Work, work, work, work…
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This is a list of most of the things I have designed, created or otherwise been involved in.  These projects span the range from pure hardware to pure software, sorted oldest to newest.
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Apple II Serial Card

Here it is -- the first electronic thing I designed and built.

Obviously, this never made it to production.  At this stage of my life, I had no concept of entrepreneurship.  What I did have was a need to send and receive information and too little money to purchase a serial card, so my only choice was to build my own.

I had an Intel 8251 somebody had given me and plenty of spare time.  At that time, semiconductor manufacturers were happy to send databooks to anyone who wrote and asked for them (Long distance was expensive) and DigiKey and Jameco were already in business, so all it took was some time with the databooks and a career was born.

Every ten years or so, I tell myself I should go out to the shed, dig out one of the old Apple IIs and see if any of them run.  If one did fire up, I could use my serial card to send all my old 6502 source files to a PC.  Why?  I don't know.  But the older I get, the more the idea intrigues me.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor 6502
  Patents 0
70W RMS Per Channel Stereo Amplifier

In retrospect, despite mil-spec parts and hundreds of hours of painstaking craftsmanship, it really sounds awful.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
Stereo Preamp #1

As with the power amp, the quality per man-hour coefficient is exceedingly low.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
Stereo Preamp #2

This one sounds better, but it was never used as a real stereo.  It suffered from being too small, having no labels on the controls (other than those scrawled onto the chassis with a pencil) and having no equalization on the phono inputs.

It has a place on the shelf in the lab and still gets used now and then when some non-critical signal needs a bit of amplification.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
Telephone Call Logging Printer

This device prints the time, date and duration of every phone call placed on the phone line to which it is connected.

Radio Shack expressed an interest in selling a stripped-down version of this product, but the president of the company that built it refused to negotiate the price.  He wanted to get rich off the one deal with Radio Shack, and when that deal fell through, his company went bust.  Radio Shack eventually had its own version designed, but it was not nearly as good as this one.

Several Asian companies knocked off the whole design.  They even copied the aberration of the character "Z" in the dot matrix data, which was inserted purposely to detect knockoffs (Z was never printed).

  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor 6502
  Patents 0
OCC Phone Autodialer

This is an intelligent Other Common Carrier autodialer and call router.  It is programmed with toll-free area codes and prefixes and decides whether outgoing phone calls should be direct dialed or routed through the OCC.  Programming can be done with the local phone, a local computer via RS-232 or remotely, using another dialer configured as a DTMF send modem.  Once programmed all blocking table and speed dial data can be uploaded to a computer or cloned into another dialer.

If you look closely at the date on the EPROM, the firmware was last modified in May, 2002.  The board in the photograph is a spare, but a similar unit has been in continuous service for the past 32 years.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor 6502
  Patents 0
Prototype T1 Channel Bank

This is really two separate prototype cards screwed together for testing.  The card on the left is the T1 interface and status indicators.  The card on the right is the backplane timing generator and one FXS voice interface.  Several very intelligible phone calls were placed through this crude device.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
Channel Bank Power Supply

This is the power supply card for a T1 channel bank.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
Channel Bank LIU

These are the LIU cards for a T1 channel bank.  The two boards plug together to form a double-wide module that occupies 2 slots in the backplane.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
Channel Bank Dual FXS Card

This is a dual FXS voice card for a T1 channel bank.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
Hydronic Heating System Temperature Fan Controller

Nobody made these at the time, so it was necessary to build my own.  This little board measures the temperature of the water pipe exiting the air handler and turns on the FAU fan only when hot water is circulating.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
Client Side Interactive Video Control System

Using a TV and the telephone line, this device allows compressed video and audio subscriber information to be interactively presented on the TV.  Navigation is provided by the telephone keypad or an IR remote.

Needless to say, the Internet killed this technology in short order.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor x86, 6805
  Patents 0
Handheld IR Remote Control

The hardware was simple and basic, taking all of an hour to design.  The firmware took a couple more hours to write, producing in-house development costs for electronics and software of less than $100.  Several quotes from Asian remote suppliers came in at 100 to 200 times that amount.  Mechanical engineering was another story, but I had no involvement in that.
  Hardware 90%
  Software 100%
  Processor 6805
  Patents 0
Universal IR Remote Decoder

This was designed as an IR remote receiver that would send decoded IR codes to a PC though the serial port.  It was used for sales presentations to simulate the operation of a proposed product on a PC.

I modified the firmware so that it would decode any IR pulse stream and report it to the PC as an ASCII packet, giving the period in microseconds between each rising and falling edge.

The unit in the photo was pulled down off the shelf, dusted off and used to decode some IR codes for a project in 2016, almost 25 years after its creation.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor 6805
  Patents 0
32-channel Async Daughter Card

This board plugs on to the ISA bus multi-protocol serial controller to provide another 32 asynchronous RS-232 channels.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor x86
  Patents 0
T1 Serial Module LIU

This board stacks on the T1 serial module, disabling its CSU and providing an FCC-approved long line connection.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
T1 Serial Module

This board is used at the other end of the RS-485 link provided by the ISA bus multi-protocol serial controller to form a T1 serial module.  It can be used alone to connect to a short line or stacked with the LIU module shown below for long lines.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor x86
  Patents 0
Dual High-speed Sync Serial Module

This board plugs on to the multi-protocol module serial controller to form a 2-channel high-speed synchronous serial module, providing 2 channels of HDLC or bisync at up to 2.048 Mb/sec.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor x86
  Patents 0
Quad Sync Serial Module

This board plugs on to the multi-protocol module serial controller to form a 4-channel synchronous serial module.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor x86
  Patents 0
Octal Async Serial Module

This board plugs on to the multi-protocol module serial controller to form an 8-channel asynchronous serial module.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor x86
  Patents 0
Multi-protocol Module Serial Controller

This board is used at the other end of the RS-485 link provided by the ISA bus multi-protocol serial controller where intelligence is required.  The async, sync and high-speed serial boards shown below can be stacked on this board to form a complete serial module.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor x86
  Patents 0
ISA-bus Multi-protocol Serial Controller

This board acts as an intelligent hub for two 2.048 Mb/sec HDLC RS-485 links which can be connected to a variety of serial devices.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor x86
  Patents 0
RS-232 to RS-422 Converter

Sure, everybody makes these now.  Back when this was created, there were only a few companies making them and they were terribly expensive.  My client needed a cheaper alternative, so I whipped this out in a couple of hours.  Twenty of these boards could be built for the cost of a single off-the-shelf equivalent.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
ISA-bus 8-channel Digital Voice Card

This board provides 8 FXS central-office-quality POTS circuits on a single PC plug-in card.  It interfaces to other digital-voice components through a proprietary interboard connection bus or an MVIP connector.

There was a 4-channel predecessor and the basic design was adapted to create an FXO version.  All cards can be configured for loop or ground start.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor x86
  Patents 0
ISA-bus T1 Card

This was one of the first T1 cards available for the PC.  It features on-board DSU, time-space switch, proprietary interboard connection bus and MVIP bus interface.  This board was in production for well over a decade and became the nucleus of several PC-based digital-voice products.  Of special interest is the external frame sync port, which allows the board to be connected and synchronized to a wide variety of digital-voice and channelized data devices.  It can be the timing master or slave to the external device, using any of three different frame-sync modes

Both the DSU and CSU build options of the board are shown.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor x86
  Patents 0
Network MPEG-II Movie-On-Demand Set-Top Box

This device has allowed its manufacturer to add Digital Movie-on-Demand to the list of capabilities of its proprietary high-speed daisy-chainable network.  On request from the user, compressed digital movies or other audio/visual material can be supplied from a central server and viewed through a normal television receiver any place on the network.  When the set-top box is turned off, normal CATV or antenna programming is supplied to the TV.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor CPU32
  Patents 0
Cellular Fixed-Station Adapter

This product was developed to bring telephone service to areas where the cost of running physical copper wire is prohibitively expensive.  It connects between a normal telephone set and mobile cellular radio, emulating the handset back toward the radio and emulating a central office toward the telephone.  Low cost was the primary design goal, which was met through the innovative use an inexpensive 8-bit microcontroller and sophisticated real-time software to generate all central office tones digitally.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor 6805
  Patents 0
ISDN U-Interface Drop-and-Insert Test Set

This is a one-of-a-kind product, which allows the ISDN developer to monitor or log the ISDN U-interface D-channel or either or both B-channels in real time without compromising the normal operation of the equipment connected to the ISDN line.  With proper PC software, the D or B-channels may be inserted toward the central office, the user equipment or both, allowing emulation or simulation of any equipment or events.  Two RS-232 links are available for connection to one or two computers to facilitate any conceivable test situation.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor 68000
  Patents 0
ISDN Terminal Adapter Power Supply

This produces all the voltages required to run the ISDN Terminal Aadapter from a 15 VAC wall module:
  • +5 volts for digital logic
  • +5 volts for analog circuits
  • -5 volts for analog circuits
  • -28 volts POTS talk battery
  • 86 VAC RMS 20Hz ringer voltage
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
ISDN Terminal Adapter

Central-office quality POTS ports, two multi-protocol data ports, with software selectable RS-232, RS-422 and V-35 modes and bulletproof highest-reliability hardware design distinguish this product from other similar units.  Firmware includes patented D-channel processing (US Patent 5,748,628), which offers total international switch-independent operation with NO programming required.  A rich feature-set, including analog and digital caller ID, call-waiting caller ID, SMDR, EKTS, conference calling, multi-way calling and a streamlined command interface devoid of those cumbersome "AT" codes, all in 40 Kbytes of code, make this product unique in the industry.  Third party tests have shown consistently higher throughput than competing units having microprocessor clock speeds as much as 50% higher.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor 68000
  Patents 2
T1/E1/J1 PRI D-channel Monitor

This device allows the ISDN PRI developer to monitor the D-channel messages sent and received by any T1, E1 or J1 device having monitor jacks.  Data may be monitored in real time, logged to a PC and/or logged to onboard Compact Flash.

Total development time, from conception to working product, was under 2 months.  The first prototype board (shown in the picture) was fully operational at first power-up, requiring no changes to hardware or programmable logic.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor 68000
  Patents 0
PCI Quad Comm Board

This was a hardware port of an existing ISA card to the PCI bus.  The goal was to maintain 100% software and hardware compatibility between the PCI and ISA versions.  I proposed an integrated version that would have been cheaper and simpler, but the direct port was chosen because nobody wanted to make any changes to the embedded code.

The layout guy used the wrong library part for the processor and I had to "adjust" it on the first prototype (see inset image).  Otherwise, this was a boring and uneventful project.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 10%
  Processor x86
  Patents 0
BDM to PC Parallel Interface

Background debug interfaces are typically top secret and ridiculously expensive.  This one is dirt simple, uses readily-available socketed DIP parts and costs about $2.00 to build.  Toss in a little top-secret software for a DOS or Windoze PC and debugging occurs directly from the assembly source listing files.  Bugs are fixed before the massive, expensive debugging system finishes loading.
  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
USB Digital/Analog Audio FM Transmitter

This board converts digial audio, passed from a PC though a USB connection, to analog.  The analog audio appears on line out (RCA) jacks and a headphone jack.  There is also an FM transmitter, which can transmit audio content from the USB or line input jacks.

Unfortunately, funding was cut just before the first batch of prototypes was to have been built, so the project was canceled.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 0%
  Processor None
  Patents 0
T1 PRI D-channel Monitor

This device collects ISDN PRI D-channel messages and sends them, via Ethernet, to an IP address obtained from a DHCP server.  It can be powered from an external supply or from the Ethernet line.

The first board powered up and ran, with fully operational debug capability.  No changes to hardware or programmable logic were required.  Less than one hour of software debug at the first Beta install site and one firmware upgrade in the field resulted in a completely functional unit.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor 68000
  Patents 0
Hybrid-Electric Vehicle Dual Electric Motor Controller

This is a research prototype controller board for a two-motor hybrid vehicle.  It was created by the Big Car Company to determine the limits of the technology and create a viable specification for the ultimate supplier.

I was brought in to bring up the first board, create the critical ISR prolog and epilog code and write start-up code and drivers.

  Hardware 0%
  Software 20%
  Processor PPC
  Patents 0
Belt-Alternator-Starter Weak Hybrid Controller

This is a research prototype controller board for a weak hybrid vehicle, utilizing Belt-Alternator-Starter technology.  It was created by the Big Car Company to determine the limits of the technology and create a viable specification for the ultimate supplier.

Once this had been handed off to the supplier, the Big Car Company's bloat code would not run because the supplier's prolog for the main control loop ISR was taking 20us, leaving too little time for the task to execute.  Their story was this was the fastest it could possibly be.  My code was taking 650ns, worst case, so, their incompetence exposed, they had to reconsider.  Eventually, they got it down to 12us, which was still utterly incompetent.

  Hardware 0%
  Software 50%
  Processor PPC
  Patents 0
160KHz Switching Frequency Advanced Hybrid Vehicle Electric Motor Controller

This is an advanced project research prototype controller board for a hybrid vehicle electric motor inverter using MOSFETs instead of IGBTs and having a switching frequency of up to 160KHz.  It was created by the Big Car Company to assess the feasiblily of designing this technology into the next generation of inverters.  My role was to create all the code except the controls.  The key accomplishment on this project was synchronizing the PWM and A/D converters to the control loop while they ran at any integer multiple of the control loop frequency between 2 and 16.
  Hardware 0%
  Software 100%
  Processor PPC
  Patents 0
Hybrid-Electric Vehicle Bidirectional Charger/Inverter

This is an advanced project research prototype controller board for a bidirectional hybrid vehicle charger/inverter.  It was created by the Big Car Company to assess the feasiblily of designing this technology into the next generation of hybrid-electric vehicles.

I wrote all the code, which was necessary due to having the control loop run at 50KHz switching frequency. The control engineers gave the algorithms and I smashed them into the 20us available. The result was a multitude of patents awarded.

  Hardware 10%
  Software 100%
  Processor PPC
  Patents 8
Hybrid-Electric Vehicle 5-Phase Motor Controller

This is an advanced project research prototype controller board for a hybrid-electic vehicle utilizing a 5-phase motor.  It was created by the Big Car Company to compare the costs and efficiencies of new 5-phase motor designs to existing 3-phase motors.

The controller board was designed for a new dual-core processor and was going to be used to control two motors with a single microprocessor, but due to delays in production of the processor, the whole 2-motor project was on hold.  And because there was no funding available to design a new controller for the 5-phase project, that project was also on hold.  It was my suggestion that a batch of 2-motor boards be built with the older, single-core processor that got this program going again.

Bloat code from the control engineers caused the fast loop to run too slowly.  The algorithm I derived for fast estimatiion of a critical 5-phase control parameter during field weakening overmodulation led to my first electric vehicle patent.

  Hardware 40%
  Software 80%
  Processor PPC, eTPU
  Patents 1
Hybrid-Electric Vehicle 3-Phase Boost Controller

This is an advanced project research prototype controller board for a 3-phase boost converter.  It was created by the Big Car Company to derive a specification for a production converter that would increase the voltage from a fuel cell or battery pack for the high-voltage bus in a fuel cell, hybrid or plug-in electric vehicle.

Two patents were granted for optimizations of the control code and one was pending for PWM generation when my association with the Big Car Company ended.

If this board looks similar to the one below, it is.  Once again, it was my suggestion to repurpose this same controller board for this project.  Otherwise, the Big Car Company would have wasted months and thousands of dollars on creating a dedicated controller.

  Hardware 20%
  Software 100%
  Processor PPC, eTPU
  Patents 2
Hybrid-Electric Vehicle 2-Motor Controller

This is an advanced project research prototype to access the feasibility of controling two motors with a single microprocessor.  It was created by the Big Car Company in a half-hearted attempt to take the next logical step in electric vehicle motor control.

The prototypes performed well and I showed them how to adapt two instances of their single-motor bloat code, produced on a Linux server farm (using a process which has not changed since 1982), to run on a single processor.  But in the end the lawyers prevailed.  It was determined that cost and complexity savings were not worth the risk of having a single-point failure take out both traction motors.

I did get a patent for my code merging scheme, however.

  Hardware 20%
  Software 100%
  Processor PPC, eTPU
  Patents 1
Internal Combustion Engine 58X Position Sensor Emulator

When you're a Big Car Company, you feel a need to control everything.  In the case of a hybrid-electric vehicle, you feel the need to control where the internal combustion engine stops during shutdown so as to reduce vibration on the next startup.  If you're trying to get this working, you can't be lugging an engine into the lab.  What you need is a simple simulator.

The official decision-makers came up with a plan to saw the sensor wheel off the end of a crankshaft and mount that on a bearing in a special fixture with the reluctance sensor from the engine.  That was a great plan (especially for those who appreciate steam locomotives and Harley-Davidsons), but I needed simulation now, not two years from now, so I designed and built a simple little board that produced the signals with an 8-pin microcontroller.

  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor PIC
  Patents 0
Hybrid-Electric Vehicle Motor Controller With Integrated Gate Drive

After ten years of screaming by the engineers at the research facility, the Big Car Company decided it might be worth trying to build its own motor controller instead of building prototypes and using them only to create a specification to put out for bid.  This is the result.  It is complex and overblown, but mostly better than what an outside supplier would produce.

Then, to compensate for doing something right, the Big Car Company closed down the research facility and integrated the work into its main powertrain development, which happens in a place where it gets down to -20 degrees in the winter.

  Hardware 0%
  Software 100%
  Processor PPC, PIC, eTPU
  Patents 0
Hybrid-Electric Vehicle Motor Controller With Integrated Gate Drive

This board has the same basic functionality as the one created by the Big Car Company, but as a result of having been developed by a non-Big Car Company, costs half as much and has a quarter the complexity.

Total software development time -- from nothing to fully functional and capable of driving a vehicle -- was three months.

  Hardware 0%
  Software 80%
  Processor PPC
  Patents 0
Networked High-Intensity LED Lighting Controller

In need of firmware, the client came to me with existing hardware and the idea of powering high-intensity LED lights over the CAT5 cable used to network the lights together.  It seemed like a weird concept, but software doesn't care about that.
  Hardware 0%
  Software 100%
  Processor PIC
  Patents 0
High-Intensity LED Lighting Controller

This is a controller for a high-intensity LED light.  It can control up to four LED strings, receiving input from an ambient light sensor, a motion detector, a 10-volt analog dimmer, IR remote, RS-232 or RS-485.
  Hardware 20%
  Software 100%
  Processor PIC
  Patents 0
Digital PIR Motion Sensor

This is a motion and occupancy sensor for controlling an LED light.  It is fully digital, using a microcontroller to sample the voltage output from the PIR sensor and detecting motion algorithmicaly.  Utilizing the onboard asynchronous serial port, it can report status and have its operational parameters adjusted.
  Hardware 20%
  Software 100%
  Processor EZ8
  Patents 0
Old-School LED Digital Clock

And so we come full circle...

If you can't buy what you want, build it.

  • LED display for absolute brightness control
  • Ambient light level brightness tracking
  • AC power for reliable 60Hz reference
  • RS-232 debug/status/programming interface
  • No batteries (except for timekeeping during power outage)
  • WWVB receiver
  • Proximity sensor alarm control
  • Simple and quick user interface
  • Endlessly programmable forever
  • Night vision brightness compensation
  Hardware 100%
  Software 100%
  Processor PIC
  Patents 0

And, finally, your reward for scrolling all the way down this page:

Yes, I still have this...
And this...
And this...
And this.
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