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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Miscellaneous Questions & Tips

  1. I find that the potentiometer doesn't seat completely in the breadboard, and I get intermittent results with the circuit. What can I do?

  2. How can I get large water droplets?

  3. Where can I get bimetallic discs?

  4. How do I interface flash units to IBM-compatible computers?

  5. How do I capture a balloon as it starts ripping?
  6. How do I capture drop-on-drop collisions?

1. I find that the potentiometer doesn't seat completely in the breadboard, and I get intermittent results with the circuit. What can I do?

Try soldering short stiff wires to the legs of the pot. Then seat the wires in the breadboard. This is also a good idea for cables that you connect to the breadboard.

 

2. How can I get large water droplets?

Originally, Mike Nelson recommended squeezing the water from a rabbit water feeding bottle. Here he reports his new, improved method: "I now use a solenoid valve--water drop size is a function of tubing size and pulse duration...and I am using a mariotte siphon to stabilize drop behavior (cf Martin Waugh)....all these way beat a rabbit feeder...but it was a good idea at the time."

 

3. Where can I get bimetallic discs?

Bimetallic discs are mentioned in one of the activities.  We haven't been able to find a source for these in a long time. Nowadays, we use plastic poppers such as the ones shown here.

 

4. How do I interface flash units to IBM-compatible computers?

Information on building your own interfacing hardware and writing software is given on the web site of Ian Price and Robert Smith at http://www.mso.anu.edu.au/~iap/hsp/home.html.

 

5. How do I capture a balloon as it starts ripping?

A balloon bursts completely in just a few thousandths of a second. So you don't want your trigger circuit to introduce much delay of its own. In order to minimize this, connect your flash directly to the sound trigger output. That is, don't use an electronic delay unit. The way to produce delays in this case is by adjusting the distance of the microphone from the source of the sound. A change in distance of a foot (30 cm) results in a delay of about a thousandth of a second. Start with the microphone very close to the balloon. Then back the microphone up gradually to get the shot(s) you want.

 

 

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