I'm interested in building analog computers. Are there any webpages that are devoted to this? Has anyone here ever done it themselves? My main motivation is to see if I can build one that vaguely resembles a personal computer. This is all mainly out of curiosity.
Sorry, OP, this looks interesting as hell, right up my alley of unpopular technology and discontinued recording mediums, and I might be able to find some links for you after I've sniffed around, but I don't think you're going to find any expertise on analogue on a digital hipster board. For now, I suggest maybe the /tesla/ board at 420chan? This is more of an engineering thing than a programming one.
For now, here's what I've turned up, if the filter doesn't fuarrrk it up.
There are some nifty videos on youtube about the mechanical analog computers that the U.S. Navy built during WWII for aiming naval guns. Really cool things - they could be duplicated by anybody who's handy with a mill and lathe and has *lots* of spare time.
>>3360 i wanted to build the one from Dr. Vogel (on analogmuseum.org) it's a really nice concept and there are schematics but sadly no layout for etching the boards yourself. Maybe it's possible to convince the guy to do a small PCB run or something like that.
>>3367 Thanks for sharing, looks like a very interesting device. Looking at schematics now and they look pretty simple, really. Maybe lainon can do layout and make a PCB run? There are PCB fabrication houses that are cheap - around $25 for 10 pieces. Only problem being components price. Bourns precision potentiometers, LT and AD integrated circuit, tantal capacitors are all expensive.
>>3369 I've got samples from LT (bunch of precision voltage references) before, can't remember if I've had any from AD though. Pretty sure they do them though, just never needed any of the AV stuff they do.
You can cheap out on some of the hardware I think; a bit of variance from a cheaper source of 10-turn pots wouldn't hurt it too much I think.
>>3370 AD indeed does send free samples, not sure how many ICs per person though. I guess you're right, for entry-level analogue computation, there is no need for all this extra precision so cutting price down is possible. By the way, have you used LT ICs for something yet? I heard that they are actually worth their price.
>>3372 Nope, got them ages ago for a calibration source but the SMD packages scared me away at the time! I've got a DSP project on the list though, so it'd be nice to use them for the reference. Yeah, if it's a technical application I think their datasheets alone make it worth the price; just about every bit of information you could want in there, tests, useful application notes that appear to have actually been written by an engineer etc.