Trek to Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

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I’ve been a huge fan of EMSL for quite some time now, and my recent field trip proved that it has earned the name Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories for a good reason. For instance, look at the reflection in the glass near the bottom and you’ll glimpse the hearse that [Lenore] and [Windell] have sitting in front of the shop. But stop at the threshold, inside there are delights that ate up a couple of hours without me even noticing. And they thought they were going to get work done that day.

Don’t judge me by my appearance. This is late afternoon on a summer Saturday in Sunnyvale. Why does that matter? Obviously summer Saturdays in Silicon Valley always start with the Electronics Swap Meet and Engineer’s breakfast! That was a ton of fun but if you’re doing it right it’s also a bit tiring. No worries, a shot of excitement came over me as soon as I walked in that front door.

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Experience the “Farmer’s Market” of Vintage Electronics

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Normally when you think of a Farmer’s Market, fresh produce grown nearby comes to mind. This experience was similar in that much of the produce was conceived locally, but the goal is to be anything but fresh. I had the opportunity last weekend to attend the final Electronics Flea Market of 2014. I can’t speak for everyone, but there is an obvious affinity for vintage electronics equipment in just about any condition. The people you run into are as interesting as the equipment being swapped, and the social outing tends to continue even after the swap meet closes.

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Peggy 2 super pixels

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[Windell] from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories took one of their Peggy 2 kits and gave it a little upgrade. The Peggy 2 is a programmable 25×25 LED display. It’s Arduino compatible and can accommodate big 10mm LEDs. Most people assemble them using just one color, but [Windell] decided to create giant RGB pixels by placing discrete red, green, blue, and white LEDs next to each other in the board. This creates a 12.5×12.5 grid of full color pixels. It’s an interesting effect and you should definitely check out the video embedded below which shows how the transition can be smoothed using a diffuser. [Read more...]

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