I wear 30 dB over-the-ear protectors with a pair of Bluetooth earbuds tucked inside for a rhythm track. I had been carrying my Pixel 6a in a side pocket, until I noticed a remarkable amount of crud inside the glass protector over the camera lens:
How crud could get inside (what I thought should be) a sealed compartment inside the phone’s armor case became obvious after peeling the protector off:
Come to find out the protector’s adhesive layer has an opening near the edge of the camera, leaving a slot allowing the howling chaff storm onto the camera glass. Random pocket fuzz certainly contributed some particles, but the entire phone case had a surprising amount of yellow-brown dust tucked inside.
So I left the protector off, dumped the music files into my old Pixel 3a (which never had a camera protector), and will henceforth leave the 6a indoors during similar adventures.
From the living room window, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on out there, but halfway down the driveway it became obvious:
The bright spot underneath the car came from liquid fire dripping on the asphalt. For one terrifying moment I thought we were about to take delivery of a lithium fire, but later developments showed it was a just an ordinary fire in an old-school gasoline car.
A few minutes later, fire equipment blocked the road in both directions, with more vehicles out of sight:
From what I overheard, multiple 911 calls resulted in firefighters chasing the car from one of the fire stations along either Vassar Rd or Spackenkill, the driver finally noticed the lights, and pulled over as the sirens spooled down in front of our house. It had a Georgia plate, so maybe this was near the end of a really long day.
The first operation got a water lance under the car to knock back the undercarriage fire:
Then they punched through the tail lights to lance the trunk:
Smash the windows and chop the trunk lid open to flood all the interior spaces:
A clipping from the Harrisburg Evening News, probably in 1962, shows more enthusiasm for vaccines than we have today:
It emerged from a fat folder of space exploration articles / maps / booklets / clippings with dates from 1959 through 1962, when I would have been around nine years old. Most likely somebody older collected everything and gave the box to me a few years later. The other side had a hagiographic article about John Glenn, explaining why this side is minus a few paragraphs.
From everything I read about Long Covid, I don’t want to give Short Covid even a little bite at my apple. In particular, fast-forwarding through a decade of neural degeneration isn’t going to put me closer to my Happy Place.
The bonus “Volunteer Fireman Convicted of Arson” article could come from any decade.
It seems that Manjaro’s 5.0.0-1 version of the yubikey-managercrashes due to inscrutable errors, with the effect of not letting me use it to sign in at all the sites I’d set up to use TOTP authentication.
sudo pacman -U /tmp/yubikey-manager-4.0.9-1-any.pkg.tar.zst
warning: downgrading package yubikey-manager (5.0.0-1 => 4.0.9-1)
looking for conflicting packages...
Packages (1) yubikey-manager-4.0.9-1
Total Installed Size: 1.11 MiB
Net Upgrade Size: -0.13 MiB
:: Proceed with installation? [Y/n] Y
<<< snippage >>>
Whereupon It Just Worked™ again.
I expect someone more experienced than I will have long since filed a bug report / sent a pull request / whatever, because I have little idea how to do any of that. The next upgrade should work just fine.
The usual measurements of voltages and currents assume a constant load impedance, where the power varies with the square of the measured value. In this case, the laser tube is most definitely not a constant resistance, because it operates at an essentially constant voltage around 12 kV after lighting up at maybe twice that voltage. As a result, the power varies linearly with the measured voltages and currents, so the usual Bode plot “20 dB per decade” single-pole filter slope does not apply.
Because the laser tube power varies roughly with the current, I’ve been using the current as a proxy for the power, so the half-power points are where the current is half its value at low frequencies.
The controller’s analog voltage output is linearly related to the tube current and power, so the same reasoning applies.
That reasoning is obviously debatable …
Anyhow, it seems the PWM digital output is the primary signal source, with the L-AN analog output filtered from it. If you had a use for the analog voltage that didn’t involve sending it through a second low-pass filter, it might come in handy, but that’s not the case with the laser’s HV power supply.
Looking across the graph at the tube current’s half-power level of 12-ish mA shows 150 Hz for the L-AN output and 250 Hz for the PWM output. That’s roughly what I had guesstimated from the raw measurements, but it’s nice to see those lines in those spots.
In practical terms, grayscale engraving will operate inside an upper frequency limit around 200 Hz. Engraving a square wave pattern similar to the risetime target requires a bandwidth perhaps three times the base frequency for reasonably crisp edges, which means no faster than 100 Hz = 100 mm/s for a 1 mm bar.
It may be easier to think in terms of the equivalent risetime, with 200 Hz implying a 1.5 ms risetime. The rise and fall times of the laser tube current are not equal and only vaguely related to the usual rules of thumb, but 1.5 ms will get you in the ballpark.
The usual tradeoff between scanning speed and laser power for a given material now also includes a maximum speed limit set by the feature size and edge sharpness. Scanning at 500 mm/s with a 1.5 ms risetime means the minimum sharp-edged feature should be maybe three times that wide: 5 ms / 500 mm/s = 2.5 mm.
The sine bars at 400 mm/s come out very shallow, both rectangular bars have sloped edges, and the 1 mm bar on the left resembles a V:
At 100 mm/s, all the features are nicely shaped, although the sidewalls still have some slope:
In all fairness, grayscale engraving with a CO₂ laser may not be particularly useful, unless you’re making very shallow and rather grainy 3D relief maps.
Intensity-modulating a “photographic” engraving on, say, white tile depends on the dye / metal / whatever having a linear-ish intensity variation with exposure, which is an unreasonable assumption.
The L-ON digital enable also has a millisecond or two of ramp time, so each discrete dot within a halftoned / dithered image has a minimum width.