Few words about me:

From very childhood I loved computers, electronics, lasers, sulfuric acid and liquid nitrogen. I always wanted to be making microchips, UAVs and see nuclear explosion.

Now I am doing software engineering and in the spare time - some microelectronics and physics/chemistry experiments.

I live and work in Russia, Moscow.

Really fast optics: F1.2 and F0.85. Canon 55mm F1.2 + Lens Turbo-II

As an amateur photographer from the very childhood I was quite "spoiled" by fast lenses: my first photos were made by "Zenit" camera with one of the greatest Soviet lenses - Helios 44 (58mm, F2). After getting a digital SLR - Sony a100 I got Sony 50mm F1.4. So I never felt that fast apertures are hard to work with or tricky to focus because that's the only thing I was using.

Next step might have been going for F1.2 - but there are no F1.2 lenses made for Sony/Minolta A-mount at the moment. Apparently I had to dig deeper into the hystory of manual lenses. Manual Minolta MD lens might have been an obvious choise, but it's flange focal distance is smaller than one of Minolta A, so making passive adapter is impossible. Adapter with lens is possible, but it would work as light teleconverter, reduce image quality, make the lens slower which would ruin the whole idea. Canon FL/FD have even shorter flange focal distances. Nikon F-mount lenses have a bit larger flange focal distance (+1.9mm), but it seems that building mechanical adapter with such thickness is impossible. So this all rules our any adoptation of almost all F1.2 lenses on Sony A-mount cameras.

The only exception seems to be M42 F1.2 ones, which are rare and expensive. So I might need a different camera with shorter flange focal distance in this journey.
January 2, 2016

Carl Zeiss Jena vs China

We used to believe that complex devices from China are bad, and ones Europe,Japan,USA are good. Especially with a known brand. Ever heard about Carl Zeiss - world known 170-years old optics brand?

Recently I've got somewhat old and used Carl Zeiss Jena 50x/0.8 Planachromat HD microscope lens. "Jena" means it was manufactured in East Germany part of Carl Zeiss in the (late) Soviet times. Surely after receiving it I was anxious to compare it to my Chinese 100x/0.8 Plan lens... BTW it looks like my microscope is somewhat similar in design to Carl Zeiss Jena - that was the first non-native microscope lens which was usable without an adapter (M30 threading and infinity corrected)
December 3, 2015

Toshiba Libretto 50ct

Final vintage computer (after Atari Portfolio and Palm's, 5000 and others), which I wanted to get - Toshiba Libretto 50ct notebook, which I was able to get in surprisingly good condition, even with working Lithium battery.

I remember we were going to programming competition to Saint-Petersburg in the late 90's, and there in the shops I've seen it - it was so beautiful and prohibitively expensive :-) It's size & weight is impressive even these days. From the hardware side it has Pentium 75, 16Mb of RAM, 800Mb HDD, color LCD display with 640x480 resolution. RAM and HDD are upgradeable - I might need to try that.

After working with it for a while you can really recognize the usefulness of USB and WiFi - it is exceptionally hard to upload "large" volume of data to 50ct when you only have serial/parallel/IR ports and external FDD with PCMCIA interface (which was missing in my case). Anyway, even with FDD it is a whole day work to transfer 100Mb :-)

Apparently I will have to look for 16bit PCMCIA cards with USB, Ethernet and WiFi - and this tiny notebook will be much easier to work with :-)
November 23, 2015

Every time you complain SOIC being too hard to solder...

Take a look at this BFR740 transistor (fT 42Ghz) in TSLP-3-9 package (package dimensions 0.6×1×0.31mm):

November 5, 2015

Xiaomi Yi and timelapse

This camera is 10/10. 1080p60, 240fps low-res mode, AV output, WiFi for LiveView, <100$. New features are added on new FW releases (like recording 2k video)... Totally satisfied.

Recorded this 50 hour timelapse for a test. Camera was connected to DC supply as it's consumption in timelapse mode was 0.35A..:

October 1, 2015

Lasers at work

July 10, 2015

First 90nm product from Russia - 16 megabit SRAM made at Mikron

Mikron is currently the most advanced microelectronic fab in Russia, located in Zelenograd. In 2010 they have licensed 90nm technology from STMicroelectronics, and equipment setup was somewhat ready by the end of 2012. Technology transfer was hindered by very small manufacturing volume and scarce funding. Nevertheless, 1663RU1 has became their first 90nm product reached commercial customers. It's 16 Mibit SRAM chip.

Read more on zeptobars.ru →
July 10, 2015

Flickering LED reverse-engineering (+RGB)

1.5 years ago there was an attempt to reverse engineer behavior of flickering LED as a black box. That time the results were that flickering does not repeat itself (so it's not something like LFSR pseudorandom generator), brightness is set by PWM and there is some distribution of brightness. Since then more results wereachieved, and I also got some time to dig in.

Previously it was discovered that there are multiple variants of die of flickering LEDs. You may see photos and read some clues on their inner workings here - siliconpr0n.org, cpldcpu.wordpress.com, hackaday.com. It is surprising that seemingly simple task of flickering LED is being solved numerous times by full custom ASIC, and there is even some competition/progress!
June 3, 2015

DIN modules and busbar soldering

Before: DIN circuit breakers were connected in soviet-electrician-style "it did the best with the stuff I had", consecutive using usual wire. Effectively all current goes through point contacts on first module. These places are the main reliability and safety concern - it could easily overheat and cause a fire. For example on the right see similar setup under 4.25kW power consumption (20А) via thermal imaging camera.
April 25, 2015