Projects that I want to build

Below are a list of various projects that over the next while I would like to design an build…

Retro Computer

As a 70’s/80’s kid, I grew up during the take off of domestic home computers. Back in the day I did design a Z80 based computer that I used to program EPROMs. I think that it would be great to design something along the same lines that will work in today’s world, just to show that although something is old it can see serve a good use.

Data Loggers

As I have mentioned in this blog, I used to support  a range of data loggers when I was working in the late 80’s. In the early 90’s, I designed a couple of data loggers, which while they worked well, had a few shortcomings that I always wanted to fix. From a practical point of view, I was thinking of using some of the best components (that are affordable) to design a new range of data loggers for the modern world.

Yes, you can make a data logger from an Arduino or Raspberry PI, but how long will it run off a battery and will it operate in wide temperate ranges (summer to winter and back again)? What happens when there are power failures? These are a couple of the questions that are floating around my head, based on practical experiences in the old days.

One thought was to make two versions of the basic logger; one that will be fully open source and the other that will be closed and for commercial use.

Variable Frequency Drive – Test Rig

From time to time, I repair VFD controllers for a couple of customers. One problem that always arises is the full testing of the VFD controllers. It’s fairly easy to perform electrical tests on the bench, but sometimes it would be handy to perform a full range of tests on the VFD controllers.

One problem that arises with this project is the electrical isolation of the test rig from the mains’ supply in the workshop. This leads me on to another project that I want to build which is an isolation transformer.

Bench Isolation Transformer

This is one piece of kit that I have always been looking for. I’ve lost count of the number of times I tripped a circuit breaker when testing equipment.  I want to have an isolation transformer that works for 240vAC in and out, with the ability to set different current trip points for both the supply and load, with meters on the output stage.

Wireless Tank Level Monitor

Yes I know I can go off and purchase a wireless tank level system, but where is the fun in that! It would be handy to have an indicator in the kitchen, that will tell us how full the oil tank is, so we know when to order more. The oil tank does’t have any form of indicator fitted, externally or internally, so I have to go for a non invasive method of measurement. This leaves IR (Infra-Red) or Ultrasonics as two options available to me. Pressure transducers are not a viable option as they would need to be certified for use in oil and also explosion proof. From selling such sensors back in the 80’s and 90’s these tend to be very very expensive. Again, I would like to keep costs down.