Not that I give a shit.
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Please note: For leagal reasons it should be assumed that everything on this site is said in jest and is therefor not the truth. But then again, it just might be.

      How about donating your old computer and consumer electronic junk to AEK instead of dumping it in land fill? Or to anyone else in your local area who could use the parts. Just because the item is no longer useful to you doesn't mean it should immediately become another toxic time bomb in the environment. And it could help people with more brains than money.
      We use junk to perform all manner of experiments, repairs and even support a number of local impoverished people who would otherwise not have computers and other gear to use. We develop projects to encourage the re-use of gear rather than wasting it.
      We don't make money from it and we're not asking for money. Just the electronic junk you'd otherwise throw away. Working or not.
       Every year people dump millions of tons of electronic junk into land fill where toxic chemicals in the components leech into the soil and cause massive environmental damage. The true extent of which we won't know for hundreds of years. Not only is it a waste of resources but an environmental disaster in the making. And yet most of this junk can be reused and re-purposed.
       If just some of that junk was given to us and people like us, it would not only help the environment and save resources, but would empower us to research and provide.
      Things that are useful include:
Old computer parts and peripherals.
Old Lap tops Any age, dead or alive. even with broken screens.
Old consumer audio/video gear. Any voltage or standard. dead or alive
Old Pro gear. (audio/video/unsure)
Switch room or networking junk
Anything weird, esoteric, unusual or inspiring

      About the only thing that isn't useful to us are old transistor radios. Because the component voltages are generally too low in rating. But if you'd like to send us anything else, please use the contact page linked below.
      At the moment our particular interest is in Switch Mode power Supply (SMPS) technology such as old computer power supplies (read the blog)
      Thanks very much in advance.

Daily Work Bench

Click above to enlarge

I'm working on a revised method of automatically snapping the work bench each day. I have a web cam. Now all I have to do is figure out how to automate it and then get it put on the web site each day

Click this.

A reasonable shot of MWOWM. The alien technology super computer. AEK is the only place outside of Dobbstown to have one. We built it ourselves from plans given to us by the Xists themselves. It is not as big or powerful as the one in Dobbstown but alien parts are a bit difficult to find down here.


I would like to thank these people without whom AEK could not function. Over the years these people have supported AEK and continue to do so with selfless acts of kindness and support.
  • Eric Barbour (METASONIX) Synth, Electronics and Vacuum Tube technology.
  • Andrew Critchley Our very own Bob the builder.
  • Ben Hughes Computer systems. A true BOFH.
  • Doktor Oscar (The Ratcave) Music, spiritual matters and head alingments.
  • Paul Perry (FROSTWAVE) Synth, electronics and systems.
  • Roman Sowa Synth electronics and manfacturing.
AEK could also not function with out the help and generosity of the SynthDIY group. A consortium of the world's best electronic muisic instrument craftspersons. Of which I am humbled to be a member. (Archives and links)




with Batz Goodfortune
remnants of old wank where the sead of Batz was once spilt in vain.

DATE: Sep 2003 20031106
SUBJECT: to change without notice

Letter from a dying planet

I hate everything but I'll love you to death. I am evil. Friendly but evil. My mission in life is to fuck everyone on the planet. I am not human. Ever had sex with a yeti? Don't knock it till you've tried it. No-one can claim I don't give a shit. I've got a bucket of shit right here and you're welcome to have some. You can put it on your garden or use it to make your penis grow. Hey whatta ya think is in those pills they SPAM about anyway? That's right. Yeti shit.

I don't give a fuck about the RIAA or MPAA. Or any of those people who represent the commercial sewers. If I wanted to listen to shit I'd stick a turd in my ear. Gimme your home grown and meaningful electro-funk tek-shit. Gimme the porn you recorded in your bedroom late at night. Gimme the pictures you took of interesting stuff. You're weird science. Anything but that Hollywood commercial vomit. I don't even want it if it's free.

If you really wanna piss off the RIAA, don't listen to their shit. Don't buy it. It's not like it's your only choice. Don't even recognize it as worthy of taking a dump on. Support real artists. Not some assholes in suits. But I don't give a fuck what you do. You're human. You probably can't help it.

Nature... The animal kingdom if you like. Life on Earth. It had to evolve a semi intelligent species. Probably all planets that evolve life do. Humans, particularly religious humans, ask what is their purpose in life. Why are we here? Intelligence is the logical extension of life's evolution. It's purpose is to protect and extend the range of all the species of a planet. To protect against threats which extend beyond the immediate environment. Which cannot be adapted for over a few hundred millennia though physical evolution alone. Threats such as the Sun's continual expansion. Or more immediate threats such as planet killing asteroids. That's why humans have evolved. That's what the intelligence is all about. That's why we're here. We're here for the benefit of all living things on the planet.

Doin' a good job aren't we?

For some reason I get this mental picture of a pride of lions in Africa. Eeking out a bare existence in some of the Earth's last habitable environment for them, and thinking. "We certainly picked the wrong fucking species there. Man did we blow it. We should have just eaten the fuckers while we had the chance. At least they wouldn't have raped our habitats before we got wiped out."

I had a program for BOSH98 that was a kind of process manager. This is built into WINK and you can just kill a process under linux but you need a 3rd party APP to do it in BOSH. It calls up a list of running processes. You can change attributes of these processes like registering them as a service etc. But you have two main choices. You can kill a task or restart it. This is useful for when a process is stuck or crashed. if it won't restart of it's own, this thing will force it out of memory no matter what, kill it and restart it.

I wish I could do that with my life. Just restart the fucking thing. And preferably restart it on a whole new planet.

I don't want to do what typical humans do. I don't want a typical human relationship. I don't want to live how typical humans live. And I don't want to be surrounded by typical humans. And unfortunately, on this planet, it seems there's only one way out of that. And even if there was a kind faerie who came and rescued me, I couldn't escape the nightmares and flashbacks accumulated in the decades of living on this shit ball.

I think I reached a point of anxiety last night where I realized I no longer cared what humans do. I don't care about Al Franken and Bill O'Reilly. I don't care what Dubbya does. I don't care what war the Christians and the Muslims wage. I don't care if terrorists plant a bomb up my ass and kill me. I don't care if some nazi-esk police force drag me off in the night never to be seen again. It doesn't matter. These are the people who would accuse me of being stereotypical. They'd claim they had my number even though they don't know my name. They don't know me but they think they know it all so they think they know my kind. Yet they're way more typical than I could ever be. Dubbya and all those assholes are going to do what they've always done. Howard is the same. The Left wing is going to fart around like they've always done. Humans are going to do what they've always done. They're going to fight their wars and make themselves rich and oppress the poor and the weak and the stupid. And all I really need to know is how to survive without being attacked by them. And be the best parasite I can. Since that's all there is left to be.

All of these people are like one of those comedy shows that really only have one joke. Usually about a french guy called Weewee who's always going to the toilet and saying "Qui". And fond of telling everyone how he's searching for "A Penis." Till the baffled walk-on characters realize he's actually saying "Happiness" in an outrageous french accent. The joke has worn thin to the point of being threadbare. It's the same joke they've been using for at least two thousand years and it wasn't that funny back then either.

And like any failing comedy, the only way they're going to improve ratings now is by killing off a few of the stars of the show in spectacular fashion. 9/11 had me hooked on the show for a while but the re-make of the gulf war really wasn't as good as the original.

To be honest. Half the time I don't know who or what you're talking about with these clowns and generally don't care. It's like they're all clones of each other. Like someone higher up in the hierarchy of each country says. "We have a vacancy for a Rush Limbaugh we need to fill. So we have our Allan Jones and John Laws. Buggered if I know who they've got in England but you can be sure they've got one. At least one. Bush is just a puppet like every other world leader. A willing puppet. A child who's having way too much fun playing with all the toys in the toy shop. Hell, he don't care how many people they kill or lives they ruin just as long as they make it go BANG one more time.

The Muslims and the Christians and all the other religious bigots are either insane, too scared about the afterlife or just peddling a hidden agenda. Or all of the above. Just keep 'em the fuck away from me.

I'm not making any assertions on the merits of laughing at this world class entertainment but right here and right now, it all seems completely pointless. And I can't be the only one that finds these players irrelevant at the core of my being. 90% of humans seem to run round and may even proclaim to be good Christians or believe in this holy war that Shrub is waging. But they all go right on doing whatever it is they were doing even if it's wrong on some level. Or on every level.

The whole world is pointless. There's only you. And you're a trillion miles away.


The SYNTHESIST bLOGs (Illustrated)
BLOG archives here

20040724: Gimme all your lovin' and all your switchmodes too:
New Projects
New research

Yes I know it's been a while but I've been busy. Well. That's when I haven't been comatosed.
Y-ellow Mutants.
      I've bought a new oscilloscope with many thanks to Eric (Metasonix) for facilitating that one. Now I can actually see inside things again. I can't thank Eric enough for the tireless effort he put in and the donation of probes and other wonderful bits he's given me to make the whole thing a going concern.

      Subsequently I've been delving the mysteries of switch mode power supplies and PWM (Pulse width Modulation) in general. And before I go any further on that, if anyone would like to donate their old computer power supplies, working or not, I'd be most grateful. In the past few months these things have gone from a mysterious grey box to a vast wealth of fascination.

      To that end there are two new projects (quasi projects for they do not have PCBs with them.) Published in [Bread and Circuits.] One is an bench audio test set and the other is a PWM/Switchmode mini-drill speed controller. Both built almost entirely from junk. As recycled as possible.

      The PWM drill speed controller is a dual channel device based on a linear pre-regulated supply but a switch-mode speed controller. The reason is that PWM allows for much higher torque at low speeds. This box also controls a bunch of bench fans with a view to extracting soldering fumes out of my face. If you ever wanted to investigate SMPS technology, this might be a good place to start and a lot of my research is noted.

      Because it's designed to be built out of what ever you have laying round (apart from the SMPS chips themselves) there is no PCB layout. I used some darlingtons with a pretty strange package arrangement. You might chose differently. But if there's enough call for it, I might just consider doing a PCB layout for it. But I figure it's more of an idea thing that might spawn the imaginative process. And of course, you don't have to control just drills with it. You could quite easily use it as a DC lamp dimmer or other motor controller.

      In it's current form it can deliver up to about 3 amps per channel depending on the base PSU. But you can adjust that to suit and also the max/min voltage range delivered to the device. The chips used are quite common SMPS chips and there's nothing particularly tricky about them. Except that I use them in a somewhat unconventional way. So this may be of interest in it self.

      Quite a lot more research went into these things than one would normally wish to spend on a hole drilling implement. It's predecessor wasn't much more than a pot and a rectifier. But I can say that these little DC drill now have one hell of a kick in them using this system. Even at low speeds. And I can even grind and mill with one of them. It was worth the effort.

Then we take New Noise:
      The Audio test set I'm not quite as happy with. In that the oscillator isn't quite as flexible as I would have liked. But I'd spent so much time (or so it seemd) on it that I thought it would be better to at least get something happening that I can use and worry about the cool bits later. So it has no sweep arrangement.

      It does have a useful VU meter section using a pair of mechanical VU meters augmented with a series of 3 peak LEDs. This was an adaption of something Rod Elliott of ESP fame published on his web site some time back. But I had to modify it for more gain and to add the Peak LEDs.

      The amplifier (monitor) section was ripped out of an old portable cassette radio. It saved me the bother of having to actually build an amp, which would be way too boring, and it came with it's own front panel. Which presented some interesting mechanical challenges.

      Half way through that part of the project I decided that it would be far better to mount the whole thing inside an old cassette deck. One of many I'd collected for just such a purpose. So with some cutting, grinding, painting and general remodeling, I managed to marry the two different devices together as one. In the pictures it kinda looks like a cassette deck but then gain it looks nothing like one. How many cassette decks have BNCs and RJ45s on them?

      I used an RJ45 to connect the test set to it's remote box. The idea here was to have a little box with some banana sockets and terminals etc, which would bring the action closer to a project under development if necessary. The BNCs proved access to scope probes and other arrangements if I want to use it like that. I can even directly BNC it into the scope if necessary.

      I've also provided a square wave output and a pulse out for triggering logic circuits if need be. When working in slow mode, A little LED flashes whenever the square wave is at the top of it's travel so you can see if it's actually pulsing. Apart from this pulse output, all the other I/Os are isolated by little 600 ohm audio transformers. The impedance of the stereo amp inputs are raised a little with resistors so that it doesn't load a circuit under test quite so much.

      It's not perfect but it's convenient. And it might be of some interest for a number of reasons. None the least of which is that I have used recycled junk to make something really useful. As I usually do.

      The current project however, is an investigation of old computer switchmode Power supplies. I needed a new bench supply and wondered if I could do it using SMPS technology instead of linear. Normally one uses linear for such things but they're big and bulky and lets face it, they're just no fun. It's a bit like building mixing desks one channel at a time. You might design the best mixer in the world but after the second channel it's all just slave labor.

      Just a warning though. Switch modes are astonishingly dangerous to mess with. After line filtering, they directly rectify the main voltage at mains potential. So if you thought 240 volts AC was nasty, try 340volts odd, of DC. At least with AC you stand a chance of letting go at the zero crossing point. DC never gives up. once it grabs you that's it. And 340 volts WILL GRAB YOU.

      Incidentally, if you're wondering how you get get 340 volts DC from 240volts AC, it's because the mains voltage is an RMS value. The simple way to work out the actual rectified voltage is to multiply the AC voltage by 1.414. This actually makes it 339.36volts DC. But this is a handy number to remember for working out what your linear supply will give you after rectification.

      But you knew that.

      So floating round on the primary side of an SMPS is a really nasty set of conditions you don't wanna mess with. And unless you're absolutely confident and totally awake and aware, don't mess with this stuff. And having an ISOLATED mains supply through an ISOLATION TRANSFORMER is mandatory at the very least. An RCD (Residual current Device) is also a really good idea. But it must be on the isolated side of the isolation transformer. Just having one in your mains house fuse box isn't going to be of any help because the isolation transformer won't trigger it.

      So to cut a long story short. I pulled apart an old AT PC power supply and started prodding around It was pretty fascinating and I've mapped out the relevant parts of the circuit now. But it only took me about an hour of scrutiny to figure out how to make the PSU variable. It was then I realized that if it was variable, then the capacitors would probably burst at all the extra voltage. So they had to be changed immediately. So far I've isolated it down, mapped it out and finally worked out how it does it's current sensing. With any luck, tonight I'll have a proof of concept.

      The problem here is that each switch mode is going to be a little different. These Power designers are sneaky bastards and know how to cut corners with the magnetics. Very clever but it also means that each designer has their favorite way of doing things and the magnetics are always going to be largely a mystery. So it helps to do lots of research. And it also means that publishing any project along these lines is going to be difficult. But I'll endeavor to see what I can do that might help as a guide to anyone who wants to risk their lives playing with this shit.

      In the mean time, Send me all your junk. Don't send it to land fill and there will be more of this crap to follow.

Be absolutely Icebox.