6618Re: [cosmacelf] Re: Membership Card - Ultra Low Power Variant
- Mar 13, 2010If you need some nixies, I bought a couple of hundred last year, along with the driver chips. Would be willing to donate for the cause.
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From: "awasson2001" <awasson@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 19:19:54
Subject: [cosmacelf] Re: Membership Card - Ultra Low Power Variant
Steve, I have a box of vintage Numitron tubes that I was thinking would make a great SteamPunk ELF display. Not as nice a display as the Nixi's but much lower consumption I would expect.
If I make anything happen with them, I'll post a picture to the board.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "aa3nm" <steve@...> wrote:
> Thanks for the inputs, in time I think they'll be put to good use. I really like your Steam Punk idea. It's got me thinking about using Nixie Tubes for an Octal Display. Clearly not low power, nor "Spit & Coin" battery compatable, but it would be fun� Octal display would need a way to generate assembly listings in Octal to be easily read, but that could be managed a number of ways. Could be a fun project at some time in the future.
> I appreciate all your hard work with all the Membership card version you designed and posted. I had hoped to add value to those efforts by moving this one along as you and Herb are doing with the other version.
> In the interim, some things have come up that necessitate me setting this project aside for a while. No issues other than available time. I thought I had a small window and now other wicks have been turned up and that window has closed again. If I find another opportunity I may see if I can nudge it along a bit, hopefully with your support.
> I'm sure you recognize the scenario � it's all about hitting "critical mass" � getting enough momentum built up to move a project far enough along that finishing it is easier than boxing it up for later. This time, my goal of a basic ELF that could be operated, display and all from a "spit and coin" battery will have to hold on a while longer.
> If anyone else chooses to "nudge the bowling ball along a bit" feel free to ping me since one never knows how the available time can shift around.
> Best to all�
> Steve Gemeny
> AKA aa3nm
> --- In email@example.com, Lee Hart <leeahart@> wrote:
> > aa3nm wrote:
> > > My goal is to have a truly minimum power ELF that is as simple as
> > > possible with binary input and output. That being said, the tedium
> > > of programming anything more than ~50 bytes gets old very fast, even
> > > with toggle switches (been there too).
> > Yep; me too! But, it's a heck of a lot less painful with good switches.
> > Use the best, easiest-to-use switches you can find. Notice that many of
> > the traditional minicomputer front panels and organs use piano key like
> > paddle switches.
> > Same for a display. 8 raw binary LEDs are simple and cheap, but have few
> > other attributes. The LCD display is lower power, and can produce a much
> > nicer display.
> > The small step up to a hex keypad and hex display is a big improvement
> > over binary.
> > You might also consider adding a circuit so a PC's parallel port can
> > manipulate the front panel switches, as a way to automate the
> > downloading process.
> > Other thoughts: I don't think nearly enough creativity has been applied
> > to the data entry and display issue. People quickly fixate on the
> > antique QWERTY keyboard and video text displays. They work , but it
> > takes a *lot* of hardware and software to support them.
> > How about some of these alternative, just for fun... :-)
> > - Morse code. A single switch contact is all you need for input.
> > One bit to drive a speaker is all you need for output.
> > The software to read and write Morse code is trivial (ham radio
> > operators have written it many times, so examples are plentiful).
> > Morse code (especially for numbers) isn't very hard to learn.
> > - Voice. Pick 16 audio tones to represent each hex digit 0-F. Whistle
> > or hum them to input data. A microphone and simple hardware/software
> > interprets the tones. Play the same tones back to read the data.
> > Has the advantage that it can also be saved and loaded with a tape
> > recorder or PC sound card. You "sing" to your computer, and it "sings"
> > back to you, like R2D2.
> > - Calculator. A calculator has special keys for each function; + - /
> > sin, square, etc. So, have keys labelled PHI GLO BR etc. and an
> > alphanumeric display that shows assembler mnemonics.
> > - Graphics and light pen. The display is a printed drawing of the 1802
> > architecture, with a single LED at each register, and perhaps 24 LEDs
> > showing the current memory address and its contents. A light pen
> > (just a phototransistor in an old pen body) connects to an EFx line.
> > Poke LEDs to turn them on/off, or move data to/from registers I/O
> > and memory. The LEDs are multiplexed, so the time at which the light
> > pen sees the pulse of light tells it which LED you pointed at.
> > - Mouse with a view. House the ELF in an old computer mouse case.
> > Attach a little plexiglass window that has an LED/LCD display.
> > Set the mouse on a printed drawing of the computer architecture.
> > As you move the mouse over a box on the drawing, the display on the
> > mouse shows you the contents of that box. Aim at Register A, and it
> > displays the contents of RA. Needs a mouse that doesn't "slip", or
> > is reading codes printed on the page to know where it is. Use the
> > mouse buttons to increment, decrement, scroll wheel for faster
> > up/down changes, or to drag data from one register to another.
> > - Analog meters and pots (a steampunk Elf). A pair of analog meters
> > are marked 0 to 15v. A simple D/A converter converts the two hex
> > digits you get from a typical Elf into two voltages ("A4" displays
> > as 10v on the left meter, 4v on the right meter). Two pots or
> > rotary switches under the meters are similarly labelled 0-15v.
> > Use knife switches for the load/run switches.
> > etc.
> > > BTW, I know you did a lot of work on the power consumption of the
> > > membership card - Do you have any sense on the consumption of this
> > > layout? I read on Herb's page that you were "running air" on the
> > > membershiip card overnight from the charge in the .047 uF cap, but
> > > adding the LCD display bumps up the power consumption (a lot less
> > > than LEDs but its still there).
> > LCDs vary a lot. The older simpler ones (no backlight, no color, not
> > multiplexed) are very low. The Lumex display on the LCD Elf I posted
> > will probably run on less than 10 ua.
> > Pullup resistors and memory chips are likely to be your the biggest
> > problems. You need a design that avoids pullup resistors. The old 5101
> > chips I used are true CMOS; zero power consumption when all inputs are
> > static. but almost all modern RAMs (even those claimed to be CMOS) draw
> > a significant supply current when chip selected even if all inputs are
> > static.
> > --
> > Lee A. Hart | Ring the bells that still can ring
> > 814 8th Ave N | Forget the perfect offering
> > Sartell MN 56377 | There is a crack in everything
> > leeahart earthlink.net | That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen
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