A Ridiculous Way to Light an LED: Candle-power

If you have ever entertained yourself by reading comprehensive electronic-theory textbooks you’ll have seen references to technologies that sound really interesting but which you will rarely hold in your hand. They may be dead-ends that have been superseded by more recent innovations, or they may be technologies that have found uses but in other fields from those in which they originally showed promise. What if you could take these crazy parts and actually build something?

[Fedetft] has an interesting project that combines two of those intriguing textbook references, he’s created a thermopile that lights an LED through an inverter whose oscillator is a tunnel diode. Dig out the textbook.

If you’ve used a thermocouple thermometer or a semiconductor thermoelectric generator then you’ll have encountered the thermoelectric effect. Perhaps you’ve even operated a Peltier cooling element in this mode. When a circuit is made with two junctions between different types of conductor with a temperature difference between the two junctions, a current will flow in the circuit which is dependent on both the scale of the temperature difference and the properties of the conductors.

A thermopile is a collection of these thermoelectric junction circuits between metal conductors, arranged in series to increase the voltage. [Fedetft]’s thermopile uses chromel and alumel wires taken from a K-type thermocouple. He’s made six sets of junctions, and supported them with small pieces of mica sheet. Using the heat from a candle he found he could generate about 200mV with it, at about 3.7mW.

The RCA tunnel diode inverter circuit
The RCA tunnel diode inverter circuit

Such a tiny source of electricity would be of little use to light an LED directly, so he needed to build an inverter. And that’s where the tunnel diode comes in. Tunnel diodes have a negative-resistance region that can be used to amplify and oscillate at extremely high frequencies in extremely simple circuits, yet they’re not exactly a device you’d encounter very often in 2016. [Fedetft] has a Russian tunnel diode, and he’s used it with a toroidal transformer in an inverter circuit he found in an RCA tunnel diode manual from 1963. It’s a two-component Joule Thief. The RCA manual is a good read in itself for those curious about tunnel diodes.

The resulting circuit produces a 15kHz oscillation with 4.5v peaks, and has just enough power to light an LED.

While it might seem pointless to barely light an LED from a brightly lit candle, the important part of [Fedetft]’s project is to gain some understanding of two of those technological backwaters from the textbooks. And we applaud that.

It’s the mark of a truly esoteric technology that it features rarely on Hackaday, and neither of these two disappoint. We’ve only mentioned tunnel diode in passing when looking at diodes in general, and we’ve tended to use “thermopile” in another sense to refer to thermal imaging cameras.

Filed under: led hacks, parts

A Ridiculous Way to Light an LED: Candle-power

If you have ever entertained yourself by reading comprehensive electronic-theory textbooks you’ll have seen references to technologies that sound really interesting but which you will rarely hold in your hand. They may be dead-ends that have been superseded by more recent innovations, or they may be technologies that have found uses but in other fields from those in which they originally showed promise. What if you could take these crazy parts and actually build something?

[Fedetft] has an interesting project that combines two of those intriguing textbook references, he’s created a thermopile that lights an LED through an inverter whose oscillator is a tunnel diode. Dig out the textbook.

If you’ve used a thermocouple thermometer or a semiconductor thermoelectric generator then you’ll have encountered the thermoelectric effect. Perhaps you’ve even operated a Peltier cooling element in this mode. When a circuit is made with two junctions between different types of conductor with a temperature difference between the two junctions, a current will flow in the circuit which is dependent on both the scale of the temperature difference and the properties of the conductors.

A thermopile is a collection of these thermoelectric junction circuits between metal conductors, arranged in series to increase the voltage. [Fedetft]’s thermopile uses chromel and alumel wires taken from a K-type thermocouple. He’s made six sets of junctions, and supported them with small pieces of mica sheet. Using the heat from a candle he found he could generate about 200mV with it, at about 3.7mW.

The RCA tunnel diode inverter circuit
The RCA tunnel diode inverter circuit

Such a tiny source of electricity would be of little use to light an LED directly, so he needed to build an inverter. And that’s where the tunnel diode comes in. Tunnel diodes have a negative-resistance region that can be used to amplify and oscillate at extremely high frequencies in extremely simple circuits, yet they’re not exactly a device you’d encounter very often in 2016. [Fedetft] has a Russian tunnel diode, and he’s used it with a toroidal transformer in an inverter circuit he found in an RCA tunnel diode manual from 1963. It’s a two-component Joule Thief. The RCA manual is a good read in itself for those curious about tunnel diodes.

The resulting circuit produces a 15kHz oscillation with 4.5v peaks, and has just enough power to light an LED.

While it might seem pointless to barely light an LED from a brightly lit candle, the important part of [Fedetft]’s project is to gain some understanding of two of those technological backwaters from the textbooks. And we applaud that.

It’s the mark of a truly esoteric technology that it features rarely on Hackaday, and neither of these two disappoint. We’ve only mentioned tunnel diode in passing when looking at diodes in general, and we’ve tended to use “thermopile” in another sense to refer to thermal imaging cameras.

Filed under: led hacks, parts

An Excellent Primer for Sketching Mechanical Drawings

Mechanical drawings are an excellent way to convey design information, and while sophisticated 3D modeling is slowly taking over, with some companies accepting files over drawings, the mechanical drawing remains the written contract so to speak for complex parts with tolerances and non-modeled features.

But if you didn’t take a technical drawing class (typically Engineering Drawings 101), how do you learn? Well, if you have 15 minutes, this is an excellent video, which speaking from experience, covers the basics from the 101 course.

The lesson covers all the basics, from 2D projection, multi-view drawings, isometric projection, cross sectioning, linear dimensioning, basic tolerancing and alternate views.

Narrated and taught by [Chris Guichet], the reviews are in:

“Top notch video. Clear and informative, lots of good information here. (Source: 20+ year draftsman)”

– Roger Haley, YouTube

“Just skimmed through the three sections. I’m really impressed, you probably covered 50% of a GD&T course in 15 minutes.” – Yamugushi, Reddit

And speaking personally as a mechanical engineer, I’d have to agree.

[via r/engineering]

Filed under: how-to

An Excellent Primer for Sketching Mechanical Drawings

Mechanical drawings are an excellent way to convey design information, and while sophisticated 3D modeling is slowly taking over, with some companies accepting files over drawings, the mechanical drawing remains the written contract so to speak for complex parts with tolerances and non-modeled features.

But if you didn’t take a technical drawing class (typically Engineering Drawings 101), how do you learn? Well, if you have 15 minutes, this is an excellent video, which speaking from experience, covers the basics from the 101 course.

The lesson covers all the basics, from 2D projection, multi-view drawings, isometric projection, cross sectioning, linear dimensioning, basic tolerancing and alternate views.

Narrated and taught by [Chris Guichet], the reviews are in:

“Top notch video. Clear and informative, lots of good information here. (Source: 20+ year draftsman)”

– Roger Haley, YouTube

“Just skimmed through the three sections. I’m really impressed, you probably covered 50% of a GD&T course in 15 minutes.” – Yamugushi, Reddit

And speaking personally as a mechanical engineer, I’d have to agree.

[via r/engineering]

Filed under: how-to

Windows and Ubuntu: “Cygwin Can Suck It”

For the last ten years or so, computing has been divided into two camps: Windows, and everything else with a *nix suffix. Want a computing paradigm where everything is a file? That’s Linux. Want easy shell scripting that makes the command line easy? Linux. Want a baroque registry with random percent signs and dollar symbols? That would be Windows. Want to run the most professional productivity apps for design and engineering? Sadly, that’s Windows as well.

*nix runs nearly the entire Internet, the top 500 supercomputers in the world, and is the build environment for every non-Windows developer. Yet Windows is the most popular operating system. The divide between Windows and *nix isn’t so much a rivalry, as much as people who still spell Microsoft with a dollar sign would tell you. It’s just the way personal computing evolved by way of legacy apps and IT directors.

Now, this great divide in the world of computing is slowly closing. At Microsoft’s Build 2016 developer’s conference, Microsoft and Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, announced a partnership that will allow Ubuntu to run using native Windows libraries.

In short, this announcement means bash and the Linux command line is coming to Windows 10. The command line is great, but userland is where it’s at, and here this partnership really shines. Unlike Cygwin, the current way to get *nix stuff running in a Windows environment, Windows’ bash will allow unmodified Linux programs to run unmodified on Windows 10.

It is not an understatement to say this is the most important development in operating systems in the last 10 years. For the last decade, every developer who is not purely a Windows developer has picked up a MacBook for the sole reason of having BSD under the hood. If you’re looking for a reason Apple is popular with devs, it’s *nix under the hood. This announcement changes all of that.

Filed under: linux hacks, news

Windows and Ubuntu: “Cygwin Can Suck It”

For the last ten years or so, computing has been divided into two camps: Windows, and everything else with a *nix suffix. Want a computing paradigm where everything is a file? That’s Linux. Want easy shell scripting that makes the command line easy? Linux. Want a baroque registry with random percent signs and dollar symbols? That would be Windows. Want to run the most professional productivity apps for design and engineering? Sadly, that’s Windows as well.

*nix runs nearly the entire Internet, the top 500 supercomputers in the world, and is the build environment for every non-Windows developer. Yet Windows is the most popular operating system. The divide between Windows and *nix isn’t so much a rivalry, as much as people who still spell Microsoft with a dollar sign would tell you. It’s just the way personal computing evolved by way of legacy apps and IT directors.

Now, this great divide in the world of computing is slowly closing. At Microsoft’s Build 2016 developer’s conference, Microsoft and Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, announced a partnership that will allow Ubuntu to run using native Windows libraries.

In short, this announcement means bash and the Linux command line is coming to Windows 10. The command line is great, but userland is where it’s at, and here this partnership really shines. Unlike Cygwin, the current way to get *nix stuff running in a Windows environment, Windows’ bash will allow unmodified Linux programs to run unmodified on Windows 10.

It is not an understatement to say this is the most important development in operating systems in the last 10 years. For the last decade, every developer who is not purely a Windows developer has picked up a MacBook for the sole reason of having BSD under the hood. If you’re looking for a reason Apple is popular with devs, it’s *nix under the hood. This announcement changes all of that.

Filed under: linux hacks, news

Nintendo denies firing Alison Rapp due to pressure from a hate group

The Mario company claims it is just following its internal policy.


Earlier today, former Nintendo employee Alison Rapp revealed that Nintendo had “terminated” her employment. Now, the company is elaborating on why they came to that decision.

Rapp, a member of Nintendo of America’s Treehouse localization team, no longer works for the company as of today, and the publisher says that’s because she held a second job in conflict with Nintendo’s corporate culture. She has spent the last several months fending off a targeted attack from a hate group that congregates on forums like 4Chan and Reddit. In her tweets today, Rapp suggested that Nintendo decided to part ways with her because of these attacks.

Nintendo is now firmly claiming that its decision had nothing to do with
the hate group that was harassing her. The company provided GamesBeat with the following statement.

“Alison Rapp was terminated due to violation of an internal company policy involving holding a second job in conflict with Nintendo’s corporate culture. Though Ms. Rapp’s termination follows her being the subject of criticism from certain groups via social media several weeks ago, the two are absolutely not related. Nintendo is a company committed to fostering inclusion and diversity in both our company and the broader video game industry and we firmly reject the harassment of individuals based on gender, race, or personal beliefs. We wish Ms. Rapp well in her future endeavors.”

We’ve reached out to Rapp for a response to Nintendo’s comment. Additionally, we’re hoping to get Nintendo to elaborate on what aspects of its corporate culture it is claiming Rapp violated.

More information:

Nintendo denies firing Alison Rapp due to pressure from a hate group

The Mario company claims it is just following its internal policy.


Earlier today, former Nintendo employee Alison Rapp revealed that Nintendo had “terminated” her employment. Now, the company is elaborating on why they came to that decision.

Rapp, a member of Nintendo of America’s Treehouse localization team, no longer works for the company as of today, and the publisher says that’s because she held a second job in conflict with Nintendo’s corporate culture. She has spent the last several months fending off a targeted attack from a hate group that congregates on forums like 4Chan and Reddit. In her tweets today, Rapp suggested that Nintendo decided to part ways with her because of these attacks.

Nintendo is now firmly claiming that its decision had nothing to do with
the hate group that was harassing her. The company provided GamesBeat with the following statement.

“Alison Rapp was terminated due to violation of an internal company policy involving holding a second job in conflict with Nintendo’s corporate culture. Though Ms. Rapp’s termination follows her being the subject of criticism from certain groups via social media several weeks ago, the two are absolutely not related. Nintendo is a company committed to fostering inclusion and diversity in both our company and the broader video game industry and we firmly reject the harassment of individuals based on gender, race, or personal beliefs. We wish Ms. Rapp well in her future endeavors.”

We’ve reached out to Rapp for a response to Nintendo’s comment. Additionally, we’re hoping to get Nintendo to elaborate on what aspects of its corporate culture it is claiming Rapp violated.

More information:

Game engine maker Unity Technologies reportedly raising money at $1.5B valuation

At the GamesBeat Summit in Sausalito, California, Unity CEO John Riccitiello spoke about making game design as easy and accessible as possible.


Game
engine maker Unity Technologies is raising money at a $1.5 billion valuation, according to a report by Bloomberg.

No deal is confirmed yet, and a spokesman for San Francisco-based Unity declined to comment. But the deal activity — which one source independently confirmed to GamesBeat — suggests that the company is doing something to raise a big pile of cash.

Unity’s goal is to democratize game development, making tools that enable small or large game developers to create outstanding 3D games across a number of different platforms, from the iPhone to the PC. Unity has more than 5.5 million registered users for its game engine. Games built with Unity account for 30 percent of the top 1000 grossing
games and reach more than 1.5 billion devices.

“2015 was a big year, and 2016 will be an even bigger year,” said John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity, at an event at the recent Game Developers Conference today in San Francisco.

We can ask Riccitiello about this when he comes to speak at our GamesBeat Summit event on May 3-4 in Sausalito, Calif. But we’ll see if he can answer before that time.

Bloomberg said that Unity is expected to close its fundraising round within weeks. Unity is an even hotter commodity this year as its tools are being used to make a wave of new games that work with virtual reality headsets such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift.

Game engine maker Unity Technologies reportedly raising money at $1.5B valuation

At the GamesBeat Summit in Sausalito, California, Unity CEO John Riccitiello spoke about making game design as easy and accessible as possible.


Game
engine maker Unity Technologies is raising money at a $1.5 billion valuation, according to a report by Bloomberg.

No deal is confirmed yet, and a spokesman for San Francisco-based Unity declined to comment. But the deal activity — which one source independently confirmed to GamesBeat — suggests that the company is doing something to raise a big pile of cash.

Unity’s goal is to democratize game development, making tools that enable small or large game developers to create outstanding 3D games across a number of different platforms, from the iPhone to the PC. Unity has more than 5.5 million registered users for its game engine. Games built with Unity account for 30 percent of the top 1000 grossing
games and reach more than 1.5 billion devices.

“2015 was a big year, and 2016 will be an even bigger year,” said John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity, at an event at the recent Game Developers Conference today in San Francisco.

We can ask Riccitiello about this when he comes to speak at our GamesBeat Summit event on May 3-4 in Sausalito, Calif. But we’ll see if he can answer before that time.

Bloomberg said that Unity is expected to close its fundraising round within weeks. Unity is an even hotter commodity this year as its tools are being used to make a wave of new games that work with virtual reality headsets such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift.