April 2014 Issue

A summary of this month's contents.

Jacob’s Ladder

This high-voltage spark generator gives an impressive display of high-tension electric sparking and climbing up a pair of electrodes, as seen in some horror movies but downsized to a more manageable hobby project.


Powered from a 12V sealed lead acid battery, PIC 16F88-based and requiring a particular car ignition coil (see article for details), straightforward to build. A video of the finished thing is at www.siliconchip.com.au/videos/jacobsladder


Also refer to our High Energy Ignition Module in Feb/ March 2014 EPE.




Deluxe GPS 1pps Timebase for frequency counters

Were you interested in the precision GPS timebase featured in the March 2014 issue? That was the ‘no-frills’ version. This month we’re proud to present our ‘Deluxe’ version which also suits our 12-digit Frequency Counter (Jan, Feb 2014 EPE).

It not only provides the same near atomic-clock accuracy 1pps pulse for the counter’s timebase, but also extracts the NMEA 0183 data stream from the GPS satellites for processing on your PC.


A Capacitor Discharge Unit for twin-coil points motors

If you have a model railway then it’s likely to have one, two or maybe dozens of sets of points. That means you need at least one CDU to power them. This project is simple and cheap to build that you can now have several CDUs to enhance the performance and reliability of your model railway points. Also check our Automatic Points Controller project in March 2014.


Teach-In 2014 Raspberry Pi (Part 7)

A look at number systems, more Python Quickstart tutorials and a port expander for your Raspberry Pi are described and  Home Baking introduces the steps needed to set up your Pi as a web server. Essential entertainment for Pi users everywhere!



Our PIC expert breaks the news about the demise of MPLAB and suggests some workarounds for PIC fans wanting an alternative software solution.


Also in this issue:

  • Beta Layout Reflow Oven Kit review – soldering SM boards on the tabletop
  • Net Work – the Internet column on the net-aware Crock Pot, Belkin Wemo and more Internet hardware
  • Interface - Using the Raspberry PI Camera
  • Max’s Cool Beans – Max continues on his latest Arduino-powered project
  • Circuit Surgery – more MOSFET Basics, continued.
  • Techno Talk – options for faster broadband and the perils of using counterfeit Cat5 cabling


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Source code file 0414.zip (Updated 9/4/2014)


PCB artwork


As from July 2013 issue PCB artwork is available free to subscribers only.


Non-subscribers may purchase artwork files for a nominal sum. Please contact our Orders Dept for information or to place an order.


EPE Printed Circuit Boards


We can supply ready-made printed circuit boards (8-digit order codes) to the original design specification via mail order or from our Online Shop.

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