I before E except after Hellschreiber « SWHarden.com

Scott Harden had a very cool idea: sending Hellschreiber, an old fax-like teleprinter code invented by Rudolf Hell, using just an Atmel ATMega48 and a canned oscillator. The idea is pretty simple: the canned oscillator will produce a square wave with the same amplitude as the input voltage. So, you simply power the oscillator with the PWM output (presumably with some low pass filtering) of the AVR, and you can produce a simple AM modulated signal. There are some issues with this, but the basic idea is pretty cool, and I have most of the parts I need to make this happen at home. I’ll try it out and let you know how it works out.

>>> I before E except after Hellschreiber « SWHarden.com.

Addendum: I experimented with this basic idea using my LED/Laser PWM code/circuit that I built on my Arduino. I’m uploading the youtube video now, but I realize that now that I didn’t do what Scott did, and what he did was somewhat more likely to work better. If you watch my latest YouTube video (uploading now) you can anticipate that I’ll be apologizing for my stupidity. My experiment did work, after a fashion, but his idea is somewhat better. Stay tuned.

Addendum2: Here’s the video that I shot tonight. It’s still horribly wrong, but in the interest of full disclosure, I thought I’d toss it out there. I need to work at understanding the filters and the like, maybe add a buffer, and consider the biasing. What can I say, my eyes were dialated, my brain foggy. The aliased copies I hear at the end are probably not going to be present if I actually did what Scott did. Stay tuned, I’ll redo this after some thought.

More on Dino’s simple common emitter amplifier…

I hadn’t worked through the biasing calculations for collector feedback common emitter amplifiers before, so I thought I’d do that for the simple one transistor NPN preamp that Dino built as his weeklyhack. But even before I got to it, I was confused by something. Check out the schematic (cribbed from Dino’s post):

I was confused by R1. It’s only purpose seemed to be to provide a DC offset, which was immediately removed by the action of C1. So, since I had built the circuit in LTSpice, I tried varying its value from 1 ohm to 100MEG ohms, and indeed, it had no effect on the overall gain of the amplifier. So, I removed it entirely. And the circuit continued to work just fine.

So, what’s the deal? I suspect that R1 was part of a circuit that powered an electret microphone: if the Input on his schematic were an electret microphone, you’d need to provide some voltage into it to power the built in FET preamp (like you see in the diagrams on the Wikipedia page for electrets). If that power is not needed, then all that happens is the current is dissipated by the input as heat. If you cascade two of these in the naive way, you end up a resistor feeding between voltage between two DC blocking transistors, which doesn’t waste a lot of power (no current flows at DC), but you end up with an extra cap and resistor.