Welcome to the N1IR Electronics Website. Totally off the cuff, one take, unrehearsed video projects for anyone interested in amateur radio, electronic design, makers, hardware hackers and science.

Get off your duff and build something!
Training the hand and mind since 1982.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


Here is a spin off of the old 80's game simon. This one uses a PIC16F84 some donated switches with internal LED's, donated speakers and donated resistors. Thanks Sager Electronics, Massa Technology and Dynisco.

We have been using this project for many years but discontinued it because of cost, but thanks for our wonderful component donations we were able to start building this project again.

The original code and design was from Andrew D. Vassallo
at http://www.piclist.com/techref/piclist/simon/index.htm?key=PIClist
here is the HEX code I compiled with MPASM
ASM CODE (Originality from Andrew D. Vassallo)

Programmed the chip using our new Wellon VP-590 universal programmer firmware version 16, yes version 16! When I got it out of the box this morning it only had version 4 and was bricking my ATMEGA328P's but version 16 solved this. Works with Windows 8 just use the 64 bit Wellon software on the web site.

SCHEMATIC (gEDA) Click here to download


SIMON PCB (TRAXMAKER) Click here to download  Yep still using traxmaker / circuitmaker 2000 (AKA Protel, AKA Cadence, AKA Altium)
running on Ubuntu 12 with Wine. If it is not broke don't fix it, will run on muti-platform Windows 95 to 8 and Linux. This is the great, great grandfather of the current Altium Designer.

IT'S WORKING!!! (Hard Mode)


We used the T-Tech 5000 PCB Mill


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

KB1EVY Satellite Weather Station

 "Don't Turn It On - Take It Apart" Quote: Dave Jones @ eevblog.com

Thanks to John, KB1EVY for donating a Weather Station that otherwise would of ended up in the trash. With my Seniors we did a reverse engineering of both receivers made around the late 90's date stamp on the IC's. Lesson on PLL's, Linear Supplies , Tuner module, shielding techniques, down converting, geo sync satellites, RF microwave spectrum, Intermediate Frequency, SA602 mixer, etc.

There were even a pressure sensor (0-5V Output) and humidity sensor (0-1V Output) we got up and running with the arduino. The pressure sensor was interesting because it had an ICL7660 CMOS Voltage Converter that took the +12VDC and switched it to -12VDC to power the opamp. Basically with one supply the chip converted it in to a bipolar supply, of course with some current limits. But an interesting way to power an opamp that needed +/- voltage


 Humidity sensor
  Humidity sensor

 Honeywell Pressure Sensor  0 to 15 PSI

 Humidity sensor with Arduino / LCD in background

Yep everything was put back together for the next group :) 

AM over Fiber Optics

Here is a recent experiment I had my 12th Grade class do. It a simple circuit that modulated audio over fiber optic cable. We learned about wavelengths in the infra-red spectrum, how to bias and modulate an LED (AM Mode), how bias the photo transistor and pull the audio off and of course micro-bending attenuation

Parts List:
IF-D92 Digi-Key Part Number FB121-ND
IF-E91A Digi-Key Part Number FB118-ND
IF-C-E1000 Digi-Key Part Number FB140-1-ND
(2) 10K resistor
(2) 1-22 uF Cap (not critical) more bass with the larger cap
(3) 9V Batteries
3.5mm Plug
Audio amp or amplifier PC Speakers
Dollar Store Radio
8 Ohm Resistor (Dollar Store Radio only)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Troubleshooting a Two Zone Furnace controller

AprilAir Two Zone controller I found bad, shorted out call for heat to the furnace, furnace check out okay. Both zone controller check out okay. Did some poking around the Two Zone controller and it came back to life and worked for a bit then stopped, Cold solder joint? ESD? I will never know.....it was replaced by another technician. Oh well, I hate this "system" troubleshooting crap.....replacing the whole board for one bad part, I miss going down to the component level sometimes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Just Learned Voki

Fiber Optic Lab

In this activity you will construct a simple light guide using water and a length of vinyl tubing. The water and vinyl tubing will act as the core, while air will act as the cladding or boundary layer. The experiment will demonstrate how effective even a simple light guide is for coupling energy from a light source to a detector. You will also observe how the light guide can carry light “around a corner” with relatively little loss compared to when light travels in a straight line.

Works good, lots of loss, tomorrow we will use real fiber

South Shore Vocational Technical School receives 120K in total grant funds


Hanover — Imagine being able to take a scanning gun, run it over something and then watch as a printer made a duplicate of the original item out of plastic.

Thanks to a recent grant awarded to South Shore Vocational Technical School (SSVT), the technology to do this and more will soon be available in the school’s electronics workshop. 

“To me, this stuff is like the Jetsons,” said Vincent Barba, electronics and engineering teacher at SSVT. 

Barba said the grant would enhance the school’s engineering curriculum by giving the school $119,925 to spend on new equipment: money that has already been earmarked. 

“The school will be buying a state-of-the-art PC Board Prototype Milling Machine that will allow the construction of PC boards and custom flexible circuits using surface mount technologies,” he said. Essentially, the machine will give the students the opportunity to build circuit boards on bendable surfaces, expanding the limits for technological construction in the classroom. 

The limits are already stretched pretty thin. Students work on machines most people think of as being located in a factory far far away. Rachel Travers holds up her IPOD, which she plugs into a charger she constructed. Next to her is Kim Cordeiro, who has what essentially looks like a stick of dynamite but, in actuality, is a PC line tester. This machine has a small light which glows if the tester touches anything with a charge running through it. 

“The technology we will get is kind of cutting edge,” Barba said. “They have similar technology in labs at MIT.” 

The other major new piece of equipment the school will purchase with the grant money is a three-dimensional laser scanner. The machine will be able to scan something and transfer the data to the 3D printer the school already has. Barba explained this kind of technology is used commonly to create a properly fitting prosthetic cup to fit over the end of the limb after someone has lost an arm or leg. 

The new equipment will fit into the theme Barba has tried to create for his students. He said he encourages his students to work hard, but to remember that it is really only work if the students don’t enjoy what they are doing. 

The idea for the grant was first developed last year. The idea started with the school’s Superintendent-Director Tom Hickey and Deborah Collins, the school’s vocational director. 

“Mr. Barba picked it up and ran with it,” Collins said. “The grant will head students into a well-versed curriculum.” 

The grant from the state was for $100,000. A private company, Dynisco, decided to add to it with an additional $20,000 to support the school and, after the two major purchases, the leftover cash will supply the school with much more new equipment.
“The grant money will also pay for considerable robotics kits and parts, 3D software, 3D printer consumables, Notebook Computers and high-end desktop computers used to render 3D images and models,” Barba said. “Lastly, money will be used to buy hydraulic and pneumatic test stations that will support the teaching of overall engineering curriculums.” 

Collins said the school will most likely purchase the equipment and later be reimbursed by the grant and it is likely the new items will appear at SSVT in six months or so. Barba said the upgrades would help prevent SSVT from falling behind. 

“The new [equipment] allows the students to do a lot more,” he said. “We will be totally up-to-date technologically.” 

Barba said he thinks it is important to eliminate the stigma that a “Vo-Tech” education equates to “slow-tech.” He said 90 percent of electronics and engineering students continue onto higher education and, in five years of testing, no students from the school have failed the MCAS exams. 

“One recent graduate returned last year to speak at graduation. He graduated from SSVT, then graduated from Worcester Polytech Institute and, after meeting a Navy admiral, was accepted into the Navy’s nuclear power officers program in 2012,” he said. “If that is not the opposite of “Slow Tech,” then I do not know what is.”

 Barba reaches into the 3D printer already at the school. The machine can make a duplicate of an item over the course of a few hours. With the new grant money, the school will also have a scanner, which will take much of the preparation time out of process.

 Juniors Rachel Travers and Kim Cordeiro show the machines they constructed in the electronics workshop at South Shore Vocational Technical School. Travers has a battery charger that works on an IPOD and Cordeiro has an AC line tester, which lights up when touching something currently being powered by electricity.

 Vincent Barba hangs the large picture of an astronaut on the wall to show students how far they can go in the field they are learning. He has the large “fun” sign to remind the students they should enjoy the classroom.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

LCD from China

Just got 40 of these babies on ebay for $3.00 ea free shipping got here in 7 working days from Shenzing, right before Chinese New Years. Right in time for the new freshmen projects, we get our new EX freshmen in 2 weeks. Our normal supplier are 4 times more cost about $15.00 ea plus shipping and take about 4-6 weeks when we place the order.

Friday, January 11, 2013

3D rendering of the basement

Hi All been working on redoing the basement here are some 3D renderings, I'm using Sweet Home 3D on Ubuntu 12