Mat Hill

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# overdrive guitar fx pedal

A small guitar pedal with a black and white map pattern, and one volume knob.

Guitar pedals are a big motivator for my analog electronics studies. They are often simple circuits, and have a rich folklore of rare parts & inexplicable layouts. I started with a common distortion design, then chose capacitances & JFET types by ear. The circuit is squeezed into the enclosure, held together by tape and glue. I like using large 'prototyping' parts, but I think this enclosure is really for SMD PCBs. Its home-made warmth seems to end my anxiety around qualitative overdrive comparisons. I will try and make a larger version, on protoboard, with more features. The artwork was inspired by Marie Tharp's ocean floor maps.

# speaker with built-in amp

A patterned cardboard box with a volume knob, irregular holes, and a JST connector.

When working on analog synth circuits, it's handy to be able to listen in! I ended up making this portable LM386-amplified speaker, which takes +12v power, a bipolar audio signal, and GND. It obviously doesn't have a wide frequency response, but it makes engineering a lot more fun (and noisy)!

# blinky cat pcb

Square PCB designed to look like a cat's face, with red glowing LED eyes.

I wanted to learn KiCAD, solder some SMD components, and try out an online PCB manufacturing service. A microcontroller PWM'ing an LED is a common intro project. I figured a blinky cat would be a cute modification. It turns out: PCBs layout is hard enough without an aesthetic goal. It took a few attempts! It was immensely satisfying when, after painful layout, painful SMD soldering, and usual code debugging... it blinked! It does a slow blink. The kind cats supposedly do when they trust you. KiCAD files, C sources, avrdude scripts, e.t.c. are here.

# rain probability display

A patterned cardboard box with a small E-ink screen displaying a percentage.

I wanted to try using an E-ink display, and the ESP32's networking & low power options. The obvious choice: something that displays the chance of rain in my area. It mostly sleeps, but occasionally wakes up to download and render new data from the Met Office.

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