More geekery…

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So, while I was digging up the pile of stuff which allows me to hit a local webserver and…theoretically get a view of the garage* John gave me some speakers, which had been gifted him. These speakers are of the variety that you used to get and attach to your PC so you could listen to the new-fangled MP3s and listen to the sounds from Quake. That sort of age.

However, they lacked some important things.

A power supply and a cable with which to connect them to said PC.

Now, where John works they make stuff, and they found it’s cheaper to buy some of the components with a power supply, which then goes straight into the electrical waste, than to buy them without a power supply. We won’t get into the mental pain about the way the world works these days, but anyhow, with his bosses permission, John saves some of these brand-new unused power supplies. But they’re a stupid, fairly useless voltage. However, John is t’awesome.

He looked at the design, and realised that by changing two resistors (and sometimes a capacitor) you could get anything, pretty much, between 5 and 20volts from these.

This is handy.

I needed a 6 volt supply, so he gave me one of these little boxen and some destructions, and I sat down at home and broke out the tools.

Okay, so maybe a little geeky.

Now, being as I’m me, I then wandered down to the garage muttering resistor colour codes under my breath and fished through my dad’s box of resistors. Some of these are ‘new’, for definitions of ‘new’ ending sometime in the 80s, most are probably around 1960-70, a few are 1950s resistors. Some predate colour coding.

In a ‘probably for the best’ situation, the ones I found that matched the requirements for making 6 volts were fairly modern, but still there was a small size difference:

The new and the old components seem to be 'slightly' different sizes. (Don't look @anachrocomputer)

As you can see, my ‘new’ one is on at least it’s second use. Dunno what it was salvaged from before…

So, with some bending, and some coaxing, I made this happen:

Looks completely standard to me... Err... Mmm. I'll get me coat, shall I.

And with some trepidation I connected it (the lead that comes with the cables does not meet British Standards, in that the fuse is…missing). It has a dinky 1/3 size plug that’s very cute, and it’s very clever. But there’s no fuse, which means it’s only fused on the extension lead, which is fused at 13a.

Out came, approximately, 6 volts. I say approximately, because my Altai meter, which remains the only one I’ve not managed to kill reads with roughly the same accuracy as me waving my finger at it with my eyes closed and going ‘Uh, there’. Never mind. It was in the 6 volts region, and less than the 7 volts it had been producing.

Annnyhow. I then modded the speakers to have a very long audio cable, this is because the garage PC is located in the roof of the garage, out of the way. And then I tested it. Obviously, being a numpty I’d managed to do something wrong, I’d screwed up connecting the audio lead. The easy bit, as it were. But, that is now fixed and I can listen to audio in the garage. If I can get any audio to the garage.

I actually listened to my iPhone today, which has podcasts, which are the win :)

* It turns out the 802.11b WAP is fast enough, just about, for it to manage to throw the data across from motion detection – over the periods of time in between detecting motion – but not fast enough to actually get the data across the in real time. It’s certainly not fast enough to stream audio data down to the garage, but I can pull up web pages. Nikki thinks she has an 802.11g thing that she’s not using that I can abuse into being a WAP point, which would rock. Once this is working I may well tweak things so that the cheap camera is actually used for motion detection, because it’s the only one with night vision. Either that or I may pick up another night vision webcam. I also need to get my beloved to help me set it up at some point, because it’s hideously out of focus, and I’ve tried focusing it and then checking, and, probably because it’s a grotty cheap piece of crap it’s a tiny range over which ‘in focus’ and ‘massively out of focus’ are close friends, and I never managed to get it decently in focus**
** This is assuming ‘in focus’ is an available feature, a fact of which I’m not certain.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at