Friday, December 13, 2013

Adventures in chiptunes part II...

Sorry, I was late. I was busy building the Parasid.

Initial parts layout. The top voltage regulator is a 7805 and the bottom regulator is a 7812.

Power supply filter caps with power feed lines.
Fully built top.
Fully built bottom, excuse the ugliness.
All I need now is to make up an audio cable to output the sound from the SID and build a cable to feed the whole thing data. I'll check back with the results.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Adventures in chiptunes part I...

I found a project that piqued my interest. It is called the parasid. Basically, it is a SID driven by a PC's parallel port. The schematic in the source of inspiration calls for two voltage regulators, a 7805 and an LM317T. The 317 is used to create the 12 volt power supply for the analogue side of the SID and the 7805 creates a 5 volt power supply for the digital side. For the sake of simplicity, I have decided to use a 7812 for the 12 volt supply. Instead of a bunch of resistors in the power supply section, all I need are a few capacitors on the input and output legs of the regulators. I'll post photos tomorrow of the integrated circuits.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I acquired an old ThinkPad A22m from the thrift store. It came with Windows 2000. I pulled the old hard drive and installed a 100 GB hard drive and installed Win Me. Yeah, yeah, I know Me is the scourge of the Earth, but hear me out. I need a PC that can access devices directly with the USB mass storage stack built in. You know what's funny about these Lenovo machines? I also can run Cubic Player, the DOS version, natively but with issues. The keyboard connector might be the same between machines. What would be cool is my T400 daily driver rocking an old-style keyboard. I was thinking about creating a hot-rod-esque notebook.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Another rant...

I fucking hate HDMI. I have my cable box hooked into my PC temporarily to get video out of it until my switcher is complete but the connection keeps dropping for unknown reasons. When the switcher is complete all of my AV devices will connect via full-service analog video. With analog video connections, one can figure out what is wrong with the connection. With HDMI, anything can go wrong and you haven't a fucking clue what the bloody fucking hell is wrong. Looks like I've got to rebuild my super long breakout cable and go analog.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Switcher news...

I revised my switcher plan. It took a few weeks of planning and re-planning, and I think I have a new course of action: First, using a different switch chip. I originally used the CBT3244, which was probably why the project came to a crashing halt. The new chip is the related CBT3245. Which moves onto the second part. The chip, instead of the '44's wacky 4+4 arrangement with two control lines, the '45 is a true 8 channel chip with a single control line. I just need to get adapter board for the chips. I can mount the adapter boards with mounted chips on a right angle to the board carrying the chips. Third, the enclosure, I scavenged a metal enclosure out of the recycling bin out back of my apartment. It has lots of space in it to play around and reconfigure and other pre-assembly stuff. The problem with the enclosure is that I really don't feel like using my Dremel to make 65 DE-9 connector shaped holes in it. The solution: take it to a hackerspace  in Philadelphia, PA that has access to a laser cutter to make the connector holes. I can use a hand drill to make the holes for the 64 switches. In case you folks were wondering, yes, this thing will have 64 inputs! And, finally, I just need to find some tinned wire to make the audio/video line rails. Stay tuned for updates, as this thing will be a doozy!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


At work yesterday and at home today I saw some thing crazy yet awesome. Smart tube. Where the fuck was this 20 years ago?! Seriously, how many years did it take for the human race to engineer that simple concept of an integrated tube in a spray bottle?! It's as if some design person just woke up.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Yes, I am crazy!

I'm about to attempt something crazy. I am going to mod a modern PC. The modification: adding optical and co-ax audio connectors to my M4A88TD-V EVO USB3 motherboard. The easy part was assembling all of the parts to go into this thing. The sorta easy part is modifying a bracket to take 2 RCA connectors and 1 TosLink connector. The ridiculously hard part is soldering a single wire to a pin on my audio CODEC. This might be the single most craziest thing I have done. I'll post results after I am done.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

See ya!

My monitor finally took a crap. It was inevitable as the thing got some serious hours on it since I got it. The monitor was an I-INC iF281D manufactured on the first week of 2009 and has seen heavy use since then. Now, the hunt is on for a replacement.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I have found a way to decapsulate integrated circuits, chip-on-board ICs can be decapped. I borrowed ~15 mL of paint stripper from work and left a COB package out of a dollar store universal remote to soak in the solution and worked admirably. I suspect it's due to dichloromethane, as the other solvents in the solution have negligible effect. The die size is freaking tiny, 1mm by 2mm. I could not take a picture of what the die looks like, sorry! Now, I just need to find a source of DCM, and I should be able to decap all of my ICs and clean out that part drawer.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

About time...

I finally got XMPlay to encode MP3s. It took about 2 years to get encoding to work. The reason I'm encoding my massive collection of modules is so I can play them on my PlayStation 3 when I get it. Now let the process commence!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It lives!

My power supply came in today and my desktop is now among the living! Just installing 4 months of updates, reinstall all of my Steam games, and a whole bunch of stuff.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

That's bullshit!

As noted in a previous post, I acquired a Dreamcast, it turns out that the system needed a new clock battery. I replaced that. The VMU needs new batteries after just 3 months. I have an ancient infant toy from when I was just a wee one whose battery(ies) are still good after 27 years! Seriously, What the flying flimp is going on when modern batteries die after barely being used for just 3 months, whereas older manufacturing methods could create better stuff!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


SLAY Radio is a little odd. This internet streaming audio service seems to have a bias towards anything from International Karate, The Last Ninja, and Comic Bakery. Over a period of about 15 6-7 hour listening sessions I noticed the aforementioned slant. These 3 games are well represented, and I think that their system needs a good SYS64738 and a good rebuild. Sorry for being pedantic, "radio" involved actual radio waves like WiFi and Bluetooth, not sending audio down fiber connections 1000s of kilometres away to a location. That was a joke, deal with it!

Friday, February 22, 2013

What to do?

I acquired an STM32F3 Discovery board and have no idea what to do with it. I was thinking a universal game controller to USB adapter. Just think, a box with every game controller from 1975 to 2001 usable on a modern PC with an emulator, a USB to SID adapter, game console memory card reader, something equally wacky. Put in the comments what I should build with this damn thing!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Not happy...

My monitor misses its companion. My desktop is without its power supply and my monitor does not like the cable box connected straight to it, so, I have to wait a couple months to get a power supply for my monitor's friend.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Some life exists!

My monitor's limping along, my cable box is connected to my monitor through the dual mode VGA/YPbPr connection. Audio is S/PDIF coax. As soon as work comes back, power supplies will be #1 on the purchase list. Good thing my sound system has a shitload of inputs.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


My desktop is no longer functional. It POSTs, but goes nowhere else after that. Hopefully, the power supply is bad, considering its age, uptime, and load levels it's not surprising it failed. I bought the thing sometime in 2010 and running since. When I get back to working a reliable schedule that purchase will be #1 on my list. Number 2 on my list of things to get is a new TV. My monitor is dying a slow painful death. What you see is, what I can only describe, a digital noise pattern when turned on that fades after a while. All of my computing tasks now rest on MiniMe. Stay tuned for more news.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I'm tired!

For the past 18 hours, I've been doing hard drive cloning, using the unix command, dd, putting higher capacity hard drives in both MiniMe and DrEvil, the desktop. The cloning process took a little more than than 4 hours. DrEvil now has 2 terabytes of space at 6 Gb/s. MiniMe's getting a 1 terabyte hard drive at 3 Gb/s. The hard drive in MiniMe that will be replaced is a pokey 1.5 Gb/s. I'll be back as soon as this fragging operation is done.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


The Dreamcast controllers hurt. I have to hold them in the weirdest position. Playing Death Crimson OX with out a gun controller does not help, but the controls for, well, a controller are a little odd for a seasoned gamer like me. Now, with modern games one or more of the shoulder buttons are allocated to shooting. With this game "A" is used, rather than the more sensible "R" trigger. Where this control scheme hurts is about 2-3 inches above my wrists. Now, I don't have that many games to test out for different control schemes. I have 9 games, hardly a decent sample size to test. Sometime next month, I'll pick up Soul Calibur 1 for the ol' Dreemie and really see how comfortable the controller is, if the stock controller turns out to be the problem, I'll see about shopping around for a more comfortable controller. In closing, I might get some mileage out of this thing. I just don't know. See ya.

Monday, January 7, 2013

So close...

...I can just hear it. My keyboard will be here in about 12 hours. USB cable:√ Keyboard to PC audio cable:√ Sustain pedal:√. Let's get this party started.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


My support for Windows XP has officially ended. Tomorrow, I'm depositing Christmas loot and the next day, ordering new music keyboard. The only reason I was holding onto XP was an old driver acting as the keyboard.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Intresting development...

I inherited a sizable haul of Dreamcast paraphernalia. In this package: 4 controllers, 8 games, 1 demo disc, 1 AV cable, 2 RF switches, a VMU, a tremor pak, and a useless gun controller with ripped apart buttons. One of the RF switches has all of the AV port pins populated. I plan on using that connector by building a universal AV cable out of it. Off to Play n Trade tomorrow to pick up a Dreamcast to see what works. See ya! Turns out in the haul was was a Dreemy. A really filthy one. So, out comes the screwdrivers, take it apart, sponge, dish liquid, rinse, done! Just need some WD-40 to get rid of tape residue from the cover failing to close. Fixed that while I was at it.