Volume 1 Issue 10 August 1999.pdf

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Copyright © 1999 Wimborne Publishing Ltd and
Maxfield & Montrose Interactive Inc
EPE Online, Febuary 1999 - www.epemag.com - XXX
John Becker
addresses some of the general points readers have raised. Have
you anything interesting to say? Email us at editor@epemag.com!
The DMT-1010 is a 3 1/2 digit
pocket-sized LCD multi-meter
which measures a.c. and d.c.
voltage, d.c. current, and re-
sistance. It can also test
diodes and bipolar transistors.
Every month we will give a
DMT-1010 Digital Multimeter
to the author of the best
shack and now spend all my
time at DIY, the garden and
electronics, and have just built
myself a UV light box from
and went on to develop my first
PCB using Terry de Vaux-
(Aug ‘96)
as a trial project. It is now
working on the bench ready to
put in a box
61/2 mins to
develop and 20-25 mins to etch.
I would like to thank you for
the help and for persuading me
to keep at it when I was just
started. It is a very satisfying
hobby at any age, of course. I
have always liked to make
things. Most of my working life
was spent as a fisherman and
the last ten years as skipper of
a North Sea trawler. I now look
forward to getting my teeth into
more projects and will keep
reading your excellent articles.
Alexander Lovie
Cornhill, Banffshire, Scotland
V, A etc.) while the units names
themselves (newton, pascal,
volt, ampere, etc.) are not capi-
Also I’m a bit doubtful about
Celcius. I have seen it spelled
that way. But my Chambers Bi-
ographical Dictionary tells me it
is Celsius, after the Swedish
astronomer Anders Celsius
(1701-44), who devised that
temperature scale in 1742.
More seriously, you can’t
write virii (as appeared in Net-
work June ’99)! The Latin virus
originally meant a slimy liquid;
the word was used (in French)
in its modern sense of an infec-
tious organism by Louis Pasteur
in 1880, and reported (in En-
glish) in Scientific American) in
1881. The plural viruses has
been in use in English since at
least 1908, so there is no rea-
son to use the Latin plural; but if
you must use it, it is viri, not
Peter Kelly
Woombye, Queensland, Aus-
Thanks Peter
we actually
commented on the lower case
for kelvin in July ’99 Readout,
but did not correct the pascal
and shall probably not
do so again in the future! As
you will see from another letter
on this page, the Editor in Chief
of Elektor-France is someone
else who also chooses to use
capital P for Pascal. There are
some things which look better
Dear EPE,
A few years ago I wrote to
you about a project I was
making from
Bottle Monitor
(Sept ’92). You
wrote back a very kind and
explanatory letter which I still
have, and the problem was
solved at once. The transistor
had the suffix “L”, which gave it
a different pinout. The design
was installed in the car I had at
the time, and then transferred it
to the next car, which I sold a
few months ago, and the
monitor, still working great, went
along with it.
I have now retired and we
moved to a quiet country village
about a year ago. I have built a
Most interesting to hear
from you. We wonder if your UV
unit was the one by Alan
Winstanley, of July ‘92?
How many more readers
have favorite EE/PE/EPE/ETI
Dear EPE,
A small quibble with the ref-
erences to SI units in John
Phillips’ letter (June ’99) and
your reply. The convention with
SI units based on personal
names is that the unit symbols
are written with a capital (N, Pa,
Copyright © 1999 Wimborne Publishing Ltd and
Maxfield & Montrose Interactive Inc
EPE Online, August 1999 - www.epemag.com - 855
with caps in a publication such
as ours, even if it’s not strictly
correct. Celcius was purely my
typing error, but by the rules you
quote for non-caps should it not
be celsius?
Fowler’s Modern
English Usage states that
plurals of nouns in -us are trou-
blesome. Most are from Latin
second-declension words,
whose Latin plural is -i; but
when that should be used, and
when the English plural -uses is
better, has to be decided for
each separately’’.
Personally, I would use
viruses (I had Latin thrust down
me at school
but little was ab-
sorbed and I wouldn’t presume
to comment on someone else’s
correct or incorrect use of it).
My Hodder and Stoughton
Latin-English dictionary gives
“slime; poison; saltiness”
as the
translation for virus.
Don’t overlook the fact that
we are principally here to pub-
lish electronics articles and do
not claim to be professors in
English (or Latin)
although we
acknowledge that correct
spelling is desirable in any disci-
sandth, one hundredth, one
tenth, one, ten, hundred, thou-
sand, and so on. Therefore, a
hectoPascal is 100 Pascal and
not 0 01 Pascal. It is true that
one hectoPascal is the same as
one millibar, thus one bar is
1000 hectoPascal.
For your information, the old
name of the bar was hectopieze
(hpz = 100pz), 0 98 atmosphere.
The old name of the Pascal is
millipieze, one thousandth of a
To cut short the story, I ex-
amined Dave’s file and found
that he had been using the Tab
key instead of spaces. The Tab
is a command key and is not
recognized by the Toolkit soft-
ware as legitimate ASCII text
data. The Tab does not actually
create spaces in the file being
written but puts in a single con-
trol character of ASCII 9.
When Toolkit Mk2 assem-
bles a text file it looks for the
space character (ASCII 32) as
the separators between fields
(columns). If it finds ASCII 9 in-
stead of a space, the correct
field separation is not made and
data is incorrectly interpreted, in
Dave’s case many of his PIC
commands were being seen as
I have heard back from
Dave who reports success after
removing the Tab commands.
(PS Please do not send me
code files that you have written
and can’t get to work
I don’t
offer a debugging service!
Dave’s situation was different
and had me puzzled by what he
said in his first E-mail.)
Further, as far as I know,
and I should, I’m a Frenchman,
Celsius is written with an s not a
I read your magazine, with
professional interest since at
least 18 years.
Guy Raedersdorf
Editor in Chief, Elektor-
Thanks Guy, we appreciate
your professional input. We also
note with interest that you also
use capitals for some unit terms
we’re being criticized for it
(see the “Quibbles” letter on this
page)! Yes, I can’t type accu-
rately, of course it’s Celsius (or
should it be celsius?) and for
some reason my word-
processing program’s
spellchecker failed to alert me.
Dear EPE,
I have just read the Hot
Bars letter of June ’99. After
decades and even centuries of
use of the Imperial system, it
seems that a lot of people over
there (the Channel, Atlantic
Ocean, Pacific Ocean) have
problems with the Metric sys-
The order is milli, centi,
deci, one, deca, hecto, kilo.
These translate as one thou-
Dear EPE,
Regarding Thomas Walton’s
TASM Send problem (Readout
May ’99), it may be that his Win-
dows 98 is spooling data to the
printer port. I had a similar prob-
lem when programming a paral-
lel relay card in QuickBASIC.
Spooling means that data
will be significantly slowed
down. It is only really necessary
for more advanced Windows
programs (MS Word etc). To
Dear EPE,
Using Toolkit Mk2 with a
TASM text file I have written for
a project I’ve been working on, I
cannot assemble the .ASM file
to binary .OBJ, receiving the
message “63 Errors”.
Dave Buck
via the Net
Copyright © 1999 Wimborne Publishing Ltd and
Maxfield & Montrose Interactive Inc
EPE Online, August 1999 - www.epemag.com - 856
prevent spooling in MS-DOS programs, go to My
Computer and open the Printers folder. Now right-
click the default printer and select Properties. In the
window that appears click the Details tab and then
click Port settings. Now uncheck the Spool MS-DOS
print jobs and click OK. I do not know why Windows
95 wasn’t spooling Thomas’s Send yet Windows 98
was. Maybe the printer driver’s defaults were re-
stored during the upgrade.
Graeme Yeo
via the Net
Thanks Graeme for this information. It could
well prove useful to many readers who have up-
graded to Windows 98.
Dear EPE,
Many thanks for the kind words about my
website in the June ‘99 Interface, but more impor-
tantly, thank you for promoting the excellent Delphi
software. I have updated
so that it now covers how to
access a Windows 95 or 98 parallel port.
Also, I bought one of the little CCTV cameras
before seeing your special offer for them. Can you
point me to an old EPE project or some other
source for a still frame grabber? I want to work up
a security application, which will record still images
from the CCTV on a PC’s hard disk.
Tom Boyd
via the Net
Regrettably, my
CCD TV Camera’s
(Mar-Apr ’94) was specific to the CCD chip I used
in it. Whilst frame grabbing was one of the func-
tions available, it would be too complex to re-write
the code to suit the little cameras to which you re-
fer. Does any reader know of a circuit Tom might
Thanks for the previous informative E-mail
about more Delphi port procedures, but perhaps
its best if people read such codes via your superb
Dear EPE,
I have seen from Readout on several occasions
that some readers have had difficulty in identifying
LPT ports for use with PIC Programmers, etc. The
following program may be of help:
40 DEF SEG = 0
50 A = PEEK(1032) + 256 * PEEK(1033)
60 B = PEEK(1034) + 256 * PEEK(1035)
70 C = PEEK(1036) + 256 * PEEK(1037)
80 PRINT “LPT1 AT ‘’; HEX$(A)
90 PRINT “LPT2 AT ‘’; HEX$(B)
100 PRINT “LPT3 AT ‘’ HEX$(C)
Dear EPE,
Regarding the Mechanical Radio of April ’99. I
have found that the stepper motor off an old floppy
drive works real dandy! No gear ratios are needed,
just attach a simple handle to the shaft and a
speed of about 10 RPM is sufficient to generate
3V. Dead right for my little radio. I charge two pen-
light NiCad cells with it.
Martin Gouws,
Randfontein, South Africa
The remarks regarding LPT output lines not
shifting between 0V and 5V may well be an issue. I
think it is a good idea to buffer each line to and from
the LPT port as a matter of principle.
David McCloy
via the Net
Thank you. The same information can also be
obtained with many machines by typing MSD
(standing for Microsoft Diagnostics) from MS-DOS
mode. This causes a diagnostic screen to display
information about many aspects of your system.
Yes, it is agreed that buffering port I/O lines is
beneficial. This was done for the
PIC Toolkit Mk2
(May-June ‘98) and the
8-Channel Analog Data Log-
(this issue).
Dear EPE,
From the deepest corners of darkest Africa, I
wish to express my gratitude to all involved with
Copyright © 1999 Wimborne Publishing Ltd and
Maxfield & Montrose Interactive Inc
EPE Online, August 1999 - www.epemag.com - 857
the wonderful PhizzyB project
(Nov ‘98 to June ’99). It has been
gangs of fun.
via the Net
Graham’s E-mail has wizzed
around the globe a bit before end-
ing up on my PC. In the process
his surname has gone astray
(hope it turns up before he
misses it!). Ports of call include
Max and Alvin in the USA, Alan
W in Lincolnshire UK, Mike K
here at HQ. We think Graham
lives in Zanzibar.
We all express thanks to him
for taking the time to let us know
that he appreciates the
It’s not often readers write to just
say how good things are, they
usually only write when they have
problems (but we are pleased to
help where possible). So, Gra-
ham, from the rustic corners of
Historic Wimborne Minster, salu-
lates that he did not mean to
exclude those who live North of
the Watford Gap!
But, no stars? There were
thousands of stars
the Generals who were all offer-
ing their 10 (billion) cents worth
of input!
Dear EPE,
Now that the general public
has adopted the phrase
“Millennium Bug”’, maybe it’s
too late to tell everyone it should
actually be called the “Century
Bug’’! If technological history
had been shifted by a multiple of
100 years in either direction,
then we would still have the
same fears in changing the year
from 99 to 00. The problem
would still be apparent if we
were now in the 1890s of
Perhaps it was named by
the same person who labeled
the American Cold War deter-
rent as “Star Wars” when there
were no stars involved at all!
Just a blue-green planet!
Richard Wilkinson
via the Net
The Millennium reference
inspires my imagination more,
perhaps, than the Century
would. Whilst, we are aware
that the whole concept of the
Millennium change leaves some
people utterly uninterested, it
seems that society in general
just loves celebrating anniver-
saries, so why not this one? I
look forward to visiting the
Dome, whatever the cost.
Incidentally, it’s amusing to
see how the word Millennium is
spelt wrongly in so many places
(we’ve done so as well). A
flower shop sign I saw recently
in Jersey stating “Order your
Minnellium flowers now’’, was
especially entertaining!
Dear EPE,
A friend sent this advice to
me and I thought it worth pass-
ing on: if your VCR doesn’t work
in the year 2000, do not throw it
away, set it on year 1972 be-
cause the days will be the same
as year 2000!
Lloyd Kirk
via the Net
We too pass it on (but
Dear EPE,
The MIDI Handbells project
(May ’99) is great! I have an in-
terest in percussion and so I
have changed the project a little
to make a MIDI drum kit. I have
altered the PIC program to use
MIDI channel 10 (drum channel)
and to use different notes (one
for cymbal, one for snare drum,
etc). Also, instead of the
“handbells” I am using metal
pads connected to resistors R1
to R11 and metal drum sticks
connected to +V. When a pad is
hit, +V is connected via a resis-
tor to the appropriate pin of the
Graeme Yeo
via the Net
We like to hear that people
are making use of design ideas
in order to achieve their “own
thing”. This is yet another way in
which readers benefit from our
Dear EPE,
I was horrified to read the fol-
lowing comment in the Musical
Sundial project of May ’99: “who
in their right mind is going to be
looking at sundials at 4 a.m.?’’
But what about your faithful
readers in Artic Climes, where the
sun shines for 24 hours a day for
six months of the year. I feel that
a Letter to the Times is in order.
(We know who he is and shall
not give him the pleasure of
naming him)!
Editor Mike’s response to the
threat is that the publicity would
do us good! Yours truly, a Midlan-
der born and (un?)bred, articu-
Copyright © 1999 Wimborne Publishing Ltd and
Maxfield & Montrose Interactive Inc
EPE Online, August 1999 - www.epemag.com - 858
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