What's New at 120studio.com

2019 May 20


Film;  Electronics, Radio

Here's a quick photo of this antenna, which can work with this radio if you have the right cable and connector.

2019 May 16



A digital ammeter on a power supply is better than nothing, but an analog meter can actually be more useful.  Certain devices have a distinctive pattern of current draw that only shows up on this type of ammeter.  You might be able to notice that a small appliance is drawing just a little bit too much current in one stage of startup.  Small motors are a good example;  you might find this, as I did, when working on a film camera with a built-in zoom lens or a motorized film advance.

I've probably said this before, but with any power supply, you should look everything over to make sure all was put together OK.  I prefer electronics that were put together by humans, because they have a better chance of being fixable with common tools. 

Some power supplies may have too much "smart" circuitry for their own good.  I was testing out a couple electrolytics, and I found that no matter what, they wouldn't hold 6 volts.  More like 1 volt.  I thought they were leaky or something and was ready to throw them away.  After testing them about three different ways, including a leakage current test, I've concluded that the power supply has some type of output control circuitry that doesn't like the current draw of filling up a capacitor.  Which doesn't make any sense, because if you hook it up to something else that's known to draw too much current, the power supply just beeps and shuts down. 

So whatever, I'm gonna have to build my own variable, linear power supply.

Or test a couple other ones...

By the way:  Made in USA ammeters, not cheap but they're made in USA and probably very high quality.  I would build one of these into a panel and use it to enhance the capabilities of a "digital" power supply.

A good set of Japanese radio pliers.  Much needed for working on radios, especially those 60's and 70's ones where you can't quite get the circuit boards apart from the dial string assembly.

And finally, THIS.  60,000 counts, 0.08% basic accuracy, True RMS;  measures capacitance, frequency, temperature, etc... like a whole rack full of test equipment in one multimeter.  And the design and color scheme is probably the nicest I've ever seen in a digital multimeter.  You may see a review of this on here one of these days, because I haven't seen much about this one.  It could be highly underrated.

2019 May 10


Digital Cameras

A reader wonders about bridge cameras with even larger sensors.  How about a zoom camera with APS-C sensor and a built-in 24-240 lens?  Or 28-200? 

And why are superzooms lower-priced, anyway?

So would it be possible to make an APS-C long zoom that costs less than an ILC with 200 or 300mm zoom? 

These are good questions, and though I don't have a definitive answer, here's something to consider.  The prices on superzoom cameras start to go up when they offer larger sensors.  The Panasonic FZ-1000 and Sony RX-10 series are good examples. 

These cameras could actually be an ideal combination of performance and portability vs. price.

If you started designing a superzoom with a larger sensor and the optics to go with it, I think it might get to where the only remaining advantage would be the retractable lens. 

Probably it would cost more than the current 1" long zoom cameras. 


Evergreen Branches


Kodak 400 film (35mm)

Canon AE-1 with Vivitar zoom lens

2019 May 6


Electronics - Radio

So I got that radio back together.  It's working great.  It works even better with an external AM antenna.  A little while back, someone asked me how to use one of those, and whether they're worth getting... yes, they're definitely worth getting, and they're quite easy to use.  When you first tune the dial on it, which is completely unconnected to the radio, it seems like it can't possibly work.  But it does.  They're fantastic and they don't cost much.  Get one or two.  Two, because if you take a portable AM radio with you, you should keep one of these with it. 

On some radios, especially the cheap ones with tiny ferrites, it can make the difference between listenability and not being able to hear a station at all.

2019 May 3


Electronics - Radio

Some radios are tough to dissassemble.  This one works but may need some new caps.  The ones in about the middle of the photo are probably the easiest to get to out of the whole radio.  There's another circuit board that's harder to get to, where most of the higher-microfarad caps are. 

This one also has a clock that wasn't working properly.  One of the 7-segment LED's had certain ones that didn't light up.  This is usually a simple fix, but putting it back together may not be.

Instead of messing with this, I should have just gotten one of these.  No LED clock, but it has the basic features that a radio should. 

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