Venus and Saturn today

Good old A77ii+Sony 500F8
April 18, 2017

Upgrade time! LGA2011 FTW #2

Progress in CPUs was getting slower in recent years due to lack of competition from AMD (until recently). 5 years ago I moved to LGA2011 with i7-3820 (4 cores, 32nm), not waiting for Ivy Bridge. Recently ebay got filled with lots of used server CPUs on LGA2011 which were compatible with my motherboard. That was extremely tempting and much more interesting than upgrading to yet another boring quad core system.

I went for E5-2695v2 - 12 cores, 30Mb of L3 cache, 22nm (Ivy Bridge). That is one of the largest commercial dies - enormous 492 mm².
This all currently costs mere 295$ (just 4 years ago Intel was charging whopping $2336 for that).

Task manager looks beautiful now:
April 12, 2017

A look inside Russian 28nm MIPS CPU - Baikal-T1

Many of you might have heard about Baikal-T1 - Russian implementation of dual core Imagination Technologies MIPS P5600 32 r5 with on-board 10Gb Ethernet. Baikal was the first to implement P5600 core in silicon.

CPUs itself (had to go through 4 pieces to get a good die):

Read more on →
February 28, 2017

Time for decent SDR: Ettus N210 - 40Mhz of RF bandwidth

Although it is surreal to see 50Mhz of spectrum in realtime (40Mhz bandwidth using UBX-40 - 10-6000MHz RF frontend) - it is only available on the host in 8-bit mode (it already requires 800Mbit/s - using otw_format=sc8 in device string). In 14-bit ADC mode we can "only" fit 25Mhz through gigabit Ethernet. But if you're ready to do custom processing on internal FPGA - one can do better.
February 14, 2017


January 21, 2017

Olympus 10x/0.3 WI - now with water immersion

In previous post about my microscope I've mentioned that now there are no more cheap upgrades left. This microscope lens is first among more expensive ones : Olympus 10x/0.3 WI - with water immersion, was lucky to get it for 800$ on ebay.
January 21, 2017

Flying over Minsk and Zurich


December 3, 2016

Winter is coming : 1212 hours timelapse (50 days)

Year ago I recorded 50 hour timelapse - now it's time for 50 day timelapse (1212 hours). Starting from green leaves to snow. Shooting on Xiaomi Yi, 1 frame per 30 seconds, and then - 16x faster in ffmpeg via frame averaging. Total video speed is 28'800х realtime. Original video was ~80 minutes, 28.7Gb (50Mbit/sec bitrate).

November 15, 2016

Lighting fluorescent lamp on a bench (with 400V/1A power supply)

For a very long time fluorescent lamps were a bit of a mystery for me - how they should be preheated, what's up with negative resistance, striking - all this was not clear. Today, when LED dominate the world (except for applications with UV harder than 365nm) I got to figure this out. Main ingredient here is new product of Chinese engineering - HSPY-400-01 - 400V/1A DCDC power supply.

November 13, 2016

59kV is no joke

HV experiments no longer require dodgy DIY supplies: Chinese manufacturers (CXDZ) started to make affordable HV power supplies (in this case - 60kV/10mA). These are mainly used and designed for electrostatic air filters which are obviously a big business in China. Output is floating - so one can tie ether + or - to ground (that is especially important for X-Ray tubes with water cooling, where anode is touching the water and should be at ground potential).

This is ~10kV ~2mA discharge:

Mandatory warning: Anything above 50V can kill you in "suitable" conditions. Achieving that at 1-60kV is much easier.
October 27, 2016