Post previously going to be called “Let there be light… and music!” until I decided to defer posting this until it had been completely finished and I was in such a mood to finish what I had started on here.
The following post has not really been updated too much from original draft up until now, so any updates made during this post being held back will have an update next to it, so they have not been updated since this has been published. The first part of this post was written on the 14th of November, so it has been sitting, waiting in the wings for almost a month.
Time for another update about the radio project. Since the last time I posted something about it, there hasn’t really been that much of a change. After spending time getting the two light organs soldered up and then hooked up to get them tested, neither of them worked. This was a very big problem as the feature of the radio, having the light flicker to the sound produced by the radio, was very important. This problem even flummoxed the graduate in the department who is helping us with the electronics part of the project.
Eventually, the decision was taken to ditch those two light organ kits and try and use something else. So a Vellemans MK 103 light organ kit was ordered. This kit, instead of being hooked up directly to the speaker of the radio, is hooked up to a microphone. Getting it soldered up and tested, showed that it worked, and so finally I am able to move ahead with the technical prototype.
On the aesthetics side of the radio, they haven’t really moved on that far, a top cover has been produced and overall dimensions have been calculated, and put into a cutting list in preparation for it to be made, starting this week. I’ll post photos of the exterior of it once it has finished instead of the concept model since there are some differences which make all of the difference between them both.
So that was a little update for this part of the course. The next time I say something about it, I should be finished it and it should all work. And on that note, I leave you with a video of me testing the light organ.
Update: As of today, the 23rd of November, I have commenced making the radio and should be finished it within the next week or so. And despite generally seeming generally positive about the project, everything has just dipped in terms of its ability to keep me interested. I shall power on though, and it will be a very long and hard couple of weeks until everything is finished.
Update II: Today, the 9th of December see’s the project finally finished. Well, in all honesty, it finished on Monday, the 7th, but because I was exhausted and didn’t really want to post anything about it then, since it was still quite annoying me and not really something I was going to spend even more time on when I had finished, I had decided to leave it for a few days and come back to it when I could reflect on what I had done more effectively than what I would have done on Monday.
A few weeks ago, when the model of the radio was being made, it was clear that despite looking quite good in the original concept sketches, the proportions of the actual model were not what they would have liked to have been. It was far too chunky for my liking. And so began the smorgasbord of different problems which occurred over the next few weeks in finishing the project.
Making the model went pretty well, and only took about a day and a half total, but then the next problem arrived. The painting and finishing of the model. Painting it started off well enough, as did the sanding down of each layer of paint to get it smooth before the next layer was put on. It then turned out that when the paint was finished, there was none left in the studio or the workshop, so a trip to B&Q was in order. A small tester pot was bought of emulsion paint, which was the same colour as the paint used. However, once it was painted on the model and it was dry, it was clear that the paint was not the same, it was a light grey. So instead of just one more layer of paint, the model required a further 2 coats, which took too much time, and the finish on the exterior was not as good as I would have liked it.
The next problem to crop up was with the electronics. One week before the deadline, the electronics were working. The day in which 12 hours were spent in the studio, albeit doing Design Studies, instead of doing the radio, they were working fine, and a video was made of the electronics working was made and uploaded to YouTube. However, the day before the deadline, when the model had been finished drying and sanded, and was getting put together, a number of wires came off the volume potentiometer on the radio, so a quick trip to a friend who had a soldering iron was in order, and thanks to them for allowing me to use their soldering iron. Everything was then working fine, until attempting to assemble the model part 2. More wires from the radio circuit board came off, and the potentiometer on the light organ stopped working. There was no time to solder them that night, so I had to make sure I got into the studio early the next morning to get them soldered.
The next day, deadline day, I did manage to resolder the radio, and get the light organ working again, but the radio decided to make a buzzing noise, similar to that of a small toy aeroplane, I could live with that, however, it was doing it when it was switched off. Quickly playing around with a number of the wires, resoldering some more of them, seemed to temporarily solve the problem. Enter trying to assemble the radio part 3. It was all going well until, just millimetres away from getting the base cover on the radio, the buzzing started again. The cover was quickly whipped off, and the buzzing stopped, and reassembling began again. Went well this time, cover went on, light bulb inserted into the holder, time to test the radio. Turned the dial, switched it on and increased the volume and…….. nothing, the radio was dead. The batteries were inserted and there was nothing. The cover was removed once again to find that another wire had come off. But the wire which came off was from a position which would have taken ages to fix, and all I had was 2 hours. I was sick of the project at this point and had to leave it, I had a video of it working from the previous week and that is all I had to go with on that front.
One of the other things which I am considering to be a problem regarding the radio was the dials and the buttons on the radio. They didn’t quite fit or seem to appear to work as well as I would have liked them. The dials were too big, too chunky, didn’t fit the appearance of the radio at all. The buttons were fine, but the they did keep on falling off.
Overall the only part of the radio project which I am relatively pleased with the outcome of was the presentation boards which accompanied the radio for the hand in. Despite making them with a cold/fluey bug type thing, they turned out quite well and the way which I actually envisaged.
Did I like the project? On the whole, sort of. There were many high points, but there were also quite a few low points which did bring the overall mood about it down. Stress levels overall were far too high for my liking, and because of that, many packets of Polo’s were consumed. Let’s just hope that the project next semester is much better than this one though.