Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

Rost Audio Amplifier Model 1

Posted on the August 18th, 2011 under Hardware by

Just finished my stereo amplifier and it sounds, well, amazing.   It features an unbeatable combination of a switching power supply, the Tripath 2000 controller chip and the STA510 power stage chip, and can deliver two channels of 100 watts of clean, undistorted sound.  With its design, I’m also going for retro appeal.

Shiny, glowy metal. Warm glow of real pilot lights.

Modding Sonic Impact T-Amp Stereo Amplifier

Posted on the November 11th, 2005 under Hardware by

I modded a D-class digital amplifier (a Sonic Impact 5066) to improve the fidelity of low frequency sound. By adding two of beefy polypropylene capacitors in the preamp stage, I made the little power efficient amp sing like a top-notch, high-end amp worth many multiples of the original price ($40). I also replaced the original enclosure with something a bit more stylish, replaced the potentiometer by a vastly better one by Noble, and upped the DC power brick amperage to be able to drive my speakers better. Combined with two Titan bookshelf speakers by Paradigm, this setup sounds good.   To date, I was not able to find a high-end setup that was able to beat this combo’s performance so far in listening tests, no matter the price.  I think this has to do with the quality of the components and how well the amp characteristics match those of the speakers.

Out of the box, T-Amp is cheap and plastic-y looking

Out of the box, T-Amp is cheap and plastic-y looking

The rear panel of the unboxed T-Amp

This is the diagram of the so-called "stealth mod" by Audio1st

My modded T-Amp...ahh, much better. Love the industrial look of unpolished metal, and its contrast with the shiny knob.

A look inside. Note the large, high-quality polypropylene capacitors.

Modded Super Soaker

Posted on the May 15th, 1996 under Hardware,Weapons by

Our High School had a tradition in which, about a week away from graduation, seniors and all the willing school staff participated in a huge water fight out in the parking lot near the school.  It was well-attended, and even some teachers and assistant principals were there with us in the mess.

I decided to increase my battlefield advantage and bought a Super Soaker Monster pump-action water gun (fed by a 2 gallon backpack canister).  After some field tests, I grew dissatisfied with its performance and rifled the nozzle with a heated, twisted wire.  This added a stabilizing spin to the outgoing jet, increasing the gun’s range by additional 20 feet (~50% of the original range).  This, combined with a full-body plastic lab coat, liquid-proof safety glasses and rubber gloves gave me a definitive advantage.

Here’s a photo of me geared up:


By the way, after tens of minutes of being dominated some guys found a weakness in the armor:  they discovered that by projecting sticky shaving cream at my googles they were able to induce the fog of war.   The solution, of course, was to shoot myself in the eyes to wash off the goggles.

I also remember one of my favorite chemistry teachers, Mr. Hugo, rolling up with a truck full of water balloons and grenading the bejeezus out of us.  Good times, they were.