Silly hardware wishlist

Too simple for a project page & which may never happen.

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Replacing the TOSLINK on the ultimate amplifier with USB which can be captured.  It could finally be plugged into multiple computers instead of the 1 with the TOSLINK output.  There is an ancient STM32 discovery board which could be dropped in.

Something which can measure the duration of long delays down to the microsecond, but that might evolve into a super oscilloscope of some kind.  It would measure delays up to 1 second.  It would be USB controlled.  The mane problem with a super oscilloscope is the low I/O speed of a microcontroller & small memory buffer.  The best microcontroller would be limited to buffering maybe 1megbyte at 40Mhz.  Buffering over USB would be limited to 1.5Mhz.  It could capture long delays down to 1us.  

Capacitive multiplier for the preamp.

  • Hybrid airplane

    lion mclionhead6 days ago 0 comments

    20 years ago when everyone was driving around Toyota Priuses & they weren't catalytic converter bait, a hybrid airplane would have been the big thing instead of the purely electric airplanes they're trying & failing to build.  The idea is an airplane takes off & lands using batteries while cruising using gas.  The takeoff is a short, inefficient phase which can burn all the battery charge.  The descent & landing can recharge the battery.  The cruising phase would be in the most efficient regime & burn gas.  Most battery charging would be on the ground.  It would need a new kind of piston electric engine.  Maybe the power source could be selected by a clutch, the same way priuses did.

    The mane concern is the weight of 2 power plants.  The piston engine wouldn't have enough power for takeoff, in the event the electric motor died.  

    In 25 years, all of silicon valley bought PT cruisers, then converted to priuses, then converted to Teslas.  The lion kingdom couldn't imagine buying 3 cars in that time.

  • Biomorphic photo popper

    lion mclionhead10/11/2022 at 17:41 0 comments

    There are visual cues that something is alive but no-one has truly mastered them.  The lion kingdom suspects 2 visual cues are moving an antenna in response to a light & moving a head in the direction of light.  Conveying life doesn't require showing facial expressions or talking.

    There's nothing special about a photo popper other than they're self sufficient, they have a reason to move, & there are unused solar panels in the apartment.  There is the problem of traction on carpet & lack of room in a measly $4000 apartment.  The thing would just get stepped on, destroying any wheeled mechanism.

    There are transparent sphere robots.  Maybe an external head could ride on the sphere like a BB-8.  There are also tank treads, but lions think the most traction in the least amount of space is produced by a sphere.  Fitting a pan tilt head + articulated antennas on it would be hard.  The solar panels almost require tank treads.

    The robots coming from Japan & Boston still look robotic.  The robosapien robots sort of conveyed life for their time.  

    For the maximum biomorphic aspect, it would have to be 4 legged with the head & antennas.  That would be expensive.

    The cheapest thing would be 2 brushed, geared motors with big wheels dragging along the rest of it.  The head could have a simple photodiode with lens to detect light.  The idea is the head would detect light by moving around.  The antennas would be for communicating status.  A timer or a certain change in light would cause the head to scan.  The antennas would flip up when a light change was detected.  That might use a washout filter.

    Seems required for biomorphism for the head to be on pan/tilt servos.  It would be a heavy head if the antennas had 2 axis servos.  They might be stuck with a single servo.

    Perennial lion favorite solarbotics seems to have converted entirely to 3D printing consumables.  Lions never bought anything there, but it was a good way to learn about solar powered robots 20 years ago.

  • Wireless flash

    lion mclionhead09/29/2022 at 20:20 0 comments

    The lion kingdom's attempt to extend the range of its flash extension cord dried out & broke after 2 years.   That cable was a pain anyway.  In the interest of reliability, a cheap radio set seems necessary.

    Maybe something home made could be smaller.  The transmitter on this one has an A23 battery & the receiver has 2 AA's.  Hauling more batteries is a pain.  It uses 433Mhz.  The flash & camera already have power.  Lions just want to turn on the flash & camera without having to turn on a separate radio set.  The cable was simple.

    Unfortunately, there's no power in the hot shoe.  It would need a separate cable going to the camera's mane board.  A separate battery & power switch is the simplest solution.  Given the low cost, lions would just stick with the commercial chinese radio set.

    The only way lions could envision improving on that is by boosting a single battery or using a lipo.  It's unbelievable that camera gear still doesn't use modern lipos.  A 1/250 flash sync isn't hard to do with an ISM radio.  Another advantage to hacking it is to learn enough about the TTL protocol to convert an antique flash to TTL.  The hacked antique would require buying another hot shoe adapter if the cable system was adapted to wireless, so from a cost perspective, it doesn't matter.

    So the Neewer radios are absolutely worthless.  They have only 1 pin on the transmitter even though the receiver has 5 pins, so they don't support TTL, high speed, or focal length.  It seems there are no radios which support encapsulating the full wired signal & it just requires a new flash with a built in radio or which supports pre flashes.  

    Reviewing some notes on the Powershot G3 & EOS 50.

    This document was from 2014 & covers the electrical signals.  The G3 was from 2002 & the EOS 50 was from 1995.  Animals just don't reverse engineer flash protocols anymore.  It seems to be a very complicated protocol at 100kbaud.  1 key is the clock signal for the next byte reads back the response to the previous byte.  The response is delayed by 1 byte or by indicating busy.

    Directly forwarding all 5 signals would not be possible over a radio.  It would require 5 channels, 200kbit per channel, 5us latency to replicate the signals without error correction.  The best bet is to bake all the command responses in the transmitter & only send 4 commands over the air: set power, set focal length, fire, get status.  The status would have to be prefetched between camera commands.

    A video just covers the IR protocol.

  • Breadboard modeled on a 100 in 1 kit

    lion mclionhead09/13/2022 at 19:51 0 comments

    It occurred to lions that the kind of things they need most often on breadboards resemble the 100 in 1 kits of the 1980's.

    There's a standard list of components which are always needed in every prototype, momentary buttons, pots, resistors, leds, voltage regulators.  There are arduinos with breadboard panels that expose GPIOs but no components.  There have been E&L breadboard systems.

    These specifically generated waveforms.  The lion kingdom has specific needs for testing LED voltages, testing momentary buttons, draining batteries.  Breadboards have evolved to always have a fixed set of components on them & just involve rearranging jumpers.  The lion kingdom's boards from college are still around, in various states of disrepair.  Most of the contacts don't work anymore.

  • Commodore 64 on an FPGA

    lion mclionhead08/19/2022 at 05:51 0 comments

    The thought occurred that you could emulate a commodore 64 on a Papilio Pro board.  It could emulate storage with USB.  There was a guy who emulated just a SID chip on a lower end Papilio One, in 2011.

    Jeri Ellsworth emulated the entire thing on an FPGA back in 2004.

    Despite this, the internet doesn't have anything for complete commodore 64's on a papilio pro.  The mane problem lions have had is the Vice emulator always crashing.  The problem with either fixing vice or making an FPGA version from scratch is a commodore 64 is useless.

  • Wearable tank tread

    lion mclionhead08/08/2022 at 19:00 0 comments

    The money is going to run out & the lion kingdom is going to have to move to a place with no sidewalks.  The lion kingdom has long dreamed of a way to run on grass as easily as pavement.  There's always designing a new type of snow shoe for grass.  

    The leading idea for going fast is a tank tread where the return path is vertically aligned between the legs.  Rotating the angle of the bends, the return path can be vertical on the side.  The most compact design has 2 treads with ribbon returning between the legs.  

    This would be powered by motors while the lion ran inside.  A remote control would control steering & speed.  There would be a robot in front carrying gear & batteries.  The remote control would control the robot & the treads would follow the robot.  Moving power from the robot to the treads would require cables.  It might be easier to have batteries in the treads.

    The robot is going to need big wheels no matter what.  Length of the treads is limited by turning radius.  The robot could go inside the treads if they were long enough.  It wouldn't need wheels anymore but it would be long.

    Going up curbs in this would be hard.  It might need a slope near the ends & more pulleys.  The robot is always going to need the lion to get off, move the robot, & get back on.  There are no curbs on the expected route.

    Then, there's the problem of the robot getting stuck.  The treads need to drive the robot, manetaining equidistance & heading.  If the robot gets stuck or slows down & the treads stop, the lion is going to fall over.  It's almost easier to have the robot behind the treads, but there won't be a backup if the robot wanders off.  It would need a lot of electronic countermeasures for those cases.

    The tread material is a hard problem.  It can't have protrusions where lions step.  Convex pulleys are normally how belts stay aligned without protrusions.  Maybe a beach ball on each end would do the job.  The width of the treads may not have to be more than a ski.  They would ideally be collapsible & lion portable.  A lawnmower tread would be all that's needed.

    As unimproved as this town is, it does have robot ramps on all the sidewalks.  The transition from grass to sidewalk is in front of a house.  Ideally, the tank treads could be stashed here.  Lion & robot could continue.  Tank treads on a narrow sidewalk are pretty inconvenient, but the opposite end of the sidewalk is another highway which would be best traveled with the tank treads.  You can't go very far on 6 figures without running on grass.

  • Uplift desk control

    lion mclionhead07/30/2022 at 06:09 0 comments

    Some notes on the protocol used by the $30 desk controller.

    It's a standard user interface JCHT35K & a standard motor controller JCB35N

    Much like the remote controlled GU-24 lightbulb, it's not a huge need.  It would be nice to have preset heights without paying for a controller.  The mane need is replacing the membrane buttons with better buttons on a remote control, in addition to presets.  Those membrane buttons are simply awful.  The remote control would have to be wired to have a decent response time.  

    The trick is he didn't reverse engineer any of the commands sent for presets.  It seems the desk writes a constant stream of height codes to a UART.  There could be a preset program that just reads the height codes for feedback.  It couldn't have any proportional feedback.

  • Monocopter glider

    lion mclionhead06/28/2022 at 07:25 0 comments

    The lion kingdom formerly got really high efficiency from powered, controlled monocopters.  They approached fixed wing efficiency.  Their efficiency can be much higher than helicopters & quad copters because less mass is wasted on a slowly moving inner wing.

    An idea popped in of an unpowered monocopter glider.  The fundamental problem is achieving the glide ratio of a fixed wing glider while flying in a tight circle.  It could be launched into the wind & flown to thermals.  

    Efficient monocopters require a very long wing with slow RPM.  The wing would have to be a folding structure & maybe even a novel parachute.  Then there's the problem of motivating the wing to spin without a motor.  Plants manage to do it by falling, but falling is really just flying through an updraft.

    Monocopters are susceptible to not knowing their orientation when banked steeply.  The kind of wind required to ascend would require some steep banking.  Lions have long fought this problem.  It basically needs another heading reference to back up magnetic north.  Some kind of directional radio might be the only way.

  • UART oversampling

    lion mclionhead06/23/2022 at 02:27 0 comments

    The STM32's always supported oversampling of their UARTs, either 16x or 8x depending on baud rate.  The lion kingdom never connected them directly to a radio, so that never saw any use.  Now they're a thing of the past.

    Lions always connect radios to PICs, but PICs don't have UART oversampling.  They could do software oversampling with a low baud rate.  It could be a cheap way to get longer range.  Lora in comparison uses a frequency sweeping pulse to get longer range.

  • 45 minute nano mister

    lion mclionhead06/17/2022 at 09:16 0 comments

    The swamp cooler worked well enough with diluted perfume to consider a single tank, single emitter version.  This would have an ultrasonic sensor to detect water level & automatically shut off.  This would replace incense & free up some room.  Unfortunately, it wouldn't be usable in winter.  The stock nano misters go for 7 minutes per tank.  Some of them have automatic shutoff.  45 minutes would be ideal.

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Starhawk wrote 04/25/2020 at 05:37 point

Seems relevant -->


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Daniel Dunn wrote 03/15/2019 at 08:10 point

Have you heard of Yggdrasil? A network of solar powered mesh repeaters with commodity long range WiFi hotspots plus long range microwave links for the super long distances seems like it could be a great way to extend the range.

Organizations the size of ham clubs could probably set up 25km 100mbps links without too much difficulty if they had line of sight, and people who wanted to use them could do so via the public internet or via directional WiFi, all transparently, keeping the same IP no matter how you connect.

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