Stephen Coates' Homepage

Updated: January 2022

Home Page

About Me

Contact Me

Amiga 1200T

LAG Bash


CRT Fan Club

Electronic DC Load

Backlight Hacking:

BT Decor 2200

Mastech MS8218

Walkman Repair

(D)SLR Focusing Screens

Photo Printing

Cherry Pi Project

Motor Cars & Safety

Rotherham Cycle Parking

Sheffield Cycle Parking

Stephen's Flickr Page

Stephen's YouTube Chanel

Crap Customer Service

First South Yorkshire Bus Complaints

Meadowhall Cycle Lockers

Manchester Airport

Northen Rail

Videos & Photos

I have recently been making a lot of video content. Some of it is linked on this website, but to see the whole lot, please visit my YouTube channel. I am also on Odysee & LBRY, which has some exclusive content, and also serves as a backup to YouTube, who are particularly good at censorship.

Odysee Channel

YouTube Channel

I am also starting to post more photos on my Flickr page, both new photos and archive photos. I intend to post more on this website too in due course.

Flickr Page

I am in the process of slowly redesigning this website and adding new content, so do stay tuned.

Anti-Lockdown Protests

Throughout 2020, 2021, and now 2022, I have been visiting various anti-lockdown gatherings/protests with my video camera in Sheffield to find out peoples views on the coronavirus pandemic, how it has affected them, what they think of the police, and whether or not they support the vaccines. The following pages contain photographs, explanations, my opinions, and of course, the YouTube videos I have made. The videos contain a mixture of interviews with protesters, and commentary from myself.

StandUpX & Piers Corbyn - 5th September 2020 - This was the first protest I attended. Speeches included Piers Corbyn and Dr Mohammad Adil (who lost his job for speaking out against the pandemic).

October & November 2020 - Piers returns in October, met with a rather large police presence. I interview several protesters in the video. On another occasion, Lord Brexit argues with the police about their right to protest. In November, during lockdown 2, people gather for speeches in Barkers Pool (city centre). Later in November I visit a gathering in Endcliffe Park for speeches and interviews, including a scientist who is opposed to the lockdown, and two people who have been arrested.

December 2020 & January 2021 - The country is unlocked for Christmas; people go out for their Christmas shopping, and a new vaccine will be available shortly. I interview protesters about what they think about the new vaccine and whether or not they will have it. In January, the country is put back into lockdown and the city centre goes quiet; except for a march down Fargate.

The rest of 2021 - It looks like the pandemic is coming to an end... slowly. I visit the city centre in January and February to get people's views about the end of the pandemic and the planned end of the lockdowns. The government threatens vaccine passports in April, and in September I bump into a delightful 'pro-vaccine' activist.

Roundabout Rebels at Christmas - In this video I join some people on the roundabout near Meadowhall Shopping Centre who are concerned about the prospect of more restrictions, and am introduced the NHS 100K, a group of NHS workers who are at risk of losing their jobs if they don't have a vaccine within the next couple of months.

My Views on Autism (and other disabiltiy) Alert Cards

Should disabled people carry ID cards? Certainly not!

How to Complain about bus services

In an addition to the Crap Customer Service section, find out how to complain about First South Yorkshire's buses.

Or not.

On this page I document my year-long saga complaining about buses. Will I get a satisfactory outcome?


2nd August 2020 - Coronavirus: Exemptions from wearing a face-covering/mask

A rather long article explaining the legislation behind the requirements to wear a face-covering in shops in England, and what to do if you are exempt. (Hint: Many people are). 2022 update: This page is now moot as restrictions have ended, but will be left here for historical interest.


June 2019 - More Cycle Lockers

Long time no updates (again). I've decided to compile some pages showing various cycle parking facilities in my local area. I'm starting with the ones here in Rotherham. The Rotherham Cycle Lockers page shows the locations of various facilities and comments on the poor condition of many of them, along with details about how I tried to get the council to improve them.

TI have also detailed the cycle parking facilities across Sheffield. I'll be interested to get people's feedback on cycle parking in South Yorkshire.

Rotherham Cycle Parking

Sheffield Cycle Parking

14th February 2017 - Cycle Lockers

I updated the Crap Customer Service page with an article about cycle lockers at Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield.


October 2016 - Lincs Amiga Group 10th Anniversary

The Lincs Amiga Group (LAG) celebrated its 10th Anniversary this month by holding a 'bash' at the usual venue in Welton, Lincoln. Special guests included Trevor Dickinson of A-EON, and Matthew Leaman of AmigaKit. Many systems were on display, and yours truly won the raffle :).

Visit the LAG Bash page to view all the photos.

8th April 2016 - Cherry Pi

A while back, I started a project to mount a Raspberry Pi computer in a Cherry G80-3000 keyboard (Amiga/BBC Style). Here is the result.

The Cherry Pi in Action


8th April 2016 - A quick comparison of Lightjet prints vs Inkjet prints

In this post I demonstrate some of the differences between these two printing technologies.


13th July 2015 - SLR/DSLR Focusing Screen Experiments

Many modern low end SLR cameras have terrible focusing screens. If you have seen one of the high quality focusing screens found in manual focus film cameras, you will probably come to hate the focusing screens in modern auto-focus cameras.

I attempted to bodge a higher quality focusing screen into my EOS 500D, with varying success.


Left: A typical DSLR viewfinder, with no focusing aids. Right: A high quality focusing screen with a cross split prism for high end cameras.

July 2015 - More Road Safety

Certainly journeys in Rotherham have now become more dangerous and more time consuming due to the council's unnecessary closure of a subway. Here's a letter which I wrote to the local paper. At least one other person wrote in to the paper as well.



6th March 2015 - Car Parking

Many walkers, such as myself, will tell you that motor cars parked on the pavement are a nuisance. Here is a Flickr page which shows some photos of illegal parking in my area. 

Meanwhile, many lazy sods avoid some places because 'there's no parking'. I have never really needed parking anywhere, so I'm surprised many people make such a fuss about it.

Here is a letter I had published in my local newspaper recently.

Hopefully it will inspire some people to use more sustainable transport.

6th March 2015 - Customer Service Updates

The Crap Customer Service pages have been updated to feature Northern Rail, and a couple of response letters.

28th October 2014 - New Series! - Crap Customer Service

After getting fed up of being treated poorly by many organisations, I decided it was time to name and shame them on the internet. Over the coming weeks I will be publishing various complaints here on this website, and where applicable, any responses received from the organisation concerned.

Feel free to get in touch if you have similar experiences with the organisations listed.

First up in this series is Manchester Airport, and the security bloke who lacked fluency in English. I'm getting rather fed up of people working in England who lack fluency in our language.


22nd June 2014 - Sony Walkman Repair & Maintenance

My old Sony Walkman has suffered lots of abuse over the years, but I manage to keep it working. Find out how on my new Walkman page.

March 2014 - Motor Cars & Safety

I wrote a short article about the safety and environmental impacts of motor cars.  As someone whose health issues are somewhat a consequence of this, it is something I feel strongly about. Read the article here: Motor Cars & Safety.

I urge everyone to do their best to consider safer and more environmentally friendly transport.

An important note on noise pollution: I don't mention noise pollution much in this short article, because I focus more on safety in terms of 'car crashes', but noise pollution is a major issue which so few people seem to understand. Cars create noise at such a level, that if the road were a typical work place, we would be required to wear hearing protection. The noise can be very distressing, as well as irritating. I live near a busy road, and can not keep my window open in summer because of it. 

I'd be willing to hear from other people who suffer from motor car related noise problems. If you would like to get in touch, please visit the Contact Me page.

March 2014 - EEWeb Site of the Day

My site is due to be the Site of the Day on EEWeb next month in April. EEWeb is on online community for electrical and electronic engineering. It features forums, news, jobs, featured engineer, featured website, and a comic :).

Check it out here:

18th January 2014 - More Updates

New Look 

Firstly, you may have noticed the site's new look. It has been modernised, and looks a bit cleaner. I'm updating all the existing pages with the new look, and all new pages will get it. It utilises some CSS, which simplifies the code. I may eventually update it to include some PHP, but that's something for the future, at the moment, I'm focusing on the content.

Backlighting Guides

After being frustrated with the backlight on my Mastech MS8218 multimeter, I decided to improve it. Check it out here. I also made a backlight for a telephone's LCD, which didn't already have a backlight. I documented that as well (click here). The page shows how you can make a simple but effective LED backlight to place behind your LCD.

Backlit telephone LCD

Lincs Amiga Group

After a break of about 3 years, I've started attending the Lincolnshire Amiga Group (LAG) again. At LAG meetings, a group of Amiga enthusiasts from across the country meet in Lincoln to play with Amiga computers. I'm finally getting my Amiga 1200 running again. I even managed to set up wireless networking!

Check out the official website at and see some of my photographs at Flickr.

12th December 2013 - Project Updates

Various electronic projects of mine have been mentioned around the internet lately. Here they are on this site.

Electronic Constant Current DC Load

A constant current DC load is useful for power supply and battery testing. Basically, you set a current, and it will try to draw only that amount of current, regardless of the input voltage. As I'm building a bench PSU, this is a useful tool to have, and a very simple one to build. I have documented the circuit design and build on the following page:

This image shows the fully functional stripboard prototype:


Bench Power Supply & SOIC8 fun

I've been experimenting with a variety of bench power supply designs lately. My current design is based on an LM723 chip, with a 2N3055 as a series pass transistor. It features adjustable voltage (between about 2.5 -- 25V), and adjustable current limiting (between about 30mA and 1A). It will have a panel voltmeter and ammeter. I was pondering using the traditional ICL7107/7106 IC for these, but I decided to do it using an Arduino, as an excuse to learn some Arduino programming. Current monitoring is achieved by a MAX4172 IC. This is a surface mount IC, and required a bit of fiddling to use on a breadboard.

(Update: I decided to buy some small ready made panel meters instead)

Eventually, the power supply circuit will be retrofitted into the 'Datatext' case which can be seen in the photo.

I'll publish full details eventually, but in the mean time, here is the circuit diagram (subject to modifications) and some photos.


Ghetto SOIC8 adapter:

27th July 2012 - Test Equipment! Thurlby 1503 Multimeter Mods

A couple of years ago, I got an old Thurlby 1503 digital multimeter off ebay for about £10. This is a "four and three quarter digit" multimeter, which gives it a nice bit of precision.

It has a small LCD display which updates slowly and is hard to read. So, I'm modding it to have a larger, brighter, LED display. Here it is with the original LCD display, next to the AvoMeter:

A Black and White photograph of the Thurlby 1503 digital multimeter. Shown in comparison to a Model 9 AvoMeter.

Hitachi V-222 20MHz Oscilloscope

I've wanted an oscilloscope for years. I finally got this one. It's a basic 20MHz analogue scope. Got it off ebay for about £70. Works nicely. Here's a photo of it showing the waveform from a voltmeter IC's internal oscillator:

Photograph of a Hitachi V-222 20MHz Oscilloscope

3rd December 2009 - Pictures

Amiga 1200T

2012 Update: The Amiga 1200 Tower is now working much better.

I have uploaded a few pictures of my Amiga 1200T. They aren't very good though. The Amiga is located in the loft where only limited space and light is available. The photo at the side shows the system working with a Microvitec 1438S monitor.

Unfortunately though, this system isn't very reliable. Last time I used it, the graphics from the VooDoo were rather weird. But sometimes, it wouldn't work at all. I wonder if there is a bad connection somewhere between the VooDoo and the Amiga.

See the rest of the pictures here.

Parallel Port based Analogue to Digital converter

To the left is a screenshot of the programme I wrote to monitor up to all seven inputs from a Maxim MAX118 8 bit ADC. The screenshot is showing just Channels 1, 3 and 7 in use.

  • It can measure voltages from 0V to 5V.

  • With an LM335 temperature sensor (together with an op-amp interface circuit), temperatures of -20°C to 105°C can be measured.

  • With an LM35DZ sensor (again, with an op-amp interface circuit), temperatures between 0°C and 100°C can be measured.

The circuit interfaces to a PC with a 'Standard' (unidirectional) parallel port. This means it *should* work on an original IBM PC. However, I was unable to test this. The programme was written in QuickBasic 7 and runs in MS-DOS or Windows 95/98.

The circuit diagram shows how the MAX118 is interfaced to the parallel port. The 74LS157 is used to convert the 8 bit output from the ADC into two 4 bit nibbles.

I will put some more complete details on the site eventually, but do to accuracy issues I had with the MAX118, I am currently trying to make a similar system, but using the cheaper and slower ADC0808. The ADC0808 should be just as suitable despite its slower speeds, as high speeds are not required for measurements such as temperature.

I also hope to try and make interface such a device to the Amiga computer as well as the PC.

21st July 2009 - Power Tower

At LAG13 last Saturday, I got a Power Tower to put my Amiga 1200 in. Well, only the Blizzard 1230-IV, Mediator, HD and cards, as the tower already had a motherboard. Pictures and details coming soon. In the meantime, check out the topic about it on the Classicamiga forums and my Flickr page (see below).

Also, we have some new members at the CRT Fan Club :).

2nd July 2009 - I can't really think of a title

I haven't put much on this website. I made a brief update about the convergence problems on my Sony monitor.

I have finished my college project of building an Analogue to Digital converter for the PC's parallel port. I will post some information and pictures of this soon.

I am also going to make a page about getting the VooDoo 3000 graphics card to work on an Amiga 1200 with a Mediator PCI. I expect this was simple for some people, but me and the guys at LAG had a bit of difficulty. It is all working now though. Just got to sort out the sound and network card, and hopefully get it in a tower.

Got a few photos of LAG meetings and of Lincoln which I will put online sometime. In the meantime some lower resolution versions can be found on my Flickr page:

Older Updates

Cool websites I recommend you should check out:

ClassicAmiga - Your Guide to everything Amiga

Amiga Computing and Retro Gaming

Link to Dave Jones EEVBlog

Electronics Video Blog

Electronics, Solar Power and Metrology

Old-School Game Blog

Other links:

The Aussie Space Time Traveller

E-Maculation - Macintosh Emulation

EEWeb - Electrical Engineering Community