Belying my education as an electrical engineer, I have done little in the way of my own commercial electronic circuit design, be it analog or digital. (While I was at Cadence Design Systems I did have quite a bit of exposure to some cool designs, though.) I do tend to tinker quite often with various electronic projects. Over the years, I’ve done some strange and bizarre things:
My biggest project at present is restoring and repairing my Octave-Plateau Electronics International (OEI) Voyetra Eight analog synthesizer and its VPK-5 5-octave controller keyboard. It’s such a big project, it has its own website.
PC Engine Greenhouse
Probably my most famous and ambitious project, the PC Engine Greenhouse is/was an attempt to provide a programmable “brick” to help develop new games for your PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 / Duo.
The Greenhouse (as it affectionately came to be known) started off as a hack of the standard Xilinx XC4000 protoboard. This version had 2 megabits of battery-backed SRAM, and was capable of playing back basic trial images (such as the CD-ROM System 2.0 card.) It also had a HuCard slot for reading images as well.
The Greenhouse v2 was a project to manufacture 25 of the Greenhouse units with some improved specs, including 8 megabits of SRAM, a faster parallel port interface, a self-contained battery system, and would be based off of the less-expensive XC3000 chip. 18 months of on-and-off development time went into the Greenhouse v2, including a custom PCB and lots of hardware hacking. In the end, I was unable to devote any more time to the project, and it has been put on indefinite hold. Those individuals who contributed a small sum towards its creation were fully reimbursed. In the event that I’m able to locate time to complete its development (which will require etching a new set of double-sided PCBs), an announcement will be posted here as well as on the Turbo Mailing List.
Various & Sundry Projects
Over the years, I’ve worked on some interesting other mini-projects, such as an SCA receiver (a sideband on your FM dial), various interfaces to my old Apple //e (such as thermocouples, D/A converters, and LEGOs, before the advent of Mindstorms), my very own VCR “Rabbit” (my first etch-my-own PCB project!), and even turning my Timex Sinclair 1000 into a home lighting controller! (I’ll try and post schematics of this sometime . . . it mainly involves the 16KB memory port and a few SCRs . . .