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LED Tester

August 17th, 2008
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While I was working for a manufacturing company, we would occasionaly go through our scrap parts from the machines, and at times would find hundreds of LEDs. They could be saved and used on the next run, but we had two issues:

1. What color was the LED?

2. Polarity on the surface mounts?

This tester was made to make my personal life easier. Output is limited and pulsed at a 50% duty rate. Power is delivered to a set of multimeter leads that were lying around the shop. A PIC12F675 was programmed for the 50% duty.

There are two modes in the tester, with a bicolor LED to indicate which mode is active. The pic reads the switch position and is configured to reset on change. Green indicates red lead = positve and black lead = negative. Red indicates not polarity sensitive. In this mode, the pic swaps the positive and negative continuously so that the LED will illuminate regardless of polarity. This let me sort through the hundreds of LEDs quickly, placing each color in its own container, and then determining polarity later, during the production runs.

Overall, a very simple design. The PIC12F675 is socketed to allow program updates. (Never needed any) The battery here is the same one I built it with, which is now over 6 years ago. Although I don’t comb through hundreds of surface mount LEDs, the tester is still handy. The pushbutton switch is wired directly to the 7805 vreg, and I didn’t require any bulky capacitors in the circuit, since we’re dealing with pure DC.

Most of the parts were scavenged from scrap units we had at the time. The container is an old toothpick canister. Hot glue and tie-wraps were my best friends on this build. The blue wire we had at the shop for repairing damaged PCBs.

Site gets new life

August 9th, 2008
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Well posting has been slow lately, which if anyone is left reading these, isn’t a surprise.

I have been playing with some electronics lately and wanted to start keeping track of some of them and thought why not use this space, since its paid for.

So there’s a couple of new categories that will be appearing, Electronics and Robotics. I apologize in advance to anyone who doesn’t care for either. I’ll still post some nice pictures of our flowers and other nice nature stuff too.

It is a good decision for me, however, and a bit inspired by this guy:

I liked the idea of sharing with people and even getting feedback, and so It is done! 🙂


July 14th, 2008
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One heck of a storm went through the city tonight.

I’m no Troy Feener, but I did manage to snap a couple of good shots of the thunderstorm tonight.

Truthfully, it really makes me want to upgrade my point and shoot to an SLR, if it wasn’t for the fundage.

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Take your average big box company that exists on both sides of the border. If you exist in Canada, you adjust your prices for the US. Visa versa if you exist in the US and sell to Canada.

With the Canadian and US dollars close to par, consumers are finally screaming at the outrageous differences in retail prices between countries.

The internet makes this easier than ever, and even major publishers have had to start selling their books at the US listed price here in Canada.

What about the big Swedish store?

Turns out they’re not so nice to us Canadians (In my own personal opinion)

While reading a favorite site of mine, I found people buying and modifying a readily available product from Ikea. They were saying that for $50, it was an attractive product to play with.

So I head over today to check it out, figuring with the dollar on par, $50 Canadian isn’t so bad to invest.

Imagine my shock when the price tage is $80. More than 1.5x what the US pays.

So outraged I am, I wonder if I order from the US site and have the item shipped by ground mail if it would be cheaper than visiting my local retail outlet.

Unbooring? Try Unbelieveable. I put down the items I found along the way and left. I’ll keep my money and spend it at local retailers who respect consumers, and price fairly.

Then I came home and checked both online sites. Incredibly, they both show the prices as mentioned, as though they don’t care if the consumer knows. Makes me feel like they think its a privelage for me to purchase from them.

Guess I’ll be passing on that privelage.

Screenshots of the site taken from my eeePC:

ikeaus.png ikeacdn.png

Lunar Eclipse, Feb 20 2008

February 19th, 2008
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Feb 20 night brings us a lunar eclipse. Best viewing should be between 8:00pm and 8:50pm.

Here is the chart from Nasa:



I don’t have a telephoto lens, but here is a shot of the lunar eclipse.



Was reading through some news on a grade school chum’s website, and turns out he’s an avid photography guy. He has also taken some pictures (Vastly superior to mine.. Someone buy me an SLR for Pete’s sake)

You can find his shots Here:

Christmas lights, 2007

December 9th, 2007
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The memory of the moment, caught as a photo.

Halloween 2007

October 31st, 2007
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Fairly good Halloween this year, we estimate about 60 kids came to the door. Nothing off happened, very smooth night indeed.

The green guy with ultraviolet eyes and the cage with white accent lights were modded by me. We bought the el cheapo Wally mart stuff and added lighting. We also converted this coffin that has a screaming head inside to remote control, but forgot about it until 8:00, by which time there was little point. Next year….

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