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Nickname:?Clive Maxfield???? Articles(444)???? Visits(533021)???? Comments(79)???? Votes(236)???? RSS
There is so much amazingly cool "stuff" to see and do that I'm amazed I find the time to get any real work done. In my blog I will waffle on about the books I'm reading, the projects I'm building, and the weird and wonderful websites I blunder across. Please Email Me if you see anything you think will "tickle my fancy."
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Posted: 10:23:28 PM, 18/06/2015

Startup sequence for Inamorata Prognostication Engine

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My friend Rick Curl dropped into my office several days ago on his way to a conference or exhibition or something. It's been a while since Rick was up this way, and he wanted to see my Bodacious Acoustic Diagnostic Astoundingly Superior Spectromatic (BADASS) Display doing its funky thing.

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While Rick was here, he also feasted his orbs on the current state of the cabinet I'm going to use for my Pedagogical and Phantasmagorical Inamorata Prognostication Engine. As you may recall, this project is coming along in leaps and bounds. I now have awesome new faceplates for my antique analog meters, and my master carpenter friend Bob created an additional box to sit on top of the 1929 wooden radio cabinet I'm using to house the main engine.

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I've also got all the brass control panels cut and poised to be added to the various cabinets. The photo below shows some of the pieces that will be used for the upper cabinet. The large hole on the left will be used to house my "Behold The Man" meter, while the hole on the right will hold the small coal-fired furnace used to power the beast (not a real coal-fired furnace, of course, but it will look like one).

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There's also going to be an antique knife switch mounted on the front right-hand side of the lower cabinet. The sort of switch Igor throws just before Baron Frankenstein cries "It's Alive! It's Alive!"

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Now, my original idea was that throwing this switch would cause the furnace to spring into action, and -- from there -- the other units to undergo some sort of power-up sequence as they flickered into life. In hindsight (the one exact science), this was rather boring, because Rick has come up with the most amazing idea for an awesome startup sequence.

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Picture the scene... We start with a copper or brass pipe sticking out of the right-hand side of the upper cabinet level with the center of the furnace. This pipe then makes a 90 downward turn, ending in a funnel as illustrated below.

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On the floor under the Prognostication Engine will be what looks like a set of antique foot-powered bellows with a tube feeding into the lower cabinet. The operator will have to pull this out in front of the cabinet before proceeding further.

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So, the start-up sequence will be as follows. First you have to place the knife switch into its "On" position. Next you have to hold a real lighted flame under the funnel. Finally, you have to start pumping the bellows with your foot. A temperature sensor will ensure that you really do have a lighted flame, while a pressure sensor will detect every "puff" from the bellows.

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After a couple of seconds holding the flame, the furnace will start to glow deep red. Every time you puff the bellows, the furnace will pulse a little brighter, but you will really have to work the bellows hard to persuade the furnace to move from a pulsing red to a flickering orange to a crackling yellow.

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Only when the furnace is blazing away (with appropriate sound effects, of course) will the operator be able to remove the flame and stop pumping.

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The user can then slump to the floor, gasping for breath and drenched with sweat, basking in the glow of a job well done (and/or in the glow from the furnace) whilst delighting in the sight of the various portions of the system gradually sequencing into operational status.

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I'll also implement a secret short-cut for my own use, but I wont tell my guests about that until after they've powered up the engine using the above scheme (LOL). One thing that was worrying me was where I could acquire the brass funnel, but then I thought of a musical instrument like a horn or a trumpet.

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As an aside, I used to play the trumpet and trombone (not at the same time, of course) in the orchestra when I was at high school, but we digress...

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So, if you happen to run across a battered old brass trumpet on your travels (or if you have one gathering dust in your loft that's surplus to requirements), please write a comment below. In the meantime, what do you think of Rick's ingenious idea?

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