Category Archives: classic hacks

Fun With A Hydrogen Thyratron

There’s something oddly menacing about some vacuum tubes. The glass, the glowing filaments, the strange metal grids and wires suspended within – all those lead to a mysterious sci-fi look and the feeling that strange things are happening in there.

Add in a little high voltage and a tube that …read more

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Posted in classic hacks, high current, high voltage, hydrogen, igbt, scr, switching, TGI1-50/5, thyratron | Leave a comment

Designing Custom LCDs To Repair Retrocomputers

China, we’re told, can make anything. If you need some PCBs in a few weeks, there are a few factories in China that will do it. If you need a nuclear reactor, yep, there’s probably a factory in China that’ll do it because nuclear reactors are listed as one of …read more

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Posted in classic hacks, lcd, LCD Soundsystem, radio shack, trs-80 | Leave a comment

This Vintage Op-Amp Opens A Fascinating Window Into Semiconductor History

We have covered enough of the work of [Ken Shirriff] on these pages to know that when he publishes something, it will be a fascinating read and work of the highest quality. And so it is with his latest, a very unusual op-amp on which he performs his usual reverse …read more

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Posted in bob pease, classic hacks, jean hoerni, op-amp, parts, teardown | Leave a comment

The 8-Bit Guy Builds A 16-Bit Computer

One of the better retro historians out there on YouTube is the 8-Bit Guy, and after years of wanting to do something like this, it’s finally happening. The 8-Bit Guy is building his dream computer, heavily inspired by the Commodore 64.

Before we go into what this computer will do …read more

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Posted in 6502, 65816, classic hacks, commodore, retrocomputing | Leave a comment

Curve Tracing On Spray Painted CRTs

A Lissajous curve is formed when two sine waves plotted on their respective X and Y axes. You can see one using an oscilloscope and a couple of signal generators, if you play with one of those ‘pendulums tracing in the sand’ toys, or if you really need something sciencey …read more

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Posted in classic hacks, crt, Lissajous, lissajous curves | Leave a comment

DAT, The HD Video Tape Format We Never Knew We Had

When we consume our music online via streaming services it is easy to forget the days of recordings being contained on physical media, and to overlook the plethora of competing formats that vied for space in our hi-fi systems to play them. [Andrew Rossignol] has an eye for dated recording …read more

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Posted in classic hacks, DAT, DAT tape, h.265, video, video hacks | Leave a comment

Charging LiPos with USB Power Delivery

DC power bricks were never a particularly nice way to run home electronics. Heavy and unwieldy, they had a tendency to fall out and block adjacent outlets from use. In recent years, more and more gadgets are shipping with USB ports for power input. However, power over USB has always …read more

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Posted in classic hacks, power delivery, usb, USB C, USB Power Delivery, USB-PD | Leave a comment

The PC Speaker Lives On As A New Album

The speaker in the original IBM PC is nearly the worst electronic musical instrument ever created. This isn’t because amazing works of art were never created for the PC speaker; no, that’s been done, and it’s amazing. The PC speaker is terrible because of how limited it is. It does …read more

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Posted in album, classic hacks, music, musical hacks, PC speaker | Leave a comment

Art Deco Control Panel Looks Out of Metropolis

Bakelite, hammertone gray finish, big chunky toggle switches, jeweled pilot lights – these are a few of [Wesley Treat]’s favorite retro electronics things. And he’ll get no argument from us, as old gear is one of our many weak spots. So when he was tasked by a friend to come …read more

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Posted in aluminum, Art Deco, chaser light, chassis, classic hacks, control panel, metalworking, retro, walnut, woodworking | Leave a comment

Love Inspires CD Player Hack

The heart is an impressive piece of hardware. It’s a rare pump that runs continuously for over 80 years in some cases. It’s also, for some reason or other, become a common human symbol of love and affection. In this vein, [Deepak Khatri] has built a beating electronic heart out …read more

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Posted in 555, classic hacks, heart, heartbeat, NE555 | Leave a comment