Floppy Disc System
After finally learning Assembler with my first micro, a Commodore VIC20,
I set about building an 8" floppy disc controller and writing a DOS for it.
The VIC Assembler could only be used to enter op-codes and addresses, no labels,
and all jumps had to be calculated first, and it worked! It was building this that
made me decide I needed to upgrade my home micro, to a BBC model B. It was around
this time that the IBM PC was launched.
Skills: Digital Hardware, Assembler.
The idea of the BBC was that it had 'everything' - all I had to do was to
program it. This idea lasted well over a week before I started to build add-ons.
I also wrote a number of articles for 'Computer Answers'. My first commercial commission
for a program was from Stack Micro, for some lightpen software.
This was the first lightpen software for the BBC micro that could plot pixels.
Following on from the lightpen sofware, I developed asimple multi screen
lightpen program for circuit design. This allowed the user to pick a symbol
from one screen layer and place it onto the schematic, andincluded a file
Video digitizer for the BBC, adaptation of a published design.
Many improvements to hardware. Wrote complete software suite including
early image manipulation techniques.
Skills: Assembler, hardware (analogue and digital).
IBM PC ATE system
As the PC began its steady march, I became involved in the maintenance of
the PC and of DEC mini systems ( PDP, VAX). I designed an option card for
the PC that was an ATE system. It would map a known good PCB or IC
which was then used as a reference when fault finding a suspect board :
Skills: PCB design, interface to PC bus, 8086 assembler (MASM), GWBasic.
An Interface to Austin Rover test system for checking circuits in
Rover/Honda legend dashboard during manufacture. The system in place
would test (a dashboard) by virtue of a special connector that joined
all the wires and hence total current was measured. By module grabbed a signal
from the host system and then scanned each circuit in turn hence testing each
Skills: Low speed digital design, interfacing
IBM 370 Channel Tester
A portable test unit that emulates an IBM370 mainframe IO channel.
The test unit can exercise and debug a channel in place of the mainframe.
This product resulted in my first patent.
Skills: Digital design, PCB design. 6502 Assembler,
own OS, firmware downloader.
IBM 370 Channel Monitor
Sister to above unit - a test unit that can monitor the IBM370 channel
and take a 'snap shot' in the event of an error. This resulted in my second patent.
Skills: 16 bit CPU (8086), multi-layer PCB, high speed data capture,
own OS, LCD display, serial comms, parallel port, MASM
Long term project with interactive TV system in the US.
Redesign system from set top box to internal TV card.
Reduce costs by 75%. Convert from NTSC to PAL for use in UK/Europe.
Convert from Philips TV to Sanyo. Recode IR TV control sections.
Rewrote much of OS. Develop code for Philips 'smartport'. Custom RTOS.
Skills: Hardware, PCB design, video, IR control, Assembler (630x).
Some C. Use of TCP/IP and SCO Unix.
Specify and then adapted a Trend environmental monitoring system for use in computer rooms.
Added a system to detect worn disc drive bearings and also falling CPU coolant pressure.
Designed a PC security system to interface with thissystem.
Skills: PCB design, PIC embedded controllers, Analogue, digital.
Asset tracking system
This evolved from the security project. Handles 32,000 unique IDs on own custom network.
Devised unique fast current loop using two wires for bi-directional comms
(half duplex master-slave). Own design comms controllers use own design token ring protocols.
Skills: PIC, PCB design, Serial comms, Assembler, Visual Basic, Windows 95
My brief was to take an application written for Labview and code it into C++.
Some simple hardware was designed ( useing PICs) as serial devices to allow the
control of IR lighting and arrays. The original system used an expensive FireWire
camera and part of the brief was to use a web-cam.
Skills: PIC, PCB design, Serial comms, Assembler, C++, Borland SDK,
This was a private project that developed two ways. The intial design was a system
to detect 'bites' from a fishing line - it could detect current and wind effects
(and provide cancellation), rate and direction of line feed, and real bites. The
system could handle up to four rods and sent a radio message to the user ( who might
not be by his equipment. From this a simple means to control mains power points was
designed ( and is still in use in my home).
Skills: PIC, PCB design, RF interfacing, telemetry.