hardware

Posts in this category are intended to provide information on the technologies, mostly old technology, that were used to create the processors, imagery and sound. I should be excused if I include personal memories around the hardware and it’s construction; it is done as an attempt to provide history as well as the pure technology. I apologize in advance for my poor hand at drawing schematics, my scribbles were originally only intended for my eyes.

Many of of the chips used to create the early image processing tools are outdated which limits the usefulness of these schematics.

I seem to have a small repository of schematics as Rich Brewster left me with most of his own documentation including the work he did for the ETC (I have some of the originals to what is also in the ETC archive). I also have what I documented working with David Jones and others. As I might become overwhelmed by the time it takes to scan the paper, this process might be slow.

However obsolete, I will only post schematics for those circuits that are in the public domain or for which I have permission to post which for now will not include any Jones modules.

Hacking a Vectrex

A couple of years ago I hacked a few Vectrex's, 3 for a colleague and one for myself. Here is a simple documentation of how I did it.

From Wikipedia:


Jones Frame Buffer Prototype

While working for the Experimental Television Center I built the first four Jones Frame Buffers with David. Pictured here is the one I built for myself. The first few buffers where built into the same card racks that were ubiquitous at the ETC at that time, later David rewired most of the buffers into newer larger boxes. This one might be the only one that stayed in the old rack.


Tagtool

When I was last in Berlin Ilan Kitan introduced my wife and I to Mathias Fritz. Mathias is part of a team who mixes art and corporate mapping installation projects and in the process they developed the Tagtool, which they made available as a DIY project. Mathias had his Tagtool Mini with him and the four us played for a while. A very fun tool, it made an impression so I decided to build one. If nothing else it's a great video tool for the kids to play with.


modular video synth

This Jones video synthesizer is comprised nearly exclusively of Jones designs. This synth includes a video patch panel made of an inset piece of hardwood with mini-jacks carrying 2vpp differential video (subsequent modules use Plexiglas). The advantages of this standard is that it limits crosstalk and noise, and making a video signal negative one simply uses a cable that flips the polarity of the wires. It was thought for a time that this system would be embraced by Jones in general, however no synthesizer at the ETC uses the format (the system at the ETC patches standard single ended 1v video through a slide matrix). Using differential video was a great idea but as an unusual standard it only made sense for patching within the panels of multi module synthesizers, and other than a few of the Tuesday afternoon participants, it was an idea that was not really implemented. Unfortunately Jones has yet to manufactured multi module synths as Hearn did.


some history

My video hardware development work for the Experimental Television Center, and for Design Lab, included a contribution in building the last generation of custom Jones analog and digital image and sound synthesizers currently installed at the Television Center. I also have constructed various audio and video synths including a unique modular Jones video synthesizer.


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