Antiquated Technologies Hack Chat Transcript

A event log for Antiquated Technologies Hack Chat

This chat is about technologies that are no longer present in the modern world.

Shulie TornelShulie Tornel 05/26/2017 at 19:390 Comments

Fran Blanche Hey, I'm Fran

Erin RobotGrrl 😁😁😁

dackdel and what do you do fran

Fran Blanche The shorter list these days is what I do not do. Google me!

Yann Guidon / YGDES hahaha

Benchoff Requisite shred cam and Andy from Pro Guitar Shop Dot Com:

Fran Blanche Should we address some of the Q's on the list??

Steve Baines has joined this room.12:04 P

Bhavesh Kakwani says:12:04 P

Yes that's a good start

dackdel my bad. i just assumed i would get a sentence from you since your here in the flesh.

Shulie: First up: Will you be trying to make a gemini like/style constructed EL panel as well?

Fran Blanche I could. One benefit of this project is the acquiring of new skill sets and the tools for building all kinds of EL displays.

Fran Blanche @dackdel Was that not a sentence?

Benchoff Ooooh. Let's dig into that. @Fran Blanche can you go over the process of how the segment EL displays are made?

dackdel :) touche

DL101 yes, that was my question too

Fran Blanche It's a chemical layering process. Essentially every EL display is a low value capacitor, so you're layering dielectric between two conductors with some phoshor in there to engergize.

Dan Maloney I'd actually like to learn about the design decisions that resulted in those displays. Why such a complicated device? I get that Nixies would be no bueno on a rocket, but didn't they have other technologies?

dackdel ^yeah what dan said

leb9049 makes me think of a capacitive touch el display

DL101 @Dan Maloney they are flat and lightweight

dackdel not easy to manufacture im assuming

Dan Maloney Were 7-segment LEDs not yet available/reliable enough?

DL101 there were no leds in 60'

dackdel :P

Fran Blanche El panels were used to back illuminate all the control panels in the LEM and CM. It was very new technology at the time, and weight and overall power consumption were primary reasons

dackdel 1962 is when it(leds) was invented at ge to be specific

DL101 they were too dim to be practical i think

Benchoff Actually, someone sent in a tip about BCD segment displays made in 1969. Links post last week:

Fran Blanche Also for the DSKY there were so many individual digits that space dictated something like a CRT screen, and the EL panel took up far less room.

Benchoff And you're still going with a silkscreen rig and ITO glass to fabricate these?

Dan Maloney Gotcha. The constraints they worked under just fascinate me - a few grams here, a few milliwatts there; it all mattered.

Fran Blanche ITO is the way to go nowadays, and silk screening is still the way it is done. Heat curing is essential, so there is a lot of steps in producing any one single panel.

dackdel correct me if im wrong. most EE live for a few grams, miliwatts and good coffee. i have a friend who does it and its facinating how obessed you can get.

Benchoff Hey, we're almost at this question, so how about this: "can you explain the proces you had in mind to make the dsky display segments?"

Fran Blanche Ironically the hard thing to copy in the original displays is the dark metallic face, because the original conductors were not fully transparent, rather deposited metalic layers. I think that flown DSKY displays used a form of deposited nickel for the front conductor, giving it that golden look.

Fran Blanche The whole display is made in a single panel, so individual segements are all part of the whole.

Dan Maloney @dackdel - Apparently not the engineers at Juiceroo:

Shulie: @Fran Blanche Next up: What inspires you? What motivates you to create?

Fran Blanche I love old electronics, that's what always inspired me. The candy-like look of the 60's and 70's parts... the smell of real 60's transistorized boards. Nothing like it.

Yann Guidon / YGDES I loved your video about the old LED you collect :-D


Yann Guidon / YGDES OMG

Bhavesh Kakwani yum

Fran Blanche @Benchoff :)

Morning.Star :-D

Fran Blanche See what I mean!

Erin RobotGrrl What about for making new things? What's your motivation?

Yann Guidon / YGDES The real answer is "because Fran is a geek" :-P

Dan Maloney That smell should have it's own name. I mean, if there's a name for the smell of wet pavement, there should be a name for the smell of vintage electronics.

Dan Maloney * its

DL101 i like the definition of happyiness at the end of the led video

Erin RobotGrrl (Like your pedals - what's your motivation to make those?)

Fran Blanche New things? I like integrating the new and the old.... like my new microcontrolled Nixie project.

Benchoff well in relation to that, "Have you came across any antiquated tech where the quality of fabrication is better than other tech that is more recent?"

Fran Blanche I suppose you have to define Better. There certainly was a lot more attention to craftpersonship in the past. Today better is I suppose difined more by complexity or consistency - those are easy to achieve with automation. But soul.... harder to define.

Boian Mitov Here is one Nixie project with ESP8266 programmed with Visuino ;-) :

Yann Guidon / YGDES "the soul of a machine" was the title of a famous book, 40 years ago :-D

Fran Blanche @Erin RobotGrrl Pedals? I mostly build what I crave. If I need an effect or such.

Fran Blanche Next?

Erin RobotGrrl Nice!

Erin RobotGrrl 👍

Morning.Star There's no originality in new technology, its all based on something that rocked decades before it. Some stuff rocks still, but you cant beat wood and brass, mechanisms...

Benchoff Yes, let's do pedals. Here's a question: "What's a good first guitar pedal project (arduino et al) for someone who has never made one? Any projects/guides/kits you recommend?"

Yann Guidon / YGDES Will Fran build the rest of the rocket and when will we go to the moon again ? :-P

Benchoff And here's a pedal-related talk by Fran at Brown:


Fran Blanche First pedal? It's easy to go with the LM386.... and I recommand anyone try a transistor based pedla build. It builds not only a pedla, but character.

DL101 no BC107?

Yann Guidon / YGDES OC70 ?

Benchoff *cough* 741 *cough*

DL101 thats an opamp, thats too fancy :)

Fran Blanche Missy's trying to sit on my keyboard.

Yann Guidon / YGDES DL101 : that's what you think, until the 741 stabs you in the back because you didn't read some fine lines in the spec sheet :-P

Fran Blanche There a Q on the list about digital vs analog...

Yann Guidon / YGDES without analog there can be no digital :-P

Fran Blanche The answer is

Fran Blanche yeas.

Shulie: The question: Do you think that analog circuits are better than digital? :)

Fran Blanche Myeaaazz

"what happened to the dino den?"

DL101 yes, where is it?

Fran Blanche For may things yes - I think, in audio essentially it is an alaog domain and analog processing is always well - best.


Fran Blanche Dino Den went extinct.

DL101 how so?

Benchoff and bil usually shows up at the end of these things...

dackdel obligatory bob wildar poster everytime digital vs analog is mentioned

Fran Blanche I think the show ended up being a whole hell of a lotta work for a rather small audience.

Dan Maloney But it was great while it lasted.

DL101 it was a nice show

Fran Blanche All things must pass.

DL101 at least we have still your channel

Benchoff So we have another one here: "What is your favorite example of an antiquated technology that was revived recently on a large scale? Or perhaps a technology that is still being used today because nothing beats it? (other than 3D printing or neural networks)"

Fran Blanche There is a Q about the Automaton....

Benchoff or that one.

Yann Guidon / YGDES "All things must pass." that's when you find out that your transistor has internally shorted...

Benchoff "Loved your videos on the Maillardet Automaton. Any further updates on the variable ink flow theory?"

Fran Blanche Answer is... yes. I will publish more later on this summer on that.

Morning.Star There's an awful lot of difference between an audio processor that runs at MHz and a 48KHz sample. I dont have a problem with digital processing in hardware, the harmonics are above audio...

Damn this is slow digital tho lol

leb9049 thankyou, can't get enough of these mechanical systems

Fran BlancheMore Q's.....?

Shulie: Anyone just joined us can refer to this Transcript: Freeman

Benchoff "What is your favorite example of an antiquated technology that was revived recently on a large scale? Or perhaps a technology that is still being used today because nothing beats it? (other than 3D printing or neural networks)"

Fran Blanche Well, vacuum tubes for audio I suupose - I was really thrilled about those new vacuum 'chipc' that were due to come ot this year.... did that happen?

Benchoff wait, what?

DL101 indeed, I heard that news too but never seen it anywhere

Fran Blanche I mean chips - there is a loota lag in the typing here...

Fran Blanche Those audio valve DIP package flat packs.


Tubes on a Chip

The tubes you'll find in guitar amps and high-end stereos were first designed in the 30s and 40s, and when you get to really, really advanced tube technology you'd be looking at extremely small tubes made in the 70s for military applications. For 40 years, there really haven't been many advances in tube technology.

Read this on Hackaday >

Morning.Star Hybrid valves?? Really?

Fran Blanche Yea, that's the one!

Morning.Star See this Yann... :-D

Benchoff oh yeah NAMM

Fran Blanche I wanna party with those babies!

DL101 i would love to get my hands on the too, but i have a feeling they might be $$$

Yann Guidon / YGDES Jez : see what ? damned thermionic trends...

Yann Guidon / YGDESof course it'll be expensive, they are not manufactured for your pleasure but for their profit :-P

DL101 at least there are tubes for 1$ piece on taobao :D

Morning.Star Lol Yann

Yann Guidon / YGDES and cheaper in eastern europe :-)

Fran Blanche Any other Q's?

Yann Guidon / YGDES Will you participate more at ? :-)

Benchoff ^ that one

Benchoff and this one: What are techniques from making old tech that have been lost in making new tech, that could lead to more durability and logenvity for tech of today?

Fran Blanche Uuuuuuuuuhhhhh.. Sure

DL101 will you be also making the switches for the dsky?

Fran Blanche The durability issues really come from a cultural shift to disposable technology in recent decades. 40 years ago a piece of tech was designed specifically to be serviced - indefinitely. A whole culture of serving electronics has not disappeared, and mostly because of the cuture that will not sustain it.

Fran Blanche Just the display

DL101 will you have some sort of emulator running it, or will it be just some animation?

Fran Blanche My connection os too slow to type complete sentences...

Fran Blanche I am making my own demo driver for it, but if I get them produced in volume for others then anyone can make their own drivers.

Benchoff Well if there aren't any other questions, I'm just going to drop the link to Fran's DSKY crowdfunding thing:

Fran Blanche Thanks for having me!

DL101 Thanks for coming!

Erin RobotGrrl Thanks for all your insights and sharing your experience! 🙌

Benchoff Yes, thank you Fran.

Yann Guidon / YGDES It's nice to see you here Fran, come back ASAP :-)

Boian Mitov @Fran Blanche Thank you!

Morning.Star Much nostalgia, thanks Fran! :-)

DL101 i dont think i ever had a chance to talk to a youtuber i follow :D

Shulie: Thank you so much for your time, @Fran Blanche!

Benchoff Here it is again. Give Fran money: