Earth leakage hack

Happy New Year! Best wishes to all my friends for 2024.

I have this weird problem with my new studio computer ‘verve‘. When I press the power button, it doesn’t turn on. It does have 15 USB cables plugged into it, and quite a number of those are powered, which seems to affect the system.

The power for most of the devices on my bench goes through a PowerShield Defender 1600VA UPS battery, and then through an Arlec PB91 Residual Current Device (RCD).

The RCD has a test feature so you can press the button on the RCD and it will trip the safety which will disconnect the power. If I do this most of the equipment on my bench will turn off (but, importantly, not my workstation ‘verve’) including all the powered USB devices which are interfering with my computer.

After I trip the RCD I can power on my computer, and then once it’s powered on I can reset the RCD and bench power is restored. It’s a bit fiddly but at least it works!

UV light

Got myself a USB powered UV light. It came with a few tubes of solder mask:

I’m gonna keep this in my booth where it will be used. Don’t want to use it anywhere near where I keep my UV solder mask because I don’t want to accidentally cure it!
John's UV light, switched off
John's UV light, switched on

Making Xbox cables

This morning I was fooling with cables for my Xbox. I want to make some breakout boards with controllers and front-panel buttons and LEDs that I can install in my bench and simply plug in when I’m working on a board.

I had a play with what I had in stock and built the cable you can see below. In the bottom of the frame is the Xbox controller connectors for two controllers, and in the top of the frame is my 10 pin JST PHD connector which I wired up just to make sure I had the right components and everything was working.

John's work mat with Xbox controller and breakout board

It works, but I used 22 AWG gauge wire where I probably want 24 or 26 AWG instead, so I ordered some of that on AliExpress.

I also swung by Digi-Key and stocked up on JST PHD connectors. On an Xbox motherboard (I’ve only checked v1.6 so far, I’m just getting started) you will find a 10 pin JST PHD connector for the front LEDs and power/eject buttons, two 12 pin JST PHD connectors for the controllers, and a 14 pin JST PHD connector for the DVD ROM. I got all such things:

And because I seriously lack restraint I purchased a shitload of every type of USB Type A Female connector I could find on AliExpress:

Also I’ve set up some storage so I can work on multiple OGXbox projects at the same time:
John's shelf with storage for Xbox circuit boards

New kit

I’ve installed my two new microscopes, the TOMLOV DM602 Pro which arrived today, and the Yizhan Microscope which arrived yesterday.

Using my new 8K 5-in 1-out HDMI 2.1 Switch I can put either of the microscopes on the top display. I can also put the Rigol MSO5074 scope and an Xbox on the top display. There is one spare HDMI port which is on the front of the device which I can use for ad hoc purposes.

Before the HDMI switch output runs into the top display (a Teac TV) it runs through a 4K Audio Video Capture Device which allows me to record the output for inclusion in my videos.

John's new screens