Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chicago Southland Maker Faire 2015

The Chicago Southland Maker Faire was held just this past weekend.  The weather was perfect and there was a great turnout for the event (both in terms of exhibitors and attendees).

My Tesla Coil Exhibit

Cool Star Wars cosplay

Worshop88 Pen Plotter

Virtual Sandbox

Electric Racers

Overview shot from back

SouthWorks Maker Lab Network

 To see more info on  classes, etc. check out SouthWorks Maker Lab Network
Telescopes from Spacelab

Chicago Southside Maker Faire 2015

In an attempt to catch up from the past month or so, I'm posting a good number of posts over a short period of time,  For the first - Chicago Southside Maker Faire was held just a few weekends ago (Aug. 8th) at Ford City Mall.  Just like last year, I got lost on my way there (due to me and Goggle Maps).  My daughter and I did arrive before noon but only had about an hour to check out everything (not enough time) since I had to get her to a party for her school

Anyway, here are some photo's of the event:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Project SSTC1 - I've got Sound!!!

After reviewing datasheets, yet again, for the MOSFET drivers I'm using (TI's UCC37321/2) and re-reading some sources on interrupters for SSTCs and methods of audio modulation with SSTC's I finally had that Ah-Ha moment.

I've made Plasma Speakers / Singing Arc's just after building my first Spark Gap Tesla Coils.  These, generally took an audio signal (normally fed to a speaker or earphones) and put it through the driver for a Television Flyback Transformer.  The only method I used involved amplitude modulation (AM-like radio) and SSTC audio drivers seem more focused on frequency and pulse width modulation.  Correction, after re-reading datasheets for the LM555 timer chip I learned that pin 5 actually modulates the frequency (some descriptions I had read stated, incorrectly, that pin 5 adjusted the output amplitude.  I finally understood how you combine frequency and pulse width modulation (it's actually pretty simple and involves pretty simple calculations).

I'll get more into the difference later, for now here's the video:

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Finally, my SSTC (Solid State Tesla Coil) is working.  My Driver Board and Interrupter Board have been working fine all along it has just been my high power side - the half H-Bridge board.  I have burned out many MOSFET's trying to get the Half H-Bridge Board to work, my last test (less than a week ago) burned out 2 MOSFET's - I think it may have been due to overheating.

After re-designing my H-Bridge Board again and adding heat sinks (cut from an old CPU chip heat sink) and a cooling fan - it all finally works - no overheating, no magic smoke being released just nice plasma from the coil.