Category Archives: Varigamma Engine
“FREQUENCY GENERATOR ZAPPERS UNDER THE BONNET”, News Report 01-15-2011
Article on ‘Varigamma and other ‘New Age’, Frequency Generator Zappers’. Article by John Stewart, EPE Magazine contributor and writer for various electronic magazines. Originally published May 2010; republished January 2011
A new generation of “useful chips” called PIC chips are taking over for many of the functions of the 555 chips, these new processors seem to be the greatest thing since the introduction of the now famous “NE-555″.
New Generation PIC microprocessors are used in less than 1% of Zappers sold today
These new “microprocessor” PIC Chips were introduced some years back and have the brilliant capability of being able “programmed” just like a small CPU and to be custom tailored via very small and byte efficient programs to execute a myriad of unique functions, monitoring machines to very accurate timers and Frequency Generators such as variable frequency Zappers. Likewise the ‘Ultra-Low-Power Microcontroller’ MSP Chips equally maintain this new generation standard in accurate timers, frequency devices and program functions.
The Varigamma is powered by the Texas Instruments MSP430 family of ultra-low power Microcontrollers consisting of several devices featuring different sets of peripherals targeted for various applications. The architecture, combined with five low-power modes, is optimized to achieve extended battery life in portable measurement applications. The device features a powerful 16-bit RISC CPU, 16-bit Registers and constant generators that contribute to maximum code efficiency. The calibrated digitally controlled Oscillator (DCO) allows wake-up from low-power modes to active mode in less than 1 s. Included in this powerful Chip are a 16-bit Ultra-Low-Power Microcontroller, 48KB Flash, 4KB RAM, 12-Bit ADC, 2 USCIs, HW Multiplier.
New Generation MSP microprocessors are used in less than 1% of Zappers sold today
There are only a handful of Zappers that are presently taking advantage of this new technology, of which a few are listed here:
Varigamma – Engine: MSP430F248 CPU – Manufactured by TEXAS INSTRUMENTS USA.
Varizapper – Engine: MSP430F248 CPU – Manufactured by TEXAS INSTRUMENTS USA. Zapper Digital Megahertz – Engine: PIC16F887-I-PT-microprocessor – Manufacturer Microchip Technology USA.
Zapper Digital LCD – Engine: PIC16F887-I-PT-microprocessor – Manufacturer Microchip Technology USA.
I have not listed web-site details here, as it is not my interest or point here to promote one zapper over another. I only wish to convey the research to our viewers, who may have an interest in “looking under the hood” of these new Generation Zappers. Some Zapper manufacturers would not divulge the datasheet on their Zappers, so I would assume that they were running the 555 circuit.
99% of Zapper manufacturers still use the 555 CPU. A chip which has proven its reliability since the invention of the first “shoebox” zapper in the early 1980′s. This basic zapper design revolves around using the timer circuit for producing frequencies. 2 small resistors and 1 capacitor could create this positive frequency output through pin 2/3 of the 555. Small, Simple and cheap.
The “1980′s” 555 Chip used in 99% of all Zappers sold today
PROBLEMS WITH THE 555 WHEN USED AS A ZAPPER “ENGINE”
Well here are some of the previously unpublished problems with using the 555 as a ‘reliable chip’ for frequency devices and zappers
– The 555 Chip in astable mode is known to overheat and ultimately burn out at 10.00hz (Fixed frequency zappers do not usually go this low)
– With a 555 you get a triangle (or a sawtooth if you set the values right) and a square wave. Problems with the 555 include that you can never get a 50% duty cycle (though I think some of the CMOS ones can do it) Most Zappers use the Squarewave and are affected by this duty cycle.
– On the work test bench the regular NE-555 reached a limited output frequency of 180Khz. Newer Chips achieved up to 2.4Mhz. Components used were 1% metal film Resistors and quality low-leakage capacitors, supply voltage used was 10volt DC regulated
– A word of caution about the regular NE-555 timer chips; the NE-555, along with some other timer IC’s, generate a huge (approx 150mA) supply current glitch during each output transition. Be very sure to use a hefty bypass capacitor over the power connections near the timer chip. And even if you do install this capacitor, the NE-555 may have a tendency to generate double output transitions. This ‘Hefty Bypass’ capacitor is not used on the original Dr Clark circuit diagram.
– Some of the less desirable properties of the regular NE-555 are: - high supply current (in Zappers this translates out to high battery power consumption) - high trigger current, - double output transitions, - inability to run with very low supply voltages. (in zappers this means output drop out)
These problems have been remedied in a collection of CMOS successors such as the MSP430F248 and respectively the PIC16F887-I-PT-microprocessor to name a few.
With all respect to the research and development of the Original Zapper in the 1980′s by Dr Clark; Technology has moved forward. Much of our good Doctors work can be translated into these new generation zapper devices which carry all the frequencies prescribed by Dr Clark herself. Dr Clark did recommend the larger desktop variety of “Frequency Generators” as an alternative to the “555 Shoebox zapper” (Dr Clark pg 502 Cure for all Diseases): “Frequency Generators come in all sizes, costs and capabilities …purchase one that reads out the frequency for you in numbers (Digital Type)” .
Fortunately all the new Frequency Generator Zappers are hand held devices. It is good to know that we do not have to be stuck to a chair in front of a large metal box. It still astounds me that 99% of the Zappers sold today are based on the 1980′s “Shoebox” design. I believe it is time that Zapper makers take a serious look at ‘improving the Engines’ in these devices, and give their customers a more efficient and reliable Zapper using modern electronics.
Technical data of this article was referenced from http://www. unitechelectronics.com/NE-555.htm, an accurate source of Chip technology information