longwing: (Modding)
Projector image.I've finally something to show for all my mucking about with my projector. The image links to a Flickr photo set of the monstrosity in it's current state.

I'm looking for a way to make uploading photos simpler and easier. For now, I'm going to try my hand at flickr. It's not perfect (for example, I still need my webspace to upload a thumbnail) but it's faster than crafting my own photo galleries from scratch.

While I vastly prefer the flexibility of the RAW format, I may also  switch the camera over to JPG. That would drastically reduce the needed steps for uploading project logs.

Sometimes you want to take beautiful photos, but sometimes you just want a snapshot so you can say "Hey! Wires!". It's all hypothetical right now, but I'd like to get some more pictures up. It's so much easier to show what I'm building than it is to describe it through text or voice.
longwing: (Modding)
I finished rewiring the projector yesterday evening. Photos will be forthcoming shortly. I'm very satisfied with the initial burn-in. All my tinkering didn't result in any broken components. Image, brightness, AND focus all came out worlds better than they had before. I'm getting a bright, clear, and sharp image. Corner to corner.

It's still not as bright as the EVO, but it's more than good enough for my purposes.

All-in-all, the result is quite satisfying. There are certainly things I need to correct, some light leakage issues and the such, but it's rare that my tinkering yields such overwhelmingly positive results.

Following some minor tweaks this weekend, the project will go on a one-month hiatus for burn-in. The burn-in period is designed to help find flaws and kinks in the design. Last time I built this thing, I made a number of assumptions that I later had to correct. This time, I'm going to put it through it's paces before I do anything permanent.

In other news, I'm on scene 54 of 67.

aaaaand back to work.
longwing: (Modding)
I caught the tinkering bug again, and decided to undertake a long-overdue project: Revamping my projector. So, here's a shockingly quick-to-make post about what I did. More forthcoming as the project continues. Image automation for the win.

Cut for images )
longwing: (Default)
Time to dip back into the real world for a bit. I've got projects to discuss. I would also have pretty pictures of said projects, but the people from whom I'd previously stolen borrowed cameras have unreasonably ended my months-long reign over their gadgets. If you don't particularly care about the details of my homebrew projector project, then skip this cut. )
longwing: (Default)
LOST tomorrow. There's always a LOST tomorrow. (Free popcorn to anyone who gets the reference.)

I've been disorganized. I know, it shocked me too. At this point, I'm getting a pretty good handle on acquiring LOST via iTunes, and I think it'd make sense to move LOST to Friday. So come this Friday, you can expect me to fire up the projector once again. We'll be watching two episodes, this week's and last week's. What's more, we'll be watching them commercial free, and they'll start whenever we want.

Hopefully, that little bonus will make up for the week and a half of dead silence on the subject.
longwing: (Default)
I'm going to break the silence a bit by adding an echo to your Friends Page. That's right, it's time to talk about projectors, the one project we've all heard enough of for now. That includes me. I've heard enough about projectors, so trust me, I feel your pain.

Through the grace of America's yard sale eBay, I was able to acquire some new parts for the system. I'm going to stay a little tight lipped until I can post new photographs. The changes are for the better, and for once, my rebuilding didn't destroy the entire invention in the process. The image is a lot sharper than it used to be, but the changes brought back an old monster from the past: Heat. I've been fighting the overheating of this contraption from the first moment I turned on my Overhead Projector. Thus far, it's been kept at bay by a set of three 120mm fans. Now it looks like I'll have to add a fourth. The bright side, and the only thing keeping me from pulling out all my hair right now, is that the change will actually make the system quieter.

If I play my design out properly, I should be able to drop all the fans down to about 7 volts, or possibly even lower. This should replace the current "Jet engine" sounds with a low rush of air, audible only when you're concentrating on it.

Rather threadbare reporting for now, mostly because I've got nothing interesting to report. We'll see if I can't make myself more talkative in the next couple of days.
longwing: (Default)
The continuing epic of my homebrew projector... erm... continues?

After an extremely aggravating list of screw-ups, I got to feel mildly smart last night. The second OHP I purchased a while back happened to have a really good ballast integrated into the unit, and in a matter of a few hours I was able to completely repair the damage with no further costs.

'Course, I burned out all my bulbs in the process. I'm now down to my last bulb, and it's an untested brand with an unknown operating life.

This leaves me at a decision point with little info to go on. This ballast accepts ENX bulbs, but runs them at a lower voltage then they're designed for. That means longer life, but also less light. The bulb it's currently running is an Apollo custom, which looks really nice, but is a total unknown when it comes to cost and runtime. I'll need to price and source replacements, and decide whether it's really worth it to keep running old OHP ballasts.

The Alternative:
The "right" way to build a light source, according to most of the DIY forums, is to use a Metal Halide bulb and appropriate ballast. Problem with this plan? Price. The ballast costs between $50 and $100, and the bulbs cost $50 a pop. They produce really good picture for your trouble, and each bulb lasts 10,000 hours, but the startup cost isn't to be scoffed at.

If I can keep this system running in it's current config until sometime next year, then I'll start looking into replacing the light source.


Nov. 30th, 2005 04:35 pm
longwing: (Mad)
Wednesday, and that means LOST is on tonight. Though it's fairly unlikely to be on my projector, as I've managed to break yet another part of that pile of junk. Sometime last night, I managed to convert my current bulb ballast into an arc-welder, frying the contacts of every bulb it touches within a matter of minutes. I have a spare ballast, and one spare bulb, so I'm going to try and cobble together a working system before 9, but heavy modding and a bit of cussing will probably be involved.

With the breaking of this part, only the LCD and the focusing lens are from the initial incarnation of this project. I'd already ordered a new focusing lens in the hopes of setting up the projector as a long-throw device, leaving only the LCD. By the time I'm done, I'll probably replace that as well. I will have literally purchased every part in this rig twice.

On the one hand, I've learned a lot about optics and projection. On the other hand, all I ever wanted was a big screen (is that so wrong?). It's still cheaper than purchasing a commercial system, and I completely control the configuration. I can upgrade and maintain this device from here till judgment day, while many commercial solutions get relegated to the junk heap.

But at this point, I'm ready to trade all of that for a screen that works without trouble for at least one month.

Anyway. LOST, either on a big screen or a small one, my place, 9pm. 15 minute moment of silence at 7pm if you're interested in that as well.
longwing: (Default)
Huge Projector Update behind cut. )
For those who don't want the massively multimedia experience, I'll skip to more immediate news.

Wednesday Night TV: LOST is airing a new episode, ominously titled "Abandoned", which picks up where we left off two weeks ago. My door is open to those who wish to attend, provided I'm able to recognize you.

<hint>This would be a good opportunity for some people to bring their leather coat that I'm supposed to be fixing.</hint>


Oct. 25th, 2005 02:56 pm
longwing: (Default)
Projector's running, still imperfect, but more than usable. LOST will be watched on Wednesday, par for the course. Any who'd like to show up, feel free. If you need directions, log in and check my info, there's plenty of contact stuff up.

Sorry that I have no photos of the current incarnation, I hope to get them up this week.
longwing: (Default)
I'm putting a stop work on all new projects until all old projects are completed. I have too many projects to finish off, and I'm not starting anything else until the old stuff is complete. This may keep me busy for a very long time. In the coming days, I'm going to post updates to my current projects so that any curious people can know what's going on. A number of people often ask me about some project or another, only to find out that it went on hold months ago. I think it's time to remedy this situation.

To kick things off, I'm going to talk about my Projector. Ironically, the one project everyone's tired of hearing about.

What's the Project?
Build a projector from a disassembled LCD. The final device must be quiet, and perform at least as well as a monitor. Preferably, it will also be unobtrusive, either sitting at the back of a room, or sitting at less than chair height.

What's the Current Status?
My new (and hopefully final) lens arrived today. After yet another reconfiguration, I will be able to push the project against the back wall. Hopefully, this latest lens will also resolve a few lingering brightness issues without creating new problems. Once adequate testing is done with the new lens, it will be time to finalize the case design. At this point, there will be some rewiring, and cleaning up of current wiring. The controls will be finalized, the outer shell will be re-built, and the projector will be painted/decorated. I'm hoping to create a kind of Victorian-punk look for the final version, but we'll see if I have the money, the patience, the skill, and the time to pull it off.

What's Holding it Up?
At this point, my biggest obstacles are money and time. I am out of both. As this is a project with no real deadline, I can keep working things out for quite a while, but I'd like to show the finished project off before my funeral. I don't really have any chance to work on it until next week, and I can't afford any new parts until next month. (Probably until next year, November will be tight for me, and December's too expensive to do anything selfish.)

When Will We Hear More?
Once it's against the back wall, I'll post photos of the work thus far. It will be shamefully unpretty, but it will at least give everyone here a sense of how I've been spending too many evenings.
longwing: (Default)
At last, I've returned my projector to functionality. It has spotlighting and focus issues, etc., etc., etc. But it's fully operational and not frying itself. I'll be working on hammering out a little bit more stability before Wednesday, but we will definitely have a big screen for LOST.

The problem? I was biting off more than I could chew, of course. I was trying to redesign the projector and make rapid on the fly changes to the design at the same time. This was a bad plan. So I took a step back, swallowed my pride, and brought out the cardboard and duct tape again. Now it's less pretty, but more working. Working is good. In the end, I care more about function than I do about form.

In many ways, it's vastly improved over the previous iteration. The screen is fully visible, both vertically and horizontally (until now, some of both had been cut off). The image is several times sharper than it used to be, and the focus is much better (although the corners are still slightly blurry). The biggest issue is spotlighting (the center of the image is brighter than the edges) although that may be due to the age of the abused "test bulb" that we've been flicking on and off again during construction. Even if the bulb survives till Wednesday, I'm putting in a fresh one for LOST.

Right now, I'm running a "burn in" test to make sure that the new cooling system can handle the heat we're throwing at it. If the LCD remains unharmed, then I'll know that no major changes need to be made before Wednesday. I could go crazy trying to solve the few remaining issues, particularly the spotlighting, but I'm not really inclined to fiddle with focal lengths when a new lens is on the way. I ordered another Fresnel on Saturday, and if all goes well with its configuration, I'll be able to push the projector against the rear wall. Until it gets here though, I'm taking a break and playing some oldschool FF7.
longwing: (Default)
I'm getting LOST again on Wednesday, and the series is really getting interesting. The door is open to anyone I can recognize, and anyone they bring with them. There's popcorn, chips, soda (now with root beer in two different variates!), and of course, company. The show starts at 9, but people are free to join me anytime.

Projector status:
I've ordered the new lenses, and they shipped yesterday. It will be 50/50 as to weather they arrive on time to be used. I'll be checking for them Wednesday afternoon. If they don't show up in time, then I'll start some serious brightness tweaking by 8, and hopefully make those night scenes a bit more tolerable. Worst case, this will be the last of the old lenses, as by next week the problem WILL be fixed.

My weekend wound up WAY too busy to catch Mirrormask. There's only one Theater in DC which is showing it anyways. I'd like to see it either this week after work, or this weekend. I'll be pitching the concept of a work outing to see the film tomorrow. Either way, I'd like to hear from folks about the possibility of an outing.
longwing: (Default)

On a more somber note:
News on the LOST gathering. I managed to damage my projector last night while trying to set it up for LOST, so I'll need to run out and buy a part today. The gathering is still on, but be ready for some oddities as I play techy and entertainer at the same time.

The gather "starts" between 7 and 8. 8 is the clipshow to catch everyone up on what happened in season 1. Show up anytime. Sugar free soda provided, bring your favorite beverage if you'd prefer something else. Popcorn provided too.


longwing: (Default)

September 2010

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