ADC Adapter Board Shared at OSHPark

For those looking to just purchase an adapter board by the current design I've made, here is the link to the ADC Adapter Board at OSH Park. Good luck.

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Quirk about the ADC Connector

I started having problems with the ADC display using the adapter I built. It worked fine for quite some time then the display started to shut itself off and not be recognized by the system. Sometimes it would work to plug the cables back in.

At first I thought it was the power supply I was using. I don't have specs on it, but the problem surfaced when the temperature climbed. The computer area was hovering around 90°F, and I assumed the power supply was sporadically failing. I bought a new-to-me 24V 1.8A supply for my 17" monitor (I think that might be a bit on the low-side, but it was only a couple dollars at a thrift store.) The problem persisted almost immediately. So I figured the monitor might be fried.

The ADC connector shield is loose.

The ADC connector shield is loose.

I had noticed the shield on the ADC connector on the board was not connected to the ground very well. I didn't think much of it — after all, there were half a dozen ground wires already. But on a whim, I thought I'd add a couple dabs of solder and give it a solid connection to the pins soldered onto the board. Surprisingly, that did the trick. So far it's been 2 days and the monitor has not flaked out! It may be the power supply is on the low-side to begin with (24V) and without the additional ground of the shield, the voltage drop crept too high in the other wires for the monitor to function.

ADC connector shield.

ADC connector shield.

In any case, if you are observing sporadic problems where the monitor would shut off, apparently losing power, check the shield on the ADC connector and make sure it has a solid ground.

Solder added to ADC connector shield.

Solder added to ADC connector shield.

Update August 7, 2013: Not so fast. I am still having problems where the monitor will switch off and not come back on. Most recently, I had to unplug the power for 15 minutes as well as the connection to the computer before it came back to working. I'm not sure what it is, but the ground is not the only fault going on here …

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Files for OSHPark

I got a message that BatchPCB has closed and been replaced by OSHPark and the author requested I update the Gerber files. I tried simply renaming the files and put them in a new ZIP. I uploaded them to OSHPark and the visualization of the boards look good. I don't intend to do a test purchase, but please let me know how it turns out. Anyway, here's the ZIP archive with the Gerber files. Enjoy. (You will need to save the ZIP archive and upload it to OSHPark yourself as there is no storefront like there was on BatchPCB.)

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The Screenplay Reading of Citizens Band

So after I finished writing the script, I had a few friends read it and got positive feedback. I sent an e-mail to someone I met at a production company but jee never got back to me. That was about three days before the submission date for the BlueCat Screenplay Competition; I decided to wait because you can submit early and they will review your submission, then you can submit again for the contest and be reviewed again.

I thought the next logical step was to host my own screenplay reading. I sent an e-mail to a major local theater but never heard back. The MuCCC was supportive but alas booked solid for the year. I got started a bit with one person but jee dropped out for jeir own project so I got in touch with Phil Frey of ShakeCo: The Shakespeare Company who agreed to direct the reading.

Over the course of the last few months, I reformatted the script as a stage play (essentially adding a "Narrator" character who speaks the action.) Phil got hold of some actors, and we did a rehearsal on April 13. I was surprised to find so many errors — I thought I had edited pretty well. It was good to hear it out-loud for the first time (although I had to read quite a bit of it myself to fill in for missing actors.) In the end, I changed 45 of the 88 pages.

April 20 was the official reading at the Flying Squirrel. I didn't realize when I scheduled it (I actually didn't have much choice to fit everyone's schedule) but it overlapped the closing night of the High Falls Film Festival which may have prevented a few people from coming. Anyway, I had no idea how many people would show up so I made a lot of food. In the end it was only five people: just a few friends of mine. We were even short on actors and I had to read and my friend Ali read as well. Once again, it was good to hear it out loud and the feedback I got was very valuable even if it was kind of all over the board.

So now I need to go back and edit again. This time, more substantial changes to the structure of the story. One suggestion about gender roles led to a realization to let go of my love for the characters and to make sure their actions are for the interest of each one of them and not due to my love of the outcome. I also want to make some changes to get them on the road quicker (eliminating unnecessary exposition), and I'll move a local party to a destination along the way.

And here I thought it was pretty good already. Well, I still think it's pretty good. I just need to make it excellent.

I'd also like to thank Phil for directing and reading, Meredith Carroll for reading Ann, Jonathan Wetherbee for reading Ben, and Jacqueline Moe, Brad Craddock, and Ali Fernaays for reading the remaining smaller roles.

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Screenplay Reading of Citizens Band

I have been working with Philip R. Frey of the ShakeCo: The Shakespeare Company on setting up a screenplay reading for Citizens Band. Phil designed the poster for the event:

Poster for the screenplay reading of "Citizens Band" on Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m. at the Flying Squirrel.

Screenplay reading of "Citizens Band" on April 20 at 7 p.m. at the Flying Squirrel

We will get a group of actors to read the roles and do a script-in-hand reading with Phil directing. While he will bring his own expertise, my pattern is the script-in-hand readings at Geva Theatre for new plays wherein the group of actors sits at the rear of the stage and, for the scene being read, only the actors reading step forward and speak.

The audience is invited to stay for a discussion afterward and to be ready to offer comments such as whether they found the characters generally appealing, if their dialog is natural and accessible, if the relationship story arc is interesting and engaging, if the overall story is engaging, and if there are any weak or strong areas to focus on.

After the reading, the responses from the audience will guide the editing process. We will also be watching the audience to identify attentiveness, overall mood, laughter, etc.

The performance will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Flying Squirrel Community Space. The reading will take approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, and the discussion afterward should last 30 to 45 minutes. The reading is free and donations will be accepted for the Flying Squirrel.

We set up a Facebook event as well. Join it if you'd like.

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Video and USB Connectors Library

And, per the open source hardware requests, here is a ZIP file containing a parts library for CadSoft's EAGLE schematic design software containing an ADC connector, VGA connector, DVI connector, and a few USB connectors. These are missing from the default libraries so one could edit and make their own ADC adapter board.

I had success wiring up the various connectors, but you may need to adjust dimensions to meet DRC requirements with whatever method you are getting circuit boards made. Naturally, there is no warranty with this library.

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ADC Adapter: EAGLE Schematic and Board

I got a request for the source files for the ADC Adapter board — after all, I indicated the project is open source. So here they are: 2012403ADCAdapter. It's a ZIP containing the schematic and board file for the CadSoft's EAGLE schematic design software. I have since switched to KiCad for all my projects but don't intend to get around to updating this one.

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2012-Apr-3 ADC Adapter Board

After reviewing the boards I got back from BatchPCB, I made a few changes:

  • Fix bug where DVI pin 15 (ground) was unconnected. This didn't actually cause a problem in my tests, but it should be connected.
  • Increase ratio of documentation (e.g. visible when project is completed, does not apply to placement) to a minimum thickness of 0.01" (0.06" letters at 18% thickness ratio.)
  • Move VGA text so it does not run over a via.
  • Rearrange central text so it does not run over vias.
  • Add bigger polarity marks for the monitor power bypass capacitor set.

This is noted as version "2012-Apr-3" on the silkscreen. You can buy it here.

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Glowing Tool Handles

I wrote an Instructable titled Glowing Tool Handles that describes how to make Plasti Dip glow-in-the-dark. The glow paint I reviewed earlier did indeed glow very dimly for hours (as explained by the owner of Kosmic Kreations, and it's so dim you can only see it clearly in pitch-black conditions.)

In the mean time, I realized I wanted to make my tools more identifiable so I could loan them out when camping and such and hopefully get them back. I thought it would be an excellent addition to make them glow so I could find them should I be working at night and misplace one. Then I found that Plasti Dip comes in a clear variety (for adding your own color as available in a kit, but you can buy just the clear).

So then the solution was pretty obvious: make a color scheme/stencil to spot my tools easily, add a label with my name, and dip it in (mostly) transparent Plasti Dip embedded with glow-in-the-dark powder (1-2 ounces-weight [25-50 grams] per 10 fluid ounces 1 of Plasti Dip). If you want the step-by-step instructions, check out the Instructable.

Primed and pained handle to a Vice Grip that's been dipped in glow-in-the-dark Plasti Dip

Glow-in-the-Dark Tool Handle

  1. 25 litre

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ADC Adapter Board with Minor Bugs

I finished up my ADC-DVI-VGA version that fits in an Altoids tin and sent it to BatchPCB. I prefer to use American labor, so I got a quote from Advanced Circuits, but the prices work out: it’s about $400 to start at any quantity (e.g. 10 is about $40 each) down to $10/each for 100. I couldn’t justify it in case (a) there was a bug, and (b) whether I could sell more than 5 to make up for it.

While I was waiting for it, I fiddled around in the design to make sure it was right. I realize I should have checked the design first, and, running the electrical rule check (ERC) I found I had left the DVI connector ground unconnected. D'oh! Fortunately there are half a dozen other grounds which (usually) get all tied together, so I was lucky and when I wired one up, it worked perfectly the first time. (Note that this is the 2012-Feb-29 version with only 4 copies around.)

I'm updating the design and will send it off to BatchPCB and open it up for sale. I'll also post the design files as my intent is for this project to be an Open Source Hardware (OSHW) project.

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