with an exponentially
Fig. 3. The ground plate is made from a single piece of aluminum. decaying waveform. The high -volt-
age output produced in the sec-
pulses from entering your house are connected in parallel and must ondary is a function of the ratio of
wiring to minimize (not eliminate) have at least a 10,000 -volt rating. the primary and secondary "Q"
any possible damage to sensitive When the voltage across the factors. It is important to point out
electronic equipment. The output capacitors is high enough, they dis- that, unlike a standard transformer,
of the Tesla Coil can cause annoy- charge across the spark gap. The the voltage is not dependent on
ing burns and shocks from contact spark gap is adjusted so that the turns ratios! The spark gap switch
with metal controls, etc. Operation discharges occur on each voltage must "turn off" to allow the sec-
can be easily controlled by simply "peak" of the AC -cycle waveform. ondary "ring- down" energy to cou-
inserting and removing the power The discharge "steps" a pulse of ple back into the primary circuit.
plug or by adding a control switch, current into primary coil LP1. Due to The spark gap uses multiple gaps to
disconnect box, or other control its nature, the spark gap generates enhance positive turn off and to
device. many frequencies that set up a res- prevent ionization from excessive
The 8000 -volt output charges onant voltage in LP1; LP]'s induc- heating. You can use brass or tool
32 "tank" capacitors C3 and C4. They tance and the combined capaci- steel for the limited -use spark-gap

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Distance Education ...
Nearly 70 years of experi- Enroll on -line. Visit CIE's
ence with over 150,000 V, web site at www.cie -wc.edu
graduates worldwide. At and take a look at all of our
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www.americanradiohistory.com
H H1/4 elbows as a substitute since sharp
-F
1/2
o
corners are not as degrading as
they would be if used on a Van de
Graaff generator. The terminal has
4 1/4 two purposes. First, it electrostatical -
ly shields the top winding of the
secondary coil from arcing into
open air. That situation burns the
o o coil, resulting in degraded perfor-
mance. Second, adding electrical
capacity to the top of a quarter-
1 5/8
o o o wave system enhances current
flow through the coil. This property
increases spark energy at the cost
1/4
o o o of fewer discharges per time unit.
Mathematically speaking, there
f is no limit to this capacitance with
3/8
the exception of the resonant fre-
2 3/8 a quency decreasing to an unwork-
4 3/8
able value. Information Unlimited,
4 3/4
A
the creator of this Tesla coil, is cur-
rently working on a computer pro-
COLLAR gram for determining that impor-
tant property when used for volt-
age magnification and other non -
3/8T magnetically coupled resonant
1-3/-1 systems.
The Primary Coil: Together with
1/4
capacitors C3 and C4, this coil
T
1 1/4
forms a series-resonant circuit
equal in frequency to that of the
i 1 1/4
secondary coil with its associated
output terminal. A tap that allows a
connection anywhere along its spi-
I-
I

3/4
1/4
COLLARS MUST BE
CENTERED OVER 3/8"
7/64 DIA. raling turns tunes the circuit. The
HOLE AND CAREFULLY
C windings are heavy, bare copper
wire or copper tubing at least 3/16
3/4
o SOLDERED WITH A
PROPANE TORCH
inch or thicker to accommodate
3/16 DIA. the high flowing -tank currents.
B
Coupling: The secondary coil is
Fig. 4. The spark gap consists of a base bracket (A), a set of three electrode brackets (B), and PVC coupled to primary coil LP1 and
spacers (C). must be tuned to the same fre-
quency for efficient operation.
electrodes, but for any prolonged performance problems and cannot Coupling these circuits, however,
operation, tungsten electrodes are be permitted. If you create a cross- must not be too tight, as "beat fre-
necessary. over while winding this coil, you must quencies" can cause hot spots
do it all over again. along the secondary coil. Coupling
Major Components. Let's take a To calculate the series -resonant that is too loose, however, will not
closer look at the major compo- frequency of the secondary, con- allow proper energy transfer
nents of the Tesla Coil and how sider it as a quarter -wave section of between the two circuits. You may
they work. length equal to the actual physical wish to experiment by changing
The Secondary Coil: This is where length of the wire used. Although the position of the secondary coil
the high vo tage is produced. The this is an approximation, it's close by placing it on wood blocks.
coil form must be an excellent insu- enough for our needs. A reduction Spark -Gap Switch: This is where
lator and have a low dissipation fac- in this figure can be fudged because the energy stored in capacitors C3
tor to high -frequency currents. Pre- of extra capacitance resulting from and C4 is switched into primary
ferably, it should be made from a ionization at the top of the coil inductor LP1. The spark -gap elec-
material that would not readily "car- when it discharges. trodes must allow for clean "makes"
bon track" in case of spark break The Output Terminal: This is a 12- and "breaks." Adjustment is critical
over, etc. Wiring turns must be even inch toroidal (donut- shaped) termi- to allow C3 and C4 to charge suffi-
and properly spaced. Turn crossovers nal. These are expensive and hard ciently before breakdown, and
36 or overlaps will always cause serious to find. You can use stovepipe therefore switching, occurs. Remember

www.americanradiohistory.com
I V MR If 14011-

COLLARS 3 x 1/2" FERRITE


CORE POSITIONED
FAN
(MOTZ) o o SOLDER COLLARS
1" FROM BASE
TO ENHANCE
TO BRACKETS INDUCTANCE OF
#6 SOLDER
LUGS AND BOTTOM COIL.
SMALL BRASS SECURE WITH RTV.
SCREWS
ELECTRODE

ELECTRODE BRACKET
(3 REQ)

PVC PVC
SPACER SPACER

MAIN BRACKET

APPROX.
1"

Fig. 5. You can use an optional fan (designated MOTI in Fig. 1) to air-cool the spark gap for STYROFOAM PLASTIC CAP
extended runs. The side view (A) and top view (B) are shown here. PEANUT, ETC.
TO AID IN
POSITION OF
that system energy is a function of tion. A special capacitor must be FERRITE ROD
BRASS WOOD SCREW
the square of the charging voltage used in this circuit; pay attention to AND WASHER
across the primary capacitor. It is its dissipation factor and REVERSE-
MATERIAL: 5 -INCH LENGTH OF
important that the gap shuts down CURRENT- HANDLING CAPABILITY. 1 -INCH O.D. THICK -WALL PVC TUBING
cleanly before the secondary cur- RF Choke: This part blocks the
rent reaches its maximum value. high resonant frequency and har- Fig. 6. Two choke coils are needed. Here is a
close up of how they are assembled. Note the
The energy in the secondary must monic voltages and currents from unusual winding of the coil; see the text for
not couple back into the primary; it feeding back into the transformers. details.
will cause erratic spark gap opera- Those currents can create destruc-
tion, destructive voltage nodes, hot tive voltages that will most certain- your own ideas during construction.
spots, etc. If you are going to oper- ly cause premature failure of these However, if you do it differently, the
ate the Tesla coil frequently, use expensive devices. performance of your coil may be
tungsten for the spark -gap-switch degraded. The smart approach
electrodes. Additionally, an option- Putting The Tesla Coil Together. In would be to build the unit exactly as
al cooling fan (MOT1 In Fig. 1) will contrast to the usual electronic pro- shown. Once it's working, try your
help dissipate heat buildup in the ject, the Tesla Coil has many modifications one at a time. If one of
spark-gap assembly. mechanical parts to fabricate. If your ideas doesn't work, It's easy to
Primary Capacitor: This is where you don't have the facilities for cut- tell which it is with that approach.
the energy is stored that is ex- ting and bending sheet metal, a kit Like the "Horatio Alger" stories,
changed with the primary inductor. is available from the source given in we're going to start at the bottom
The exchange occurs at a rate the Parts List. Rare is the individual and work our way up. Make the
equal to the resonant frequency. It who would have in his "junk box" all base from a piece of 1/2-inch ply-
must be capable of handling high of the parts necessary to build this wood cut to the dimensions shown
currents and must have a low dissi- Tesla Coil! in Fig. 2. Since a second piece of
pation factor for efficient opera- Of course, you can implement plywood cut to the same dimen- 37

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SPARK GAP
ASSEMBLY

I 4
AIR FLOW
A
The spark -gap assembly
in Fig. 5.
on the PVC spacer should not
touch each other; that would
is shown
Note that the screws used

defeat the purpose of the insulated


spacers. Those screws should be as
short as possible to prevent any
arcing. Be sure to mount the fan so
that its airflow blows across the
spark gaps instead of drawing air
across it and into the fan blades.
Both chokes are made in accor-
dance with Fig. 6. There should be
about 3 inches of free space
between the solder lugs.
To wind the coil, solder a length
of 26 -gauge magnet wire to the
upper solder lug. "Space wind" the
wire for one inch. To space wind a
coil, take a second piece of 26-
gauge magnet wire and wind the
two wires in parallel -similar to a
bifilar winding. When the coil mea-
sures one inch long (there should
be about two inches of remaining
space to the lower solder lug),
carefully remove the second wire.
You should now have a coil that
04.611 r \\4-L LC1
111
has a space equal to the wire
diameter between each turn.
Shellac this coil to fix it in place.
When the shellac is dry, continue
F1 Jir
WHITE
winding the coil for the remaining
BLACK GREEN BASE two inches of space with tightly
STRAIN
BUSHING packed turns. Solder the end of the
Fig. 7. The base layout shows how the transformers, capacitors, and spark-gap assembly are mount-
wire to the lower solder lug and
ed. Also shown is the high - voltage wiring. Follow this layout precisely. shellac these additional windings.
Temporarily put the plastic end
sions will hold the primary and sec- the transformers. Bolt a lug to the cap in place. Using a piece of
ondary coils, go ahead and make plate as shown in Fig. 3, and solder foam packing material as a spacer,
that piece as well. When it comes Cl and C2 to it. Secure Cl and C2 insert the ferrite core as shown and
time to mount both pieces of ply- in place with silicone adhesive. Set secure it with silicone adhesive. Set
wood together, we'll be using the assembly aside while the glue both chokes aside while the glue
lengths of PCV pipe as spacers with sets. dries.
a brass rod running through them. If The parts for the spark gap are
you want, you can counterbore the shown in Fig. 4. The hole locations The Lower Assembly. Now that
holes at the corners so that the on these pieces must be accurate. we have all of the assemblies
spacers "nest" solidly within the The base bracket (Fig. 4A) can be needed for the base plate, it's time
counterbore. Drill the counterbore made from a piece of aluminum. to start putting things together. The
first with a flat -blade wood drill; the The collar and bracket in Fig. 4B arrangement of components and
pointed center of the drill will mark should be made from brass; that their wiring is shown in Fig. 7.
the location for drilling the actual will make it easier to solder the two Install the fuse holder, J 1, P 1, and
hole. Only counterbore one side; parts together. The spacer in Fig. 4C a suitable three -conductor power
those two sides will be facing each is a solid piece of PVC plastic. cord into the appropriate holes
other in the final assembly. Although the hole is shown as that you drilled in the Fig. 3 ground
The ground plate (Fig. 3) is a going all the way through, it might plate. Note how the ground screw
piece of 0.032- inch -thick aluminum. be better to drill shallow holes that fits in the hole drilled in the center
Bend one end to a right angle; the don't meet. That way, additional of the plywood base. Secure the
holes in that part are sized for the insulating material will keep the plate with screws that also hold the
fuse holder, a strain relief for the screws that will go into the holes transformers. Although Fig. 7 only
power cord, J1, and P1 Note the . from accidentally touching each shows one screw per transformer,
38 position of the holes for mounting other. use screws on all mounting holes.

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MATERIAL: .0625 LEXAN (POLYCARBONATED) SHEET plywood that we prepared using #6
brass wood screws (the use of brass
4.50 is important for any hardware that's
. 2.00- close to the primary or secondary
. 1.50 coils); see Fig. 9. Use the side of the
--1.00- plywood that doesn't have the
counterbores. Note that you'll need
0.50
to drill two additional holes in the
plywood for the wire leads to each
90 end of the coil; they should be
0.60
large enough to pass 12- or 14-
gauge wire.
Strip the end of a 12 -inch piece
of insulated 12- or 14 -gauge wire
MOUNTING HOLES and insert it into one end of a
Fig. 8. These Lexan brackets support the primary coil. length of 3/16 copper tubing. Solder
it in place using a heavy iron or
Be sure to use a mounting lug from labeled "A" and "B;" we'll get to propane torch. Thread the wire into
the transformer wires shown to the them in a moment. the hole that's closest to the center
ground -plate screw that's drawn. of the plywood. That is what's con-
It's important to connect the trans- The Primary Winding. In prepara- sidered the "start" of LP1.
formers that way to provide a posi- tion for making LP I, you need to Now the "fun" part begins. Care-
tive earth ground for the trans- fabricate four supports from poly - fully bend the copper pipe into a
former frames. carbonate sheet; the dimensions smooth spiral, placing it in each
Chokel and Choke2 are installed and particulars are shown in Fig. 8. groove of the plastic support
above the transformers. Remove Mount them to the other piece of brackets. The end of the last (outer)
the plastic caps from the chokes
and attach them to the base plate CLIP TAP AT
END OF LP1
USE #6 BRASS
SCREWS TO ATTACH
with a brass screw. Install the choke PRIMARY PRIMARY BRACKET
assembly into the end cap; Fig. 6 HOLE FOR TAP LEAD TO BASE TOP
shows the details.
Capacitors C3 and C4 can be
found as a single unit of the correct
value. As we mentioned before, the
important consideration is to have
a 0.02 -11F unit with a 10,000 -WVDC
rating. If you have two individual
components, you can place them
in a piece of PVC pipe, attach their
leads to suitable threaded brass
rod, and seal the unit with high -volt-
age potting compound. As you
can tell from the foregoing descrip-
tion, finding a ready -made device
is much less messy. In any event,
mount the high -voltage capacitor
HOLE FOR GROUNDED
as shown in Fig. 7. SCREW TO START
The spark gap is mounted at the OF SECONDARY /
end of the base plate. Note the air-
flow direction.
Follow the wiring diagram care-
fully, double- checking it against the
schematic diagram. The primaries
of T1 -T4 are wired using standard
117 -volt wiring techniques. While
the prototype used wire nuts to col-
lect the various wires together, feel
free to use terminal strips and sol-
der the connections. Remember
that those points are at line voltage Fig. 9. Follow this pattern to make the primary coil. Remember, you are using copper tubing to wind
and must support at least 5 amps. this coil. Soft tubing from a home -improvement store or plumbing supply is easy to work with; its
For now, ignore the two wires intended use is for supplying water to a refrigerator's automatic icemaker. 39

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NOTE CUT MATERIAL: 22" LENGTH
OUT FOR OF 4.25' OD x .125" WALL
NESTING PLYWOOD PVC DRAIN PIPE
OF PVC BASE TOP
SPACERS
NOT
NECESSARY
FOR
ASSEMBLY
SPACER
6" x .875"
PVC
SPACERS
AND 8" HOLES FOR
PLYWOOD GROUND LEAD TO J1 V A THREADING
1/4 -20
BASE CENTER SCREW ON BASE TOP END LEADS
THREADED
BRASS BOTTOM
ROD

PVC
CAPS
USED END VIEW SHOWING
FOR WOOD BLOCK
FEET
TEMPORARY WOODEN
Fig. 10. When mounting the two plywood plates BLOCKS FOR WINDING
together, follow this arrangement. You can use COIL. SECURE WITH RTV
pipe caps for feet. Fig. ! 1. Construction details for the secondary coil.

turn of copper tubing is positioned


adjacent to the hole for the tap
lead. Using some silicon adhesive,
apply a dab at each slot in the
brackets to hold the copper tubing
in place. Allow 24 hours for the sili-
con rubber to set completely.
Cut a 3 -foot piece of insulated
12- or 14 -gauge wire for the coil tap
lead and attach an alligator clip to
one end. Attach the alligator clip to
the end of the copper- tubing coil.
Position the wire as shown in Fig. 9
and insert it into the hole in the
upper corner of the plate.
Install a brass screw and nut in
the center hole with the threads
sticking up. A 12 -inch length of 12-
or 14-gauge wire is connected to
the underside of the brass screw
(by the screw head) with a lug. The
other end of the wire gets a plug
that mates with J1.
Using brass rods, nuts, and PVC
plastic spacers, mount the upper
plate with LP1 to the main assem-
bly. The details of marrying the two
assemblies together are given in
Fig. 10. The wires dangling from LP1
are connected as follows: The 12-
inch "start" lead connects to the
spark gap as wire "B" in Fig. 7; wire
"A" is the three-foot "end" lead with
the alligator clip. Plug the wire from
the central ground screw into J1.

The Secondary Coil. If you thought


that creating the primary coil was
"enjoyable," the secondary coil will
40 The completed Tesla Coil is ready to throw sparks, raise eyebrows, and make hair stand on end! be more sol The basic details are

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shown in Hg. 11.
The coil form for the secondary LEAD TO OUTPUT
needs to be an excellent insulator TERMINAL
as well as a relatively lossless dielec-
tric at the operating frequency. A
ruby -mica coil form would be ideal
if it existed. Thin wall PVC tubing,
while not the best, is a good com-
promise between cost and perfor-
mance. Unfortunately, PVC is hygro-
scopic (absorbs moisture). Small SECONDARY
amounts of moisture will degrade the COIL

performance of the Tesla Coil. The fol-


lowing procedure will help drive
out the moisture and seal the PVC
form. Pick a dry day to do this.
Start by thoroughly cleaning the
PVC pipe inside and out. Let it dry
completely in a dehumidified area.
Once it is dry, use a heat gun to drive
out as much remaining moisture as
possible. Apply several coats of
orange shellac to seal the plastic sur-
face. Wait until the shellac is com-
pletely dry before proceeding.
Cut two pieces of wood to fit
across the inside of the pipe and
drill a hole in their center. Secure
them inside each end of the pipe
with silicone adhesive. When the
glue is dry, run a shaft through the
blocks and secure one end in a
bench vice. You should be able to
spin the pipe on this "axle."
Drill a set of three holes at each
end of the pipe as shown in Fig. 11.
The holes should be about 1 inch
from the ends of the pipe. In other
words, the 22 -inch pipe should 14 -GAUGE SPACER
have a 20 -inch area between the SAFETY- DISCHARGE
holes and centered on the pipe. PROBE
Take some 26 -gauge magnet Fig. 12. Overall look at the mechanical assembly of the Tesla Coil.
wire and thread it through the
three holes on one side of the pipe. in the same manner as the begin- for the secondary coil.
You should have about 8 -10 inches ning of the coil. Again, leave about Screw the completed secondary
of wire on the inside of the pipe. 8-10 inches of wire on the inside of coil onto the brass screw in the
Secure the wire in place with a the pipe. You should end up with upper plywood plate; your Tesla
piece of tape that has extremely about 1000 turns or so of wire. Coil should now look like Fig. 12.
"sticky" properties. If the wire comes Remove the wood blocks and
loose during winding, you'll have to install a bracket at each end that Testing The Tesla Coil. If you live in
start all over again! has a threaded hole in its center. a heavily populated area, close to
Start winding the wire about the The thread size should match the an airport, or near computers and
pipe. Keep the windings tight, close, brass screw in the center of the other sensitive electronics equip-
and free of kinks or crossovers. upper plywood plate. Bend a set of ment, you must operate the Tesla
Don't forget to heed the warnings "ears" on the bracket, and drill Coil within a Faraday cage. It is best
concerning the secondary coil in holes. Attach the brackets with to test the system in an area that
the "Major Components" section of brass screws and nuts; drill holes in has wood floors. This will reduce the
this article. the pipe for the screws. Scrape the risk of dangerous ground currents
Stop winding about every inch insulation from the end of the mag- resulting from accidental contact.
or so and shellac it in place. net wire and connect it to one of After you have verified correct
When you reach the other set of the screw/nut pairs. The brackets wiring, proper clearance of high-
holes, thread the wire through them will double as electrical contacts voltage points, and proper ground 41

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connections to the ground plate blocks and then readjusting all para- TIPS FOR MAIL ORDER
and from the ground plate to an meters. A round or square wood
earth ground, set the two spark block that fits inside the secondary PURCHASE
gaps to about ' /ia inch, Connect coil will position it and secure it in
the tap lead alligator clip to the place. Remember, always use brass It isimpossible for us to verify the claims of ad-
vertisers, including but not limited to product
outermost primary turn. Be sure to screws for fastening. availability, credibility, reliability and existence
loop the tap -lead wire around the of warranties. The following information is pro-
secondary coil. It is used as a full Closing Notes. Safety is the keynote. vided as a service for your protection. It is not
turn of the primary winding; you You are using a device that gener- intended to constitute legal advice and readers
can add even more depending ates dangerous voltages and amp- are advised to obtain independent advice on
how to best protect their own interests based
upon the position of the tap con- erages. Make sure that the power is upon their individual circumstances and juris-
nection. This is important as the sys- off when making adjustments. When dictions.
tem will not properly tune without the power is on, be sure to keep the
1. Confirm price and merchandise information
this added turn. time intervals short-15 seconds or less. with the seller, including brand, model, color or
Connect a current meter to J1 The optional current meter con- finish, accessories and rebates included in the
or short this jack to ground. Next, nected to J1 can be used as a fine- price.
attach a toroid or other similar ter- tuning indicator by adjusting for a max- 2. Understand the seller's return and/or refund
minal to the top of the secondary imum reading. However, initial opera- policy, including the allowable return period, who
coil. You can use a metal 13- or 16-
ounce coffee can. In a pinch, a
metal bowl will suffice. Make sure
tion where tuning may be way off can
result in erroneous current peaks
especially if coupling is too tight.
- pays the postage for returned merchandise and
whether there is any "restocking" or "return"
charge.

that there is positive electrical con- The secondary coil in this system 3. Understand the product's warranty. Is there
tact. Use your own ingenuity in acts like a quarter -wave antenna a manufacturer's warranty, and if so, is it for a
mechanically securing the termi- U.S. or foreign manufacturer? Note that many
with top -loading capacitance. This
manufacturers assert that, even if the product
nal to the top of the coil. Place a means that there is a current node comes with a U.S. manufacturer's warranty, if you
grounded terminal approximately at the base that can be measured purchase from an unauthorized dealer, you are
8 inches from the toroid and in amps. If you rely on the green not covered by the manufacturer's warranty. If
secure it in place. This is your test wire of the power cord for ground- in doubt, contact the manufacturer directly. In

contact. ing, you force your electrical wiring addition to, or instead of the manufacturer's war-
ranty, the seller may offer its own warranty. In
Plug the unit into the AC power to become a part of the system. either case, what is covered by warranty, how
source briefly and see if there is a This is not a good idea as a voltage long is the warranty period, where will the prod-
spark discharge to the test con- gradient can result along the wiring uct be serviced, is there a charge for service, what
tact. A word of warning: The spark run. Ground the coil to earth with do you have to do to obtain service and will the
gap creates blinding amounts of the shortest lead possible! product be repaired or replaced? You may want
to receive a copy of the written warranty before
ultraviolet light accompanied by a The two choke coils are de-
placing your order.
very loud sound. If there is no spark, signed to provide a relatively high
recheck the entire system. If it is impedance to the resonant oper- 4. Keep a copy of all transactions, including
but not limited to cancelled check, receipt and
working, separate the test contact ating frequency and any associat- correspondence. For phone orders, make a note
until you reach the distance where ed harmonics. It is necessary to of the order including merchandise ordered, price,
the spark becomes erratic. Don't choke off those high frequencies order date, expected delivery date and salesper-
forget to turn off the power after and to prevent them from reaching son's name.
each test, and do not leave the the power transformers. If not done, 5. If the merchandise is not shipped within the
power on for periods longer than damage to the secondaries of the promised time, or if no time was promised, with-
15 seconds at a time. With the power transformers is inevitable. in 30 days of receipt of the order, you generally
power off, connect the tap to the The spark gap is connected have the right to cancel the order and get a re-
fund.
next inner winding on primary coil across the transformer bank to limit
LP1. Reapply power briefly. Keep voltage stress on their secondary 6. Merchandise substitution without your ex-
repeating these steps until you find windings. As we mentioned before, press prior consent is generally not allowed.

the tap on the primary that pro- the spark gap releases large 7. If you have a problem with your order or the
duces maximum output. Now you amounts of intense ultraviolet light. merchandise, write a letter to the seller with all the
can slightly open the spark gaps The spark -gap discharges should pertinent information and keep a copy.
and repeat the entire procedure not be viewed directly. Observe 8. If you are unable to obtain satisfaction from
until you find the maximum set- these discharges only through a the seller, contact the consumer protection
tings. Keep in mind that you can piece of clear plastic or protective agency in the seller's state and your local Post
Office.
place the primary-coil tap at any eyegear.
point on the coil. For example, the There you have it. Work carefully If, after following the guidelines, you experi-
prototype device pictured here ence a problem with a mail order advertiser
and you should have a great time
that you are unable to resolve, please let us
has its tap about 40 from the end with this project. If you come up with know. Write to Advertising Department,
of LP1. comments or an interesting photo or Gernsback Publications Inc., 500B Bi- County
You may also experiment by using two, feel free to e-mail them to me in Blvd. Farmingdale, NY 11735.
different values of coupling by rais- care of the magazine at feed Be sure to include copies of all correspondence.
42 ing the secondary coil on wood back@gernsback. corn. P

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CALL ALERT
RAYMOND C. BUCK, III

Stop annoying telephone


solicitors and telemarketers from
destroying the tranquillity of
your home with their relentless
sales pitches

Elne of the most annoying


things about the telephone
is calls from solicitors and telemar-
keters. Most people now have
answering machines to help screen
out such unwanted calls. However,
if you leave your telephone
plugged in to receive calls from
family members, the ringing tele-
phone can still disturb you. That is
especially irritating if you are trying
to get a little extra sleep on a
Saturday morning. The Call Alert
unit described here is one way to
help solve the problem.
Call Alert connects to the tele- latched onto the telephone line, telephone line. In addition, it's also
phone line ahead of your answer- the caller enters the security code possible to program each unit with
ing machine. Calls are received in that you've given him or her. At that a different security code. For exam-
the usual manner unless you wish to point, Call Alert sounds a 30 -sec- ple, you might install one in the kid's
have privacy. In that case, you ond tone. If the answering machine bedroom with a code for their
would turn the telephone ringer off. disconnects prior to the 30- second friends that does not match the
When the answering machine picks period (say, the caller hangs up), code(s) programmed into the main
up the call, the caller can still alert the alert tone shuts off. When you unit. That way, your unit would not
you if the caller knows the security hear the alert tone, you'd pick up beep if the call isn't for you. The call
code to activate the Call Alert unit. the telephone to speak to the can be answered from any tele-
Anyone not privy to the security caller (if you choose to do so). phone. It does not have to be
code can leave a message. Pressing any Touchtone digit stops answered from the Call Alert unit
Call Alert has the ability to store the alert tone. The answering that's beeping. In fact, if all of the
three different security codes, machine would probably still be Call Alert units have the same
which can be changed at will. That playing its outgoing message at this security codes, they'll all beep
allows you keep one code the point. So you'd press " # #" on your when a correct code is entered.
same at all times so that it could be telephone, causing Call Alert to dis-
given to those whom you want to connect the answering machine A Look at the Circuit. The Call
be able to reach you at anytime. from she line. That's a handy fea- Alert is comprised of six integrated
The other two codes could be ture in case yours is not one of the circuits, four transistors, five diodes,
given to different people whenever newer answering machines with a bridge rectifier, and several sup-
the need arises, such as when you the disconnect feature built in. port components. A complete
are expecting a delivery or a ser- When you complete your call and schematic diagram of the circuit is
vice call from the local appliance hang up, everything returns to nor- shown in Fig. 1. The main functions
repairperson. Once you have mal and you're ready to receive of the Call Alert unit are controlled
received that particular call, you the next call. by IC5-a PIC 16C54 microcon-
can change the security code. You can install as many Call Alert troller. The microcontroller interprets
The way it works is that once units as necessary. It has no effect the DTMF digits received from IC4
your answering machine has on the normal operation of your and compares them to the security 43

www.americanradiohistory.com
Fcro
awt-
ZYQU
WWZ
U
U
o
o- -o

N
Y
Q o
Ip

CO n

N m n

N

r co m o
K
K
o
U O
N
CL
O
U2
co

N m N o
u)
Q
09

cm Ul

N
14
o

w
a o o o o o 0 0 0 0
W

Fig. 1. At the heart of the circuit is IC5-a


PIC 16C54 microcontroller that is programmed to inter-
pret DTMF data applied to its inputs and compare them to the security codes stored in IC6 (the
44 EEPROM).
TO
S3
selected. You can program any or at quarter- second intervals. Looking
all of the codes. As each code is at the schematic diagram (Fig. 1),
10062 programmed, the unit sounds two notice that there are two speakers
beeps to confirm that the code has (SPKR1 and an alternate speaker)
SPKR
been accepted. The unit emits shown connected to the circuit
three beeps if you make an incor- and that in the same area there is
rect entry while trying to program a resistor (R10) marked with an
Fig. 2. When configured for the high- volume the security codes. If there is a asterisk. Normally the output of the
output, this volume control circuit can be con- problem with the unit accepting 16C54 at pin will produce suffi-
1

nected to the circuit in front of the speaker to the security codes, you'll hear five cient speaker volume for most pur-
allow sound-level adjustments beeps, indicating a circuit malfunc- poses. In that case, R10 is a 68 -ohm
tion, specifically with IC6 (a 24LC01 B resistor (as indicated in the schemat-
codes stored in IC6. If there is a serial EEPROM). ic), R15 and Q4 are not used, and
match with one of the three sets, Once the security codes are SPKR1 is connected as shown.
Call Alert sounds an alert tone. If programmed, they should be However, if the normal volume is
there is no match, Call Alert returns retained in the event of a power insufficient, simply replace R10 with
to its idle state and waits for addi- loss. A 24LCO1B serial EEPROM (IC6) a 2.2K resistor, install R15 and Q4,
tional DTMF digits to be entered. is used to accomplish that task. It is and connect the speaker as indi-
The security codes consist of four much smaller than a battery, costs cated by the alternate speaker
digits. If less than four digits are less, and never needs to be connection. You can also install an
entered, IC5 continues to wait for replaced. Another reason for optional100 -ohm volume control
additional digits. While IC5 is wait- choosing the serial EEPROM is that as shown in Fig. 2, which would
ing, it constantly checks the tele- there s not enough RAM in the allow you to adjust the output level.
phone line to see if the answering 16C54 for both the security codes In the event you decide to use a
machine has disconnected. That and the system-operating code. volume control, use the higher -
would indicate that the caller has When a caller enters four digits, the powered output option.
hung up. If that's the case, Call codes in the EEPROM are read and The portion of the circuit consist-
Alert resets itself and awaits the compared to the one the caller ing of BR1, Q2, Q3, and their associ-
next call. entered. Since an EEPROM is similar ated components is used to detect
Call Alert connects to the tele- in operation to a standard EPROM, whether or not the telephone line is
phone line through J2 (LINE). You it will not lose its memory when in use. As was previously stated, if
then connect the telephone to J3 power fails. you pick up the telephone when
(PHONE) and the answering machine The beeping sound is generated you hear the alert tone and dial
to J4 (ANS MACH). When the answer- in software and consists of a tone " # # ", the answering machine will
ing machine answers an incoming approximately kHz in frequency
1 be disconnected. That is accom-
call and the caller enters a
security code, DTMF digits
entered are routed to IC3,
which provides impedance
matching between the tele-
phone line and IC4 (the DTMF
decoder). Op -amp IC3 also
insures that the DTMF digits are
at the correct level for IC4 to
decode. Diodes D2 and D3
prevent damage to IC3 from
the telephone line ring signal.
The decoder (IC4) converts the
DTMF tone pairs into a binary
format that is then sent to IC5
(the PIC microcontroller) for
processing.
The 16C54 microcontroller
(IC5) is programmed with the
software that makes Call Alert
perform its functions. Applying
power to the unit while H1 is
shorted causes it to go into the 4 5/8 INCHES
program mode, which it con-
firms by emitting two beeps. Fig. 3. Call Alert can be assembled using the construction method with which you are most comfortable;
You can then program the for ease of construction, it is recommended that the project be assembled on printed- circuit board. Here
security codes that you've 45
is a full-size template of the layout on which the author's unit was assembled.

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J1
IC5 to turn Q1 off, thereby releasing
RY1 and restoring the answering
machine to the telephone line.
Ic2 IC3
,711 D1 Construction. There is nothing par-
ticularly critical about the con-
D4 -R15- struction of the Call Alert. Thus, the
circuit can be assembled on either
-R1- C4 7
+ perfboard or a PC board. However,
C5 C6

-R2- -R4- -R6-


for ease of assembly, it is recom-
01
I

J C11 mended that a printed- circuit board


R5 J

..__
H1 -R10- - - be used. You can either etch your
own board using the printed- circuit
IC6
IC5
i template shown in Fig. 3, or pur-
RI9
04 chase the board from the supplier
02
i 09
01 XT given in the Parts List. If you prefer
azzl...
4.---
I I

R14
RI perfboard construction, be sure to
I

c10
I

install XTAL1, C15, and C16 as close


0 03 to pins 15 and 16 of IC5 as possible.
'SEE TEXT Also, try to keep the wiring
SPKR1' between IC3, pin 6 and IC4, pin 7 to
a minimum distance.
recommended that you use
It is
IC sockets for IC4and IC5, since it is
ALTERNATE
SPEAKER best that they are not installed dur-
CONNECTION ing initial testing. Sockets are not
really needed for IC3 and IC6, but
Fig. 4. Assemble Call Alert using this parts- placement diagram as a guide. It's recommended that they can be used if you wish. In any
IC sockets be provided for IC4 and IC5. When assembling the board, pay particular attention to the event, once you've obtained all of
orientation of Q4 and ICI, as the lead configurations of each must be modified to fit properly into the parts listed in the Parts List, con-
the circuit board (see text for details). struction can begin.
Assuming that you're using the
plished by IC5 turning on Q l which , the telephone, a disconnect signal printed- circuit layout shown in Fig.
operates RY1. When you hang up is sent to pin 2 of IC5. That causes 3, assemble Call Alert, guided by
the parts-placement diagram shown
in Fig. 4. When assembling the
board, pay particular attention to
the orientation of Q4 and Cl. The
I

center lead of each of those


devices is bent out toward the front
of the body. Also, be sure to
observe the correct polarity of the
electrolytic capacitors and all diodes.
Leave the installation of RY1, J2, J3,
and J4 for last, as doing so makes it
easier to assemble the unit.
In order for Call Alert to function
properly, IC5 (the PIC microcon-
troller) must be programmed with
the correct operating software. A
pre-programmed microcontroller is
available from the source listed in
the Parts List. If you wish to program
your own part, the source code is
available from the Gernsback FTP
site at ftp.gernsback.com. /pub/
call alert.exe.

Checkout Time. Once construc-


The Call Alert prototype was housed in a small plastic enclosure of the type available from most tion is complete, it is time to per-
hobby electronics suppliers. Note that SPKR I is mounted to the lid of the enclosure and connected form the initial tests on the unit. With
46 to the circuit through short lengths of hook-up wire. IC4 and IC5 removed from their

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PARTS LIST FOR THE CALL ALERT entries. Just ignore the reorder tone
that comes from the telephone
SEMICONDUCTORS C2, C3, C6, C8, C11-0.1 -p,F, monolith- company's central office when you
ICI- LM78L05 5 -volt, 100 -mA, fixed- ic or ceramic -disc press the # key on your telephone.
voltage regulator, integrated circuit C4, C5-0.01 -pF, monolithic or ceram- When you have programmed all
IC2 -LM78L 12 12 -volt, 100 -mA, fixed - ic-disc
voltage regulator, integrated circuit C7- 10-p,F, 25 -WVDC, aluminum elec- three codes, hang the telephone
IC3 -LM741 op -amp, integrated circuit trolytic up, remove power from Call Alert,
1C4- MC145436 DTMF decoder C9, C 10-20-pF, ceramic -disc and remove the jumper from H 1.
integrated circuit (Motorola) C12 -1-pF, 50 -WVDC, aluminum elec- Once testing is complete, Call
IC5- 16C54A -04P microcontroller, troly-ic Alert can be installed in a suitable
integrated circuit case. The most difficult part of this
IC6-24LC01B serial EEPROM, inte- ADDITIONAL PARTS process is insuring that the cutouts
grated circuit AND MATERIALS for J2 -J4 are in the correct loca-
Ql, Q2- 2N4401 or 2N3904, general- Jl -Wall- adapter compatible power - tions. You can use the assembled
purpose, NPN silicon transistor inpu:jack board to make a paper template
Q3, Q4- MPSA06 or MPSA56, NPN J2 J4- Modular telephone jack for proper spacing and alignment.
silicon transistor H1-2- position header pin Be sure to take into account the
DI, D4- 1N4003 I -amp, 200 -PIV sili- XTAL1-3.579-MHz crystal
con rectifier diode RY1 -12 -volt DPDT relay height of the spacers used to
D2, D3- 1N5228B, 3.9 -volt, 0.5 -watt, SPKR1 -2 -1/2 -inch, 8 -ohm speaker mount the board to the case. Install
Zener diode 12 -volt DC wall adapter, enclo- the PC board into the case and
D5- 1N5245B, 15 -volt, 0.5 -watt, Zener sure_ IC sockets, volume control mount J1 and the speaker to the
diode (optional, see text), wire, hardware, etc. case. Install the cover on the case
BR1 -1 -amp 200 -PIV, full-wave bridge Note: The following items are available and it is ready for operation.
rectifier from ATC Electronics, PO Box Connect the telephone line to J2,
43033, Phoenix, AZ 85080: Tel. 602- the telephone to J3, and your
RESISTORS 516 -2926; e -mail: sales @atcelectron
(All resistors are 1/4 -watt, 5% units.) ics.com. A complete kit of parts (less
answering machine to J4. Power
RI R4- 330,000 -ohm encl3sure) including all parts for both the unit up and if you hear the sin-
R5, R6- 22,000 -ohm high and low output option (except gle beep, your unit is operational.
R7-2200 -ohm the volume control) for $28.50; a Have someone call you and dial
R8, R9, R13, R14- 10,000 -ohm preprogrammed PIC 16C54 microcon one of the security codes when the
RIO 680- or 2200 -ohm (see text) troller for $10; an etched and drilled, answering machine answers. Call
R11, R 12- 100,000 -ohm primed- circuit board for $6.50; a Alert will start beeping. At that
R15-120-ohm MC145436 DTMF decoder for $3.50. point, pick up the telephone, and
Please add $4.00 to all orders for dial ## to confirm that the beeping
CAPACITORS shipping and handling. Allow 2
stops and that the answering
C1- 220-RF, 25 -WVDC, aluminum weeks for checks to clear.
machine disconnects from the line.
electrolytic
When you hang up the telephone,
sockets, apply power to J1. or 3. Pick up your telephone hand- the answering machine will be
Measure the voltage at IC4, pin 4 set (ignore the dial tone) and dial reconnected to the telephone line.
and IC5, pin 14. You should get a 1- 2- 3 -4 -5. The unit should then beep If you think that you will be
reading of approximately 5 volts. two times, confirming that you changing the security codes on a
Next measure the voltage at pin 7 have programmed the security frequent basis, you may want to
of IC3, which should be around 12 code 2345 into location 1. install a momentary pushbutton
volts. If those voltages are correct, Hang up the telephone, discon- switch in place of H1 Mount it so
.

remove power and install IC4 and nect power from Call Alert, and that you have access to it without
IC5. Make sure you have the speak- remove the jumper from H1 Then . having to open the unit's case.
er connected and do not install the reapply power and you should Then when you need to change a
shorting header in H1. Apply power hear the single beep again. Pick up code, disconnect power, hold the
to the unit; you should hear one the telephone handset and dial switch in, and reapply power. You
beep from the speaker, indicating 2345. The speaker should begin can release the switch after you
that the unit is probably operating beeping. Wait a few seconds and hear the two beeps. You do not
correctly. Again remove power hang up the telephone handset. need to hold the switch in while
from the unit. When you do, the beeping sound you are programming the security
To program the security codes should stop. That confirms that the codes. Once the new codes are
into Call Alert, connect the tele- disconnect circuit is functioning programmed, disconnect power,
phone line to J2 and connect a properly. wait about ten seconds and reap-
telephone to J3. Install a shorting You can now remove power, ply power.
strip across H1 and apply power; install a jumper across HI, and pro- Install several Call Alert units and
you should hear two beeps, indi- gram the three security codes that you will be able to enjoy peace
cating that the unit is in the pro- you wish to use. You can program and quiet when you want to.
gram mode. The three security all three codes without having to Remember, the sound of silence is
codes are accessed by dialing 1, 2, hang up between the different golden. P 47

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Using A PC Keyboard
Need a cheap keyboard for
input on your latest project?
Look no farther than that old
IBM PC keyboard collecting
dust in your closet!
CRAIG PEACOCK

IBM keyboards -not really an


interesting topic, one would
expect. Why would you want to
learn about the keyboard inter-
face? Thanks to the sheer volume
of IBM keyboards manufactured
each year, they can be a cheap
alternative to a keyboard on a
microprocessor -development sys-
tem. Perhaps you want a remote
terminal. In that case, it's an easy
task to couple a keyboard and an
LCD module to a microcontroller.
Learning about the IBM key-
board interface doesn't limit you to
using the keyboard itself. Remember,
the keyboard is only one half of the
system. That keyboard jack on your
computer can also be used with
devices that appear to be key- Note that we're only dealing holding the key down, the key-
still
boards from the computer's point with AT keyboards. If you have any board keeps track of how long you
of view. After all, if it looks like a key- XT- format keyboards, consider plac- hold that key. When that time
board, walks like a keyboard, and ing them in a museum. Since XT key- exceeds the "auto- repeat" delay
quacks like a keyboard.,. boards use a different protocol programmed into the keyboard
Seriously, though, if you have an compared to the AT, the code con- (called the "typematic delay "),
RS- 232 -based device such as a tained here will be incompatible. If another 1C code will be sent. That
barcode scanner that you want to you research the protocol on your keeps occurring until either another
use with existing software that only own, you could apply the knowl- key is pressed or the "A" key is released.
allows you to key in numbers or let- edge gained here to work with When the key is released, anoth-
ters, you could design a little box to those obsolete devices. Again, if er code is sent. In our previous
convert the RS -232 output into key- you want to try your hand with XT example, releasing the "A" key will
board transmission codes. From the keyboards, you're on your own. cause the keyboard to send two
software's vantage point, you're not scan codes: FO (hexadecimal), to
using a scanner, you're just typing PC Keyboard Theory. The IBM key- tell you that the key with the pre-
on the keyboard at a furious rate! board uses a serial protocol to send ceding scan code has been released,
In this article, we're not only "scan codes" to your computer. followed by the scan code of the
going to teach you about the key- The scan codes tell your system key that was released-1C in our
board interface protocol, we're what keys you have pressed or example.
going to build a test interface so released. Take, for example, the "A" The keyboard has only one code
you can see the keyboard proto- key. That key's scan code is 1C in for each key. It doesn't care if the
cols in action. This interfacing hexadecimal notation (28 in the shift key has been pressed; those
example uses a 68HC705J A micro -
1 base 10 counting system favored keys have their own scan codes as
controller to decode the transmis- by humans). When you press the "A" well. It will still send you the same
sions from an AT -style keyboard and key, your keyboard will send 1C, or code whether you're typing a cap-
output the ASCII equivalent of the 00011100 down its synchronous ser- ital or a lower-case letter. It's up to
48 key pressed at 9600 BPS. ial line. If, after a moment, you are your system's BIOS code to keep

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track of that and take the appro- Commands. Besides scan codes, into it. The more common scan
priate action. In fact, the keyboard commands can also be sent to code set, set number 2, is detailed
doesn't even process the number - and from the keyboard. See the in Fig. 1. Note that each scan code
sidebars for detailed information on is listed below the legend that is
lock, caps -lock, and scroll -lock keys.
When you press the caps -lock key, the various commands; "Computer- printed on the key caps. The only
for example, the keyboard will send to- Keyboard Commands" lists the exceptions to that are the extra
the scan code for the cap -locks commands that you can send to a long codes for the "print screen"
key: 58 hexadecimal. Your comput- keyboard while "Keyboard -to- and "pause /break" keys. As with all
er (through the part of its BIOS Computer Commands" deals with other codes listed in this article, the
code that handles the keyboard) commands and responses that the scan codes are in hexadecimal;
then sends a code to the keyboard keyboard can originate. By no means the scan code for the escape key is
to turn on the caps lock LED. are those lists complete; only some 76 hexadecimal, 01110110 binary,
Since an AT -style keyboard has of the more common and useful or 118 decimal.
101 keys (up to 107 in the modern commands are mentioned. As you can see, the scan code
variants) and 256 available 8 -bit We've already talked about one assignments are quite random. In
codes, you only need to send one example of sending a command many cases, the easiest way to
byte per key, right? to the keyboard above. Remember convert the scan code to ASCII is to
Wrong. Unfortunately, a handful when we talked about turning on use a look -up table. However, that's
of the keys found on your keyboard the status LEDs when a key such as getting a bit ahead of our story;
are "extended" keys, requiring two the scroll lock or caps lock is we'll take that up when we talk
scan codes. Those keys are pre- pressed? Now that you understand about a demonstration project
ceded by an EO code. To make the basic flow of information be- and its accompanying software.
matters worse, it doesn't stop at tween keyboard and computer,
two scan codes either. How about the details of what commands are Keyboard Connectors. The PC's AT
the scan code El, 14, 77, E 1, FO, 14, available and how they work will keyboard is connected to external
FO, 77! That can't possibly be a valid make more sense. equipment using four wires. Those
scan code. If you've wondered why the key- wires are shown in Fig. 2; Fig. 2A
Wrong again. It happens to be board would need to send com- shows the pinout for the older-style S-
the code that's sent when you mands to the computer in addition pin DIN plug that was borrowed from
to keypress scan codes, the de- the XT design. In the early days of the
press the pause /break key. Don't
scriptions of the keyboard-to-com - AT, keyboards usually had a switch
ask me why the designers made it
so long; maybe they were having a puter commands should clear that on the bottom that let you select
bad day! up. For example, if the keyboard between the XT and AT protocols.
When an extended key is released, receives a command that doesn't That way, you could use the key-
you would expect that the release make sense, it can request a board with any available computer.
code combination would be FO to resend of the last command in With the advent of the IBM PS/2
start the release sequence fol- case electrical noise was interfer- system in the late 198Os came the
lowed by EO and the scan code of ing with the cable between key- newer style of keyboard plug; its
the key being released. Again, for board and computer. pinout is shown in Fig. 2B. While the
whatever reason or whim the design original intent was to prevent non -
engineers had all those years ago, Scan Codes. As mentioned in the PS/2 keyboards from being attached
EO is sent first followed by FO when sidebar for the computer-to-key - to PS /2 machines, today's systems
an extended key has been board commands, an AT keyboard are becoming smaller and sleeker.
released. has two sets of scan codes built Having a smaller plug for the key-

E11477E1F014F077

F4 F5 F6 F7 F8 F9 F10 F111 F12 PRT IScrL' Pause


ESC [ F2 F3
78 07 Brk
76 06 04 OC 03 OB .33 OA 01 09 SCR l 7E

5% I 6^ 7& 8' 9 0) +_ INS Home P UP NUM'


(201E 1 34 4$ E070 E06C E07C 77 Eb4A 7C 7B
OE 16 26 25 2E 36 3D 3E 46 45 4E1 55
l
4-66

TAB
OD Q15
w
1D
(
l
E
24 (
R
2D
T
2C
Y
35 (
U
3C
0

43 44
P
4D 44 SB,
ENTER DEL'
E071
ENDI
E069J
P DN
E07A
7
6C
8
75
9
7D

5A 4 5 6
CAPS A S D F G34 H K L 74
(I

48 4C 52 6B 73
58 1C 1B 23 2B 33 3B 42
l
<, SHIFT 2 3
SHIFT z X C V B N M Enter
E075 69 72 7A
12 1A 22 21 2A 32 31 3A 41 49, 4A
4
59

SPACE r ALT CTRL F E071 -+ 0 E05A


CTRL ALT
29 l E0 11
1

J l EO 14 E6 1
E074 70 I 71
14 11

1. A binary number is assigned to each key on the AT keyboard; some codes are arranged
Fig. in a
49
somewhat haphazard manner.

www.americanradiohistory.com
keyboard uses a bidirectional scheme we mentioned before, the least -sig-
NO CONNECTION on its I/O lines so that either device can nificant bit is always sent first.
+5 VOLTS send information to the other. The com-
KEYBOARD
DATA
puter has the ultimate priority over Host-to- Keyboard Protocol. The
KEYBOARD
direction. At any lime, it can send a waveform for sending a command
CLOCK command to the keyboard, although to the keyboard is shown in Fig. 3B.
A that isn't recommended. The transfer is initiated by taking the
The keyboard is free to send keyboard data line low. To prevent
NO CONNECTION
data to the computer when both the keyboard from sending data at
KEYBOARD DATA the data and clock lines are idle; a the same time, it is common to take
logic high (5 volts) represents that the clock line low for more than 60
state. The clock line can be used as microseconds -more than one bit
61
KEYBOARD CLOCK a "clear -to- send" line. If the com- length. Then the data line can be
NO CONNECTION
puter takes the clock line low, the taken low, at which time the clock
+5 VOLTS
keyboard will buffer any data until line is released.
the clock is released by going high. The keyboard responds by gen-
B
Taking the data line low means that erating a clock signal on its clock
Fig. 2. While the connectors for an older -style the computer is going to
send a line. That process can take up to
DIN (A) and a PS/2 -style mini -DIN (B) connec- command to the keyboard. 10 mS. After the first falling edge
tor have a different number of pins, the signals Data is transmitted from the key- has been detected, the comput-
that they carry are the same.
board to the computer with an 11- er places the first data bit on the
bit frame. The first bit is a start bit data line. The keyboard reads
board is a definite help in that (Logic 0) followed by eight data bits. that bit on the next falling edge,
area. Unfortunately, the downside is The data bits are sent least-signifi- after which the data can be
that PS /2 -style mice have the same cant bit first. An odd parity bit and a replaced with the next bit. This
plug. Anyone who has accidentally stop bit complete the transmission. process is repeated for all eight
mixed the two connectors will The falling edge of the clock defines data bits. After the data bits
attest to the fact the results, while when to read each bit. come an odd parity bit.
not catastrophic to the equipment, Figure 3A shows a one -byte Once the parity bit has been
make troubleshooting annoying transmission from the keyboard to sent and the data line is in an idle
and confusing, especially when the computer. Although the dia- (high) state for the next clock
you're trying to figure out why gram shows the keyboard data cycle, the keyboard will acknowl-
you're getting the famous error changing on the rising edge of the edge the reception of the new
message, "Keyboard Not Found. clock, that is not necessarily the data. The keyboard does that by
Press F1 to continue." case. Data can change at any taking the data line low for the next
A fifth wire can sometimes be time as long as the next bit is stable clock transition. If the data line is
found that was once a keyboard before the next falling edge of the not idle after the tenth bit (start bit
reset, but today is left disconnect- clock line. The keyboard generates + 8 data bits + parity bit), the key-
ed on AT Keyboards. When we say the clock as well as the data. The board will continue to send a clock
"keyboard reset," we mean reset- frequency of the clock signal typi- signal until the data line becomes
ting the microcontroller inside the cally ranges from 20 to 30 kHz. As idle.
keyboard, not the reset command
that you issue to the computer with
the "three- finger salute" CRTL -ALT-
DELETE. An AT keyboard can be reset

by sending the FF hexadecimal


software command, making the
hard -wired reset line redundant.
Both the keyboard -clock and key- START 0 2 3 4 5 6 7 P STOP

board -data pins are open- collec- A


tor bi- directional I/O lines. The bi-
directional feature lets the host talk
to the keyboard using those lines as
needed.
Note that most keyboards are
specified to draw a maximum cur-
rent load of 300 mA. That will need
to be considered when powering 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 P ACK

your devices. B

Fig. 3. When the keyboard sends data, the individual bits are to be read on the falling edge of the
Keyboard-to- Computer Transmission. clock signal (A). The same arrangement is followed when sending a command to the keyboard (B).
50 As mentioned before, the PC's
Note that the keyboard sends the acknowledge signal if the data was properly received.
+5V
COMPUTER -TO- KEYBOARD
R1
COMMANDS
4.7K t4.7K
R2

ED -Set Status LEDs. This command


OSC1 PBS TXD
2 can be used to turn on and off the
10---10f OSC2 PAS RESET
Num Lock, Caps Lock, and Scroll
Cl XTAL1
27pF 4.00 MHz Lock LEDs. After receiving the ED
C2 R3
27pF
19 command, the keyboard will reply with
IRQ 4.7K
IC1 an acknowledge byte (FA) and wait for
68HC705J1A ' R4
another byte that determines the LED
6 4.7K
CAPS LOCK o- PB2 PA6 status. Bit 0 controls the Scroll Lock,
7 11
NUM LOCK o PB1 PA7 bit 1 the Num Lock, and bit 2 the
SCROLL LOCK o PBO DATA Caps lock. Bits 3 to 7 are ignored.
GND
10 5
EE -Echo. Upon sending an Echo com-
J1
1
o o mand to the keyboard, the keyboard
CLOCK
should reply with an echo (EE).

Fig. 4. With a simple single-chip microcontroller, you can interface a keyboard to any project that
FO-Set Scan Code Set. Upon sending
you want. Note that the interface is small enough to fit inside the keyboard, making it a truly portable
FO, the keyboard will reply with ACK
interface.
(FA) and wait for another byte, 01-03,
An Example Keyboard -to -ASCII demonstrator circuit. As you can which determines the scan code to be
Decoder. To demonstrate the pro- see, the hardware portion is mini- used. Sending 00 as the second byte
tocols at work, let's build a small mal. The software is designed to run will return the scan code set currently
microcontroller -based circuit. Using at 2 MHz; a 4 -MHz crystal is needed in use. The default scan set is scan
a 68HC705J1A single -chip micro- for XTAL1 since IC1 divides that fre- set 02. Set 2 scan codes are the set
controller, we'll read data from the quency by 2 to get the microcon- discussed in this article.
keyboard, convert the scan codes troller's internal bus speed. The tim-
into ASCII, and send that out in RS- ing for the RS -232 transmission is F3-Set Typematic Repeat Rate. The
232 format at 9600 baud. However, based on the bus speed. If you keyboard will acknowledge this com-
we won't stop there. To see the bi- want to use a different frequency, mand with FA and wait for a second
directional use of the clock and you'll have to do some heavy byte, which determines the typematic
data lines, we'll also control the reworking of the software, repeat rate.
number -lock, caps-lock, and scroll - Serial output is on pin 13 of IC 1.
lock LEDs. Although the signal is in the RS -232 F4- Keyboard Enable. Clears the key-
While the circuit is an interesting format, it is not at RS -232 voltage lev- board's output buffer, enables key-
demonstrator, it can be used for a els. If you want to connect it to any board scanning, and returns an
wide range of purposes. If you true RS-232 devices, you will need acknowledgment.
team it up with a reasonably sized some sort of RS -232 level converter
four -line by 40-character LCD panel, circuit; Maxim makes several types F5-Keyboard disable. Resets the key-
you could have yourself a small of conversion chips that work well for board, disables keyboard scanning,
portable terminal. You could also that purpose. If you are familiar with and returns an acknowledgment.
use it with a microcontroller devel- the design of whatever piece of
opment system. The 68HC705J1A in equipment you'll be connecting the FE- Resend. Upon receipt of the resend
a one -time -programmable (OTP) circuit to, you might be able to command, the keyboard will retrans-
version is only a fraction of the cost bypass the equipment's RS-232 input mit the last byte sent.
of a 74C922 keyboard decoder circuit that translates the voltage lev-
chip, which only decodes a 16-key els back to 5 -volt logic. If that's the FF- Reset. Resets the keyboard.
matrix keypad.
The keyboard doesn't need to case, you can connect both
be expensive either. Most people PARTS LIST FOR THE devices together directly. However, if
have old keyboards hidden away KEYBOARD INTERFACE you need to have a length of cable
in a closet or on a shelf. As long as between them, you'll need to follow
it's an AT keyboard, it's useful. ICI-68HC705J1A one -time program- the RS -232 conventions for reliable
Remember that XT keyboards will mable microcontroller, integrated transmissions.
not work with this program. With the circuit The keyboard is connected to
introduction of USB keyboards, XTALI -4
-MHz crystal pins 11 and 12 of IC through J1.
1

there will be many redundant AT CI, C2- 27 -pF, ceramic -disc capacitor Since it requires open collector/
keyboards waiting to be used. R1 -R4 -4700 -ohm, '/4-watt, 5% resistor open drain outputs, ICI's Data
JI 5 -pin female DIN or 6 -pin female Direction Register (DDR) is used to
Circuit Description. The schematic Mini -DIN connector switch between high impedance
diagram shown in Fig. 4 is our Socket, wire, hardware, etc. for receiving signals from the key- 51

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KEYBOARD -TO- COMPUTER LISTING 1

COMMANDS Receive Idx #08 ;Number of Bits


dr PAR ;Clear Parity Register
FA- Acknowledge. bclr clk, DDRA ;Clear to Send

AA- Power -on self -test passed brset clk, PORTA,* ;wait on idle Clock
(BAT Completed). brset data, PORTA, Receive ;False Start Bit, Restart

EE -Echo command response (see Echo


LISTING 2
command in Computer -to- Keyboard
Recdata ror byte
Commands sidebar).
jsr highlow ;Wait for high to low Transition
brset data,PORTA,Recset
FE- Resend -Upon receipt of the resend
bclr 7,byte
command, the computer should
jmp Recnext
retransmit the last byte sent.
Recset bset 7,byte
inc PAR
00 -Error or buffer overflow.
Recnext decx
bne Recdata ;Loop until 8 bits been received
FF -Error or buffer overflow.

board and a logic 0 when sending LISTING 3


highlow brclr clk, PORTA,` ;Loop until Clk High
commands to the keyboard; we'll
brset clk, PORTA,* ;Loop until Clk Low
discuss the software details later.
rts
Resistors R3 and R4 pull the pins
high to create a logic when send-
1

ing a command. LISTING 4


A "reset" line on pin 13 sends out IdaPORTA ; Msbit is Parity
an active -low pulse whenever the rola ; Shift MSbit to LSbit
ctrl -alt- delete combination is pressed rola ; thru carry
on the keyboard. That lets you send eorPAR
a hardware reset signal to whatev- and #$01
er device you're controlling. In beq r_error
addition, three other output lines
on pins 6, 7, and 8 correspond to LISTING 5
the caps -lock, number -lock, and jsr highlow
scroll -lock keys. With those keys, you brclr data,PORTA,r_error ;Stop Bit Detection
can control any on -off function bset clk,DDRA ;Prevent Keyboard from sending data
that you want; ICI's software han- ;(Clear to Send)
dles turning the keyboard LEDs on rts
and off as needed.
The power supply can create a LISTING 6
slight problem. A standard key- r_error Ida #$FE ;Resend
board can drain up to about 300 sta byte
mA; it's a good idea to use a sepa- jsr Transmit
rate regulator rather than trying to jmp Receive ;Try again
run everything off of one 7805.
While decoupling capacitors are LISTING 7
not shown in Fig. 4, they are recom- transmit Idx #$08 ;8 Data Bits
mended for reliable operation. bset clk,DDRA ;Set Clock Low
Consult the MC68HC705J A data 1
Ida #$13 ;Delay 64uS
sheet for more information. jsr delay
cira ;Clear Parity Register
Software. The software for the bset data,DDRA ;Set Data Low
demonstrator circuit, while only 999 bclr clk,DDRA ;Release Clock Line
bytes long, is over 19 pages when jsr highlow
the source code is printed out. For
that reason, it can be downloaded
from the Poptronics FTP site at referring to them as we explore system. Many times, you'll find your-
ftp.gernsback.com/pub/pop/pc_ how the software works. self having to input various num-
keyboard.zip. Most of it (hopefully) The software has some nice fea- bers when creating or debugging
is easy to follow. Select bits and tures when used as an interface to an assembly- language program. If
52 pieces are published here; we'll be a microcomputer development you've worked with programming at

www.americanradiohistory.com
LISTING 8 the idle state so that the keyboard
loop ror byte will start transmitting data if a key
bcs mark has been pressed. The program
space bset data, DDRA ; Clear Bit then loops while the clock line is
jmp next idle. If the keyboard clock goes low,
mark bclr data, DDRA ; Clear Bit the loop is broken and the key-
inca ; Parity Calculation board data pin is read. That should
next jsr highlow ; Wait for high to low transition be the start bit, which should be
decx low. If it isn't, we branch to the start
bne loop of the receive routine and try again.
Once the start bit has been
LISTING 9 LISTING 11 detected, the 8 data bits follow
and #$01 error Ida #$FF ;Reset (Listing 2). The data is only valid on
bne clr_par sta byte the falling edge of the clock. The
set_par bclr data,DDRA jsr transmit subroutine "HIGHLOW," shown in
jmp tr_ackn rts Listing 3, waits for the falling edge of
clr_par bset data,DDRA the clock. After the falling edge, we
tr_ackn jsr highlow can read the level of the keyboard
data line. If it is high, we set or clear
LISTING 10 the most significant bit of the byte
bclr data, DDRA ;Release Data Line as needed. Note that if the bit is set,
jsr highlow PAR is incremented to keep track of

brset data, PORTA,error ;Check for Ack parity for verification when the par-
brclr clk, PORTA,* ;Wait for idle line ity bit is received. Index register X is
bset clk, DDRA ;Prevent Keyboard from sending data decremented as we have read a
;(Clear to Send) bit. It then repeats the above
rts process, until the entire 8 bits have
been read.
After the 8 data bits, comes the
that low of a level, you know the not found in a PC operating system. dreaded parity bit. We could ignore
annoyance of having to set a par- That feature is accessed in a similar it if we wanted to, but it's better to
ticular byte to a certain value. In a manner, only you press and hold do things the right way; see Listing 4.
Windows environment, you have the the CTRL key while entering a hexa- The PAR variable has a tally of the
option of entering a direct ASCII decimal number. number of 1s. The keyboard uses
code into a word processor with the The software outputs data in odd parity, so the parity bit should be
numeric keypad. For example, if I ASCII using the RS -232 serial protocol the complement of PAR'S least signifi-
hold down the ALT key while typing at 9600 bits per second. If you want cant bit. By ExcLuslvE-oR -ing PAR with
"0174" on the keypad, get the fol-
I to use it with a development system, the parity bit, we get a if both the
1

lowing symbol on the screen: O. The you can tap it in after the RS-232 line bits are different. That means that the
actual symbol that you get depends transceivers to save you a few dol- parity bit checks out.
on the font that you're using. The lars on RS-232 level converters. Since we're only interested in the
point is that you can access any of least significant bit, we can exclu-
the 256 characters in a standard Reading Keyboard Data. The first sive-oR the accumulator with PAR.
font without the need for a special section has to do with receiving then single out that bit using the
key on the keyboard. In a similar data from the keyboard. Remember AND function. A zero means that a
manner, the keyboard-interface soft- what we learned about stopping parity error has occurred and the
ware has a similar capability. When the keyboard from sending any program branches to the error -han-
you enter a decimal number while data? As it can take considerable dling routine, R_ERROR.
holding down one of the ALT keys, the time to decode the keys pressed, After the parity bit comes the
number is sent in binary format to we must do that or some of the stop -bit routing of Listing 5. Again,
the target system; ALT + 255 results in data might be lost or corrupted. we can ignore it if we desire. How-
the value FF (hexadecimal) being The first part of the program in ever, we have chosen to branch to
sent to the system. call that feature
I Listing keeps the keyboard clock
1 the error routine if the stop bit is clear.
the "Direct Decimal Enter" routine. line low, unless it is ready to accept
Unlike the PC, you can use either the data. A loop retrieves the data bits When Something Goes Wrong.
numeric keypad or the numbers from the keyboard with index regis- What you do for error handling is up
along the top of the keyboard. ter X containing the number of bits to you. In most cases, it will never be
Since I'm targeting a microcom- to be received. The PAR variable will executed. In fact, don't yet know if
I

puter development system, the be used to verify the parity bit at the error -handling routine shown in
Direct Decimal Enter routine is the end of the transmission; we Listing 6 works! I've tried it out in
complemented with a "Direct Hex- must clear it first. We can then close proximity to the washing
adecimal Enter" routine -a
function place the keyboard clock line in (Continued on page 69) 53

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Real -Time Data Acquisition/Control System

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Current PXI system users can trans- lated power supply. The removable CIRCLE 62 ON FREE INFORMATION CARD 55

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plete signal absorption at the display
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56 (Model 38109) measures just .75 by 4.6 The portable analyzer, which weighs (Continued on page PS-6)
NEW LITERATURE

Crash Course in Digital Technology,


Second Edition
by Louis E. Frenzel, Jr.
Newnes, Butterworth -Heinemann
225 Wildwood Ave.
Woburn, MA 01801
800 -366-2665 or 781- 904 -2500
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In an easy-to-understand format, this
book explains the basics of digital elec-
tronics theory and circuits. Combined
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Course series, Electronics Technology and Filled with time- saving tips, surprising "teleforce." In 1935, Tesla claimed a
PC and Microcontroller Technology, this tricks, and practical information, the method to transmit mechanical energy
book forms a complete course in elec- second edition covers all models, includ- with minimal loss over any terrestrial
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DIGITAL
TECHNOLOGY
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3100 Palm programs, hand -picked from
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Demystified
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In 1934, the unorthodox inventor Demystified
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Palm Pilot: The Ultimate Guide,
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Second Edition
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IDiVow To order books in
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The focus of this book/CD -ROM package
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COMPUTATIONAL
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Awesome Experiments in with the circuits. Many of them are
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SERVICE CLINIC SAM GOLDWASSER

Optical Sensors in VCRs


I know I promised that this month we
or Incandescent Lamp
I would deal with problems like "My IF LEC

VCR totally ignores me," but we're


going to take a slight detour from our BOT
EGT dio
original plan. Before we tackle that, let's _;rrs_r Sensor
take a look at some of the common types
of sensors found in VCRs, the problems
that they cause when they fail, and some
useful testing techniques that will help
you find the fault and fix it.

Tape Start/End Sensors


VHS cassettes have a clear leader
and trailer to make it easy for the VCR
to detect the beginning and the end of Supply Feel Reel Leck: T,yk:e.ip Reel

the tape (see Fig. 1). A light source


pokes up into the center of the cassette. VHS Tape Cassette with Top Removed Showing
The light passes through passages in
Optical Path for BOT and EOT Sensors
the plastic housing, through the clear
portion of the tape as it leaves and
enters the cassette, and finally falls on
Fig. 1. Optical path of the start/end sensors.
photodetectors that are on either side
of the cassette.
A failed light source is common in If your VCR uses an incandescent located near the front (where the record
older VCRs where the light source was lamp and it is not lit when power is on, protect tab would be when the cassette is
an incandescent lamp. It is a rare fault in then the bulb is most likely burnt out loaded). Press it in while you turn the
modern VCRs, because today's breed and needs to be replaced. If either one of power on. If the VCR initializes and dis-
uses an infrared LED. However, when the light sensors fail open -circuit, you plays cassette -in without trying to play,
this light source does fail, it can produce may see similar symptoms. If the sensor then it obviously thinks that there is a
a number of symptoms: on the supply side fails shorted, the cassette in place. This is most likely due
VCR will behave as though the tape is at to a faulty sensor. In some cases, other
The VCR may simply shut down and the end. The VCR may refuse to play or problems like a faulty mode switch or
refuse to do anything. VCRs with go into fast forward, or it might try to microcontroller can produce symptoms
incandescent lamps were often rewind as soon as a cassette is inserted. If that might be mistaken for faulty
designed to figure out that the light the sensor on the takeup side fails short- start/end sensors.
bulb was burnt out, since it was draw- ed, the VCR will behave as though the
ing no current, and then shut down tape is at the beginning; it might refuse Start/End Sensor Testing
or flash an error code. to rewind. In both cases, you can some- The start and end sensors are usually a
The VCR may go through the times trick the VCR into cooperating combination of a light source (IR LED)
motions of playing a pre- recorded and confirming that there is a sensor and an IR photodiode. With a little effort,
tape thinking that a tape is present problem by pulling the connector for these can be tested for functionality.
because the sensors return signals the appropriate sensor once the cassette
indistinguishable from what it would is loaded. If you can get at the connec- For an incandescent lamp (older VCRs),
see if a tape were present. Eventually, tors, you can test the sensors by moni- check to see if it lights when power is
it may give up and shut down. toring the voltage on their outputs. on; if not, the lamp is most likely
The VCR may do strange things when One test that you can try if the VCR burnt out. Test it with an ohmmeter.
you attempt to load a cassette since attempts to play an imaginary pre- For an IR emitter, use an IR detector
the microcontroller is receiving con- recorded tape as soon as power is turned or an IR detector card to determine if
flicting signals-the cassette is out, on is to locate the microswitch for the LED is operating. You can also
but the sensors think otherwise. record -lockout protection. It will be try powering the IR LED with a low- 59

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Optical Encoder disk below takeup takeup reel is rotating and that tape is involving tape motion as well as during
reel (arid optionally, supply reel) not spilling into the bowels of the VCR. the tape load and unload operations.
Real -time counters-which really are Exactly when each is used will vary by
a vast improvement -operate off the design.
control track pulses from the control If your VCR has identical sensors
head. Tape location is measured in monitoring both reels, swapping the
hours, minutes, and seconds, though it is sensor assemblies may be a useful test.
Photodetector IR LED still a relative indication and must be The behavior will change if one is bad.
reset at the beginning of the tape if an For example, a VCR that would shut
absolute location is to be determined. down in a couple of seconds in play
Reel Rotation Sensor The only disadvantages of real -time mode may, after you switch sensors,
counters are that: continue to operate correctly but now
Fig. 2. Reel sensors.
have problems with rewind.
They do not operate with a new or bulk Some fancier VCRs will display an
voltage supply through a 500 -ohm or erased tape since there is no control estimate of tape remaining using the dif-
so resistor. Then use the IR detector track. Consequently, it is not possible ference in rotation rates of the supply
to see if the LED works. Don't forget to leave a specific length section of and takeup reels based on assumptions
to disconnect it from the circuitry such a tape unrecorded by using the about tape thickness, hub size, and total
first! Try both polarities to be sure counter to space over it. You must lay length (which you may have to tell it).
you got it right. down a control track first by record- Sometimes, reel -rotation sensor prob-
ing something -anything -for the lems are simply due to accumulated dirt
To test the sensors themselves, dis- time you want. However, be sure to on the reflective surfaces. So always
connect them from the circuitry and use a valid video source so the sync clean them before going further.
shine an IR source on them (an IR pulses occur with the proper timing. Sometimes, replacement sensors will be
remote control or an incandescent lamp) The tape must be in contact with the con- needed. If this happens, replace both
while monitoring the resistance with an trol head for all operations. In princi- sides where appropriate -most of the
ohmmeter. Use the polarity that gives ple, this results in more head (and cost will be your time. The sensors
the higher reading (reverse bias). This tape) wear, though I know of no cases themselves are relatively inexpensive.
resistance should drop dramatically if of the head stack requiring replace- Note that on VCRs with real -time
they are functional. ment because of this design. counters, the real -time display, as well as
If the start and end sensor assemblies possibly the tape movement sensing,
are interchangeable, swap them. If the Failure of the real -time counter on a operates off the A/C head-control puls-
symptoms shift from play to rewind or VCR that otherwise works normally is es. Failure here could be caused by dirt,
vice versa, one of the sensors is bad. quite unlikely and is probably an elec- a bad A/C head, tape -path alignment
tronic problem since the control head problems, or the failure of a half-loading
Tape Counters must be functional for all record/play arm to properly extract the tape so that
There are two kinds of tape position modes to work properly. However, it is it contacts the A/C head.
counters: reference and real -time. What I possible that a half-loading arm that fails
call a reference counter is what all VCRs to fully extract the tape would result in Reel- Rotation Sensor Testing
used up until a few years ago. A sensor problems in (non -search) fast forward or The counters on some VCRs are
counts revolutions of the takeup reel rewind modes. active at all times; if you rotate the appro-
(usually) either directly or with a belt priate reel, the counter will change.
drive. A mechanical or electronic Reel-Rotation Sensors Counting up or down depends on its
counter displays an arbitrary number Reel rotation is usually detected by default mode; the direction of rotation
that provides some idea of how much optical sensors that are positioned under probably will not matter. If your VCR is
tape has been used. Since the rotation the reels (see Fig. 2). Some older VCRs of this type, testing is particularly easy.
rate of the reel is not constant with may use mechanical or optical inter- Slowly rotate the takeup reel by hand;
respect to the actual time of the tape, it rupters driven off belts from the reel some models might use the supply reel
is not possible to use this for anything
other than a reference. In addition, the
tape may slip a bit and be wound tighter
spindles. There will always be a takeup
reel sensor-even on a VCR that has a
real -time counter. It serves two func-
-
instead. The numbers should change sev-
eral times probably four-per revolu-
tion. There should be no missed counts
or looser depending on whether it was tions: (1) confirm that the reel is rotating and there should be no positions where
wound in play, fast forward, or rewind. and that tape is not spilling into the the counter free runs-where the display
Thus, even the reference is not accurate- bowels of the machine and (2) operate increments or decrements on its own very
ly repeatable. the (non -real-time) tape counter. If this quickly. Any of these symptoms could
Common failures are a broken or sensor fails, the VCR will shutdown indicate a problem with the sensor or
weak belt for the mechanically operated almost immediately and will result in a LED, a buffer amplifier, bad connection,
counter or defective circuitry for the stuck tape counter. or the microcontroller or other IC that
electronic display. A failed sensor would Some VCRs have a similar sensor on actually drives the counter and display.
most likely also cause the VCR to shut the supply reel. The output from this For electrical tests, first locate the
down and unload the tape. This happens sensor can be used to confirm proper LED and photodiode. You can tell
60 because the sensor confirms that the rotation of both reels during modes which is which by testing with a meter
r a+ewMrrki..- 11.11..M01....

on its "diode- test" scale. The LED will might be a buffer amplifier that is driven
have the higher forward-voltage drop. by the sensor. Check its output as well.
World's Smallest
Sometimes, you may even find that the The signal there should be a cleaned -up 68HC11
connections are marked. version (low -pass filtered and possibly Microcontroller
Momentarily insert and remove a inverted) of the sensor output. In all Module!
resistor (1000 ohms or so should work) cases, the signal should be a DC value
across the sensor leads. If needed, put without noticeable ripple or noise (block Applications:
the VCR in play mode and make the test external light as fluorescent lamps in telemetry
microrobotica
before it quits. This should make the particular may add a 120 -Hz ripple to smart toys

\
counter change if the LED is bad or the your detected signal). Even at the low - animatronics

photodiode is open. Alternately, a to -high or high -to -low transitions, the


\1/i/\

N model railroads

/
automate
your home
remote control may be able to activate level should change smoothly. You many others!
it, providing pulses that will look to the might be able to trace the signal to its 1
counter exactly like reel rotation. If this final destination such as the microcon-
has no effect, unsolder the sensor (or
unplug the sensor assembly from the
troller or other large multilegged part
and monitor it there as well.
MicooStampllTM
ic
main board if there is a connector) and Play a T120 tape recorded at EP
11111111111
=e
11

try the resistor across the terminals speed near the end of the tape. This will E Actual
where it was connected. If you now get a result in the slowest takeup reel rotation. E Shot
response, the sensor was shorted (or the If your VCR has the counter active in IIIIIIIIIII I>Q
connection was bad). stop mode with the cassette out, rotate Z11200 TECHNOLOGICAL ARTS
11300000000o
If you do not get the counter to the takeup reel by hand very slowly. If 200000000000l1 RHC
change in either case, the problem prob- the counter skips or `free runs' at certain
ably lies with an intermediate buffer positions of the reel, there may be a tiny 1 -Inch x 1.4 -inch 68HC11 module
5V regulator, 8MHz crystal
amplifier, the electronics on the main problem with the hysteresis circuit. If choice of 8K or 32K EEPROM
board, or a bad connection leading to this is external to the microcontroller, a plugs Into your breadboard like a DIP
SCI, SPI, OCs, ICs, timers, & more
the main board. You will need to obtain resistor may have opened or there may all 14 I/O lines and 2 Interrupts brought
the service manual or trace the circuit be some other easily identified bad com- out to versatile 20 -pin connector
easy code-loading with Docking Module
leading to where the sensor signal is ponent. If it is internal to the microcon- Starter Packages:*
detected to proceed. It is possible that troller-either an actual circuit or with 8K EEPROM ( #MS11SP8K) $49
the counter will only change when the firmware -replacing the microcon- with 32K EEPROM ( #MS11SP32K) $60
additional modules from $34 each
microcomputer expects the reel to be troller may be the best solution. In some includes MicroStampll, documentation,
PC software, serial cable d Docking Module
moving, so any tests made while the cases, you might need to add your own
VCR is in its stop mode may not be circuit; I have done this to repair a Sears
valid. VCR with an erratic counter problem. It
An alternative test is to use an ohm- is a simple 1- or 2- transistor circuit
meter set on its high -ohms scale across depending on what external circuits are
the photodiode. Use the polarity that already present.
gives the higher resistance and shine a
light on the sensor. The resistance
should drop dramatically when the sen-
Monitor the sensor output when
rewinding a T120 tape to the very end
this will be the worst-case test as the
-
sor is exposed to a bright incandescent pulses will be at the highest rate. There
1
light (these put out a good amount of should be no missing pulses and the high
IR). If it is infinite in both directions, the and low times should still be similar. A
photodiode is open. If it is low in both bad sensor might result in unequal high
directions, it is shorted. You may be able and low times and dropped pulses at tiny 2 -inch x 2 -inch 68HC11 module
to make a measurement while the sensor high speed. 12 inputs/outputs plus 8 analog inputs
is still in circuit, though other compo- That's it for now. Next time, I RS232, 5V regulator, 8MHz crystal
32K SRAM plus 8K or 32K EEPROM
nents may mask the resistance change. promise we will go on to general control plugs into your breadboard like a DIP
As noted, the IR sensor/LED combina- system problems like "My VCR totally simple program loading from any PC
tion is often a plug-in assembly. For ignores me!" Until then, check out my motor driver & accessories available
ideal for MicroMouse robot competitions
example, my meter read infinite resis- Web site: www.repairfaq.org. I welcome 8K Starter Package #MC11SP8K $75
tance with no light and 200 ohms with a comments (via e-mail only, please) of all 32K Starter Package #MC11SP32K $89
bright light on a photosensor. Of course, types and will reply promptly to requests
your mileage may vary. for information. See you next time! P
Technological
If you have an oscilloscope, use it to
monitor the sensor output. If there is a
Many other modules & accessories available.
voltage signal at this point (likely), then Only You CGn Prevent Forest Fres. Visit our website at:
you should see it go high and low as you www.technologicalarts.com
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61

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ROBOTICS WORKSHOP GORDON MCCOMB

Running Robots with DC Motors

MOTOR
Direct current (DC) motors are the SUPPLY mechanical bearings and bushings
mainstays of robotics. A surpris- may not be able to handle the in-
ingly small motor, when connected to creased speed. However, it's usually
wheels through a gear-reduction system, fairly safe to run a 10-volt motor at
can power a 25 -, 50 -, or even a 100 -pound ' b 12 volts or 6 -volt motor at 5 volts.
+5V TO
robot. A flick of a switch, a click of a relay, MOTOR DC motors draw the most current
D1
or a tick of a transistor, and the motor stops 1N4003 RLY1 when they are "stalled." Stalling
in its tracks and turns the other way. A sim- occurs if the motor is supplied cur-
ple electronic circuit enables quick and R1 rent, but the shaft does not rotate.
easy control over speed-from a slow crawl 1K
Any battery, control electronics, or
to a fast sprint. ON 0
0OFF drive circuitry you use with the
01
This column shows you how to apply 2N2222 motor must be able to deliver the
open -loop continuous (as opposed to current at stall.
Fig. 1. This basic circuit uses a relay to turn a
stepping or servo) DC motors to power DC motors vary greatly in efficiency.
your robots. The emphasis is on using motor on and off. The input signal is TTL/micro-
Many of the least expensive motors
processor compatible.
motors to propel a robot across your liv- you may find are meant to be used in
ing room floor, but you can use the same One of the prime benefits of most, applications (like automotive) where
control techniques for any motor appli- but not all, DC motors is that they are brute strength, rather than conserva-
cation, including gripper closure, elbow inherently reversible. Apply current in tion of electricity, is the most impor-
flexion, and sensor positioning. one direction (the + and - on the battery tant trait. As the typical mobile robot
terminals, for example), and the motor is powered by a battery, strive for the
The Fundamentals of DC Motors may spin clockwise; apply current in the most efficient motors you can get.
There are many ways to build a DC other direction, and the motor spins It best to stay away from automo-
motor. By their nature, all DC motors counter-clockwise. This capability makes tive starter, windshield wiper, power
are powered by direct current-hence DC motors well suited for robotics, window, and power seat motors, as
the name DC. This is as opposed to where it is often desirable to have the these are notoriously inefficient.
alternating current (AC), used by most motors reverse direction. Rotational speed of a DC motor is
motorized household appliances. By- usually too fast to be directly applied
and-large, AC motors are less expensive DC Motor Ratings in a robot. Gear reduction of some
to manufacture than DC motors; Here are some things to keep in type is necessary to slow the speed of
because their construction is simpler, mind when considering a DC motor for the motor shaft. Gearing down the
they tend to last longer than DC motors. your robot: output speed has a positive side effect
Perhaps the most common form of of increasing torque.
DC motor is the permanent magnet DC motors can often be effectively
type, so -called because it uses two or operated at voltages above and below Direction Control
more permanent magnet pole pieces their specified rating. If the motor is As noted above, it's easy to change
(called the stator). The turning shaft of rated for 12 volts and you run it at 6 the rotational direction of a DC motor:
the motor, or the rotor, is composed of volts, odds are the motor will still simply switch the power lead connec-
windings, which are connected to a turn, but at reduced speed and tions to the battery and the motor turns
mechanical commutator. Internally, metal torque. Conversely, if the motor is in reverse. There are a number of ways
brushes supply the contact point for the run at 18 to 24 volts, but run at 12 to accomplish electronic or electrically
current that turns the motor. volts, the motor will turn faster and assisted direction control of motors. All
Other types of DC motors also exist, will have increased torque. This does have their advantages and disadvantages.
including the series -wound (or universal) not mean that you should intention- Let's examine the more common
and shunt-wound DC motor. These differ ally under- or over -drive the motors approaches.
from the permanent magnet motor in that you use. Significantly over -driving a Perhaps the most straightforward
no magnets are used instead the stator is motor may cause it to wear out faster approach to automatic control of DC
composed ofwindings which, when supplied than normal. The motor will heat up motors is to use relays. It may seem
62 with current, become electromagnets. more than its design criteria, or its rather daft to install something as old-

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MOTOR tal signals. Logical 0 makes the motor turn transistors are on at a time. When transis-
SUPPLY
in one direction (let's say forward), and log- tor 1 and 4 are on, the motor turns in one
ical 1 makes the motor turn in the other direction. When transistor 2 and 3 are on,
direction. Both on/off and direction relay the motor spins the other way. When all
control is shown combined in Fig. 2. transistors are off, the motor remains still.
+5V You can quickly see how to control Note the resistor used to bias the
1N4003 a RLY1
the operation and direction of a motor
using just two data bits from a comput-
base of each transistor. These are neces-
sary to prevent the transistor from
er. Since most robot designs incorporate pulling excessive current from the gate
ON 1 two drive motors, you can control the controlling it (computer port, logic gate,
OFF 0 movement and direction of your robot etc.). Without the resistor, the gate
ON/OFF with just four data bits. When selecting would overheat to destruction. The
CONTROL relays, make sure the contacts are rated actual value of the bias resistor depends
for the motors you are using. All relays on the voltage and current draw of the
carry contact ratings, and it will vary motor, as well as the characteristics of
from a low of about 0.5 amp to over 10 the particular transistors used. For ball-
amps, at 125 volts. Higher capacity park computations, the resistor is usual-
relays are larger and may require bigger ly in the 1K to 3K range. You can calcu-
transistors to trigger them (the very late the exact value of the resistor using
small reed relays can often be triggered Ohm's Law, taking into consideration
by digital control without the addition the gain and current output of the tran-
+5v of the transistor). sistor; you can experiment until you find
a resistor value that works. Start high
Bipolar Transistor Control and work down, noting when the con-
Bipolar transistors provide true solid - trolling electronics seem to get too hot.
cw 1
state control of motors. For the purpose Don't go below 1K.
ccw o -- of motor control, you use the bipolar
transistor as a simple switch. By the way,
The choice of transistors should
comply with some general guidelines.
DIRECTION
CONTROL I'm making the distinction of a bipolar First, they must be capable of handing
transistor, as there are numerous kinds the current draw demanded by the
Fig. 2. Both on/offand direction relay controls of transistors you can use, including the motors, but the final choice of exact
in one. field -effect transistor, or FET. In fact, transistor to use will largely depend on
we'll talk about FETs in the next section. your application and your design prefer-
fashioned and cumbersome as relays in a For the remainder of this section, we'll ence. Most large drive motors draw
hi -tech robot, but it is still a useful tech- just drop the "bipolar." about 1 -2 amps continuous, so the tran-
nique. You'll find that while relays may There are several ways to implement sistors you choose should be able to han-
wear out in time (after a few hundred transistor control of motors. One common dle this current. This immediately rules
thousand switchings), they are fairly approach is to use the H -bridge network, out the small signal transistors, which
inexpensive and easy to use. as shown in Fig. 3. This is a simplified H- are rated for no more than a few hun-
Basic on/off motor control can be bridge; some designs get quite complicat- dred milliamps.
accomplished with a single -pole relay. ed. However, this one will do for most A good NPN transistor for medium -
Rig up the relay so that current is bro- basic hobby-robot applications. The H- duty applications is the TIP31, which
ken when the relay is not activated. Turn bridge is wired in such a way that only two comes in a TO -220 style case. Use it
on the relay and the switch closes, thus
completing the electrical circuit. The +v
motor turns. FORWARD
Relays can easily be driven by digital CONTROL R1 R2
signals. Figure 1 shows a driver circuit FORWARD i 1 -3K 1 -3K
for a relay-controlled motor. Logical 0 OFFO
(LOW) turns the relay off; logical 1
(HIGH) turns it on. The relay can be
operated from any digital gate, including REVERSE
a computer or microprocessor port. CONTROL
Controlling the direction of the motor REVERSEZ
requires a double -pole, double-throw OFF O-
(DPDT) relay, wired in series after the
on/off relay described above. With the
contacts in the relay in one position, the
motor turns clockwise. Activating the relay
changes the contact positions, turning the
motor counter clockwise. Again, you can Fig. 3. Four NPN transistors connected in an "H" pattern can be used to control the direction of a
easily control the direction relay with digi- 63
motor. The power supply is single ended.

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+12V A commonly available power MOS-
FET is the IRF -Sxx series (such as the
DIRECTION
CONTROL IRF-520, IRF-530, etc.), from International
FORWARD 1 1 Rectifier, one of the world's leading
) 01 03(
REVERSE O
2
manufacturers of power MOSFET com-
ponents. These N- channel MOSFETs
M come in a TO-220 -style transistor case
A' A/1T A
and can control several amps of current
(when on a suitable heat sink). A very
basic circuit that uses MOSFETs is
)02 04 ( shown in Fig. 4. Note the similarity
6
between this design and the transistor
design on Fig. 3.
An even better H- bridge using
power MOSFETs uses two N- channel
MOSFETs for the "low-side" of the
bridge, and two complementary P-chan-
Fig. 4. Four N-channel power MOSFET transistors in an `H" pattern can be used to control the
nel MOSFETs for the "high side." I
direction of a motor. In a circuit application such as this, MOSFET devices do not strictly require
biasing resistors, as do standard transistors.
won't get into the details about why this
is better (the subject is adequately
with a suitable heat sink. For high - transistor without bothering with bias addressed in many books and Web sites).
power jobs, the NPN transistor that's resistors? Well, you can, as long as you use The use of complementary MOSFETs
almost universally used is the 2N3055 in a special brand of transistor, the power allows all four transistors in the H-
the TO -3 case. Again, mount the tran- MOSFET. The MOSFET part stands for bridge to turn completely on, thereby
sistor on a heat sink. metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect supplying the motor with full voltage.
Another popular transistor to use in H- transistor. The power part means you can
bridges is the TIP120, which is a use them for motor control without worry- Motor Bridge Control
Darlington transistor. Internally it's actual- ing about burning them, or the controlling Control of motors is big business, and
ly two transistors: a smaller "booster" tran- circuitry, up in smoke. it shouldn't come as a surprise that dozens
sistor and a larger power transistor. The MOSFETs physically look a lot like of companies offer all-in-one solutions for
TIP120 is preferred because it can be easi- transistors, but there are a few important controlling motors via fully electronic
er to interface with control electronics. differences. First, like many CMOS ICs, it means. These products range from inex-
Some transistors, like the 2N3055, require is entirely possible to damage a MOSFET pensive $2 integrated circuits to sophisti-
a hefty amount of current in order to device by zapping it with static electricity. cated modules costing tens of thousands of
switch, and not all computer ports can sup- When handling it keep the protective dollars. Of course, we'll confine our discus-
ply this current If not using a Darlington foam around the terminals. Further, the sion to the low end of this scale.
like the TIP120, it's sometimes necessary names of the terminals are different from The basic motor control is an H-
to use small signal transistors (the 2N2222 transistors. Instead of base, emitter, and bridge, as discussed above, all in one
is common) between the computer port collector, MOSFETs have a gate, source, integrated circuit package. Bridges for
and the power transistor. and drain. You can easily damage a MOS- high- current motors tend to be physi-
Remember that with most power tran- FET by connecting it in the circuit cally large, may come with heat fins, or
sistors, the case is the collector terminal. improperly. Always refer to the pin -out have connections to a heat sink. A good
This is particularly important when there is diagram before wiring the circuit, and dou- example of a motor bridge is the Allegro
more than one transistor on a common ble-check your work. Microsystems 3952, which provides in
heat sink, and they aren't supposed to have one single package a much improved
their collectors connected together. It's also version of the H -bridge circuit. A typical
important when that heat sink is connected working circuit using the 3952 is shown
to the grounded metal frame of the robot. in Fig. 5.
You can avoid trouble by using the insulat- Motor control bridges have two or
ing washer provided in most transistor - more pins on them for connection to
mounting kits. control electronics. Typical functions for
The power leads from the battery and the pins are:
to the motor should be 12- to 16 -gauge
wires. Use solder lugs or crimp -on connec- Motor enable. When enabled, the
tors to attach the wire to the terminals of motor turns on. When disabled, the
TO -3 style transistors. Don't tap off power +5V motor turns off. Some bridges let the
from the electronics for the driver transis- motor "float" when disabled; that is,
tors; get it directly from the battery or PHASE the motor coasts to a stop. On other
main power distribution rail. bridges, disabling the motor causes a
ENABLE
full or partial short across the motor
Power MOSFET Control Fig. 5. The Allegro 3952 is one ofseveral all -in- terminals, which acts as a brake to
64 Wouldn't it be nice if you could use a one H-bridge motor-control ICs. (Continued on page 69)

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BASIC CIRCUITRY CHARLES D. RAKES

Light-Emitting Diodes For Fun and

"Prophet"
Just about every electronic device well as least expensive) LED colors are mine the value of that resistor, use the
produced today contains some red and green. Other available colors formula
type of LED indicator. Those solid - include yellow, orange, blue, and
state light sources can tell us a lot white-the last two being perhaps the R=E/I
about what is going on inside a piece of most costly. Other LED packages are
equipment, even if it's just a simple also available. One type has two or where R is the resistance in ohms, E is
green LED to indicate that the power more different color LEDs in a single the voltage, and I is the current in
is on. Many times, LEDs mark other package; the red/green combination is amps. Before doing the math, don't
operational functions by the various the most common and the most popu- forget to subtract the LED's forward
colors used. The two most popular (as lar. Many other types are also available voltage drop (about 2 volts) from the
including the jumbo, superbright, and circuit's power-supply voltage.
blinking varieties. The LED in Fig. lA draws 10 mA.
R1 This month, we're going to look That's 12 volts minus the 2 -volt for-
1K at a number of very basic and simple ward drop, leaving 10 volts. Divide
1 LED circuits that explore ways to that by 0.01 (the 10 mA current) for
LEDI -
increase the normal light output when the resistance. Using the formula
they are first turned on. In addition, I
A will show you some light- sensing cir- P=EI
Cx
12V cuits. So dig into your scrap box, locate
S1
some LEDs to work with, and off we we can find the LED's power dissipa-
o will go! tion (P) in watts. Plug in the voltage
R1
1K
and current values of 2 volts and 0.01
Pulse Circuits for a Brighter ON amp, and we come up with a power dis-
LEDI Signal sipation of 0.2 watts, or 20 mW. This
Cx=10-10004F/25V LEDs that are used as simple 20 -mA is the average current rating of
Rx=100-47052
on/off indicators are usually connected small indicator LEDs. Some of the
B with a series current- limiting resistor jumbo LEDs are rated between 40 and
between the LED and the power 100 mA. You can use these current val-
source, as shown in Fig. 1A. To deter- ues as a guide when working with
unidentified and unspecified LEDs.
PARTS LIST FOR THE Our first pulse circuit (see Fig. 1B)
is created by adding a large electrolytic
SIMPLE LED INDICATORS capacitor in parallel with a 1000 -ohm
(FIG. 1) current- limiting resistor. This arrange-
ment feeds the LED a higher initial
Cx -1.0- to 1000-F, 25 -WVDC, current pulse when S1 is turned on.
electrolytic capacitor
The LED's initial current is limited
Fig. 1. The most basic circuit for lighting an
LEDI- Light-emitting diode, any only by the value of Rx. After a short
color or size
LED is to simply supply power through a cur- time period -duration depending
R1 -1000 -ohm, V/4 -watt, 5% resistor
rent-limiting resistor (A). To make an LED upon the value of Cx-the LED's cur-
more noticeable when it first turns on, the cir- Rx -100- to 470 -ohm, 1/4 -watt, 5%
cuit shown in (B) will flash the LED once rent comes down to the value flowing
resistor through the series resistance of Rx and
brightly. The circuit in (C) provides a brighter
initial flash. In all circuits, the LED remains
S1-Single -pole, single -throw, Rl . If you increase the value of Rl, you
on as long as power is supplied to it. normally -open pushbutton switch will decrease the average current flow 65

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4.5V

X0.5 SEC
OV
R4 = 4700
C2 = 470F
R3 = 1000

10V

Fig. 2. This flashing LED indicator circuit uses a 4093 CMOS IC to keep the LED pulsing on
T4V
0.5 SEC
and off
0v
PARTS LIST FOR R4 = 2700
through the LED is reduced to the C2 = 470F
THE FLASHING LED current limited by series resistors R1 R3 = 1000
INDICATORS and Ex. If we increase the value of Rl, B
(FIG. 2) the average light output of the LED is
reduced. Decreasing the value of R1
SEMICONDUCTORS will increase the light from the LED.
IC1 -4093 CMOS, quad two -input Higher Rx values produce lower cur-
NAND Schmitt trigger, integrated rent pulses, and lower values produce
circuit higher current pulses. If Rx is lowered 15V
Q1-2N2222 NPN transistor too far, the LED can draw excess cur-
LED -Light -emitting diode, any type rent and might be damaged. Select a
or color value for Rx that allows no more than a 0.5 SEC -1.- 3.5V

10% increase over the LED's maxi- 0V


R4= 1000
RESISTORS mum rated current. There is no need C2 = 1000F
(All resistors are Va -watt, 5% units or purpose to increase current through R3 = 1000
C
unless otherwise noted.) the LED once it has reached its maxi-
R1- 100,000-ohm mum light output. Fig. 3. As you can see from these waveforms,
R2-2200 -ohm substituting different values for R3, R4, and
R3- 100 -ohm Flashing LED Indicator C2 in Fig. 2 changes the characteristics of the
R4 -100- to 470 -ohm Figure 2 shows the circuit of a pulse, and therefore the flash pattern, of the
R5- 1- megohm potentiometer flashing LED indicator that incorpo- LED.
rates a 4093 CMOS quad two -input The waveform of the pulse circuit
CAPACITORS NAND Schmitt trigger IC and an NPN that comes through R3 and the LED is
C 1 0.22- to 0.47 -p.F, ceramic -disc or driver transistor. Two gates of the IC shown in Fig. 3. The values for R4 and
similar low- leakage are used; the inputs of the two unused C2 in Fig. 3A deliver an LED pulse
C2-47 to 1000 -RF, 25 -WVDC, gates are connected to ground. Gates current of about 45 mA and a sustained
electrolytic IC1 -a and IC1 -b form a low- frequency current of 10 mA. Use the values in
C3-470 -p,F, 25 -WVDC, electrolytic pulse generator whose output drives Fig. 3B to increase the pulse current to
Q1, a 2N222 transistor. Transistor about 100 mA. If you use the values in
without affecting the initial current Q 1's collector feeds an LED pulse cir- Fig. 3C, the pulse current will exceed
pulse that forces the LED's bright out- cuit similar to the one in Fig. 1B, 110 mA.
put when it is turned on. Increasing the replacing the manual switch we used in If you want to use the capacitor-
value of R1 to 10,000 ohms, and paral- Fig. 1B. Each time the output of IC1- discharge circuit that we looked at in
leling it with a 470 -F, 25 -volt elec- b goes positive, Q1 's collector pulls to Fig. IC, use the circuit in Fig. 4 in
trolytic capacitor produces a bright ground, charging C2 and causing the place of the output circuit in Fig. 2.
turn -on effect and a very low average LED to flash. Now, when Q 1's base is driven posi-
light level. The LED's flash rate is set by RS. Its fre- tive, its collector switches to ground,
Our next pulse circuit (Fig. 1C) quency varies from less than one cycle per discharging Cl through R2 and the
takes the energy stored in electrolytic second to several cycles per second. You can LED. This produces an initial bright
capacitor Cx and discharges it through change the oscillator's frequency range by LED output pulse. The value of R2
the LED. This produces an initial changing the value of Cl. Increase the value sets the maximum output pulse cur-
burst of bright light, and after the to slow the flashing and decrease its value to rent. The value of C 1 sets the length of
66 capacitor discharges, the current flow speed up the flash rate. the pulse.

www.americanradiohistory.com
TO
PIN 4
PARTS LIST FOR THE
R1 OF IC1 HIGH- PULSE -RATE
2.2K
LED FLASHER
(FIG. 5) 12V

Q1
2N2222 LEDI SEMICONDUCTORS
ICI '1093 CMOS quad two -input
Cl
470F
R2
100dZ
R3
1K
NAND Schmitt trigger, integrated
circuit
OV
- -1.25 SEC
+13.75V Q1-2N2222 NPN transistor VOLTAGE ACROSS R6
Q2-2N3906 PNP transistor A
Fig. 4. Adding a capacitor- discharge circuit to
LED1-Light- emitting diode, any type
or color
the output circuitry ofFig. 2 gives the LED an
initially bright flash each time it turns on. This
modification only works for low pulse rates. RESISTORS

-
(All resistors are 1/4 -watt, 5% units
PARTS LIST FOR unless otherwise noted.)
THE CAPACITOR - R1 1- megohm 12V APP
1.0 SEC
DISCHARGE CIRCUIT R2 10,000 -ohm
(FIG. 4) R3, R4-2200 -ohm
R5, R6-100 -ohm
R7 -10- megohm potentiometer
OV
C1-470 -F, 25 -WVDC, electrolytic 0.1 SEC 0.2 SEC

capacitor
CAPACITORS VOLTAGE ACROSS C2
LED 1-Light-emitting diode, any type
or color C1-0.22 -p.F, ceramic disc or other B

Q1- 2N2222 NPN transistor low-leakage Fig. 6. Here's what the wavefomrslook like when C2
R1-2200 -ohm, 1/4 -watt, 5% resistor C2, C3 X70 -RF, 25 -WVDC, is discharged across R6 (A). The full charge/dis-
R2 100 -ohm, 1/4 -watt, 5% resistor electrolytic charge waveform for C2 is shown in (B).
R3 -1000 -ohm, 1/4 -watt, 5% resistor
Here's how this circuit operates.
the capacitor's charging/discharging When the output of ICI -a goes high,
Try a Transistor Switch resistor. Here we use three gates of the the outputs of ICi -b and ICI -c both
The circuit in Fig. 2 works fine at CMOS 4093. Again, the inputs to the go low. The low output of ICI -b keeps
low pulse rates. However, if the rate is unused gate are connected to ground. Q1 turned off, allowing no current to
increased to a point where C2 cannot In this circuit, one of the unused gates flow though LED1. At the same time,
fully discharge through R4 between is in a PNP switching transistor driver. the low output of ICi -c pulls the base
pulses, the output cannot reach its The frequency- determining compo- of Q2 to near ground, causing it to
maximum output level. To solve this nent values are different from those we turn on. This ties C2 to the positive
problem we turn to the circuit in Fig. used in the circuit of Fig. 2, but either supply through current -limiting resis-
5. It uses a transistor switch to replace set of circuit values will work. tor R5, charging C2 to near supply
level. When the output of ICi -a goes
low, the outputs of ICI -b and ICI -c
2N3906
both go high; IC1 -c's positive output
470F
turns Q2 off and disconnects C2 from
the power source. ICI -b's positive out-
IC1-c
ICI -a 1/4 CD4093 put turns Q1 on, discharging C2
1/4 CD4093 through LED1, producing a bright
3 470F pulsed output. Between pulses, LED1
IC1-b is turned off, producing no light.
7 1/4 CD4093 The pulse current waveform is
R1 R7 shown in Fig. 6A; Fig. 6B shows the
1 MEG 10 MEG
charging voltage waveform across C2.
Cl The voltage across R6 reaches 12 volts,
.22F
producing a pulse current of about 120
mA. The pulse- current level can be
Q1
adjusted by increasing or decreasing
12 2N2222. the value of R6. Increasing the value of
13 R6 will decrease the pulse current,
IC1-d while decreasing R6's value will
1/4 CD4093
increase the pulse current.
Fig. 5. For higher pulse rates, a transistor switch replaces the capacitor in the output portion of Consider using one of these LED
the circuit of Fig. 4. pulse circuits in your next project, or 67

www.americanradiohistory.com
Here's how this circuit works.
Transistor Q1 is placed in a dark area.
It is turned off as there is no light, and
the voltage at the inputs to ICI -a is a
positive 9 volts. The inputs of all
unused sections of IC1, a CMOS 4093,
must be connected to ground. The
gate's output is at ground and produces
zero bias current to SCR1. As a result,
SCR1 remains off. When enough light
hits phototransistor Q1, it turns on.
This drops IC1 -a's gate voltage to near
ground. The gate's output goes high
and supplies a positive bias current to
SCR1, turning it on and illuminating
LED1. SCR1 operates as a memory
device and keeps LED1 lit until it is
reset with switch S 1.
Qt
(SEE PARTS LIST) Ql
(SEE PARTS LIST) Was the Light Turned Off?
Fig. This light detector turns on a remote
7.
Fig. 8. want to know if the lights went
Ifyou Our final detector circuit, shown in
LED to warn you ofan intruder. out while you weren't around, use this varia- Fig. 8, is a modified version of the cir-
tion of Fig. 6. cuit we saw in Fig. 7. It tells you if the
PARTS LIST FOR THE light in a monitored area has been
LIGHT-DETECTOR CIRCUIT PARTS LIST FOR THE
turned off or otherwise interrupted
(FIG. 7) LIGHT-ABSENCE during your absence. This time, we use
DETECTOR CIRCUIT two of the four available gates in ICI.
SEMICONDUCTORS (FIG. 8) The inputs to the unused gates must be
IC I -4011 or 4093 CMOS quad two - connected to ground, just as we have
input NAND gate, integrated circuit SEMICONDUCTORS done in all the previous applications.
LED I-Light-emitting diode, any type ICI -4011 or 4093 CMOS quad two - With sufficient light hitting photo -
or color input NAND gate, integrated circuit transistor Q1, its output, as well as the
Q1-Any NPN phototransistor LED1- Light-emitting diode, any type output of ICI -b, is low. This keeps
SCR1-2N5060, 2N5061, or similar or color SCR1 and the LED turned off. If the
0.8 -amp silicon -controlled rectifier Q1 -Any NPN phototransistor light does not reach Q1 for any reason,
SCR1-2N5060, 2N5061, or similar the gates send a positive voltage to
RESISTORS 0.8-amp silicon -controlled rectifier SCR1's gate and it goes on, lighting
(All resistors are 1/4 -watt, 5% units.) LED1 in turn. The LED will remain
R1- 47,000 -ohms RESISTORS on until the reset switch is activated.
R2-2200 -ohms (All resistors are 1/4 -watt, 5% units.) Here's hoping that you will try at
R3- 10,000 -ohms R1 -47,000 -ohms least one of the circuits we've looked at
R4-1 000 -ohms R2-2200 -ohms this visit and make something useful
R3- 10,000 -ohms out of it. Send me your comments and
ADDITIONAL PARTS AND R4 -1000 -ohms suggestions via e-mail at cdrakesipa.net
MATERIALS or the old slow way at Charles D.
Si Single pole, single- throw, ADDITIONAL PARTS AND Rakes, P.O. Box 445, Bentonville, AR
normally -open pushbutton switch MATERIALS 72712. P
S1-Single -pole, single- throw,
build one of the circuits we have dis- normally -open pushbutton switch
cussed just for fun. While you're
experimenting, see what improve- cuit is in Fig. 7. It is set up to detect
ments you can make. light entering a dark room, closet, or
whatever. The indicator LED and
Snoop Detector reset button should be located outside
Have you ever wondered if some- the area being monitored and out of
one has been snooping in your room, sight. If anyone opens a door, a drawer,
closet, desk, or any other private or lets light into the monitored area,
enclosed area? If you answered yes, the circuit turns the LED on, and it
then you might be able to use one of remains lit until the circuit is reset.
the following light- detector circuits to This tattletale will not tell you whom
alert you when your privacy has been the culprit was, but will tell you that "Don't worry, all of our pirated software came
68 breached. Our first light- detector cir- someone was there. with a money -back guarantee."

www.americanradiohistory.com
(1) include plenty of background infor- Questions can be sent to Q &A,
Q &A mation (we'll shorten your letter for publi- Poptronics Magazine, 275 G Marcus
(continued from page 27) cation); Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788, or e-mailed
(2) give your full name and address on to gba@gernsback.cam, but please do not
your letter (not just the envelope); expect an immediate reply in these pages
Writing To Q&A (3) type your letter if possible, or write (because of our backlog) and please don't
As always, we welcome your questions. very neatly; and send graphics files larger than 100K Due
The most interesting ones are answered in (4) if you are asking about a circuit, to the volume of mail, we regret that we
print. Please be sure to: include a complete diagram. cannot give personal replies. p

PC KEYBOARD scan codes on a parallel bus. As After the data bits have been
(continued from page 53) you can imagine, you must be sent, Listing 10 sends the parity bit.
quick in order to catch the next Unlike the read cycle, we can't
machine, but really need a controlled
I transmission. ignore the parity bit. If we do, the
source; another 68HC705 to send out a keyboard will issue a resend (FE)
false partly bit might do the trick, If ever
I Writing Bytes to the Keyboard. command if the parity bit is incor-
get around to that particular test, I'll be The following routine given here is a rect-a 50% probability!
sure to let you know. generic one that can be used for Once the parity bit has been set
When an error occurs in the pari- your own purposes. During normal and the falling edge of the key-
ty or stop bit, it's a fair assumption execution of this program, the key- board clock detected, Listing 11
that the rest of the byte has errors board clock line should be low to releases the keyboard data line. We
as well; ignoring the error and pro- prevent data from being sent when then have to wait for another falling
cessing the received byte could the system isn't ready for it. In Listing edge of the keyboard clock to see
have unexpected results. Instead, 7, we take the keyboard clock line if the Keyboard has acknowledged
we use the keyboard's resend com- low and wait for 64 microseconds. the byte. The keyboard does that
mand (FE) to try again. Having that delay might be point- by pulling the keyboard data line
Note that the error routine trans- less as the line is already low and low. If it is not low, then the program
mits a resend command straight probably has been for quite some branches to an error handler. If all
away without waiting for the cor- time, at least since the end of the has been successful, the keyboard
rupt transmission to finish. This is not last transmission or reception. clock line goes low to prevent the
a problem as the keyboard consid- The program segment in Listing 8 keyboard from transmuting.
ers any transmission successful if the initiates the host-to-keyboard trans- We have taken a rather harsh
tenth (parity) bit is sent. If we inter- mission by taking the keyboard data approach to handing any transmit
rupt the transmission before the line low and releasing the keyboard errors. Ideally, we should wait for the
parity bit is sent, the keyboard will clock line. We must then wait for a keyboard to request a resend of
place the current byte in its buffer high -to -low transition on the key- the last transmuted byte. What we
for later transmission. board clock before we load the first actually do is to issue a reset to the
Reading a byte doesn't really bit onto the keyboard data line. keyboard -very much like smack-
require bi- directional data and As you can see in Listing 9, putting ing someone in the head for mak-
clock lines. If you can process the the individual bits on the keyboard ing a mistake. So far, I've never had
byte fast enough, then no hand- data line is similar to the read cycle. an error. If this starts to become a
shaking (RTS) signal is required. This The X register is used to keep track of problem, then a better error han-
means that you no longer need to the number of bits sent. Also similar to dler could be written.
fiddle with the Data Direction the read cycle, we increment the Happy keyboard interfacing and
Register. Ihave successfully done accumulator so that we can calcu- don't wear out your keyboard! p
this with a 68HC705, outputting only late the parity bit later.

ROBOTICS WORKSHOP means of varying the speed of a the motors will stop, and the current draw will
(continued from page 64) motor is with pulse -width modula- increase.
tion, or PWM. Because of the ease with which motor
stop the motor very quickly. control bridges are used and their relatively
Direction. Setting the direction pin The better motor control bridges incor- low cost, we'll gravitate toward using them
changes the direction of the motor. porate overcunent protection circuitry to over the "discrete" methods discussed. Of
Brake. On bridges that allow the avoid damage to itself if the motor pulls too course, you're free to use whatever motor con-
motor to float when the enable pin is much current and overheats the chip. Some trol methods you wish.
disengaged, a separate brake input is even provide for cunrnt sense, an output that Some available motor control bridges
used to specifically control the brak- can be fed back to the control electronics in include the L293D and L298N from SGS-
ing action of the motor. order to monitor the amount of current being Zhomson, the 754410, an improved version
PWM. Most H -bridge motor control drawn from the motor. This can be useful to of the L293 from Texas Instruments, and the
ICs are used not only to control the determine if the robot is stuck DC motors LM18293 from National Semiconductor.
direction and power of the motor, will draw the most current when stalled. If the Next month: building `wearable robots."
but its speed as well. The typical robot catches on something and can't budge, Be sure to tune in for the fun! p 69

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Deluxe Video Dubbing and Photo Inkjet Collor Printer
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Universal Remote Control MAJOR CREDIT & C.O.D. ACCEPTED


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Contorts TV's, VCR's Cable boxes mon
& Stereos Full menu guide
bmirgiret
mme.v.n..
Performance Keyboard Cordless Phone.
IBM PC Compatible 104 keyboard Battery
Item # 95 -7760 Item # 29 -2565 Item # 29 -2570
WGLL 119o
rt Model# P5256 Model# CV3112C
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,i '
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Use Standard Wireless Digital Audio/Video


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Mini 6 -Pin DIN Item #
Sender with 2.4GHz Rani
Fax Machine SHARE? Aluminum Transmitter 55 -1265
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Fax, Phone, Printer, Item #
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PC Fax/Modem
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., _.
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Service Player without running cab ES
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.;- r 0,0
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38 -0525
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Multimeters
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J J DC to AC Power Inverte

Qj
r I

120V. AC Common Features


Output power 2500W Ove- load: 2501 -3000W
Te41 - Item # 40 -1935 :

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UL Listed Item # 40 -2315
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CREDIT CARD COMPUTER
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Doppler Direction Finder 1 GHz RF Signal Generator
EYTrackdown jammers and hidden transmitters with ease! This is the A super price on a full fea-
famous WA2EBY DF'er featured in April 99 OST. Shows direct bearing to tured RF signal generator!
transmitter on compass style LED display, easy to hook up to any FM receiver. The Covers 100 KHz to
transmitter - the object of your DF'ing - need not be FM, it can be AM, FM or CW. a 999.99999 MHz in 10 Hz
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even include 4 handy home -brew "mag mount" antennas and cable for quick set O calibrated AM and FM
up and operation! Whips can be cut and optimized for any frequency from 130- modulation, 90 front panel
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DDF -1, Doppler Direction Finder Kit $149.95 Fast and easy to use, its
ig bright vacuum florescent display can be ead from anywhere on the

Wireless RF Data Link Modules bench and the handy 'smart-knob' has great analog feel and is intelli-
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you'll want on your bench, you won't find a harder working RF signal
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rf
generator - and you'll save almost $3,000 over competitive units!
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Transmitter _ _

World's Smallest TV Transmitters Professional synthesized FM Stereo station in easy to use, handsome
cabinet. Most radio stations require a who e equipment rack to hold all
We call them the 'Cubes'.... Perfect video transmission from a trans-
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mitter you can hide under a quarter and only as thick as a stack of
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schools, colleges find the FM -100 the answer to their transmitting
the high power 100 mW unit goes up to 1/4 mi e. Their very light weight and size make them ideal for balloon and
needs, you will too. Great features, great price! Kit includes cabinet,
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whip antenna, 120 VAC supply. We also offer a high power export
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version of the FM-100 fully assembled with one watt of RF power, for
Fully assembled - just hook -up power andyou're on the air! One customer even put one on his dog!
miles of program coverage. The export version can only be shipped if
C -2000, Basic Video Transmitter $89.95 C- 2001, High Power Video Transmitter...5179.95
accompanied by a signed statement that the unit will be exported.

CCD Video AM Radio


FM -100, Pro FM Stereo Transmitter Kit
FM- 100WT, Fully Wired High Power FM- 100
$249.95
$399.95
Cameras Transmitter
Top quality Japanese Class 'A' Operates in standard AM broad -
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CCD array, over 440 line line resolution, not the off -spec
arrays that are found on many othe cameras. Don't be
cast band. Pro version, AM -25, is synthesized for sta-
ble, no-drift frequency and is setable for high power _ -
Transmitters
fooled by the cheap CMOS single chip cameras which have output where regulations allow, typical range of 1-2 No dritt, microprocessor synthesized! Great audio
1/2 the resolution, 1/4 the light sensitivity and draw over miles. Entry-level AM -1 is tunable, runs FCC maximum quality, connect to CD player, tape deck or mike
twice the current! The black & white models are also super 100 mW, range 1/4 mile. Both accept line -level inputs mixer and you're on- the -air. Strapable for high or low power! Runs on
IR (Infra -Red) sensitive. Add our invisible to the eye, IR -1 from tape decks, CD players or mike mixers, run on 12 12 VDC or 120 VAC. Kit includes snazzy case, whip antenna, 120 VAC

illuminator kit to see in the dark! Color camera has Auto volts DC. Pro AM -25 includes AC power adapter, power adapter - easy one evening assembly.
gain, white balance, Back Light Compensation and DSP! matching case and bottom loaded wire antenna. Entry- FM-25, Synthesized Stereo Transmitter Kit $129.95
Available with Wide -angle (804) or super slim Pin -hole style level AM -1 has an available matching case and knob Lower cost alternative to our high performance trans-
lens. Run on 9 VDC, standard 1 volt p -p video. Use our set that dresses up the unit. Great sound, easy to build mitters. Great value, easily tunable, fun to build. Manual
transmitters for wireless transmission to TV set, or add our - you can be on the air in an evening! goes into great detail about antennas, range and FCC
IB -1 Interface board kit for super easy direct wire hook -up to AM -25, Professional AM Transmitter Kit $129.95 rules. Handy for sending music thru house and yard,
any Video monitor, VCR or TV with AN input. Fully assem- AM -1, Entry level AM Radio Transmitter Kit... $29.95 ideal for school projects too - you'll be amazed at the
bled, with pre -wired connector. CAM, Matching Case Set for AM -1 exceptional audio quality! Runs on 9V battery or 5 to
$14.95
CCDWA-2, B &W CCD Camera, wide -angle lens $69.95 15 VDC. Add matching case and whip antenna set for nice 'pro' look.
CCDPH -2, B &W CCD Camera, slim fit pinhole lens $69.95
CCDCC -1, Color CCD Camera, wide-angle lens ....
$129.95
Mini Radio FM-10A, Tunable FM Stereo Transmitter Kit
CFM, Matching Case and Antenna Set
$34.95
$14.95
IR -1, IR Illuminator Kit for B &W cameras
IB-1, Interface Board Kit
$24.95
$14.95
Receivers FMAC, 12 Volt DC Wall Plug Adapter $9.95

Imagine the fun of tuning into aircraft a hundred miles away, the local police/fire department, ham operators, or how
about Radio Moscow or the BBC in London? Now imagine doing this on a little radio you built yourself - in just an
RF Power Booster
evening! These popular little receivers are the nuts for catching all the action on the local ham, aircraft, standard FM Add muscle to your signal, boost power up to 1 watt
broadcast radio, shortwave or WWV National Time Standard radio bands. Pick the receiver of your choice, each easy over a freq range of 100 KHz to over 1000 MHz! Use
to build, sensitive receiver has plenty of crystal clear audio to drive any speaker or earphone. Easy one evening as a lab amp for signal generators, plus many foreign users employ the
assembly, run on 9 volt battery, all have squelch except for shortwave and FM broadcast receiver which has subcarri- LPA -1 to boost the power of their FM transmitters, providing radio ser-
er output for hook-up to our SCA adapter. The SCA-1 will tune in commercial -free music and other 'hidden' special vice through an entire town. Runs on 12 VDC. For a neat finished look,
services when connected to FM receiver. Add our snazzy matching case and knob set for that smart finished look! add the nice matching case set. Outdoor unit attaches right at the
AR -1, Airband 108.136 MHz Kit $29.95 FR-6, 6 Meter FM Ham Band Kit $34.95 antenna for best signal - receiving or transmitting, weatherproof, too!
HFRC -1, WWV 10 MHz (crystal controlled) Kit $34.95 FR -10, 10 Meter FM Ham Band Kit $34.95 LPA -1, Power Booster Amplifier Kit $39.95
FR -1, FM Broadcast Band 88-108 MHz Kit $24.95 FR -146, 2 Meter FM Ham Band Kit $34.95 CLPA, Matching Case Set for LPA -1 Kit $14.95
SR -1, Shortwave 4 -11 MHz Band Kit $29.95 FR -220, 220 MHz FM Ham Band Kit $34.95 LPA1WT, Fully Wired LPA -1 with Case $99.95
SCA -1 SCA Subcarrier Adapter kit for FM radio.... $27.95 Matching Case Set (specify for which kit) $14.95 FMBA -1, Outdoor Mast Mount Version of LPA -t 559.95

PIC -Pro Pic Chip Programmer FM Station Antennas


For maximum performance, a good antenna is needed.
Easy to use programmer for the PIC16C84, 16F84, 16F83 microcontrollers by Microchip. All software Choose our very popular dipole kit or the Comet, a factory
- editor, assembler, run and program - as well as free updates available on Ramsey download site! made 5/8 wave colinear model with 3.4 dB gain. Both
This is the popular unit designed by Michael Covington and featured in Electronics Now, September work great with any FM receiver or transmitter.
1998. Connects to your parallel port and includes the great looking matching case, knob set and AC TM -100; FM Antenna Kit $39.95
power supply. Start programming those really neat microcontrollers now...order your PICPRO today! FMA -200, Vertical Antenna $114.95
PIC 1, PICPRO PIC Chip Programmer Kit S59.95
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Perfect for hobbies, repair, prig"
OEM and equipment modifica
Low cost, high quality boards are fully
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Each includes full specificitt *Operates from a
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These and over 100 additional modules supply *Provides
TO RECIEVE SALE PRICING, stocked exclusively at MCM Electronics precise time delay
Must Provide This Complete Inform fora variety of uses
rce code: at www.cebeis SPDT, 5A relay output

PRE -ASSEMBLED CIRCUIT MODULES


May 23 through October 27, 2000.
Prices effective
Description
Order # Mfr. # Reg. Sale
Single event 1 -180 second
28-4735 -1 $12.45
FM
1

Single event 2-45 minute


Transmitters 28-4736 -2 1

Single event 30 -240 minute


12.45

Accepts mic level input 28 -4737 -3 1 13.85


Transmits from 88- -108MHz Repeat cycle 0.3-60 second
*Requires single 9-1 5VDC supply 28 -4740 -101
13.85
Description Repeat cycle 1 -30 minute
Order # Mfr. # Reg. Sale Counters 28 -4741 1 -11 17.75
FM transmitter Up /down count *LED display *Contact Repeat cycle 20 -150 minute

28 -4850 FM -1 $1,414A $10.90 closure count and reset input *Requires 28 -4742 -12
1 15.85
High power FM transmitter single 1 2VDC supply
28-4851 FM -2
2 e5
22.39 Order # Mfr. # Description Reg. Sale
-
Pre amplifier with compression 28-5150 CD -3 Three digit $4,4.9$ $35.50:
28 -6230 PM -9 1,24t 10.20 28 -5155 CD -5 Three Digit 6 58.00
w /relay output
Digital 28-4785 CD -9 Two digit jkt i
Message Recorder
*Records any audio signal
Retains information with power
Audio Amplifiers
e
removed *Includes an electret *Perfect for repair and equipment
microphone TR-4 and TR-6 modification *Operates from a single
1 2VDC supply *Accepts line level input
= have on -board 5W amplifiers
Description
Description
Mfr. # Reg. Sale
Order # Mfr. # Reg. Sale DC Power Supplies Order #

16 second
28 -4855

28 -7854
TR -1
16 second with repeat
TR -3
$
yy.5
$28.99

35.90
*Includes AC transformer *Provides tight
voltage regulation *Short circuit protected
Order f Mfr. # Output Reg. Sale
0.5W single channel
28 -5165
1W single channel
28 -4795
E -13

E -1
sj.46

r"
$5.60

5.60
1W two channel
16 second with repeat 28 -4772 FE -2 12VDC, SIA45 $11:85
300mA 28 -5170 ES -1 1,4.4 11.25
28-7856 TR-4 5)46-6 47.20
16.70 5W single channel
60 second with repeat 28 -4775 FE -4 12VDC, 1A
28 -4796 E -2 10.99
28 -6245 TR -6 8),4f5 79.00 28 -4776 FE -7 24VDC, 1A 20.65
5W two channel

out 5A5
28 -4777 FE -11 12VDC, 2A 5 29.95
CHECK 28 -4778 FE-13 12VDC, 44.50 28 -4800
15W single channel
28 -4797
ES -2

E -4
24eat

1,9-4
20.65

17.20
15W two channel
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Pre-Amplifiers
*Use with Cebek or any amplifier with
line level input *Operates from a single
6-1 8VDC supply *Gain adjusted via
board - mounted potentiometer Programmable
Description
Order # Mfr. # Reg. Sale
LCD Displays
*Provides one or two line x 16 character
Microhone preamp, Hi-Z
display *Fully programmable with ea
28-7932 PM-1 $6.90 programming *Stores up to 1
Micro Thane preamp, Low--Z
alpha numeric messages *EC-3 and EC-4
28-48115 PM-2 6.50
are backlit
Preamp for general use
28-7960 PM-4 7.09 Order # Mfr. # Description Reg. Sale
Electr c guitar preamp 28 -6135 EC -1 Single line $$9cd $79.95
28-4815 PM -7 6.49 28-6140 EC -2 Two line $9-9 89.95
Voice activation "VOX" relay 28 -4765 EC-3 Single line 11 0 103.50
28-4825 PM-11 1J55 13.15 28 -4766 EC -4 Two line 19-.6 126.00

79
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Tiny Vibrating Motor I "Ear Bud" Stereo Earphones Heatsink
Low voltage, low current miniature 4.53" X 2.3" X 1.44 ". High- capacity black
Miniature "in -ear" earphones
vibrating motor. Operates on anodized aluminum heatsink.
for use with most portable
1.5 Vdc @ 62 mA. Tiny motor with 4.2" x 2" mounting centers.
CD, radio and tape players.
offset weighted shaft is used in cell Weight: 0.54 lbs.
3.5 mm stereo phone plug.
phones and pagers for vibrating
32 ohm impedance. CAT # HS -65
alert signal. Remove the weight and
Large Quantity Available
they're great for many model and robotics
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CAT # HP -6 $each
10 for $7.50
mounting surface. Without the rubber boot
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850 each
100 for $50.00 Ionizer
with miniature 2 pin connector. Seawise Industrial Ltd. Model # SW750
CAT # DCM-154 Laser Level Input: 120 Vac
10 for $17.50
$2o 100 for $125.00
Output: 7.5 KV 60 Hz.
The main component in a
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2.2" x 1" x 0.86" thick with a
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distance leveling. Center the bubble, and any- 0.75" from the unit. UL recognized.
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rack keeps same height. Use it to match heights in large
CAT # SW -750
all of your rooms or across buildings. Set and align electri- $45
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media in one
each
Rugged, black anodized aluminum housing with
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95
and ZIP discs all can
be stored in the same rack.
Outer rails hold 16 CD /CD ROMs.
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16 each BLUE / water clear 1200 mcd
45 degree viewing angle.
Inner rails hold 20 3.5" floppy discs, or 3 ZIP
discs and two M.O. discs. Individually boxed.
$ 75 CAT # LED -58
22 UF 450 Vdc each
CAT# CDB -18M
$35 10 for $30.00
10 for $30.00 WHITE / water clear 1100 mcd
CAT # LED -48
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w 1 each
each 10 for $35.00
electrolytic capacitor.
10for $10.00
Digital timer from Mr. CoffeeTM CAT# 22/450VA
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for use in any product that 16 Character X 2 Line LCD
Alps Electric # 726T- 10KBX2
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face. 2.48" X 1.77 ", with four digit LED 2.56" x 0.54" viewing area. 1.7" long excluding shaft and
clock. Overall size: 2.48" X 2.17" X 1.88" 3.15" x 1.41" module size. bushing. 6 mm flatted shaft is
deep behind face. 0.25" qc terminals. Easy LED backlight. Includes 0.5" long. 9mm threaded bushing. PC pins and
to connect and operate. Includes instruction hook -up/spec sheet. mounting tabs for pc board mounting.
sheet. 00 CAT# LCD -53 $750 Il
$400 CAT # MPOT-10K
CAT# MCT -3 $5 each each each 10 for $35.00

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ALL ELECTRONICS CORP.
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NO MINIMUM ORDER All Orders Can Be Charged to Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover Checks and Money Orders Accepted by Mail
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Power Supplies Soldering Equipment
Elenco Quad Power Supply Elenco Power Supply Kit Elenco Hot Air SMD Rework Station Weller Low Cost Soldering Iron
Model XP -581 Model XP -720K Model SR -979
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Mee
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G GJ
$225
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Frequency 05HZ 1.3GHZ 3 Ranges
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$99
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$445
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$319
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Quantity
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S -1325 25MHz Dual Trace $325
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Robotic Arm S -1330 25MHz Delayed Sweep $439
Radio Kit (Wired Control) S -1340 40MHz Dual Trace $475
s Teaches the basic S -1345 40MHz Delayed Sweep $569
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robotic sensing and ' 60MHz Delayed Sweep $749
S -1390 100MHz Delayed Sweep $995
locomotion principles
testing motor DIGITAL SUPER SPECIALS
$ 95 `C- - -- skills. DS -203 SCOPE
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Introduction to Computers Introduction to Windows 3.1
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PC Assembly/Dlsaesemby Introduction to Networks
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DOS/WIN Exam Accessories:
DOS 6.2
Windows 3.1 Installation and Configuration
$379 SC -1
SC -2
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50' cable with connectors
46-'
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Windows 3.1 Devices and Drivers
Windows 3.1 Networking and Troubleshooting
Windows 95 Installation and Deployment
Windows 95 Basic Configuration
Windows 95 Troubleshooting and Optimization
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WHEELING. IL 60090 SILL-
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EXTENSIONS, male to female
CC- VGA -4C 6hT
CC-VGA -5C 10FT
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CC- VGA -50CX SOFT
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U CC- VGA -3C 6FT fee TE-508-L5 50ft. Straight Patch $8'"
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Q CC- VGA -11C 25FT $1600 TE-l08-L5 IOOft. Straight Patch 516

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D
Hi h Performance Auto
r 'InC'udeeAnal
Ranging DMM New to our OMM line -up and possibly (probably) the best DMM value
Baie Graph! A to- Ranging! Data Hold! Temperature Probe! Frequency Test! Continuity T;st! AND MORE'
old, Freezes readiiig (or easy checking ONLY
/ Removable Hard Drive Rack
For IDEIUItra DMA Hard Drives
ONL`i
1
Measurer Sold Over w 1998!
$2 g95
Auto Ranging: For easy. precise range settings
nge Hold Control: allows for manual selection of your test DC Volts: up to IOOOV This product can used with any
3-12 IDE hard drive up high.
$1 /5 95
range AC Volts: up to 7508
3.3/4 Digit LCD Display: Reads up to 3260. Easy to read display. AMPS: up to 20 Amps (AC & DC) It includes an k
any qh,
insertion.
inser[ian.
Function Dial: Easy to use to select measurement type or turn unit Resistance: up to 30M ohm for safe removal and
o Continuity Check: with audible signal Made of ABS 707 fireproof plastic.
(signal sounds it resistance is less than 20 Use this product to protect
4 Jack Plug -ins: Safety design with different capacities for different
ohms. Display reads actual resistance). sensitive hard drive data, take your
functions. #C519903 1AIH-10C-IDE
Frequency: ( to 300KHz) displays hard drive between work and
Diode, Continuity Check Push -Button: For toggling between I

home or even set up different users with their own hard drives that
diode check and continuity check. both digital and bar graph reading Specifications
Transistor hfe Test: Display shows they physically insert every time they use a PC. Other models available
Low Battery Indicator: Advises you when its time to change Accuracy from C.S.I. include RH 10 series and RH2O series, which are
battery approximate hie value based on test Vdr t1.0% reading +5 ditis
condition of 10uA base current and Vice of interchangeable within the same interface design (IDE or SCSI). Other
Extra Long 44" Test Leads: Helps get to hard to reach places Vac: 21.5% reading *8 digits Models are Avolleble.See www.web-tronics.com under "hard
Screw -On Alligator Clips: Convert one or both probe tips to approx. 3V Adc 21.2% reading +5 digits
alligator clips. Temperature Test Measures from 0 to yuc, 31.5% reading +5 digits
`drive and accessories" for more details and pictures.
Fuse-Protected Circuitry (probe supplied!)
1832 F
Diode Test: Tests If diodes are shorted or
Resistance: t I.5% reading +5 digits
/Removable Hard Drive Rack with
Built -In Stand: Makes one hand operation easier. Frequency: 33.0% reading +5 digits
Shock Absorbing Rubber Carrying Case: with convenient probe open
storage clips and hanging tab. Helps protect the DMM from damage if Input Impedance: 10Mohm (VdcNac):
Temperature:
Requires two AAA
31.0% reading +6 digits Auto Door And Cooling Fan
Auto door on the outer frame
ONLY,
ccidentall dro .. ed. over 100Mvhm on 300 ,vVdc range batteries sold separately. ABS material of outer frame. High efficiency S 1 895
cooling fan
/2GHz RF Field StrengthAnalyzer Worldwide patent pulling function any qty.
Frequency Range: I00KHz to handle
2,060MHz IONLY CE Approved
Narrow Band FM (NFM),Wide Coating iron bottom cover
Band FM (WFM).AM and Single
Side Band (SSB) Modulated Signai
6158 For IDE Interface
f
For I" high 3.5" HDD
May Be Measured
for Precise
PU, Tuning System
Frequency Measurement and
\ Not compatible with our RH 10 & RH2O sies.-
Compatible with our RH17-IDE model. #MR-27 l
Details at www, web -tronics.com
Tuning
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