I just got my new (secondhand)  Digital SLR Camera in the mail today. It is an older model and is only 6MP but with decent lenses and having it set to shoot in raw mode it should be better then my cheap AUD65 point and shoot compact from ALDI. The cheapie is a traveler DC140 it is 14MP but has pretty cheap optics, a great little ‘disposable’ camera to carry on the motorbike in my EDC bag when I am out.
Traveler DC10
The DSLR is a Pentax K100D that came with a Sigma 28-80 Aspherical Lens that has a  Macro setting. The lens is a fairly cheap lens but being Aspherical with plastic body makes it small and light and is a great little everyday lens. 
K100D and Sigma Lens
I also got a set of batteries (4xAA Used but enough charge to test it out) a battery case and a really nice camera bag from Case logic that was not included in the original listing but he included anyway. Needless to say the seller on eBay got a great positive feedback review from me and I may buy some lenses from him in the future.
Case Logic SLR Bag
A week or so ago a mate from my HAM radio club gave me an old Pentax film SLR camera, this is what led me to get a Pentax DSLR as he gave me a heap of M42 (Metric 42mm Screw thread) lenses with it in an aluminium hard carry case. I got an adaptor for the M42 lenses to convert them to K-mount which is what the K100D takes. This allows me to use all the older lenses. 
M42 to K mount adaptor ring
They even still make M42’s in Russia and you can buy them really cheaply on eBay. So I have a total of 6 lenses for the DSLR now but 5 are the old M42’s so are manual everything, aperture  and focus but that just adds to the ‘old school’ feel of using an SLR.
Hardcase with DSLR and lenses
I also crafted a mount for the DLSR to fit my microscope.. It is flaring the image a bit at the moment as you can see in the picture below but I will play with it and see if I can make the image any better. This was the first image I took with the microscope so I have a bit of tweaking left to do yet.
A logo from a small PCB
I call this one “Pacman The Small Maze”

And finally to round it all off here is a photo I took of a daisy, It was taken with the sigma lens in macro mode in raw mode. The only post processing was to blur the background a little more, it was already out of focus due to the narrow depth of field when using Macro anyway.

“Lone Daisy”

Maglite Purchase

Well I am at it again… I have a thing for torches, well not just torches but tools in general and I see torches as a tool. I have a Led Lenser Police Tech Focus with 115 lumens of light output. This is one of my main torches and I carry it with me most places I go.

Led Lenser Police Tech Focus

Green Maglite solitaire

 I also have a Black 3D Cell Maglite in the car for breakdown use as well as a Maglite solitaire attached to my motorcycle vest.

3D Cell Maglite

I have just got a 6D cell Maglite in red which is the largest maglite they make. It weighs 3.1 kilos and is 48cm long. A formidable torch.

 I have also bought the following accessories for the red maglite. The first is a tail cap with glass breaking tip for breaking automotive glass. Second is a crenelated  strike bezel, I have also got a terralux 700 lumen Cree LED module and a belt loop.

Glass Breaking End Cap 

Crenelated Strike Bezel

Terralux Module

Belt loop

70cm (440mhz) Yagi up and installed

Well I finally took the plunge and got my two sons up on the roof today and we installed my new beam antenna for 70cm or the MHz band. The antenna is a 20 element 18 directors one driven dipole and a reflector. It has a total length of 3.64 meters.

Unlike a television antenna I have mounted this one vertically with the elements running up and down as I am using it on FM in to repeaters with vertical antennas. I had to make up my own gamma match and used a 4:1 match for it made from coax.

The lowest antenna just above the roof line in the pic  is a UHF antenna for our country TV, the middle one is a VHF antenna for Melbourne TV and the top most is my Yagi on a rotator, the rotator is the bulge in the pole just below it. With this set-up I can hit the repeater at Arthur’s seat 83 km away on 1 watt and the Cranbourne repeater 50 km away on 300 milli watts but with a lot of noise so I use 1 watt as well, this is better then before I had to use 5 watts in to my vertical for Cranbourne and couldn’t hit Arthur’s seat at 5 watts on the vertical at all.

Bench Power supply from PC ATX supply

I have started to make a bench power supply from an old mini ATX power supply. The supply is really small and does not have room in the case to mount the binding posts for the outlets or the fuse holders for the voltage rails. I am going to mount the supply in to an ABS plastic case but still keep it in its own steel enclosure to restrict RF from the switch-mode.

Here is a pic of the first stage of the Hack, removing all the excess power wires, the supply is on the right with the excess wires removed on the left.

I will be able to have +12VDC at 20A , -12VDC at 500MA, 5VDC at 30A and 3.3VDC at 18A.

Inline fuses in all the rails will be fitted to protect the supply. I have wired the Soft switch of the supply permanently on as I will have a Hard switch in the Mains AC input so that I don’t use any power while the supply is just sitting there. An ATX supply supplies 5VDC even when it is ‘off’.

I will also be fitting a variable voltage regulator based on an LM317 in to the case from the 12VDC rail to give me variable voltage, this will also have a Voltage meter (analog panel meter).

I have hooked up an 8.2Ohm 10watt resistor across the 5VDC rail to ground to load the switch mode as one of two things will happen if you don’t, first some supplies will fail to power up if not loaded and some will give stray high voltage (ie Mains) out, there is also the in built fan on the supply to load the 12 volt up.

 Here is a pic showing the large ceramic 10watt resistor fitted in to the supply.

I have just been on to eBay and am going to order some banana sockets, a panel meter, fuse holders and the ABS case to mount it all in to. I already have some nice little rubber feet to mount to it.

The supply on the test bench the meter on the right is reading the +12VDC rail and I was getting 12.06 volts and the one on the left is the +5VDC rail at is at 5.14 volts.

I will be hard wiring the supply with a mains lead and get rid of the C13/C14 connection normally used on a PC supply.

OSHW 780x Powersupply

Here is a little 780x based power supply circuit. It is released as open hardware, the zip file contains BOM, Overlay and Trace file as well as a diy file for use with DIYLC which you can find here

The trace file in the archive has already been flipped over for laser toner transfer method of PCB manufacture. Have fun and remember this can handle a MAX of 1amp only if you have a heat sink on the regulator.

Here is the link to the files

Infra-red Microscopy

I have been playing with my microscope. It is a stereo scope so I decided to see if I could hook up a webcam to it. I know you can buy webcam microscopes but I didnt want to spend any money if I could help it.

I had a web cam with no optics and the infra-red filter ripped out that I had hooked up to a zoom lens, I decided that as I could already see in the visible spectrum I wouldn’t put the IR filter back in making it more sensitive to the IR from the incandescent lights in the microscope.

With a bit of mucking around I got the focal lengths for both the visible light side and the IR side set the same, this allows me to use one side of the scope as a wide view area (9.5mm) to centre the location to view in the IR field of view on the other eyepiece. The field of view for the IR is 1mm at 640*480 pixels

Here is the scope.
Field of view on IR. Black lines are mm scale on a micrometer.
Surface Mount LED showing junction.
Crystal on haceduino code AG.
I call this one the gold bar.
Mesh grid in a vacuum tube.
PCB trace lit from top.
PCB trace lit from below, good for finding cracks.