About This Site

Why does this website exist?

First and foremost, I wanted to learn how to create a website. That was the only reason some 16 years ago, and it continues to be the principal motivation today, as I continue to experiment with web technologies.

However, once the search engines found me, I was pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback that came back to me. For as long as I can remember, I've always helped people whenever I can, and it seemed that the information on this website was doing just that. That's a nice feeling!

Finally, it allows me to document some of my projects with a view to inspiring like-minded people - it also allows me to show off! I enjoy taking pride in my work, and it's sometimes frustrating to think that I was the only person to know how nice a project looked under the covers.

What you see here is a selection of my simpler projects, and obviously only those built for myself. Please note that I don't aim to provide complete projects for people to print out and build. None of the designs are offered with any sort of guarantee that they'll work for you - expect to do some engineering of your own if you're trying to copy something. If you're after ready-made projects there are lots of sites out there that will sell you complete kits, PCBs, plans, etc. This site is about ideas and inspiration for people that want to learn - it's not a "cookbook".

Generally speaking, I'm not aiming to cater for complete beginners, but most projects have a reasonable amount of explanation and background that should help you learn about the subject. Having said that, I do intend to add a number of tutorial-style articles in the future, covering basic electronics and PIC programming.

Additionally, you can read about selected items of hi-fi, complete with pictures and technical deconstructions. You should find items here that are hardly mentioned elswhere on the internet. The BBC and Rogers loudspeakers section is especially popular, and has been developed considerably recently.

Important - Please Read!

I maintain this website in my limited spare time, and offer it "as-is", with no support implied. I do my best to respond to messages, but can only do so on a "Reasonable Endeavours" basis.

I make no money whatsoever from the running of this site - which after all was only started as a way to learn HTML back in 2000 - indeed I'm now having to pay for web hosting as this site gets an extraordinary amount of traffic and has outgrown the basic hosting that comes free with my ISP. Currently there is no advertising, but this might change in the future, depending on how the hosting costs go.

So please be patient when contacting me, and please have realistic expectations of what I can offer you for free.

Cookie Policy

This website does not use cookies. Simple!

Site Design

Work began on this version of the site back in 2009, and mostly came about because I wanted to learn a bit more about CSS. So this site doesn't use tables for page layout purposes - which is the modern way of thinking and will certainly make future facelifts much, much easier. Incidentally, if you're using Firefox and are curious to see the effect of CSS, go to the "View" menu, and move down to "Page Style". From there, select "No Style". The raw HTML is very basic indeed! Remember to select "Basic Page Style" afterwards...

As I'm a glutton for punishment, all the code has been written by hand using a text editor (ConTEXT, which is still my favourite text editor). Every page is straightforward HTML, with CSS and occasional bits of Javascript. Everthing is written by me - I don't like to include third-party "widgets" that I can't understand or control, and remember that the point of having a website in the first place was to learn about these technologies. Perhaps one day I'll migrate to a PHP/MySQL solution, but again, that'll be hand-coded by me - for better or worse!

I've tested the site with Internet Explorer 8 running on XP, and Firefox and Chrome, running on various operating systems - hopefully the site looks ok on your system. If you're using a less mainstream system, I'd love to know how it looks.

About me

I have had a life-long interest in electronics and audio engineering. Apparently, right from the very beginning, even before I could talk, it was obvious that I had an engineering mindset - what fans of Dilbert will know of as "The Knack". As a toddler I had a collection of broken electrical things and tools lying around my bedroom, and apparently my first teacher once sighed "if only he could write with a screwdriver"! An uncle gave me a soldering iron for my 5th birthday, and amazingly my parents let me keep and use it. Well, things were different in the 1970s! With the help of a couple of Ladybird books, I was on the way...

I can't remember for sure when I first became interested in music - it was something that was always there in the background, usually from the radio - but I do remember how my audio obsession started. My dad bought himself a "music centre" and let me take possession of his mono portable record player - a Bush SRP51, complete with a Garrad 2025TC auto-changer, in glorious black and chrome. I would have been 7 or 8.

This record player had a number of DIN sockets on the front, and the one labelled "STEREO" was especially fascinating - I knew from my dad's upgrade that stereo was a big deal, so surely this socket must be the gateway to better sound? So started a journey that lasted throughout my childhood. Incidentally, while my original record player is long-gone now, I did pick up an nice example recently, and must admit to being surprised at how good it sounds. And it came with the matching AU51, which houses an identical amplifier and loudspeaker in a similarly styled case and plugs into the enegmatic "STEREO" socket.

By the age of 10 or 11, I'd graduated to using a pair of loudspeakers made from the 1960s radio­gram that my grandparants had - a HMV Stereomaster 2401 unless I'm very much mistaken. The loudspeakers had separate enclosures within the cabinet, which was dense chipboard covered in teak veneer, and it was an easy matter to cut out the centre section which housed the electronics and turntable. It was transistorised, so fairly safe and easy to repair. I re-housed the electronics and turntable, creating a basic "separates" system that was the subject of much modifying and tweaking. After a couple of years of this, I upraded the cartridge to a moving-magnet type, and went through several homemade stereo amplifiers until I was able to build something that somehow managed to look and sound quite good. It even got me a qualification!

Since those days, I've built countless things and learnt a lot from doing so. In my experience, you learn most when things don't work first time because the real lessons come from debugging. Given that I didn't get any decent test equipment until my late teens, I guess I had a lot of luck on my side in the early days. I also learnt a lot from fixing things - once people knew that I collected old electronic stuff, an amazing amount of broken gear came my way - at first most of these things were beyond my diagnosis abilities, so became sources of components, but as time went by I got better at fault-finding. In my late teens I had a part-time job with a local electrical shop where I was able to learn much more about this. Of course, back then electronic components tended to be big enough to see, and had wires emerging from them so you could easily replace them - not at all like the throw-away stuff we see today.

After finishing school and university, I took up a job in the broadcast industry, and have worked there in a variety of roles since.