Wednesday 29 June 2016

Bok Choy Bonus

My Bok Choy bolted yet again and I left it to flower and seed. Once I got around to clearing it away I decided to put the seeds pods to one side as they looked quite tempting. Last time I tried them they were disgusting (raw). This time I top & tailed them and fried them in a little butter...   ...much much better with quite a nutty taste...

Monday 27 June 2016

Public Service Announcement

Thonk have begun stocking enclosed 1/4" jacks so I thought I'd order a few to compare...

On the left is the PJ612A from Thonk, the middle is TruConnect (from Rapid and/or possibly Musikding) and on the right is the good old genuine Switchcraft 112A.

I'm not really a fan of Switchcraft clones, but the PJ612A has a couple of interesting features. Firstly they don't skimp on the washer - it's pretty much the same size as on the 112A, however the nut is eversoslightly thinner than the Switchcraft and TruConnect. Second, there's a really useful panel grip built into the chassis.

The clones are generally around a third of the price of Switchcraft 112A, that said, the Switchcraft ARE much better quality...

Sunday 26 June 2016

VLF Receiver

I was messing around with a VLF Receiver today. It was my first outdoor test using the support wires for my raspberries as the antenna. Here's an extract from that recording

Saturday 25 June 2016

Voight Kampff

What were the skies like when you were young..?

Oh hang on that's something else...

Friday 24 June 2016

Punji Sticks

In my own little gonzo world of gardening, I realised quite early on that punji sticks were a really useful way of keeping pests out of my vegetable beds. You just need a really good source of sticks, and a lot of patience...

The trick is to get the spacing right to protect against pigeons, badgers and cats but allow small birds and hedgehogs to poke around. Use a combination of shorter 18-24" sticks (I find that last years strawberry canes are perfect for this job) with longer stout canes placed to protect against errant footballs and persistent beasties.

Thursday 23 June 2016

It Lives... (150th Module Special..!)

Here's the 150th module in my current system. Module 150 was supposed to be a DIY set of Gain Cells, but for some reason one op amp and two resistors is too much for me, so back to the drawing board. This module is yet another wonderful design from Michael Barton, the BMC003 CV Arpeggiator

You can find this PCB and more here

Wednesday 22 June 2016

It Begins... (Part Deux)

Here is the first batch of video modules. On the left, an experimental Diode Clamp, next the old Glitch Mux, finally a little Feedback Loop. While I've worked out a 3U version of the MOTM grid, I've decided to go a little off piste in terms of panel graphics and knobs

Tuesday 21 June 2016




Monday 20 June 2016

Squirrel Nuts !

The squirrels get quite grumpy when we run out of peanuts. Here's a young squirrel who today figured out how to reel in the coconut fat ball hanging from a high branch, unhook it and scoff the lot. He then dropped the empty shell nearly braining a pigeon on the way down and for good measure tied the string into a fiendish squirrel knot that took a set of ladders and quite some time to unpick. Half an hour later the replacement fatball was also on the lawn. So long as they leave my tomatoes alone...

Sunday 19 June 2016


It's been a week of rain, soldering and paperwork (and curry). Today I took the opportunity to pot up some fresh Tumeric root. It may or may not grow...

Sunday 12 June 2016

Rainy Days

It was raining and I happened to have to hand an old transistor radio aerial, a scrap of aluminium and a block of hardwood. What's a chap to do..?

...make another aerial for the RF Nomad

Saturday 11 June 2016

Slug Defences

When we rewired the house I ended up with a lot of old cable to recycle, and given the slug problem at the time devised a collection of copper coils along the lines of a barbed wire entanglement to protect my young crops. They sort of worked, but I had to make a lot of them to make a difference. Now the garden has matured slugs are much less of a problem as we have hedgehogs, a few million nematodes and a very thorough badger to help out. Has the 2016 slug apocalypse materialised ? Not yet...

Thursday 9 June 2016

It Begins...

I decided it was time to sort out the Videolab and rationalise the disparate collection of boxes I've built over the years. I've been playing around with a new panel format to accomodate this. Since most of the modules will be fairly simple and loosely based on LZX standards, I've opted for a 3U panel with MOTM grid and BNC connectors. I'll be ordering the panel blanks today...

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Holy Bat Detector (Part One)

Here's an old hetrodyne bat detector I built around fifteen years ago. Time to refurbish !

Monday 6 June 2016


...The Truvox Radio Jack. Long before the RF Nomad we had to make do with this. Inside is a nasty little AM radio that can tune to two stations via screw presets underneath. The switch flicks between the two presets and the interesting knurled knob is actually the binding post for the aerial. Clearly it begs to be plugged directly into a modular so I did. Oakley EFG Deluxe with the gain set to the max and I could just about pick up a taxi somewhere down the valley...

Thursday 2 June 2016


...The Lyons Electronics WG716 Word Generator. A fantastic little piece of test gear and well suited to hooking up to a modular synth. Here's a little live test drive from yesterday, the WG716 is providing the bowed bass sound...

Wednesday 1 June 2016

It Lives (Part Ten)

The Barton BMC028 Live Rhythm Quantizer. I've no idea how it works, but I currently have it on soak test with just a static VCO output driving an incredibly funky shaker groove synced to my master clock. Maybe I'll read the build notes again this evening...