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Monday, September 19, 2005

Neon and PC power supply experiment

The major task yesterday was hooking up neon to the sound system on the bench. I attached my one amp 12v power transformer to the neon transformer, the sound unit with amplifier and the neon sound interface. It sounds complicated but really isn't difficult. The neon used was the Dennis W. Neon which is excellent quality.

The amazing part is it worked first time without problems.

One problem encountered was when I tried to get components to work with a PC power supply. The PC power supply was unpredictable and didn't work at all with my sound system. It did power the lighting controller but was completely erratic and kept shutting itself off. Since it was in the junk heap at work it may be a bad power supply that fails under load. I'll see if I can experiment with another pc power supply to run my robot. Other people in the B9 builders club have successfully done it so it's dooable.

Tonight after getting home from work, I soldered the transistor and wires together on a small piece of an electronics breadboard that I cut to size with my bandsaw. My son Paul worked with me on this a bit since he is good at soldering. Only took 2 tries. Powered it up and it tested ok. Next step is to attach the neon to the backing plate and add blinking lights and spinning motors. The fun stuff. This project is coming together fast.

There was one problem with voice to neon. My background (looping) robot sounds also triggers the neon which looks bad. A suggestion from one of the B9 members was to split the tracks into a stereo signal and only run the background noise from one channel. Great idea. That should take care of that problem. There are a lot of innovative and helpful people in the B9 builders club.

The neon looks beautiful even though it's just laying on my dining room table. The sound system works with a remote control. I'm trying to keep the electronics portion of my robot as compacted as possible in a small removable cube.

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