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Search Results for: vacuum tube

Vacuum Tube LEDs: PAR30 Halogen Spotlight

Breaking the fake heatsink off the big floodlight, drilling out the guts, and rebuilding it with a WS2812 RGBW LED left the PET braid too short for a nice curve from socket to bulb, so I swapped in a smaller and equally defunct PAR30 halogen spotlight:

PAR30 Halogen - red phase

PAR30 Halogen – red phase

And in green:

PAR30 Halogen - green phase

PAR30 Halogen – green phase

The white glass frit ring around the perimeter lights up nicely in the dark.

The knockoff Arduino Nano now runs the RGBW program, with Morse transmissions disabled and the white LED dialed back to MaxPWM = 32.

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Vacuum Tube LEDs: Knockoff Arduino Nano USB Connector

The LEDs adorning the 0D3 rectifier tube became unreliable:

0D3 Octal - 25 mm socket - raised LED

0D3 Octal – 25 mm socket – raised LED

After failing to plug in a different USB power supply, a close look at the USB connector showed the problem:

Knockoff Arduino Nano - broken Mini-B connector

Knockoff Arduino Nano – broken Mini-B connector

A bit of needle-nose tweezering extracted the culprit from the power supply’s connector:

Knockoff Arduino Nano - broken Mini-B connector - fragment

Knockoff Arduino Nano – broken Mini-B connector – fragment

I tried applying the world’s smallest dot of epoxy to the fracture, probably slobbered epoxy along the pins while reinserting it, and the Nano still doesn’t light up.

Given that knockoff Nano boards cost a touch over two bucks delivered, it’s not clear transplanting a connector from one of the never-sufficiently-to-be-damned counterfeit FTDI USB adapters makes any sense.

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Vacuum Tube LEDs: Mogul Bulb Side Light

The knockoff Neopixel on the 500 W mogul-base bulb failed in the usual way, so I rebuilt it with an SK6812 RGBW LED in a round cap:

Mogul lamp socket - SK6812 LED side cap

Mogul lamp socket – SK6812 LED side cap

The nice 1-¼ inch stainless socket-head cap screws replace the 1 inch pan-head screws that engaged maybe one thread due to the additional spacer between the USB port and the upper hard drive platter I added for good looks.

I tried a few iterations of an aluminized Mylar (*) disk with various sized pinholes over the RGB trio to crisp up the filament shadow, because the SK6812 LED casts a more diffuse light than the W2812 LEDs:

Aluminized Mylar pinholes for SK6812 RGBW LED

Aluminized Mylar pinholes for SK6812 RGBW LED

Even the ⅛ inch pinhole made the bulb too dim, so I settled for a fuzzy shadow:

500 W Mogul bulb - SK6812 RGBW LED - no pinhole - green phase

500 W Mogul bulb – SK6812 RGBW LED – no pinhole – green phase

The firmware has a tweak forcing the white LED to PWM=0, because this bulb looks better in saturated colors.

(*) Here on earth, aluminized Mylar is nonconductive.

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Vacuum Tube Lights: Duodecar Rebuild

You’ll recall the LED atop the 21HB5A tube failed, shortly after replacing the bottom LED and rewiring the ersatz plate lead, which led me to rebuild the whole thing with SK6812 RGBW LEDs. So I printed all the plastic parts again, because the duodecar tube socket’s pin circle can fit into a hard drive platter’s unmodified 25 mm hole, then drilled another platter to suit:

Duodecar disk drilling

Duodecar disk drilling

The hole under the drill fits the 3.5 mm stereo socket for the ersatz plate lead, so it’s bigger than before.

I’ve switched from Arduino Pro Minis with a separate USB converter to Arduino Nanos with an on-board CH340 USB chip, because the fake FTDI chips on the converters are a continuing aggravation:

21HB5A base - interior

21HB5A base – interior

Adding those wire slots to the sockets definitely helps tidy things up; the wires no longer need a crude cable tie anchoring them to the socket mounting screws.

I wanted to drive the LEDs from the A7 pin, rather than the A3 pin I’d been using on the Pro Minis, to keep the wires closer together, but it turns out that A6 and A7 can’t become digital output pins. So I used A5, although I may come to regret the backward incompatibility.

In any event, the 21HB5A tube looks spiffy with its new LEDs in full effect:

21HB5A with RBGBW LEDs - cyan violet phase

21HB5A with RBGBW LEDs – cyan violet phase

I dialed the white LED PWM down to 32, making the colors somewhat pastel, rather than washed-out.

The Arduino source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Vacuum Tube Lights: Plate Wire Plug

After replacing the WS2812 LED in the 21HB5A socket, I drilled out the hole in the disk platter for a 3.5 mm stereo jack, wired a nice knurled metal plug onto the plate lead, and it’s all good:

21HB5A - Audio plug cable

21HB5A – Audio plug cable

The plug had a rather large cable entry that cried out for a touch of brass:

Audio plug - brass trim turning

Audio plug – brass trim turning

Fancy plugs have a helical spring strain relief insert about the size & shape of that brass snout; might have to buy me some fancy plugs.

This time, I got the alignment right by clamping everything in the lathe while the epoxy cured:

Audio plug - brass trim gluing

Audio plug – brass trim gluing

I flipped the drill end-for-end, which was surely unnecessary.

It’s now sitting on the kitchen table, providing a bit of light during supper while I wait for a WS2812 controller failure. Again.

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Vacuum Tube Lights: Poughkeepsie Day School Mini Maker Faire 2016

Should you be around Poughkeepsie today, drop in on the Poughkeepsie Day School’s Mini Maker Faire, where I’ll be showing off some glowy LED goodness:

21HB5A on platter - orange green

21HB5A on platter – orange green

The 5U4GB side lighted dual rectifier looks pretty good after I increased the phase between the two LEDs:

5U4GB Full-wave vacuum rectifier - cyan red phase

5U4GB Full-wave vacuum rectifier – cyan red phase

A gaggle of glowing vacuum tubes makes for a rather static display, though, so I conjured a color mixer so folks could play with the colors:

Color mixer - overview

Color mixer – overview

Three analog potentiometers set the intensity of the pure RGB colors on the 8 mm Genuine Adafruit Neopixels. A closer look at the circuitry shows it’s assembled following a freehand “the bigger the blob, the better the job” soldering technique:

Color mixer - controls

Color mixer – controls

The blended RGB color from a fourth Neopixel backlights the bulb to project a shadow of the filament on the front surface:

Color mixer - bulb detail

Color mixer – bulb detail

It’s worth noting that the three Genuine Adafruit 8 mm Neopixels have a nonstandard RGB color layout, while the knockoff 5050 SMD Neopixel on the bulb has the usual GRB layout. You can’t mix-n-match layouts in a single Neopixel string, so a few lines of hackage rearrange the R and G values to make the mixed colors come out right.

An IR proximity sensor lets you invert the colors with the wave of a fingertip to send Morse code in response to (some of) the vacuum tubes on display nearby. The sensor glows brightly in pure IR, with all the other LEDs going dark:

Color mixer - controls - IR image

Color mixer – controls – IR image

The switch sits in a little printed bezel to make it big enough to see. The slight purple glow in the visible-light picture comes from the camera’s IR sensitivity; you can’t see anything with your (well, my) unaided eyes.

The “chassis” emerged from the wood pile: a slab of laminate flooring and two strips of countertop, with a slab of bronze-tint acrylic from a Genuine IBM PC Printer Stand that had fallen on hard times quite a while ago. Bandsaw to size, belt-sand to smooth; nothing particularly precise, although I did use the Sherline for coordinate drilling:

Color mixer panel - drill setup

Color mixer panel – drill setup

That’s laying it all out by hand to get a feel for what it’ll look like and drilling the holes at actual coordinates to make everything line up neatly.

Hot melt glue and epoxy hold everything together, with foam tape securing the two PCBs. Those cap screws go into 10-32 brass inserts hammered into the laminate flooring strip.

There’s no schematic. Connect the pots to A0 through A2, wire the Neopixels in series from D8 with the bulb LED last in the string, wire the prox sensor to D9, and away you go.

It’s fun to play with colors!

The Arduino source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Vacuum Tube LEDs: Mogul Socket With Platters

Adding two hard drive platters draws attention away from the printed puck holding the microcontroller:

500 W Incandescent - Mogul socket with platters

500 W Incandescent – Mogul socket with platters

Granted, it looks odd. I think it’s a step in the right direction, if there is any right direction at all.

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