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Issue 6, February 2010- Page 1                                                                                                      Previous Issues     
  

Let's drop in on Wily and look over his shoulder at his latest project....

Coin Operated Telescope

It was almost lunch time when Wily got a call from San Francisco.  A company there had been building and selling coin operated telescopes for many years.  Hundreds were used around the city and several hundred more were used elsewhere.  Wily listened as the caller described their telescope.  The company had been using a mechanical system to accept coins and activate the telescopeís clock mechanism.  The act of inserting a quarter into the slot and turning the dial opened an eyepiece shutter and started a clock.  Once the clock timed out, the shutter would snap close again. Their telescope used a mechanism very similar to those used in city parking meters.  This system served them well but the company felt it was time to switch to an electronic system.  Over the years, the cost of the mechanical system kept getting higher and higher.  They thought that by going to an electronic system,.....
con't page 7

Wily Widget,
the Lone Inventor
 with Gadget & Gizmo

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW is a....Tritium Power Generator

Energy harvesting seems to be the rage these days.  All kinds of devices are being used to capture a tiny bit of power from ambient light, heat, vibrations, sound and stray RF.  I often wondered if the beta type radiation of tritium gas could be used as an energy source, when no other form of energy can be harvested.  Small plastic vials containing a bit of gas and some visible light emitting phosphor have been used for many years....

story con't on page 6

Inventor Name Fraud
By: Dave Johnson  

Some 40 years ago, I was just junior engineer, fresh out of college.  I was working for a small company, which at the time was refurbishing big truck generators and starter motors.  (It was the only job I could find at the time.)  The owner of the company wanted to expand his business into other areas.  He liked the idea of a little factory, churning out some unique product.  He was very familiar with big trucks and construction vehicles.  He wanted something that could be installed onto those ....                    

  story con't on page 8

New Products 2009
New product announcements are made nearly every day.  I subscribe to many trade journals and each is filled with hundreds of flashy advertisements.  But, only a few of those product ads catch my eye.  Since Iím a circuit designer, I especially like those components that trigger many new application ideas in my mind.  Sometimes it is the smallest products that are the most useful.  I often discovered new products in surplus electronic catalogs.  The surplus companies often buy up stock that came from companies that went out of business.  Bad marketing or bad management may have killed a perfectly good product idea.  Their loss can be your gain if you can spot the bargain.                               
Long Range Motion Sensor
By: Dave Johnson
                                                                                                          
Some time ago I bought an infrared LED flood lamp.  As shown below, this thing has 140 infrared LEDs.  It is powered by a 24v DC supply and was originally designed as a nighttime security camera illuminator.  Black and white security cameras are most sensitive to infrared light, which is invisible to human eyes....

   story con't on page 4

Motor Speed Controller               
I got a call from one of my old clients.  A few years earlier I had designed a brush type motor controller for them, which was used in a medical product.  The motor was powered by two lithium batteries and had a simple dial type speed control knob, which could set the speed from about 10% to 100% full speed.  Once set, the controller would try to maintain that speed, even as the motor was loaded down.....

 story con't on page 3

Disappearing Letters on Key Boards

A while back my wife bought a keyboard.  She liked some of the features, which included many keys with specific commands for the Internet.  But, after just a few months of use the poorly painted letters on some of the keys started to fade.  Of course, as expected, this keyboard was made in China where poor quality is almost a requirement....

story con't on page 5    

Long Life Solar Powered LED Light
 

I got a call from a lighting company a while back.  They had a request from a construction company for an unusual solar powered LED light, which that was to be used on a new office building.  The LED light was to be mounted permanently into some fixtures on either side of some steps leading up the front door.....

story con't on page 2 


February 2010       Issue 6

Page 1 Back
Envelope
Circuit
Diagnosis
Experimenter's
Corner
Good Idea
gone Badly
New Products Rants &
Raves
What the World
needs Now
Wily Widget


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