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jonnydoin
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re: Building an HRRG Steampunk Computer – Part 2 – The System Clock
jonnydoin   3/25/2011 4:47:59 PM
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hmmm, to capture the random data we could use a diffraction grating and a spectrophotometer to collect spectra peaks.

Brian@BDH
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re: Building an HRRG Steampunk Computer – Part 2 – The System Clock
Brian@BDH   3/25/2011 3:58:37 PM
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SNIP: In this case, we could use some sort of photo-detector to sense the arcs as they reach the top of the wires. Each arc would equate to a single beat of the system clock. SNIP: or – by means of some frequency multiplication and/or division circuits – one could speed things up or slow them down as required. Keeping with your ideas above but also needing/wanting to speed it up... Just simply have multiple detectors position up-and-down the ladders. This way, each spark will yield multiple "ticks" (or beats as you say); thus, speeding up the system clock. The detectors could also be positioned at distances as to provide equally time intervals between ticks.

Max The Magnificent
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re: Building an HRRG Steampunk Computer – Part 2 – The System Clock
Max The Magnificent   3/25/2011 3:40:03 PM
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Not a bad idea. Something I though of was to have a random number generator module based on a fish tank and some sort of computer vision system that counted all of the scales of a certain color going in a certain direction and used this to generate a random number ...

jonnydoin
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re: Building an HRRG Steampunk Computer – Part 2 – The System Clock
jonnydoin   3/25/2011 1:53:45 PM
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Hey, that is a very provoking idea. How about a HRRG module, say a ALU, that is based on human-operated abacus logic? The interface to the abacus input registers can be made with little incandescent lamps, which would direct the human operator to copy and at the end of the operation the output register values would be sensed via reed switches that would detect the abacus magnetic beads. The human operator would follow simple abacus arithmetic rules, and process whatever operation the computer sends to the ALU.

Max The Magnificent
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re: Building an HRRG Steampunk Computer – Part 2 – The System Clock
Max The Magnificent   3/24/2011 4:06:59 PM
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That's a very cool idea -- for those who don;t know what a Crookes radiometer is, here's a link to the appropriate Wikipedia entry: http://bit.ly/f8r2Ik

djohns
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re: Building an HRRG Steampunk Computer – Part 2 – The System Clock
djohns   3/24/2011 2:44:30 PM
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How about a Crookes radiometer in a cool brass fixture for a clock. It would have a source light to make the flags spin. A laser or tight beam of light could be pointed at the light side of the flags and when the flag hit a certain angle the laser would reflect back and hit a light sensor triggering a pulse. You can adjust frequency by the strength of the main light.

Max The Magnificent
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re: Building an HRRG Steampunk Computer – Part 2 – The System Clock
Max The Magnificent   3/24/2011 2:34:14 PM
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That's a very good point -- actually the underlying design I have in mind would go a long way to mitigate this ... keep reading the series for more details ... Part 3 comes out next week ...

an_m
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re: Building an HRRG Steampunk Computer – Part 2 – The System Clock
an_m   3/24/2011 8:30:03 AM
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one thing , reliability still needs to be addressed. any blocks still need to work reliably, else the system will never work as a whole, make it complex, grandious , amazing as you like, but make certain it works. these heath robinson machines you see around shopping malls an such likes as clocks, often have a 'split' design, such that it seems as one part follows another, but they are in fact independent, thus if one part of the mechanics fails, the clock still works.

Max The Magnificent
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re: Building an HRRG Steampunk Computer – Part 2 – The System Clock
Max The Magnificent   3/23/2011 6:54:29 PM
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I like the idea of using the pendulum to strike a string and pulling out main frequencies and harmonics -- maybe also have an oscilloscope like display on the cabinet showing this... Re the plug board and ferromagnetic cores and stuff ... keep watching these articles... I think I've got some stuff that will surprise you...

KarlS
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re: Building an HRRG Steampunk Computer – Part 2 – The System Clock
KarlS   3/23/2011 5:43:56 PM
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Animusic reminded me that either a tuning fork or percussion instrument {chimes, symbols, etc) could be struck by the pendulum to generate a string of sub clocks at a higher frequency. Relays could implement a ripple carry adder, a plug board with jumpers or a bank of switches make good roms. Ferromagnetic cores have been used for ram. There is a lot of ingenious engineering described for the AN/FSQ7 on the web. That was the first real-time digital system and it even used telephone lines to network back in the 1950's.

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