Free Noise

Bargain of this week’s car boot, a 12v siren horn, for free.

Sometimes people just want rid of stuff and would rather give it away than take it back home, especially near the end of the sale or if it starts raining.

It’s a cool thing! Plastic, 1980s I imagine, the kind of thing you’d see in Tandy back in the day.

The best thing is that even running from a 9v PP3 it’s loud AF. Really startled the kids when I tested it.

With a Pi, relay and PIR sensor added to the mix it may yet become the ultimate in fridge security.

Vintage Logic

Great car boot find this weekend, an MB ‘Logic 5’ electronic game from the late 1970s, £3.

It has a great retro look to it and is in lovely condition. Hard to say if it’s working, I popped a 9v battery in there and various red LEDs flashed on the ‘screen’, will have to download the instructions to be sure!

Plenty of space in the case for a full size Raspberry Pi, might make a nice conversion, haven’t had a look inside to see how the buttons are wired yet.

This Partly Sucks

A great Gumtree find last week, a robot hoover for £5. I wasn’t expecting much but knew I’d be able to cannibalise it for motors, sensors and maybe even a battery.

Its charging station was dead, no voltage at the contacts, so I rewired it slightly and bingo! One robot trundling around the workshop. The root cause of the charging circuit’s problem was a blown ceramic capacitor, replaced with a new one from Maplin costing 3p.

With the station working the hoover would now obediently find it and self-charge, it must emit an IR homing beam.

Lots of fun for the £5.03 outlay, but it’s not really practical for our rooms, too many obstacles and it’s not all that smart, though it does clean well and leaves cool spiral patterns behind it.

Sadly the cat flatly refused to ride on it in a shark costume.

I may still have it apart, though I like the way it wanders around on its own. Maybe I’ll hack the working parts into a more interesting case.

Easter Ham

Great find at the Norwich Antiques & Collectables fair, bought from our favourite Old Tech source for £17. It’s an early 80s ham radio microphone. Lovely solid base but odd 4-pin mic connector, reflecting the ‘push to talk’ button in the stand.

It could make a really cool ‘desk assistant’ using Alexa or the Google AIY code, but I’m really not sure I’d have the heart to take it apart.