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MikB

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23Instructables150,687Views500CommentsUnited Kingdom
Software geek, electronics enthusiast, musician, artist ... I enjoy making stuff, and discovering new things!

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  • How to Devise a Useless Phonetic Alphabet

    > 3 Have good radio transmission and readability characteristics.Under this banner, have you noticed that (with the exception of Alpha and Papa) every word in the NATO alphabet has a unique vowel sound combination? Such that if you remove all the consonant sounds and talk like a Teletubby (eh oh!) you can still convey the letters without ambiguity? (Alpha = a a, Bravo = ah oh, Charlie = ah ee ...)I've never seen that stated as a particular design feature, but think it was either deliberate or an excellent co-incidence arising out of the choice of words. Vowel sounds are the things that "carry" best, so most of the work of the NATO alphabet being intelligible under bad conditions is being done by the vowels.I do like your NOT-A-phonetic though, it is so much more broken than &…

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    > 3 Have good radio transmission and readability characteristics.Under this banner, have you noticed that (with the exception of Alpha and Papa) every word in the NATO alphabet has a unique vowel sound combination? Such that if you remove all the consonant sounds and talk like a Teletubby (eh oh!) you can still convey the letters without ambiguity? (Alpha = a a, Bravo = ah oh, Charlie = ah ee ...)I've never seen that stated as a particular design feature, but think it was either deliberate or an excellent co-incidence arising out of the choice of words. Vowel sounds are the things that "carry" best, so most of the work of the NATO alphabet being intelligible under bad conditions is being done by the vowels.I do like your NOT-A-phonetic though, it is so much more broken than "A for 'orses, B for mutton, C for miles ..." etc.

    See the subtle differences at play here :-"Eh oh" would really be "Echo" (as well as Teletubby for Hello) :)"Ah oh" would actually be "Bravo""A oh" would be "Tango" ...From a Comp. Sci. point of view, it's a form of error-correction, choosing signalling symbols that are distinct so they can be told apart when in the presence of noise, to recover the original message.Originally: "Bee Cee Dee Eee Gee Pee Tee Vee Zee" (if you must) could all sound the same if consonants are clipped. Not true of "ah-oh (Bravo), ah-ee (Charlie),eh-a (Delta),eh-oh,o,a-a,a-oh,ih-or,oo-oo" if all the consonants are destroyed.Maybe "Papa" should really be said as "par-par" (long a), not "pappa" (short a), …

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    See the subtle differences at play here :-"Eh oh" would really be "Echo" (as well as Teletubby for Hello) :)"Ah oh" would actually be "Bravo""A oh" would be "Tango" ...From a Comp. Sci. point of view, it's a form of error-correction, choosing signalling symbols that are distinct so they can be told apart when in the presence of noise, to recover the original message.Originally: "Bee Cee Dee Eee Gee Pee Tee Vee Zee" (if you must) could all sound the same if consonants are clipped. Not true of "ah-oh (Bravo), ah-ee (Charlie),eh-a (Delta),eh-oh,o,a-a,a-oh,ih-or,oo-oo" if all the consonants are destroyed.Maybe "Papa" should really be said as "par-par" (long a), not "pappa" (short a), then it would be unique from "alpha".This is also the reason why "five" and "nine" get altered to "five" and "niner" (to stop mishearings of digits being read out). And also why countdowns for demolitions often omit the word "five". Did he say "fire"? OKAY! :)

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  • MikB commented on dorkpunch's instructable Perfect Paper Tray
    Perfect Paper Tray

    Great prototyping idea, but when prototyping with 80gsm copier paper, before moving on to heavier materials, always remember that the negligible thickness of the paper is NOT the same as the finished material. I recently used this technique to prototype some drawers for a steel storage unit (missing all 43 drawers). Paper prototypes, perfect size! Transferred to 1.5mm greyboard -- not the same size when folded up and glued, drawers bind, not slide ;)Fortunately I only did two before checking them, not the whole stack ...Corners aren't quite so crisp (they radius out a little), and things don't "fold double" as per your hems, so minor adjustments may be needed to get things to correct sizes.

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  • MikB commented on scotto's instructable Broken Guitar Fix & Paint Job
    Broken Guitar Fix & Paint Job

    Looking at step 11, I now know what people mean by "getting a good paint match" :)It is very satisfying rescuing an otherwise busted instrument like this. At worst, it all goes horribly wrong and you start and end with a busted guitar destined for the bin. But you learn what not to do next time. It's a great way to learn and get confidence should you ever need to patch up a "real" guitar ...If you ever see a dumped acoustic guitar/ukulele -- no matter how bad -- pick it up and experiment ...

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  • How to Make a Spray Bottle That Works in Any Orientation

    Well, a different technique is used in electric planes, to stop all the electrons falling out when you go upside down :)

    Nice trick: This technique is used in model aeroplanes, inside the fuel tank, to ensure that the liquid fuel always ends up going into the fuel tube, no matter which way up the model is -- imagine rolling the plane over and having all the fuel go to the other side of the tank ... cough, splutter, wheeeeee, crash.

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  • Carving a Swan From Epoxy and Buckeye Burl

    Glad you clarified. That's a whole different project ... :)

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  • DIY E-Bike Out of Car Alternator

    Yes, and adding a wind-turbine or two means that at higher speeds, you can put more charge into the battery than the motor uses, and end up with surplus energy too! Over Unity And Beyond! :)Back in the real world, no free lunches ... at BEST you could try to use the alternator to "regenerative brake" back into the batteries, but that would require a controller that supported it (most speed controllers will not tolerate energy being forced the wrong way, and won't have the first clue about charging a battery properly), and you might not actually recover that much useful energy out of it.

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  • How Not to Build a Clock With Retro Displays

    > obvious choice would be to multiplex the displays > but as soon as a second display was > added the display stopped working,I think your first challenge with multiplexing is that modern, LED style displays can be multiplexed because they light instantly, and your persistence of vision makes them appear to stay lit -- whether done segment by segment (so each LED is on for 1/28th of the time) or for 1/4 of the time if it's done digit-by-digit.These displays appear to be FILAMENT based, so basically an incandescent bulb. These do not behave like LEDs. At first power-on, their resistance is much lower, and they emit no light -- then over time they heat up, light up, and the resistance drops. This is NOT a good behaviour for multiplexing -- they will spend so much time trying to lig…

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    > obvious choice would be to multiplex the displays > but as soon as a second display was > added the display stopped working,I think your first challenge with multiplexing is that modern, LED style displays can be multiplexed because they light instantly, and your persistence of vision makes them appear to stay lit -- whether done segment by segment (so each LED is on for 1/28th of the time) or for 1/4 of the time if it's done digit-by-digit.These displays appear to be FILAMENT based, so basically an incandescent bulb. These do not behave like LEDs. At first power-on, their resistance is much lower, and they emit no light -- then over time they heat up, light up, and the resistance drops. This is NOT a good behaviour for multiplexing -- they will spend so much time trying to light that they'll never get there, and switch on/off is the most stressful part for a bulb, due to the thermal shock.You could test the "multiplexing" idea by slowing the multiplexer switching right down, i.e switch from digit to digit once per second, observe that *that* works, then notice that as you speed up the switching, the displays get dimmer and go out as they never get chance to light.And yes, they do eventually lose the partial vacuum/gas fill, and will just light really brightly, once, with smoke. :(

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  • Vulgar Blueberry Hand Pies

    Well, the food and drink came with instructions back in Alice In Wonderland's day ;)No warnings on the potential side-effects though ...

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  • MikB commented on rushchris's instructable Planted Lamp
    Planted Lamp

    Very cool! Other variations: If you have more upper branches, wind LED light strips/ropes around and along the branches to create a cloud of smaller lights within the branches.If you know anyone felling a large tree, ask them to slice you off a 2-3" thick circular slab from the trunk to use as the weighted base, "live edge" and all. Even more rustic :)

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  • MikB commented on ahmedazouz's instructable Miniature Classic Guitar
    Miniature Classic Guitar

    Nice miniature!Tip #1: When making the tuning knobs, try using solder, cut a short length and squeeze the end of it with flat (not serrated) pliers. It forms a flat-rounded-end that looks like the shape of a metal tuner. It's easier than trying to crush/shape copper wire.Tip #2: When fretting the neck, don't cut 20+ tiny fragments of wire, instead, use a single long length and wind it as a continuous spiral, OVER the fretboard, and around/under something larger to hold/support the neck. This way you can pull some tension in, to keep them straight, adjust the positions a little, then when done, glue them all, and finally snip all along the edges!

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  • Broken Dremel Fix: Battery to Corded

    Full marks on re-purposing broken Dremels -- I've added external "battery pouches" (on a 2-metre lead) to make corded-cordless tools from a cordless screwdriver and cordless reciprocating saws that needed replacement NiCad battery packs. Now happily running on larger capacity 12v and 18v Lead-Acid packs!You don't mention the spec of the "button switch" you used, but they look like mini PCB mounting tactile switches. These are not meant for switching currents (they are signal class switches), so may fail rather faster than you'd like, or amusingly weld themselves "on" at a critical moment :)

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  • Concrete & Wood Counterweighted Mic Stand

    Although this is described "modern and stylish", my first thought on seeing the project thumbnail was "When not in use as a mic-stand, you can use it for flinging burning balls of fire, or sheep carcasses, at your neighbours, like the Romans did" :)It looks like a trebuchet! But it is a cool design, and is probably quite rare to find in a studio anywhere, quite a talking point!

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  • MikB commented on irishwhistle's instructable Corvid Covid Mask
    Corvid Covid Mask

    ... and here was me thinking the inspiration may have been the small minority of people on TV/Radio that insist on actually pronouncing it "Corvid-19" :)I always think: "What have the crows done to deserve the blame?"

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  • Recycled Cardboard Painting Surface

    On the "archival" side -- if you do use corrugated card, the texture can show through into the final painting to some extent. This is more of an issue when you try and photograph/scan the painting to digital. If you have a flatbed scanner, always try scanning the painting "both ways" (at 90' to each other) and see which one looks best -- even if that means having to make multiple scans and stitch them on the computer.I found that having the corrugations running along the direction of scan (at right angles to the light bar) was best, as it minimizes the light variation from the slightly wavy surface.

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  • How to Make a Magical Rotating Open / Closed Sign Board

    This is an excellent idea -- I want to see "Step 0: How I noticed this was even possible!" :)This is like an offshoot of the "Ambigram"

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  • Bandsaw Sled to Cut Slices

    Although you say you "lost a bandsaw blade", you didn't say what was so bad about the freehand cut, after all -- people freehand cut flat and square pieces of wood on bandsaws and "it's just fine!"Having had the same experience (trying to cut small log-cookies) freehand: The problem is that no matter how well you think you are holding the branch/trunk, the natural tendency of the bandsaw blade pulling down is to catch and rotate the log away from you. It rolls toward the blade. Meaning that when the blade catches, it gets a mouthful MORE of the wood shoved at it, which is the last thing you want.In my case, it just went "bang" and pushed the blade back far enough it came off the lower wheel, jamming behind it, stalling the motor. Blade was not damaged, but so…

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    Although you say you "lost a bandsaw blade", you didn't say what was so bad about the freehand cut, after all -- people freehand cut flat and square pieces of wood on bandsaws and "it's just fine!"Having had the same experience (trying to cut small log-cookies) freehand: The problem is that no matter how well you think you are holding the branch/trunk, the natural tendency of the bandsaw blade pulling down is to catch and rotate the log away from you. It rolls toward the blade. Meaning that when the blade catches, it gets a mouthful MORE of the wood shoved at it, which is the last thing you want.In my case, it just went "bang" and pushed the blade back far enough it came off the lower wheel, jamming behind it, stalling the motor. Blade was not damaged, but some annoyance at having to un-jam and re-lace everything. I can see it would possible to snap the blade, and if hands were too close, to be pulled in.Your solution is great, but even just clamping the log securely to a flat/right angle corner is a HUGE improvement (see pics) giving you more to hold on to, and no chance of it turning.

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  • MikB commented on drtonis's instructable Analog Electronics Clock
    Analog Electronics Clock

    Absolutely. There are two contexts of digital/analogue here.Digital does mean "with a display". Of digits. This is a digital clock by that definition. Same would apply to nixie tubes, LED bargraphs, coloured marbles etc. An analogue clock would have sweeping/micro-stepping hands (or faux-display of these, in some way).Digital also applies to the electronics used. It is a digital clock by that definition too. 74 digital logic! No part of this is an analogue clock (apart from the 555 chip!)It is still a cool clock, but I must demand a refund, as "significantly not as described" :)

    I agree, not only is the display (literally) digital, but the clock is almost entirely digital logic. From the title, I was hoping for something involving actual analogue electronics (op-amps, R-C circuits, etc. maybe even moving-coil meters for the readouts) -- so I think the only way to make it right is to set that as a challenge for your next one ;)

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  • How to Hem Clothing With Iron on Adhesive

    I've never had much luck with this stuff "Wonder Web" and similar, esp. on heavier materials like denim. Be prepared to repeat this each time you machine wash the garment :(

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  • Build Mini Conveyor Belt As Slinky Machine

    To keep the slinky on track "forever", you could add two IR "beam break" sensors near the top and bottom of the track. That way, if any part of the slinky breaks the lower beam, speed up the track a little, and if it breaks the top one, slow down a little.No doubt you could throw a small microcontroller at this to monitor both sensors and make a PWM signal that starts at "nominally correct" speed, and then nudges it up or down.

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  • MikB commented on araymbox's instructable PiNAS - the Raspberry Pi NAS
    PiNAS - the Raspberry Pi NAS

    Single point of failure -- the USB controller on the PI which is driving both drives (and, in Pi up to version 3, the network too!)That's one of the problems with RAID on the Pi (there is no good way to attach 2-4 drives without them all going through the same USB controller). Also, that's a performance bottleneck.My greatest stumbling block with RAID on Pi, is that with almost every USB to SATA adapter, you have zero visibility of the SMART parameters of the drive (smartctl reports an error). SMART early reporting has saved me a lot of grief, and given me time to ensure backups are complete and buy new hardware, before the old died, multiple times.

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  • Listen Oscilloscope Music From Jerobeam Fenderson

    No editing/modifying needed, it's purely using CoolEdit as an X-Y viewer, like an oscilloscope. See below examples ...

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  • Listen Oscilloscope Music From Jerobeam Fenderson

    A while ago, I watched some of these in Cooledit Pro (now called Adobe Audition) -- if you have audio editing software you may have a similar tool, under Analyse -> Phase Analysis. It's a software 'scope that plots X against Y (or mid against side) to show whether your audio is mono, well balanced stereo, unbalanced stereo, or out-of-phase annoying stereo :)As a side effect, it also works for these files!

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  • ZERO CLEARANCE INSERT FOR TABLE SAW

    In your step 9: That riving knife is the reason why a lot of these zero-clearance "easy to make" things fail. I think that's the first time I've seen someone confess that it didn't "just work" :)On most European saws, the knife is always slightly higher than the blade, and means you can't do it the easy way: Lower blade all the way down, fit the plate, raise blade up through the plate. Stop. Done! -- You also can't do non-through cuts (dados, grooves, cutting super-thick pieces by half-cutting from each side etc. etc.)Most American saws seem to have no knife at all, and so this is really easy. I don't even think the riving knife on mine is removable, it's part of the structure and also supports the blade guard. Maybe some (better) saw let you remove it, ill advised as …

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    In your step 9: That riving knife is the reason why a lot of these zero-clearance "easy to make" things fail. I think that's the first time I've seen someone confess that it didn't "just work" :)On most European saws, the knife is always slightly higher than the blade, and means you can't do it the easy way: Lower blade all the way down, fit the plate, raise blade up through the plate. Stop. Done! -- You also can't do non-through cuts (dados, grooves, cutting super-thick pieces by half-cutting from each side etc. etc.)Most American saws seem to have no knife at all, and so this is really easy. I don't even think the riving knife on mine is removable, it's part of the structure and also supports the blade guard. Maybe some (better) saw let you remove it, ill advised as that is ...

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  • 6502 Minimal Computer (with Arduino MEGA)

    Interested to see this project (coming from an Oric/Atmos background, which also uses a 6502A). I spent a little while staring at the original dump in step 4 [I note you have since updated this image, which is a shame, original is below!], as you seemed to have captured moments "Before The Big Bang!" :)If the 6502 has not been reset yet, what is it doing there?From what I can tell :Your 0.1uF capacitor reset the 6502, the moment you powered up. So it was already running when you hit reset.What you (could) see it doing is odd to me, #FFFE/#FFFF being fetched is for the interrupt (IRQ) vector. Yet, you have tied the interrupt line to +5v (no interrupt there ...)Looking closer, it fetched from #E701/E702 (value #00), which is opcode "BRK", a software interrupt. Ah!It then…

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    Interested to see this project (coming from an Oric/Atmos background, which also uses a 6502A). I spent a little while staring at the original dump in step 4 [I note you have since updated this image, which is a shame, original is below!], as you seemed to have captured moments "Before The Big Bang!" :)If the 6502 has not been reset yet, what is it doing there?From what I can tell :Your 0.1uF capacitor reset the 6502, the moment you powered up. So it was already running when you hit reset.What you (could) see it doing is odd to me, #FFFE/#FFFF being fetched is for the interrupt (IRQ) vector. Yet, you have tied the interrupt line to +5v (no interrupt there ...)Looking closer, it fetched from #E701/E702 (value #00), which is opcode "BRK", a software interrupt. Ah!It then wrote to three locations, #0149,#0148,#0147 -- this is the processor trying to store the return program counter (value #e7, #03), and status register (value #34) before fetching the IRQ vector (from #FFFE, #FFFF). Values read: #00 and #00 = Address #0000So now execution continues from #0000, unfortunately, that also holds #00, and triggers another interrupt inside the first. This will continue for ever, filling the stack downwards from #01FF to #0100 before it wraps around.So that's what it was doing :)Note, you should always LDX $#FF then TXS (Transfer X to Stack Pointer) to set the stack pointer to the top of stack, at the start of a 6502 piece of code, so it won't misbehave. You should also SED or CLD (set/clear Decimal Mode) so you know how maths/logic operations will work, otherwise it's really unreliable. :)What clock speed can you actually achieve doing this?

    Thanks to Alex from NZ for pointing me to the post above!You're right, the processor doesn't do "random". I think no matter how fast your Arduino gets up and running, it will miss the moment of 6502 power-on, unless it is up and running before the 6502 even gets power. So, the first power-on reset would be missed.The interrupt lines being tied high (not used) isn't a problem, it's good practice. What confused me was: knowing that you HAD tied it high, why was an interrupt behaviour shown? I'd overlooked -- software generated interrupts. (BRK, opcode #00). You're right, examples don't have to be perfect, but it's like forgetting to initialise a pointer in C, it may work mostly and then for no reason go crazy on you -- e.g. accidentally receiving an interrupt when you hadn't set u…

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    Thanks to Alex from NZ for pointing me to the post above!You're right, the processor doesn't do "random". I think no matter how fast your Arduino gets up and running, it will miss the moment of 6502 power-on, unless it is up and running before the 6502 even gets power. So, the first power-on reset would be missed.The interrupt lines being tied high (not used) isn't a problem, it's good practice. What confused me was: knowing that you HAD tied it high, why was an interrupt behaviour shown? I'd overlooked -- software generated interrupts. (BRK, opcode #00). You're right, examples don't have to be perfect, but it's like forgetting to initialise a pointer in C, it may work mostly and then for no reason go crazy on you -- e.g. accidentally receiving an interrupt when you hadn't set up the handler. This is machine code, assume everything is set up wrong until you set it right. Even the things you didn't even know you had to set up :)If you pull IRQ low (and you've enabled interrupts, see SEI/CLI), it will cause a JMP to the vector stored at #FFFE/FFFF (like #FFFC/FFFD for power on, and #FFFA/#FFFB for NMI. You will need proper interrupt handling code, and have a return from interrupt (RTI) at the end. Google "6502 interrupt handler" for examples, there's a correct way in and out to preserve registers.Your additional screen shot confirms the same behaviour, repeatedly writing the current address+1, and status to the stack (#01FF down ...) and then jumping to an interrupt, getting another one, repeat ... :)Have fun extending this to the 6522 etc. !

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  • DIY Cantilevered Material Shelving

    I didn't realize you'd added the holes yourself, that makes sense (I should have read step 1 more closely) :) Looking at the original holes (if they're anything like what I'm used to), they were probably pressed into a countersink shape. Although the material is too thin to countersink, it's rather hard steel, and not the sort of thing you press to shape without the proper gear!

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  • DIY Cantilevered Material Shelving

    "In my case, I had to grind down the head diameter of 2 of the 3 screws for each standard."It looks like the steel dual-channel you use is different to the stuff I'm used to seeing, yours seems to have plain drilled holes in, and you used roundhead screws, which is why they interfere. Usually, the channel strips have sunken/recessed (pressed) countersink holes, and are used with countersunk screws, so they stay out of the way. But also, you channel has a LOT more screw holes, I only get 1 screw hole per ~6 slots.

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  • How to Make 6V Lead Acid Battery Charger

    Aside from "don't touch the circuit" -- don't touch the battery, or anything vaguely connected to it, this whole circuit is considered at hazardous mains potential.This style of transformerless power supply should be treated with suspicion and respect :) They are usually used in entirely contained projects, where there are NO external connections accessible at all.The capacitor you have used is inappropriate. You say this is for use with 240V AC, however the capacitor you show is 250V working. The peak value of the mains in normal operation is well over 250V, never mind peaks and surges. So it should be higher voltage working.It looks like an ordinary polyester cap. Look up Class-X and Class-Y capacitors, these are designed for use in these positions, and are designed to fail sa…

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    Aside from "don't touch the circuit" -- don't touch the battery, or anything vaguely connected to it, this whole circuit is considered at hazardous mains potential.This style of transformerless power supply should be treated with suspicion and respect :) They are usually used in entirely contained projects, where there are NO external connections accessible at all.The capacitor you have used is inappropriate. You say this is for use with 240V AC, however the capacitor you show is 250V working. The peak value of the mains in normal operation is well over 250V, never mind peaks and surges. So it should be higher voltage working.It looks like an ordinary polyester cap. Look up Class-X and Class-Y capacitors, these are designed for use in these positions, and are designed to fail safe. Normal capacitors are not.Please add a fuse in line with the incoming live mains!Your designations for the polarity of the four diodes (bridge) are confused: The symbols |>| are correct, but the extra "+" and "-" are the wrong way round. Remove them. Same for the LED.Lastly: Lead Acid batteries should be charged at VERY clearly limited constant voltage, any higher and they just start to bubble away hydrogen. Even the "sealed" ones. This will destroy them. You absolutely MUST find a way to limit the voltage accurately as per the battery spec.

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  • MikB commented on NeRD-AETTUA's instructable RasPro

    Cool project, but I see no mention of safety earthing. As this is a metal case, and liable to come in contact with high voltages (including from a power supply held down with hot glue!) please remember to add a firm connection bolted to the grater to the incoming IEC earth.

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  • I can't quite tell from the picture, but if it's the mini razor-saw slitting blades, then I don't even like using them handheld, at all, because they have tendency to catch and take off (cartoon style) across the workpiece and aim straight for any body parts :(If it's the cut-off discs (thin grinders), then maybe you get away with it, like when you accidentally file your finger: A file will remove material from wood/metal/plastic but not so much with skin ... !But I echo seamster's thought. :)

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  • Step 2: "the toner transfer method is really good or you can use a resit-pen"Is this the kind of pen you use after your first attempt at exams, with the slogan "Exam. Fail. Repeat"Sorry, I couldn't resist :)

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