SIPPONEN.COM is under upgrade

I have installed WordPress to power my SIPPONEN.COM web site. This is mainly because my old homemade web publishing engine starts to be so old that it is not able to meet all today’s needs. And since I’m not willing to consume my time to rewrite it I have decided to use some open source tool instead.

This site is still rather incomplete and hopefully I have time & motivation to get it properly running some near future.

Sierra instrumentation illumination led modification

This page shows you an example how to mod Ford Sierra’s instrumentation illumination with the blue leds. First I bought 5mm blue leds and 470ohm resistors from Bebek. You can calculate resistor values by yourself easily with LedCalc. There are six lightbulbs at Sierra’s speedo, temp, fuel gauge, etc. instrument cluster.

Here you can see ready cutted leds and resistors:

As you probably can see I sanded the top of the leds to divide the light better. If you don’t sand the top of the leds rough you will probably get nasty bright spots to your instrumentation illumination. Here are a couple of images about the manufacturing process:

Please remember to cool down the leds before you put the power on… Leds are very sensitive to too much heat and they will dim very fast if powered up while they are too hot. Also remember to connect plus and minus sides correctly because the leds won’t lit up if +/- are not correctly connected. Leds are able to whitstand short tests with incorrect +/- connections, but it is recommended to avoid this.

Here is the end result:

As you can see there are some brighter spots and dimmer spots… I’ll try to smooth the light somehow later, but let’s see. It could be a good idea to mount the leds deeper inside the plastic holders, but I haven’t yet tested this.

It seems also a littlebit dimmer than original lightning, but it is still bright enough. The problem with the brightness is probably related to the green color filters at the back of the instrumentation backgrounds. Sadly it seems that those color filters cannot be removed without damaging the background panels.

However this project will continue with the following illumination modifications: push buttons, clock, cigarette lighter, etc.. I will modify all the light sources with leds, so later we will see how I succeed…



UPDATE 23.12.2008

I removed the square shaped green color filters from speedometers mileage display: (filters still in place at this image)

After that I also grinded the top of the leds flat (sorry, but I don’t have a picture of the flattened leds at the moment). After these modifications the end result is:

A little better than earlier, but still some work to do… Luckily I have some ideas to try. 🙂

Here are two pictures of unmodified instrumentation cluster:

Commodore 128 video/scart

I found this at year 2003 when I was searching such solution:

I hooked my C128 to my television set. The same cable can be used
for both 40 and 80 column screen, as I have a switch in it.

This cable is based on an article in C=Lehti 2/89. It had some inaccuracies,
and it is in Finnish. So I'll describe the cable here.

The RGBI connector looks like following, when looking to the machine's rear
side from outside:

	5   4   3   2   1

	  9   8   7   6

(The User's guide and the C=Lehti article used the mirror image of this,
which confused at least me.)

The pins are as follows:

	1 GND	ground
	2 GND	ground
	3 R	red
	4 G	green
	5 B	blue
	6 I	intensity
	7 VIDEO	composite video
	8 HSYNC	horizontal sync
	9 VSYNC	vertical sync

My television has a 21-pin Scart connector, which is used in Europe. It is
a special type of connector that has rectangular plates as pins. The pins
are surrounded by a pentagonal metal frame. It looks like the following:

	|                                       |
	| 1   3   5   7   9  11  13  15  17  19 |
	|                                       |
	|   2   4   6   8  10  12  14  16  18  20 

The needed pins are:

	4, 5, 9, 13, 17	ground
	2		audio, right channel
	6		audio, left channel
	7		blue
	11		green
	15		red
	20		video
	16		fast blank

The Scart connector does not allow use of HSYNC and VSYNC signals, so it
uses a video signal to synchronize the RGB picture. As the video signal
can be used also without RGB, the "fast blank" signal is needed to enable
RGB signal, unless you have a switch in your television to enable RGB.

When the television or monitor gets a positive voltage to the "fast blank" pin,
RGB will be enabled. The C=lehti article instructed to tie VSYNC to this
pin through a 220 ohm resistor to provide the voltage, but it was too weak for
my TV. So I temporarily used a 9 V battery to get some color on the screen.
Finally I hooked that pin to the cassette port's +5V output.

The television expects analog RGB, but the C128 outputs digital RGB. The
signals can be converted to analog using six resistors:

digital              analog
	R ---- R1 ---- R ---- R4 ---+
	G ---- R2 ---- G ---- R5 ---+
	B ---- R3 ---- B ---- R6 ---+
	I --------------------------+

The article suggested R1, R2 and R3 to be 470 ohms and R4, R5 and R6 to be
680 ohms. You can experiment with other values to get good-looking colors
on the screen.

On some C128's, the RGBI connector's VIDEO signal might be actually 40 column
screen's video signal, or the C=Lehti article is simply wrong when claiming
that you can get the 40 column screen via the RGBI connector. In any case,
you get sound and 40 column screen from the 8-pin VIDEO connector. You can
plug a 180 degree 5-pin DIN connector to it. The pin 2 is ground, 4 is video
signal and 3 is audio output.

Finally you have to add a 2*ON-ON switch to switch between 8563 and 8566
screen. Connect it as follows:

  RGBI Video (7)-----o/  80 column screen
Scart Video (20)----/ |
   VIC Video (4)-----o|  40 column screen
  voltage supply-----o/
 Fast blank (16)-R7-/    R7=220 ohms


As mentioned above, you might be able to use VSYNC as voltage supply. If
the cassette port's +5V pin is not enough for your TV or monitor, use a
9 V battery or take a +9V or +12V lead from your computer.

Be careful with the 80 column mode. If you reset the computer to 64 mode,
the VDC screen will be out of syncronization, and your monitor may start
to smoke if you leave the cable in 80 column mode for several seconds.

Part list:

	Quantity	Quality
	========	=======
	   3		470 ohm resistors
	   3		680 ohm resistors
	   1		220 ohm resistor
	   1		Scart connector
	   1		D9S connector
	   1		5-pin 180-degree DIN plug
	   1		2*ON-ON switch

To connect your C128's 80 column screen to a CGA monitor, simply connect all

Have fun connecting!

	Marko Mäkelä