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So How am I doing?

January 03, 2011 19:01

It's been 3 days now. So far, my success has been... partial. I can blame some of it on this workweek which has grown larger than expected, and I can blame other issues, such as not having all the components I need to complete all of the tasks.

First off, the marquee sign page is done, but needs more visial diagrams. That brings up the first issue. I need a good program (preferably free) that can create electronic schematic diagrams. I'd been using Xcircuit in the past, but its interface is annoying, it doesn't scale well, and image conversions are a pain. Better than nothing, but I'd prefer something else.

As for the minor computer upgrades, I only got some of those accomplished. I need to find an inexpensive front panel module that can fit either a 3 1/2 or a 5.25 bay and include at least the front audio hookups and a few USB ports. I'd also like an integrated card reader for that, but I can live without it if necessary as I have one of those already (it just doesn't fit properly). I could possibly create my own audio hookups if I feel so inclined, but if I can find a cheap option, that'd be preferable. I don't feel much like spending $20 for an audio jack.

I flat ran out of time today but I started assembling components to build the relay board. I have the relays and diodes, along with a new work 4 gang outlet box to house it all in, along with the outlets themselves. What I'm needing is a sheet of perfboard to wire it up on, one that will fit in the enclosure. Either that, or I could mount the circuit on the outside of the outlet box and enclose the entire thing in a larger box, but it would be nice to be able to fit all of it in there. It would be ideal to built my own 12V power supply as well, which means I'll need to find a small transformer and a few other components. Also debating if I want to use a parallel port outlet or just scavenge another parallel cord. I certainly have plenty of them.

A future project along the same lines would be to construct a single enclosure for the computer interface, and use phone cable to connect to smaller (1 or 2) gang boxes with their own relays or triac circuits built within that can then be plugged in individually. This would be helpful for Xmas displays in the future, especially if they're outside.