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The back of the "ELECTRIC CHAIR" Showing the flexible cable conduit which carries the signal and power for the sensoround drivers.

Close up of the back showing the cable guide and the interactor control/amplifier box.

LSide view showing the cable guide with the snake going through it. This doesn't fit tightly so that if the chair goes back suddenly, it won't pull the ceiling down.

Looking up at the ceiling you can see the snake running up to the power supply and another conduit which runs power and audio. I could have easily mounted this inside the ceiling since it's accessible but I decided that it looks more sci-fi if i use the conduit as detail. The mirror ball kinda gives it away though. :)

SI have to show Paul how the parts draws turned out so here it is. But in the top right hand corner you can see the front of the air conditioner which Mr Pringle supplied and does not work


The SMC network card in question. I now have enough pulse transformers to do an entire switcher should I need to. Or I might even be able to use them as network cards who knows.

The solder side. The little fuzzy blob is actually the transformer block. It's really tiny. The red stuff is some kynar wire. This board now needs to be cut smaller.

Flip it over and it looks almost blank but you can see the ribbon with the 3 RCAs on it and the solder posts ready to attach the other end of the cables. You can tell it'll be a fairly tiny an unobtrusive thing when it's cut down.

Finally a shot of the old arlec supertool clipped to the side of the bench lamp arm. I plan to make a few more such modifications to this beast like this.

    Here's an additional shot taken 31/07/2004 of the experiments in switch mode power technology under way on the work bench.
    Grotty though it is you can see the massive capacitors which are hanging off the underside of the board. This is to account for the larger than normal voltage which is developed at the output.

What I've been up to:

(101 things to do with a dead ISA network card)

Despite the often debilitating pain I suffer, I've manged to get a few things done. These pictures are here mainly so a few friends can see this stuff but if you're curious here's some photos.

This is a real rough and ready page because I'm suffering badly right now but I wanted to get these up so take them as you find them.

THE ELECTRIC CHAIR. At the end of last year Jaycar had all their stocks of interactors going out for 10 bux a pop. An aura interactor is essentially a mini sensoround driver and amp. It was designed primarily for games heads and to work with computers and games consoles. I belive they cost a lot of money when they were first out but no-one wanted them. They had bought up huge stocks of them and couldn't off-load them. Eventually, some years later they ended up almost giving them away.

There are two models. A back pack model which you strap on and a cusion model which is designed to go on the back of your chair. The one you see here is actually the back-pack model bolted to the back of my "Comfie Chair." tm. I have another cussion one as well but it turns out that it was less than comfortable to use. So what I decided to do was bolt the back-pack version (Minus it's straps) to the back of my chair and then arrange for the cabling to come down from the ceiling.

What I needed was some kind of flexible goose-neck or conduit and a way of guiding it so that it didn't become tangled or get in the way. Enter one Paul Perry. Paul cleaned out his lab one day and found all this junk. Knowing that I find junk better than sex (Well better than any sex I've ever had. Including with myself.) he sent it to me. In amongst that pile of junk was this hose thing. We still don't know if it was of medical origin or perhaps part of an old hand-held shower. But it was perfect. So that's what this is all about. Showing Paul how it got used.

The chair it self is a severely modified office chair. I bolted the head rest on myself and used industrial strength brackets so I could lean right back and listen to music etc. Or I could sit up and work at the computer. The amplifier/driver/filter thing can be seen bolted to the head rest. I can reach round and adjust it if need be. The cable and it's snake go through a piece of engineered conduit which is also bolted to the back of the chair as a guide. I intend to make a housing so you can't see the cable hanging in the back like that at some point and also a spring mechanism that encourages it to retract.

The interactor is literally kick-ass. Subwoofers are nice but this thing can give you a massage. Before I built this it took me about a month of experimentation on placement. Bolting it to the back of the chair seemed about right although I did consider bolting another under the seat as well. No need really. And it leaves the cussion to go freelance for that special friend.

All this got me thinking of those sex machine things. How to build something a bit better than a dildo driven by various old mix-master parts. Although I did look into it, there's no point really since there's a severe shortage of volunteers to beta test such a thing round here. But trust me, If I could put into practice what I have in mind, it would be the ultimate in tele-dildonics. But I digress.


Moving right along we come to the many can varied uses of an old ISA network card. Actually 28 brand new perfectly working old ISA network cards.

As many of you already know I've been researching my S/PDIF problem. This saga has been going on for 2 years and has enough intrigue, and back stabbing to make a politician feel right at home. I'll save that story for some other time. Perhaps when I've got a fuck of a lot of other time. But needless to say I've discovered a few interesting things. And I have to thank Steve Ridley and and Roman Sowa in particular for their help in this research.

Simply put. it turns out that you can use the same transformers that you'd find on a 10base network card as S/PDIF or AES/EBU transformers. There's quite a lot of choice too. Because of the complexity of the problem, I knew I'd need quite a few of them so when I saw someone selling a box of brand new SMC ISA 10baseT/2 NICs on eBaY I jumped. There's far more than I need here and taking up far too much room. So I sold some of them back on eBaY in pairs. Mainly at a loss per unit but it did offset the cost of the original purpose a little bit.

One of the cards is shown in the photo below. There are 3 transformers on these cards. One is for the 10baseT side. Another is entirely for the 10base2. But a third is used as a DC to DC converter to produce an isolated negative 9 volts. This is used as some kind of VEE supply for the 10baseT collision chip. Which actually lives outside of the isolating transformers on the physical network side.

This transformer is particularly interesting since it's essentially just another pulse transformer but it has 2 secondary windings. (Or two primaries depending on how you look at it) There is a bit of weirdness here with a pair of chokes thrown in series for good measure but in this particular case, they are bipassable. What that means is that this can be usedto take 1 S/PDIF or AES/EBU line and split it into two.

The 10BaseT transformers themselves are a little tiny SMD affair. Single block with three transformers in it. Each having a 1:1 ratio. So you have 3 for the price of one.

Finally there's a dual 1:1 transformer for the 10Base2 (RJ45) But the fun doesn't stop there. There's also a small serial EEPROM. A 20 meg crystal. CMOS static RAM. Numourous SMD components to raid of need be. Not to mention these kinky RJ45 sockets with a pair of LEDS built in.

So for starters, I've used the triple 1:1 SMD transformer for an I/O for one device and a feed from another computer. It just so happens that 3 is exactly what's required for this run. To mount the SMD I used a piece of my custom matrix board. The pads are standard 10th inch spacing so I ground off the pads between the two end ones. Then I could solder the 4 end pins of the SMD down SMD style. And using Kynar wire I wired the pins to some posts.

The Posts are there to make it easier to solder some rather dificult to work with, 75ohm cable to. The other side of the transformer has a bit of ribbon (IDC) cable with some internal RCA connectors on it. These go into the back of the digital audio patch bay. A fancy name for an RCA patch panel but distinct because it's designed for handling digital audio and not analogu audio.

A small word about that. I find it difficult to refer to it as S/PDIF at this point. Nor is it really AES/EBU. It's kind of a mixture of the two. The reason for all this trouble is that S/PDIF from most devices is not floating. That is to say that the ground of the RCA is at chassis ground potential. Since in most cases, the analog audio is running paralell to the digial audio, this could have potentially noisy consequences should a ground loop develop between the two. So whilst it may be one or the other, I want to isolate it with pulse transformers in order to prevent that from happening.

The other reason is that it's just too hard to patch AES/EBU easily. Even if I could afford 16 SLR sockets and their associated patch cables. the thing would be fucking huge! And to do all this electronically at this point would be a total head fuck. Having said that, an electronic patcher is on the cards but is not an immediate problem. When I do get to that, I'll make it all balanced and isolated and it should kick much ass.

But for now though, I just want to see if I can get this network up and running.

There is one other major consideration. And this whole thing could be in vain. But this isn't entirely of my making. I was supposed to get a system that would allow me to conect all this stuff together asynchronously. It took Yamaha ages to get back to us on whether this AES/EBU podule for their digital mixer would do the job. They assured us it would. Unfortunately it doesn't. In fact it's pretty lame. Through circumstances beyond my control, there's fuck all I can do about that.

In order to make this work I really need to build an external 5 channel sample rate converter. Easier said than done but I'm still looking into it. In the mean time, the only way I'm going to be able to get anything working is to hope that the mixer can pump out word-clock and that all devices in the chain can lock to it. Unfortunately the AWE32 has no input so the real fun part starts right there. In that the AWE has to provide the master clock for the rest of the system. And that in it self is a scary as fuck thought.

But to that end I've built a proper isolated and cleaned up digital output for it. I'll further clock that through a TBS card and finally out to the desk. It's probably not well appreciated that although this introduces word delays through each system, it also cleans up any jitter in the clock. So with a bit of luck I might get away with it. Because if I don't I'm pretty much shit out of luck.

The board you see in these very fuzzy pictures will obviously need to be cut to size yet. It'll be mounted somewhere in the back of the patch bay and that will hopefully take care of that run.

For another sync problem, I'll use that rather special transformer mentioned first above. Because I'll need to split S/PDIF output in two in order to distribute sync. Many of these systems don't actually need a digital audio input feed other than this. So the complexity of all this shit has been blown right out of all propotions thanks to a dud product.

Finally in the midst of all this, I found a little mount thing and I was sick of losing my various rotary tools. So I've now got the first one clipped to the side of my bench lamp. I'll try and find something to bolt to the other side to hold the other such tools and keep the wiring neat and off-the-bench. Where I don't have to seach through all the clutter all the time.

And that's it for now.