Monthly Archives: August 2013

A review of the “fine European craftmanship” in a French-built oscilloscope 1

A couple of weeks ago my neighbour gave me an old cold war-era analog dual channel oscilloscope, I already owned an expensive Tektronix scope so I decided to take it apart.
The first thing I noticed was that there were no optocouplers present on the E.H.T. * board and after closer inspection I found that the “Focus” and “Brilliance” controls were directly connected to the -2 kV rail and that the user was only protected from these potentially lethal voltages by the plastic knobs on those potentiometers. Obviously this is a very dangerous situation as loss of a knob could result in electrocution.
Another curious aspect of this oscilloscope’s design was the fact that the CRT was mounted tightly into a plastic clamp, possibly causing the tube to break if the oscilloscope was to be exposed to any kind of mechanical abuse, which poses a significant risk to the user as the tube might violently explode when broken.
Besides these safety issues I also noticed a peculiar choice of materials for the chassis and mechanical supports, for simple mounting brackets which did not need to support any weight they chose to use thick pressed steel whereas they used injection-molded plastic for the main structural supports.
When i finished examining the device and tried to reassemble it I ran into a couple of problems: First of all the colour coding was not unique and all of the markings on the connectors were in French, they also neglected to mark the signal and ground pins for the RF connections. Because of these issues I was not able to successfully reassemble the oscilloscope, which however unfortunate, did yield me a very cool, round, Telefunken CRT!
One thing I have learned from this is that something being European made does not inherently mean it is of good quality.

[Library/Games] Java OpenGL based graphics engine

Two years ago I wanted to replace the engine of an old game I reverse engineered with a more modern one, but writing the whole new engine into the game seemed like a waste to me so I wrote this graphics engine. It has API’s for low level OpenGL features and is based on LWJGL, but also includes very high level interfaces which allow you to construct an application without knowing anything about OpenGL or computer graphics.
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[FPGA] RISC Processor

I designed and implemented this processor for my HAVO (secondary school) final assignment, for which it scored 10 out of 10 points and about which the local university(Universiteit Twente) who helped my school assess it said it would have been usable as a thesis for CS master.

It has 32 general registers and a link register for function returns, it supports direct, indirect and indexed addressing modes and has almost all basic operations implemented as instructions.

I also wrote an assembler for it, which is included in the Google Code project linked to below.
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Welcome to my new website 2

First of all, welcome to my new website!

I will use this site as a portal to the many different projects and services i have worked on or offer and to keep you posted about ideas i might have, don’t worry, i will not use this site to bother you with boring aspects of my life as some people do, there is a better place for that: Facebook ;-) . With this site i hope to create a single compact home for all of my past and present work, combining information and resources from all of the different sites and communities i have used in the past.


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