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Tactile / Re: Hello again
Last post by J. Wilhelm - November 09, 2023, 11:27:17 PM
Quote from: selectedgrub on November 09, 2023, 10:47:45 AMI still making the occasional unit

I hope everyone that is left is well and happy

Wow! Hello Grub! Glad to see you back. You're still welding and grinding the metal, eh?
Meta-Clubs / Re: Dicey wildcards. tabletop ...
Last post by rovingjack - November 09, 2023, 04:03:06 PM
I rolled on the generator to create my story idea for Nanowrimo. my results:
Dual Genre of Wuxia fantasy and Steampunk adventure
Puzzle story type.
In a world of ordinary chinese fantasy setting,
a culture war is brewing.
A young noble, must assemble a group of extrodinary individuals from around the kingdom to weaken the forces of change and confront the mysterious leader of this new way, who behind their mask and humanoid shape is a constructed creature with hooves and scales amongst it's mechanical parts. This leader imprisons and captures anyone that the hero may use to overcome them, and is disruptive to the old ways with it's new technology... but the hero may find along his journey that their opponent might be evil and doing bad things but their cause isn't wrong.
Trading / Re: Alkemy Chimeras
Last post by nicoleblond - November 09, 2023, 12:19:49 PM
Tactile / Re: Hello again
Last post by von Corax - November 09, 2023, 12:12:31 PM
Welcome back! It looks cool, whatever it is! :D
Tactile / Hello again
Last post by selectedgrub - November 09, 2023, 10:47:45 AM
I still making the occasional unit

I hope everyone that is left is well and happy
Tactile / Re: Victorian Boombox Mark IV
Last post by J. Wilhelm - November 08, 2023, 07:53:28 AM

I forgot to mention that I got the centrifugal fans earlier in October. It only took 3 days to get them from a local vendor. The fans work well and are fairly silent. I only need one for this assembly. My plan is to hook it to one of the power jacks on the LCD screen

Sadly, there's no Window tablet available in 7 inches. Which means that for the moment any production version of the Mk. IV using Windows will need to be this complex, with the Azulle PC, with a fan and complicated wood frame.  Either that or I figure how to incorporate a 10 inch tablet to the boombox.

For the simplified Android version of the boombox, I'd prefer to find one tablet with a built-in FM radio if it's available. That would be remarkably useful.  However, 7 inch tablets nowadays are basically bargain basement units really not meant for quality, and the OS tends to be Android Go, which is an abridged version of Android for devices with less than 2GB of RAM.  Doesn't inspire confidence, does it? That's more like tablets for kids.

I might be looking at RCA tablets if they still exist, which might be a tad higher in performance. The problem is that tablets are considered to be highly expendable, and I heard on the grapevine that Android will accelerate its version release dates, which means more Android devices will become obsolete sooner, more than they are today.  That's not really encouraging.  I need the boombox to last more than a couple of years. Since tablet design changes from year to year and model to model, using Android isn't an ideal choice for a long lived collector item like the Mk IV should be.

Let's see what solution I can figure. I know I want at least a regular Android release, not an abbreviated version of it .

Tactile / Re: Victorian Boombox Mark IV
Last post by J. Wilhelm - November 07, 2023, 10:55:20 AM
Progress Report, 6 November.

The Mk. IV project has been progressing smoothly but slowly, due to a lack of free time. Also, I'm facing a serious time crunch, which I'll explain later.

In the latest iteration, I've decided to replace the two fancy variable voltage regulators/converters with a single 12 V  automotive 5V USB supply output, made by the hardware company, DeWalt.

The reasons are the following:

1. The DeWalt unit offers a higher output power (65 W) in a single unit instead of two units (though it may not be a common rail voltage).

2. The output voltage can't accidentally be reset when power loss occurs suddenly (which would severely damage the equipment).  It'd be especially damaging, if your power supply is providing two different voltages to the equipment.

3. The unit already has multiple USB ports.  I don't have to purchase USB port hardware.

4. In my experience, automotive transformers can operate with voltages as low as 9, or even 6 volts, or alternatively much higher than their nominal input voltage, while converting to 5V. The DeWalt unit can operate with a supply of up to 24 V.

5. Multiple transformers are a liability if they don't all perform equally, but conversely there's always a backup power since all the transformers are connected to a common rail (the USB hub I use). It provides a "soft landing " if one of the transformers fails.

The DeWalt transformer was relatively expensive at $40, compared to about $7 for both variable power transformers, but I'm saving money on USB jacks and the time to solder cables. It provides a quick-disconnect solution for all of the electronics during maintenance, and a way to use a single switch to power off and on all peripherals at the same time.

Once I test the system, the center console will be ready to take in the radio and TV tuner, and be installed. I'll need an audio and video switch to switch between computer and HDTV / radio combo (due to power limitations).

Sadly, the ATSC 3.0 HDTV standard (aka "NextGen TV") is now in peril of being abandoned by the public. TV networks are now issuing warnings to the FCC: The public is uninterested. The US government is pushing the standard, and the promise was 4K resolution for digital TV, but overseas manufactures understandably refuse to build ATSC 3.0 capable TV units if people aren't buying. In hypercapitalist America, people vote with their wallets.

Worse, the ATSC 3.0 system isn't backward compatible with ATSC 1.0 (it's broadcast separately today along with ATSC 3.0), and looks like it doesn't offer a pause and record capability due to a copyright protection system used by the standard itself (!)  So you can't record your favorite shows. And even worse still, most of the broadcast material available in ATSC 3.0 is either just the same 1K resolution programming broadcast simultaneously, or the old analog NTSC TV shows and movies. There's zero incentive for the public to buy into the technology and spend yet more money on a new TV.

In other words, ATSC 3.0 might be an obsolete and "dead on arrival" technology by next year when the government phases out ATSC 1.0 (mostly due to mismanagement by the FCC and an overzealous consumer electronics industry which only think of profits). So it's unclear what the value of including a TV tuner is in America today. People just aren't interested in broadcast signals, much less messing with yet another copyright protection system and less convenient features. Here's an article on the subject:

I will install the ATSC 1.0 tuner in this prototype because I'd really like to have an over-the-air tuner if an emergency arises, but an ATSC tuner may or may not necessarily materialize in a production unit.

What I may do is continue looking for USB ATSC 3.0 tuners for Windows if they exist already.

Emergency Project

I'm also looking into starting an "emergency" parallel project, which I've talked about before.  I'm facing an "impossible challenge situation," with having to move into a new house and trying to finish the MK Prototype and the first production unit at the same time, quite likely before this month ends. Moving to a new place will cost me about a thousand dollars with the deposit and transportation, cutting my savings in half.

Otherwise, I fear I'll end up with no discretionary money and no product at hand by January. It's already looking like I won't be able to sell anything this year. I've had nothing but obstacles thrown at me. My job and living situation issues came to distract me from the project, as far as I see it. It's almost as if fate is trying to stop this project. What's coming next? A falling piano over my head? Otherwise, this project is growing smoothly, as it works perfectly. I'm like Wyle E. Coyote, building great things but never accomplishing my objective due to highly improbable events.

The idea I'm having now is to make an Android tablet based boombox, identical in overall form if not decoration.  However, the speakers will be the fully assembled Dayton Audio MK 402 or MK 402B (amplified Bluetooth) speakers, which are nearly identical to my setup. You'll remember they share the same drivers and crossovers as the MK Boom which is the donor for my Mk. IV prototype.

I've calculated the dimensions of the assembled MK 402 units and came to the conclusion that they're nearly identical in size and acoustically to mine, except for the port being located in the back. I can easily move the port to the front to match my Mk. IV.

The speaker enclosures would be sandwiched between thick planks of wood, then screwed together. If I get the MK 402B, I wouldn't need to buy an amplifier, instead only worry about the power supply (battery) and how to hook it to the amplifier. Otherwise just buy the amplifier and batteries as I did on the prototype, and build a central console, but with a fixed screen (tablet). I'm assuming that the electronics board of the MK 402B will have the same amp chip as the KAB motherboard sold with MK Boom.

The whole point is to simplify and streamline the production process so I can make a unit in a couple of days without worrying about too many details. I could use hardwood and oil instead of wood stain over pine. Rely as much as possible on screws, and just abandon the HDTV and radio, at least for a base level unit. Obviously it'd be sold at a lower price. The Art Deco facade would have to change radically, to match the black cloth speaker covers. It wouldn't necessarily need to abandon the Art Deco theme, just be different. So i have to get creative with the finish, though it'll be entirely dominated by the wooden case holding the tablet in front.

Using the built in Android tablet's amplifier as a preamplifier is a low quality solution, so the sound quality will be lower that the sound produced by the dedicated Creative sound card in my prototype. But it's a good compromise - if I'm using the same speakers and amplifier. The connection between the tablet and amplifier could be direct (headphones to auxiliary) or via Bluetooth 5.0.

I'll keep writing on this post as I can.


Meta-Clubs / Re: Dicey wildcards. tabletop ...
Last post by rovingjack - November 07, 2023, 07:42:03 AM
I've had a lot of fun making random generation tables often on a whim. A friend wanted to get together to draw monsters in the park before halloween, in an hour or so I made a set of tables for each of the dice in a D&D set (7 dice d4-d20) that creates prompts for monsters. generating things like: winged, mechanical, leafy, humanoid, camoflaged, fantasy, spirit... which I interpret as: little fairy dolls made of sticks and leaves, that blend with the foliage, and are animated by the spirits of lost children.

and since it's nanowrimo, I built a story idea generator. all d8 tables for some reason, just worked that way. getting results like:  horror, cosmic horror, vengance; in a world of famine/pestilence, the street urchin protagonist changes the status quo, by stealing or free something or some one, to kill, but can the overcome a lack of needed resources or item, opposing them through pestilence, and the twist or setback is failure of some kind... which I turned into a street urchin, in a world of famine sets out to free the chosen one predicted to kill the thing from beyond the stars destroying the food and water supply, making the quest through wasteland the urchin forges through without enough supplies for them both to make it back planning to pay the price to release the chosen one to enact vengance ... only to find the chosen one was already killed. But the urchin came all that way and tries and changes the status quo in a last desperate attempt at vengence.
Off Topic / Re: The Brassgoggles Model Mak...
Last post by James Harrison - November 06, 2023, 06:20:57 PM
Quote from: RJBowman on November 05, 2023, 07:08:25 PMI've never been very interested in model railroads, but I just found out someone is making kits of Rowland Emmet's trains. Link:

I've got one of those, somewhere.
Off Topic / Re: The Brassgoggles Model Mak...
Last post by RJBowman - November 05, 2023, 07:08:25 PM
I've never been very interested in model railroads, but I just found out someone is making kits of Rowland Emmet's trains. Link: