CPU tachometer

Recently, analog displays have come back in vogue. This is partially due to the common steam punk theme that is popular right now. [Cristiano] has done an analog display, but instead of brass and polished wood, he’s gone automotive themed with it. He purchased a cheap tachometer from ebay.  A circuit had to be designed to give the tach the signals needed for it to operate, and you can download the schematic from his site. As you can see in the video above, it works well. We think that “shift” light might get annoying pretty quickly.

Comments

  1. Ragnar says:

    This is pure liquid gold.

  2. Frogz says:

    serial/parallel ports are dead, long live the universal serial bus!
    sigh… i dream of a day usb interface chips will be available at ratshack

  3. agent420 says:

    cool modern implementation of an old hack – xoxide used to sell these a couple of years ago and i’ve seen a couple of similar personal projects. the old designs used the serial port so i guess it makes sense to update it to usb as serial ports are pretty much gone now.

    http://www.xoxide.com/pctachometer1.html

    i’ve got a related mod on my wall mounted pc (aka colossus) that uses a scrolling led sign to display various stats such as cpu, disk io, temps etc:

    analog displays are great because they have been proven to be more quickly and easily comprehended compared to numeric data, where your brain has to do some processing to understand the information.

    i also like analog because it’s different – i’m really sick of lcd this and lcd that; i’ll even take an led over and lcd these days (but nixies rule for numeric displays).

  4. Hackius says:

    This is great as a USB primer tutorial

  5. agent420 says:

    cool modern implementation of an old hack – xoxide used to sell these a couple of years ago and i’ve seen a couple of similar personal projects. the old designs used the serial port so i guess it makes sense to update it to usb as serial ports are pretty much gone now.

    http://www.xoxide.com/pctachometer1.html

  6. agent420 says:

    i’ve got a related mod on my wall mounted pc (aka colossus) that uses a scrolling led sign to display various stats such as cpu, disk io, temps etc:

    analog displays are great because they have been proven to be more quickly and easily comprehended compared to numeric data, where your brain has to do some processing to understand the information.

    i also like analog because it’s different – i’m really sick of lcd this and lcd that; i’ll even take an led over and lcd these days (but nixies rule for numeric displays).

  7. Frogz says:

    btw, i got a few of these

    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=motorola+mx240a&hl=en&cid=12326592032494801412&sa=title#p

    (LOL!!!! $100????? i paid like $20 each new)
    any suggestions for a new use?(the official program/driver sucks) if i can figure out how to interface it?

  8. strider_mt2k says:

    I think that shift light would be more useful as a high heat indicator, or something to indicate that the fans are now running faster because of the CPU loading.
    Heck, just line those gauges right on across the bottom or something! -they’re great!

    When shopping for a refrigerator a few months back, I was taken with a huge fridge that featured at least three beautiful analog gauges.
    Could never afford that one, but I did get one with crushed ice in the door.

    -crushed ice- people!

    (but i digress)

  9. raged says:

    frogz, sounds like a job for the buspirate. You could probly use them as wireless transmitters for projects? Use their wireless hardware and maybe the keyboard/screen? Are they black/white screens?

    also, how is your power supply hooked up on your “colossus” pc?

  10. raged says:

    Frogz: This is the user manual for the mx240a

    http://safemanuals.com/user-guide-instructions-owner-manual/MOTOROLA/MX240A-_E

    It looks like you need a base connected to an internet PC for these devices to work.

  11. agent420 says:

    @raged
    its a conventional atx psu removed from it’s enclosure. i cut off all the molex plug ends and used terminal strips to interconnect the different parts. this is mostly for aesthetics but it does make modifications easy and tidy.

  12. Frogz says:

    ya, the base is a standard usb device, like i said i bought 2 of these things but dont have much use for em anymore, basically a wireless b/w display/keyboard, was thinking about merging the driver with a ssh client or somthing, semi wireless nethack!!

  13. agent420 says:

    @frogz
    you might be able to determine or use the dll functions in their driver with some visual studio spy tools. with any luck you might be able to just add a reference to them in a new project of your own.

  14. skitchin says:

    @agent420 : where is the bud ^_^? interesting project. Although it has an interesting look, I can only imagine the joy of swapping any component out, particularly hard drives or that powersupply @_@.

  15. agent420 says:

    @skitchin
    yeah, it’s obviously designed more for artistic attributes rather than being frequently upgraded. actually, i built this pc back in 06 (3.2 p4) and it’s still going strong, only had to replace 1 optical drive that died. those pics were taken in the early days which is why the cd drive area still looks a bit messy.

  16. EvilBeans says:

    I don’t know much about CPUs and how they work but it would be kinda cool if you could write some code that would basically allow “shifting” CPU cores. So if you had a multi core machine you could start with one and then “shift” up depending on use. Might result in using less energy when you don’t need it. It isn’t very practical sure but I think it would be fun to play with.

  17. JD says:

    This is the coolest thing I have ever seen.

  18. crackdawg says:

    Can’t wait for cyberpunk to come back in vogue..

    All we have are will smith movies and obscure novels right now.

  19. agent420 says:

    ^ warehouse 13 ;-)

  20. PidGin128 says:

    You know, I had my name and email entered, and the posting failed, and it cleared my entry. thanks a million stupid comment box…

    I have also had odd triple posts because of this horrible comment box.

    @agent420, Nice PC, colossus was a good movie, I like how both machines found each other, and began communicating independantly. haven’t seen it in a while though.

    The wall pc idea fits nicely with my ideal of using underutilized space, high walls + ceilings. no need for a pc on the top of a desk.

    Also what is the unconnected board to the left of the optical, with one ribbon + 4 silver connectors?

  21. agent420 says:

    @pidgin128
    yeah, that flick was good. trivia: colossus was also the name of the first programmable digital computer built in britain during ww2:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer

    my setup is basically the guts from a dell server that i remounted. that board was from the front panel io, power, activity leds and addl usb ports. i have since created a mounted acrylic panel for those items. it took those pics right after mounting before it was 100% complete.

  22. colossus says:

    there is another system…

  23. colossus says:

    @pidgin128
    my bad, the board you are referring to is a midi extender board – colossus is also my digital audio workstation ;-) being open air, i have the fans running so slow you can’t hear them.

  24. M4CGYV3R says:

    With CPU usage like that it must be vista…

  25. Nick says:

    I was planning on obtaining an entire gauge assembly from an Audi TT (easy to find since there was a fault that resulted in most dashboard being changed, some more than once) and using it for CPU, Memory, etc. This inspires me even more!

  26. cantido says:

    @EvilBeans

    Some machines (When I say machines, I mean things that are and aren’t X86) allow processors to be hotplugged, i.e. added and removed while the machine is running. So disabling and enabling processors on the fly isn’t an issue if your hardware is capable.

    If you just wanted to attempt to squeeze all the work on top one processor when possible (so the others could remain idle, and hopefully save power) you would write that into your OS’s scheduler.. i.e if (Work < Potential of CPU0) then Processor Affinity (Which processor to use) = 0; end if; However you have stuff like interrupts and things to also contend with. ;)

  27. zeratul says:

    Hi Guys

    I know it’s a bit offtopic but does anyone ever did project to convert an UPS to
    be chargeable from solar cell?

    I waiting for my new CENTRALION Claire ups (http://www.centralion.com/html/product/back-Product-ups-claire-spec.htm).
    I want to modify it to be able to load the batteries from both 230V and from solar cells.

    Please share your ideas on this one!

  28. Roly says:

    @Frogz – fer crying out loud, and on Hackaday of all places too. This is technology, not a religion or fashion statement. I have a mixture of digital and analogue displays on my workbench to cover different needs; digital is more accurate, but analogue shows trending and signal dynamics better.

    USB is good. RS-232 is good. Centronics printer ports are good. MIDI is good. RS-422/GPIB is good. Using the joystick inputs is good. Using the speaker output is good. It’s *all* good if it does what you need without fuss or complication. My workbench ‘puters are typically old AT’s or whatever running DOS or early ‘doze, and they are still very useful for the specific tasks I set them up for. Laugh if you like, but if I do happen to accidentally put the mains up the printer port it’s only a minor matter to chuck it and swing in another one.

    But sometimes I have to wonder about the application of digital smarts, and wonder how long it will be until I see a *crowbar* with 32-bit micro and LCD display.

    There’s nothing wrong with hanging over the bleeding edge, just don’t assume that because a particular technology isn’t the current flavor of the month that it’s automatically useless. 3.5 floppies are on the way out and that creates some serious problems for me because they are variously ideal for some needs, and indeed vital to keep some music synths going.

    There are valve (tube) guitar amps out their still gigging strong after 40 years, yet a modern amp or mixer that uses some modern but now outdated tech (e.g. 720k 3.5’s) is reduced (very) prematurely to junk. I think SD cards are magic, but I’d think very carefully before committing to anything that depended on their long term availability.

    To my mind a good hack comes from keeping as many options open as possible thus multiplying the possible combinations. Do we turn our noses up at a 270 degree moving coil meter as a display? Or do we recognise that some old tech like this is hard to even equal using an LCD and 64-bits of digital crunch?

  29. draeath says:

    The author of this hack mentions the book “USB Complete” – however that book appears to be very windows centric.

    Does anyone recommend any particular material that is less platform specific, without requiring me to attempt and read the actual USB v2.0 specification?

  30. Kusuriya says:

    Now to make a Fuel Gauge memory monitor…

  31. draeath says:

    So, I think someone could have some real fun if they visit a junkyard and walk away with an intact instrument cluster.

    You can even record your total uptime in the odometer!

  32. alucard says:

    I WANT IT!!!!!! usb verion or sth?

  33. Michael G says:

    Who is Cristiano and how do I find his website (it’s not Cristiano.com btw) to ask for schematics?

  34. Michael G says:

    Never mind, just clicked on green words of article. And I used to think clicking on random stuff would get me in trouble.

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