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Recent Questions

2019 Issue-1


DC To AC

I have a 100 amp 110 volt DC generator. I want to convert the output to 60-cycle AC. Does anyone have a schematic or info to build a converter? How much power loss can I expect in the final converted output? Thanks for any info.

#1191
Lucio Saunders
Indianapolis, IN


SCSI Card Or Adapter Needed

I have a bunch of old optical disks that have data archived from about 20 years ago that I would like to access. I found the stand-alone drive in a box of old computer junk, complete with the big SCSI cable. Problem is that I don’t have the computer anymore that has the SCSI card to plug it into, and don’t even know where to begin to look for one.

Is there something comparable that will work with a modern computer? An SCSI to USB adapter maybe? What about drivers? The old machine was probably Windows 98.

#1192
Mark Cisneros
Columbia, TN


Ringing Of The Bells

Is it possible to replicate tubular bell tones with a microcontroller? I’m needing realistic, deep, resonating tones. If so, are there any micro requirements that would make one device more suited over others and how do I create the tones? I want to program short 10-15 sec jingles of my own composition.

#1193
Sara Hanchett
Forest Grove, OR


Coil Winding Tips

I’m looking for some pointers on winding coils. On a second layer of winding, should the direction reverse when reaching the end of the core, or return to the starting side and wind in the same direction? It seems like winding in the reverse direction would cancel out the field. Does it matter which direction?

#1194
Jordan Bracegirdle
Toronto, CN


November/December 2018


PC Joystick Interfacing

Is it possible to connect a joystick to a microcontroller? PIC, PICAXE, etc. I don't want to have to take apart and hack the joystick. If so, what is required?

#11181
Nick Hulst
Cedar Rapids, IA


Logging Power Data

We have a Smart Meter installed for our home electric utility billing. Is there a way to read data from it to log usage data to a computer? I want to analyze my power usage by day of the week, time of day, devices and appliances in use, etc. Does the meter itself keep a log of this info that can be read or would I have to have a spreadsheet or other program to track it?

I'm not looking to interface any hardware to it. It would appear to have an RF link with the power company that might allow access. Any information about these meters would be helpful.

#11182
Lisa Miller
Cleburne, TX


Reflow Oven Opinions Needed

Anybody doing SMT reflow soldering at home? Trying to make the switch from TH to SMT. I was wondering what homebrew oven setups people are using and any tips and advice for a newbie.

#11183
Joey Dampier
Reston, VA


Audio Replay Device

Is there a device that will continuously "listen" to audio (via a mic or an earphone jack) and allow the user to push a button so that the device will repeat the last 20 seconds of what it just heard? I listen to scanners and ham radios, and often miss what was just said, and would like to get a repeat for clarity. I prefer a stand-alone device to an app or computer software.

#11184
John C
Montague, MI


Proximity Detector

I want to build a backup proximity detector like many newer cars have, as a fun, useful project. The type that beeps in reverse when something is behind my car; faster beeping means the object is closer. I'm new to electronics, and I need help designing the circuit. I thought of using the PING))) sensors available from Parallax to sense the distance to objects. Any help with the circuit is welcome. It would be preferred to have it auto-activate when in reverse, but I could just as easily flip a switch mounted next to the shifter to activate if it becomes too complex.

#11185
Gregory O'Rourke
Newark, NJ


Good Timing

I have an old model automotive timing light that attaches between the #1 spark plug and wire. How can I make an inductive pickup to sense the signal so I don't have to detatch the wire? Is it even worth trying to

#11186
Ricardo Stewart
Hanover, MD


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