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Silicon Chip February 2015

Silicon Chip - February 2015

The February Issue of Silicon Chip Magazine includes a fantastic looking Retro Nixie Clock project. This great looking unit features bright orange Nixie digits together with cool blue LED lighting for the case. The unit will look terrific in your living room or your study and your friends won't believe you built it yourself. The Clock features digital accuracy, with a microcontroller for the timing functions offering a date, alarm and snooze feature. An optional GPS module is available, for downloading and synchronizing the time with the GPS system. The unit is based on mostly through-hole components making assembly quite easy. The case is sturdily constructed together with an attractive looking appearance.

Also this month, build a Spark Enery Meter for measuring the amount of energy delivered by the sparks from the CDI or MDI systems. Ideal for the repair technician or car performance enthusiast, the unit provides a digital readout for mJ (millijoules) and will work with a spark repetition rate of up to 700 sparks per second. Finally this month, a CGA-to-VGA Video Converter, for converting the signals from an old computer, such as the Amiga, Commodore 64 or old Tandy models, to VGA output suitable for connecting to a new LCD monitor. Great if you want to fire up that old computer and play some of the popular old games. All projects come complete with circuit diagram and electronic parts list.

In this month’s articles, a look at some of the amateur high altitude unmanned vehicles reaching for the sky to deliver some great aerial photos and also collect scientific data. In this article, a quick look at some of the high altitude balloons and planes reaching record altitudes. Also this month, a look at the theory behind measuring the energy in a spark. Plus all the regular columns, including the Circuit Notebook, Serviceman’s Log and Vintage Radio are included, providing stacks of great reading.

Part Code: SILCHIPFEB2015


  • Reach for the Sky and Way, Way Beyond, Part 1
  • Look Mum, No Hands: Its the Airwheel
  • Whats in a Spark? - Measuring the Energy
  • Review: 3-Way USB Scope Shoot-Out
  • Review: CBA IV Pro Computerised Battery Analyser


  • 6-Digit Retro Nixie Clock, Part 1
  • Spark Energy Meter for Ignition Checks, Part 1
  • CGA-to-VGA Video Converter