About achmorrison

Physics professor by day - maker by night

Stuff for making stuff: a power supply

Tektronix PS280 DC Power Supply

There is something that every maker who dabbles in electronics eventually needs – a bench top power supply.

Sure, you can get power from all sorts of source – a battery, an arduino, or a raspberry pi will all work sufficiently for many quick or small projects. But there are good reasons for having a power supply as one of your tools used for developing electronics.

  1. They are reliable. A battery is only going to provide you with a known voltage for so long before it starts to drain.
  2. They are adjustable. Maybe you think you are only going to be constructing circuits powered by 5V, and therefore you figure you can always either use an arduino or a 5V regulator and be perfectly happy. But eventually you will need to use different voltages, and the power supply is the way to go.
  3. They are configurable. A decent bench-top power supply has the ability to work in either Constant Voltage (CV) mode or in Constant Current (CC) mode. The way it usually works is that you set a maximum current that you would like the power supply to give to your circuit. If your circuit draws less than the maximum current that you have set the power supply will work in CV mode and will provide whatever voltage you have set. If, however, the circuit draws the maximum current that you have set, then it switches to CC mode and will reduce the voltage to maintain that maximum current. This helps you to test circuits without risking damage to components.
  4. They are affordable. Like practically any tool, the sky is the limit in terms of what you could spend. But, switching power supplies are relatively low-cost and a great option for most electronics hobbyist. Below is a link (affiliate link – thank you for supporting Workshop 88) to a power supply that at least one of Workshop 88’s members uses for projects at home.

AFFILIATE LINK BELOW – CLICKING THROUGH SUPPORTS WORKSHOP 88

END AFFILIATE LINK HERE – IF YOU DON”T SEE ANYTHING, TRY DISABLING ADBLOCKER


Local history in Workshop 88’s…parking lot?

Photo of new sign at the parking lot outside of Workshop 88. Photo credit: Gail Jo Kelly

Earlier this week, one of our members noticed that the name of the parking lot outside of Workshop 88 had been changed – it used to be called Schock’s Square, and now it is called Pennsylvania East. Some of us thought that was a rather dull name compared to Schock’s Square (the street name is Pennsylvania Avenue) and got us to wonder about who was the Schock of Schock’s Square, anyway?

Another member took the initiative to call the Glen Ellyn Public Library to see if they had any information about the history of Schock’s Square, and a few days later we received the following email from Amy Franco, one of the librarians:

Thanks for your super interesting question about the origins of the name of Schock’s Square in downtown Glen Ellyn! No one at the library knew anything about it, and we couldn’t find anything about it in any of our traditional resources. So I called Harold Prichard, one of our longtime Glen Ellyn residents and he told me a fascinating story:
 
George Schock owned a gas station where the square now is in the 40s and possibly the 30s, during a time when there was a gas station on nearly every corner of Glen Ellyn. At George’s station, when you pulled in, they’d check the tires and all the gauges, clean the car, and everyone who worked for him was really nice. George’s station was a few cents more than his competitors’, but his regulars were willing to go there because of the great service and nice people he had working for him.
 
George would invite some of his regular clientele to join him in the back of the shop for a glass of whiskey while the car was being checked and filled. On Christmas, he would have a huge buffet at the gas station and many locals would stop by. Overall, he was extremely successful and in Mr. Prichard’s opinion George Schock was held in the same esteem in town as the McChesney, Miller, and Young families.
 
George had two young boys working for him, Ken and Will Major. George taught them about entrepreneurship and how to maintain a clientele, and eventually encouraged the Majors boys to open their own gas station around the corner from him at Crescent and Park where there is now a condo building. Willard Major’s obituary (attached) makes note of running Ken and Will’s Union 76 Service Station from 1955-1985.


I’ve also included a (somewhat grainy) copy of George Schock’s obituary from 1966 in the Glen Ellyn News. The text reads:

George J. Schock, Veteran Business Operator, Dies

George J. Schock, a Glen Ellyn business operator for nearly 40 years and owner of Schock’s Service Station, died early yesterday morning at Central DuPage Hospital after a short illness. 

Born in Chicago March 27, 1903, he had lived in or near GLen Ellyn all his life. At the time of his passing he resided on Naperville rd. south of Wheaton. 

His marriage to the former Kathryn Pegg took place in Glen Ellyn. 

The deceased was the oldest service station operator in the area in point of continuous service. He and his brother, Paul, now of Morris, founded the station at its present location. Paul left the business many years ago. George was one of few service station operators owning his own premises. 

Survivors in addition to his wife and brother include a son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Mary Ellen Schock of Glen Ellyn, and a daughter and son-in-law, Joan and Donald McLeese, also of Glen Ellyn. Also surviving are eight grandchildren, George, Kathy and Brian Schock, and Don, Dick, Doug, David, and Katie McLeese. 

Funeral arrangements were incomplete at press time. Arrangements are being handled by the Leonard Memorial Home of Glen Ellyn. 

From private correspondence with Amy Franco, librarian at Glen Ellyn Public Library. Reprinted with permission.


This is a fantastic example of what you can learn from your local library! Workshop 88 has always had a great relationship with the Glen Ellyn Library and other nearby libraries. Our members tend to be curious people, and when we get stuck on a question and are unable to find the information we want it is really great to be able to ask for help from the staff at the library.

George Schock obituary (Image credit: Glen Ellyn Public Library)

Stuff for making stuff: PETG filament


AFFILIATE LINK BELOW – CLICKING THROUGH SUPPORTS WORKSHOP 88

END AFFILIATE LINK HERE – IF YOU DON”T SEE ANYTHING, TRY DISABLING ADBLOCKER


Have you tried 3D printing with PETG filament instead of PLA or ABS? A few of Workshop 88’s experts in 3D printing swear by PETG for most of their prints – here’s why:

  1. PETG is durable and heat-tolerant like ABS is. PLA has the reputation of being a bit more brittle than ABS. PLA also tends to warp under moderate heat – no leaving PLA components inside a car on a hot summer day, for example.
  2. PETG is easy to print like PLA. PLA does not have the thermal expansion issues that ABS has, which tends to cause ABS to curl up off of the print bed.
  3. PETG is affordable. Check out the (affiliate) links above and below which support Workshop 88.

AFFILIATE LINK BELOW – CLICKING THROUGH SUPPORTS WORKSHOP 88

END AFFILIATE LINK HERE – IF YOU DON”T SEE ANYTHING, TRY DISABLING ADBLOCKER


Taste of Glen Ellyn this week!

This week is the annual Taste of Glen Ellyn street festival. If you are coming to this festival on Thursday evening, please consider swinging over to Workshop 88 for our open house hours from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

If you were planning to come to Workshop 88 this week, please be aware that the parking lot closest to our door will be unavailable for parking. You’ll have to find street or public lot parking before walking over.

See you at Workshop 88!

New lights on the sign at W88!

Image from iOS

Solar lights on the Workshop 88 sign!

We’re always looking for ways to make getting to Workshop 88 a bit easier to discover. Recently, one of our members donated and installed light string on the sign post outside of Workshop 88.  These lights are battery-powered, and the batteries are recharged daily by solar cells.  If you arrive to Workshop 88 after the sun has set these lights will help you know you’re in the right place!

Learn more about becoming a member of Workshop 88!

Member projects: Thingiverse remix

One of our new members, Josh, has been making great use of the 3D printers at Workshop 88. He had a headlight for his bike that he wanted centered on the handlebars. So he took the Blackburn Flea Bike Light Handlebar Mount file on Thingiverse and remixed it to fit on his bike. Here is his remix – the photo at the top shows the finished print.


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Member project: Crowd-sourced science

Animation of some preliminary results from the Steelpan Vibrations project on Zooniverse.

One of our members, Andrew Morrison, has a citizen science project running on the Zooniverse website.

The project is called Steelpan Vibrations and is a project looking at understanding how Caribbean steelpans (sometimes referred to as steel drums) work to produce their characteristic sound. What he has done is made high speed videos of the waves that go across the steel pan when it is struck by a player. The problem is that there is no easy way to analyze the video frames to get quantitative data. The project asks for people to go to the website and mark individual frames so that they can be aggregated together for analysis later.

There is a blog where details about the research are discussed regularly, and you can also follow Andrew on twitter where project updates are regularly posted.


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