What's in the planning stages for MCCWorkshop
Although it is now winter as soon as the weather shows some signs of warming up, the workshop hopes to get back in gear! Here are some of the things I hope to accomplish and add to the site starting out 2010. I hope to also start including short instructional videos soon.
- General Things
We will continue the setting up a shop series.
- I will at some point clean up the website design a little bit and make it easier to navigate, as well as better organizing the sections.
- I wish to add a couple more categories, including Automotive systems (See below), and starting a "look Inside" series, where we will look inside things, see what makes them work, and how to use them. AS well, I want to start covering the topics of pro audio and lighting from a technicians perspective.
- The one area I am lacking for is project ideas. I am planning to start a home security and control project this year - one that will incorporate an entire range of technologies - Video, audio, alarms, remote controls, lighting and the web. Please suggest some project ideas of your own!
- I hope to start populating the Wiki with general technical info, and I hope to interest others to contribute their articles!
- IF the budget allows, I would like to start covering current microcontrollers such as the PIC and Propeller. I would like to start with a rundown of what is out there, and what it is appropriate for
- Alas, speaking of budget, The Workshop right now is on a very frayed shoestring. Please click on the donations link to see how you can help! All of this, and more, will happen if I can make the economics work (IE: Pay the bills).
Click here for donation info.
- I hope to cover the rest of test equipment selection and use. We will hopefully delve into repairing and restoring some of the older instruments, especially HP.
- We will get into basic plumbing, and how to set up your shop air system. Once you have Air Tools, you wont go back! I hope to cover some basics on cordless power tools, as well as some simple, obscure tools that will make your projects easier and more fun.
- I will start covering shop techniques in depth, and as I get setup to do video, I plan on producing some video tutorials.
- I hope to offer plans for my evolved electronics bench, as well as some construction projects on simple test gear that will make life simpler.
In the Computer Corner, lots to do.
- We will continue our history series with Atari 800 & 400. Coverage of Radio shack through the years, including color computers, and, I hope, a lot about the Model 100. I plan on dissecting a Compaq luggable, and I hope to get more into portables.
- I am working on getting, or getting access to, some DEC equipment. Although there is much on the web already, I have a long history of using and supporting DEC equipment in the news business. I would like to add my two cents about this important genre.
- Although IBM PCs are ubiquitous, I want to cover some older ones, including an old, popular model desktop. I also hope to create a simple tutorial on expansion cards, how to identify them, where they are used, etc, as well as covering the various expansion busses, the different disk drive formats and interfaces, and - a single comprehensive article on memories. The different types, styles, and sizes.
- I want to cover older, real older, memory and how it worked, including CRT, mercury lines, and the fascinating world of magnetic core. In addition, I am going to start a tutorial on how a computer processor works, in depth. Registers, gates and flip-flops. Computer science 101. You might be surprised to learn they all work the same (sort of) from the ENIAC to the Pentium. Maybe we'll even build one (a simple one) from discrete logic, with lots of leds!
In the energy arena, I hope it will take off this year.
- In addition to doing some basic articles on the different forms of alternative energy - Wind, solar, biofuels, I want to cover the state of the Automotive world. Alternative vehicles are out there, I'll find out where, how they work, and what it all means.
- The big project will be to build a home energy system. I hope to cover the basics of electric storage and distribution, suitability of wind & solar, and the DIY pieces to put it all together, such as controllers and using car alternators, as well as battery technology and the care and feeding of them.
Speaking of automotive. While I definitely do not want to start an auto repair site, I am thinking of adding a new section to cover Automotive systems. How things such as engine control systems work, and how to troubleshoot and repair them. How to do proper electrical repairs, how the charging system works, and how to troubleshoot that. As well, we might venture into Car audio systems, and the proper way to add gadgets to your new (or old, or REALLY old) vehicle.
Well, that's a start. I will also be adding reference materials, and tutorials as I think of them. I hope to be on the lookout for vintage equipment, and to start documenting, some of that. I want to venture into surplus equipment, how to find and select it, and how to mine it for really cool parts at really low cost. Some of the above will end up in the How it Works Section of the site, which I also hope to contribute to sometime soon.
And, remember that:
After you join one of the groups above, anything you want to discuss related to technology (New, Old, or very retro), well, that is what these groups are for. If I can, I will answer and help, and if it is compelling enough, I will include it in plans for workshop projects. Lets make them the most active hobbyist groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, and make the MCCWorkshop a fun, entertaining, and educational technology resource.