Dry reading

The next few months might bring some dry reading for the visitors to my blog. The camera I do 99% of my photographic work with has died silently sometime this past week. It’s not that the camera is dead, but it might as well be, as it appears the imaging chip has failed, or the circuitry that processes the signal from the chip.

Here’s a shot of the sprinkler controller I’ve been working on.

That picture was taken in a sun lit room, with overhead lights and a work lamp on. Plus the camera’s AI fired the flash at full power.

I’ll be contacting Nikon regarding repair, but unfortunately, I’m pretty sure it’s the end of the line for this cam. With 3rd quarter taxes coming shortly, I’m not in a position to make a big purchase right now, so it might be a few months before I get a new cam.

If I get desperate enough, you might see some awful pictures from my cellphone on here!


The camera in question is a Nikon Coolpix 5700, which is listed as one of the models affected by the Sony ccd failure problem


Although my problem doesn’t fit the description of the current “service advisory”, Nikon is going to check it out. At best they’ll repair it for free, at worst, they’ll give me a quote on repairs. If it’s within the price range of a new ‘throwaway’ digital, I’ll get it fixed. Otherwise I might just grab an HP / Epson / “insert brand-x here” throwaway to get me by until I can buy something nicer.

Capacitive Sensing Continued

Hello readers from MAKE: as well as all other readers 🙂

My prototype touch sensor worked so well, that it hasn’t needed much changing. I sent the design off to Custom PCB, and less than a week later, I had a pile of circuit boards waiting for me.

I changed the layout around a little, mostly adding a 2×8 header for accepting a ribbon cable style connection. The header combines power, ground and outputs into a single connection, making it easier to connect to the main board of my larger project (sprinkler controller). Each touch output is paired with a ground wire, which I suppose makes it more resistant to interference. The caps I used this time are polyester film 220 nF, doubling the amount of capacitance compared to what was used on the prototype.

Yes, the ugly piece of plexi is still ugly. Don’t worry, it will be hidden from view. In the final configuration, this board and its plexiglas spacer will be inside a plastic project box. I’ll have a laminated “keypad” overlay affixed to the outside of the box so I can see where the buttons are. The spacer will be flipped around, going on the solder side, giving me enough clearance to flush-mount the sensor with the wall of the box. Flush mount is very important, as even the slightest air-gap will ruin the proximity sensing effect.

Nothing much to see solder side… a few smt passives set options on the chip, as well as decouple and filter the incoming power. The big resistor limits current for the meager power led which no one will ever see once the board is in use.

I’m very close to finishing the larger irrigation control project, hopefully sometime this week! Thanks for reading!