Dust storm

I have a small batch of GDEMUs ready to go so I’ll open orders this Saturday (2021-07-03) at 20:00 CEST to make it USA-friendly. No family visits planned but then again the previous one wasn’t either…

I’ve managed to test some Wizards so the ones that didn’t need vertical connectors should start shipping next week – watch your PayPal account. In case some of you didn’t get my confirmation email, here’s what the horizontal connector looks like (left), the correct vertical one (right) and what can be done with a knife and pliers to “mod” the horizontal to vertical in a couple minutes (center). You’ll get 3 of those horizontal ones, the extra one is so you have a spare in case the modding somehow goes wrong.

Also in the center there’s the new switch that replaces ODE/CD-ROM jumper, it’s easier to operate though keep in mind it can only be switched when the power is off – that hasn’t changed.

UPDATE: It seems the USA-friendly times are not very lucky. My Saturday turned out very busy but this one is my own fault, I should’ve planned things better. Very sorry about this. Let’s try again today, same time.

Project Time! #6

Things are going slow because of the recent summer heat wave. There should be some nicer weather coming later this week so hopefully I can do a bit more Wizard testing then.

In the meantime, here’s some random photos of one of my projects, I’m not going to comment much on it. Some of you will figure out what this is, the rest probably wouldn’t even be interested anyway.

From my calculations I got a pretty nice 9.2 kHz bandwidth – I could maybe tweak it a bit more to something between 8.5 to 9 but then again I plan on having three of these so it might just be perfect as-is. Plus then I’d have to accept somewhat higher insertion loss, which is now at about -3.0 dB with impendance of 89 kohm or so, that too is decent. Obviously I can always tweak it later as well if it turns out selectivity is poor, I should get enough gain in the amp stages to cope with a bit higher losses.

In general the plan in my head is ECH81 oscillator and mixer (that stage is already semi-tested and works), EF183 first amp, EBF89 second amp and detector (second diode will be AGC detector), ECL86 double-stage audio amp. Plan is for LW and MW only but maybe I’ll add some SW bands too, if I can motivate myself to make more coils. Power supply will be using old, internally-shielded transformer but with modern input filtering, fuses on both sides, and silicon bridge rectifier. I do have selenium one, and good two-section electrolytic cap from the old days, but the problem is the transformer was meant for 220V and now we have 230V so the output voltages are a bit on the high side, just on the limit of both. Not sure if that would be safe long-term and I plan to keep this project as long as there is something out there to listen too (and/or I’m out of replacement tubes).

A Million Miles, contd.

I waited a bit longer with the Wizards to make sure the PCBs will be ready. Some people don’t like it but I prefer to not make empty promises, I’m a bit old fashined that way. There’s tons of projects out there that start with ordering and then never deliver anything in the end.

First things first though, for some reason I got tons of emails these last few days asking me about firmware and other stuff. I did not get a single message the whole previous month, and then my inbox is suddenly full. Weird. I think I’ve replied to all of them by now but some of you use free email hosts that notoriously block me. The worst offenders are Hotmail and Live.com – if you are using these, consider alternatives. At least when contacting me and expecting an answer. I’ve never had any issues with Gmail yet (other that getting my confirmation emails marked as spam sometimes) so try that maybe.

Back to Wizards, the first PCBs will go through cleaning this week and then I can start programming and testing them. So I think I’m ready to open preorder for the first batch – this Saturday (2021-06-12) at 20:00 CEST to make it more USA-friendly (since I expect most orders to come from there). This first batch will be small and I have no idea how many orders there will be so for now I’m restricting this ODE to one device per person – this limit should be removed once the initial interest dies down. There will be no requirement to provide serial number, as I’ve explained I expect to sell these to modders rather than individual users – that being said, it you try to game the system and place multiple orders (perhaps from different emails) I will cancel all your orders. Please play nice and let others have a chance to order.

I mentioned we have some issues sourcing parts and Wizard connectors are among those parts. When it looked like we will finally get what we need, the supplier made a mistake and got us wrong type of the 3-pin connectors – horizontal rather than vertical. And as luck would have it, the correct ones just got sold out. So you’ll have an option to wait for the vertical connectors (weeks, though) or I can send you 3 of the horizontal ones and these can be, with some tweaking, made to be vertical. Or you can just use them as-is or even solder the wires directly, whatever suits you. Oh and I don’t think I have to mention this but the replacement batteries are not included due to restrictions on air shipping and lithium in general. You’ll need to source CR2430 and CR2450 cells locally – if you want to replace the original pack, these are optional.

The pricing – 150 EUR, for now, I still haven’t fully figured out how to best ship those. Boxes would be preferable but that is way more expensive than bubble envelopes. Also, still need to streamline the testing, right now it takes a lot of time to check even one device. I do not sell untested PCBs, so don’t even ask. For now I will include housings and contacts for making the connector plugs, you can crimp those, solder, or just solder to the PCB directly. Turns out having these wires made in such small quantities is not very cost-effective, but I’m still looking into it.

Well, that’s all I can remember for now. I will update this post if, for some reason, the Saturday window needs to be called off or moved.

UPDATE: Family visit in progress. I just did not make it in time, lets try this again on Sunday, same hour.