Explosion Containment

My wife thinks said I like Big Clive so much because he lets the smoke out, Just like I tend too. I explained about the explosion containment dish and she told me I need one. While out shopping a few days later she stopped to buy herself a dish to cook a pie in. When I saw the style she had chosen I could not resist getting one for my work bench.

I even stuck a label on it to remind me it is the “Explosion Containment” dish. I don’t learn easy though as I keep filling it with odds and ends that accumulate on my desk/work bench.

Nods to Big Clive.

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Desoldering Station

The Duratools Badge D00672 desoldering station appears to be a rebadged ZD-915

I had seen a similar looking gun which had a solenoid to vacuum the molten solder. However, I preferred the idea of a station forming the vacuum witch connected to the gun via an airline.

This is probably due to watching one of my favourite YouTube channels and seeing the excellent operation of the Hako unit at Mr Carlson’s Lab.

I can not by any stretch of the imagination afford the Hako unit, but this affordable station was attainable.

I have seen a video where someone put an external vacuum modification on one of these units to eliminate the delay in maximum vacuum suction upon the operation of the guns trigger , but this looked quite bulky.

The fan is a little noisy and I guess this could be replaced with a lower noise unit.

In the past I have only ever used a hand held thumb operated desoldering pump in one hand and a soldering iron in the other to desolder parts. Occasionally finding a little solder wick useful to clean up holes and tracks.

I had a old double sided PCB to hand and set about desoldering some of the components including some lager terminal blocks. Within a few minutes half of the PCB was stripped of parts. All without a single blocked hole or damaged track!

I should have invested in one of these years ago!

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Rigol DS1054Z

I ordered the Rigol DS1054Z after a few reviews suggested it had more features than a similarly priced 200Mhz Oscilloscope.

The Rigol came to me in 100 MHz format with all the software options already installed. That was a bit of a surprise as I figured the price I paid to be for 50Mhz version with the options disabled or only available for a trial period.

I am pleased with it so far. I do find the fan quite noisy and with the Oscilloscope tucked away at the back of the bench then the tiny fonts on the screen are difficult to read. This is hampered by may age related vision issues.

Understanding how to get the most out of this scope will take quite a lot of playing around, but fortunately it is a common enough oscilloscope so there should be plenty of YouTube footage demonstrating its use out there.

Some time setting up experiments to and going over the user manual should also help.

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Bench Function Generator

After spending a while researching function generators, I came to the conclusion that I don’t really have the funds to get most of the major branded equipment. Of the cheaper units then the FreeElec FY9600 or one of its clones should suit my basic needs well enough.

It was a long time coming from China, when it did arrive in the UK I had to make a trip to collect it and pay the import duty. I dislike this messing about, it would be better if the duty was prepaid.

I continued the research while I was awaiting delivery of the equipment which was coming from China. At least one review/teardown surgested that the power supply would not pass UK safety standards.

Now the unit has arrived I should really seek out the information and any possible upgrades I can make to the unit to make it safer.

I got around to installing the software and downloading the user manual recently. I am glad I did as it is easier to set things up and run custom wave forms that via the display on the monitor.

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Component Tester

I recently purchased a cheapo component tester. It was tough to decide which of the many flavours to opt for. In the end I opted for one that had a colour LCD and a ZIF Socket for testing components.

Taking a look inside there is a IC that the makes went to the trouble of having laser etched to hide its identity.

The Lipo battery does not seem to have any protection circuitry. I think maybe that to pet a replacement would cost more then the unit did, but it may be worth doing.

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Blue Ring Tester

This tester was ordered in error, however it will come in handy to verify transformers and other instructors. It matches the ESR tester I bought at the same time.

I bought it as a kit. Assembly was straight forward and I modified the output section to give banana plug or terminal post fixings for the test leads, just as I did with the ESR meter.

Again I kept the blank end plate in case I modify the outputs to more streamlined flush fitting banana jacks at a later date.

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Function Generator Repair

Several years ago now I purchased a cheap open PCB style “Function Generator”. Even though it was cheap it seemed more logical then building one from scratch. I remember doing that way back when I was in my early 20’s!

More recently I have been attempting to repair a Hameg 203-6 and the only safe signal to had was the units calibrated square wave. As the Oscilloscope appears to be modulating it would have been nice to have a separate wave form generator. I do have another Hameg but space on my desk is limited.

I recalled having this function generator but suspected I had chucked it in the spare parts bin when it failed.

I fished it out and supplied it with 6V. This value was chosen as I spotted it has a 78L05. The LCD proved to be faulty as did the main PCB.

I have another LCD that will do the job on order form “Aliexpress” but that could be months arriving. So I disassembled the LCD cleaned the tracks with some isopropyl alcohol and reassembled the display. This reassembly proved quite difficult, but I did eventually get a usable LCD.

Pocking around with a meter and a scope seemed to indicate that the microprocessor was still working. The LCD confirmed that it was at least talking to that.

There are 2 other IC’s on th PCB. The first is a surface mount dual low noise op amp (NE5532) and the other is a socket mounted thru-hole super voltage converter (ICL7660S). It was far more likely that the voltage converter was faulty and possibly even expected to fail, if the socket mount was anything to go by.

As the parts were coming from China, I ordered a quantity of each. They arrived in due course and I slotted in the ICL7660S to restore operation.

I still do not have a dedicated power supply or a case for this unit so it might become a project to make it into a bench instrument as I have a supply of spares should I blow it up!

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Bob Parker Blue ESR Tester

My options for testing capacitors are quite limited, up till now my choices were to place a multi-meter on ohms range across them and look to see how fast or slow they charge and discharge over a give range or to desolder them and try and test on the capacitance range on a old multi-meter that has a transistor tester, frequency counter and capacitance checker.

Watching a repair video from one of my favourite YouTube channels “EEVBlog” . Dave Jones was using a older style Bob Parker ESR tester that seemed to do a good job of identifying faulty capacitors. This unit is not available though some that performed a similar task were on offer from all the usual places.

Digging around a bit more I located a seller in the USA selling the latest version of the Bob Parker ESR tester as well as a matching “Ring Tester for High Q Inductive Components” by “AnaTek”.

Both of these Items were available built or in kit form. I decided to buy the kit form.

I was going to just order the Capacitor Checker. At the point of ordering I selected the wrong item! Realising my error I ordered the more expensive Capacitance Tester as well from the same supplier.

Both of these Items were available built or in kit form. I decided to buy the kit form.

Resistors in first

I was going to just order the Capacitor Checker. At the point of ordering I selected the wrong item! Realising my error I ordered the more expensive Capacitance Tester as well from the same supplier.

The case that comes with these is interesting and a has a battery compartment that can take 2 AA cells using the provided spring clip fixings or as in these meters a single PP3.

Each case came with a spare blank end as well as the one with holes for the AnaTek meters on/off switch and test leads. Two grommets were supplied to pass the supplied cable through.

I dislike that feature, so I utilised some cheap terminal posts I have laying around from a past project. These I had to mount in a odd fashion but they work well.

I may get some more modern banana plugs sockets at a later date. They would need mounting in a different location so I have kept the spare end plate just in case.

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Joule Theif V1

Long ago when I was first starting out with electronics and buying magazines like “Every Day Electronics”, “Practical Electronics” and “Electronics Today”, I read an article about a “Joule Thief”. I never did build the project, but the name stuck with me.

More recently I was watching one of my favourite YouTube Channels “Big Clive”. Clive was talking about the “Joule Thief” circuit. I decided to see if I had enough parts laying around to make one.

My biggest issue was a lack of transformers or instructors. I did eventually find a suitable looking transformer on a old PCB.

Using that was not successful at first. Doing a little research on the internet I noted that someone who had a low turns ratio had manage to get there circuit working with a capacitor.

I reached for my odd capacitor box and with a bit of trial and error I found a few values that made my circuit work. I settled with a 4n7 as that gave the brightest glow from my test LED.

Later I decided to push the circuit and apparelled 2 red and a green LED.

Broxie Cad Joule Thief
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Raspi Web-server Issue

Until recently this website ran from a header-less Raspberry Pi Zero W.
After a change of Internet service provider the website no longer worked. No amount of changes to the config files worked. I was all set to abandon the website, but hearing the screams of oh no for my better half, I grabbed my Rapberry Pi 3b+ which had been set up as a “Arcade Emulator” running MAME ROMS. The Pi 3b + is part of a arcade machine project that is on hold .

I swapped the micro SD card from the Pi Zero W to the Pi 3b+, hooked up a USB keyboard to its one of its USB ports and a HDMI cable between the HDMI output and a Monitor. Soon after I was pleased to discover the website ran fine.

I was not able to take this approach with the Pi Zero W because it uses mini USB and HDMI ports for which I had no adaptors or leads to hand.

I have since purchased a Pi Zero Essential Kit which has the required adaptors and header pins. It comes in a nice little tin too.

For good measure I also bought a dedicated mini HDMI to Standard HDMI cable.

Both versions of the Raspberry Pi are more often then not plugged into a USB multi-port power hub witch has 1A and 2.4A ports. This is not Ideal so I brought a couple of the official raspberry Pi power adaptors.

The Pi Zero at least already had a 3d Printed Case, unlike the Pi 3b+. My 3d printer is currently in storage and partly disassembled waiting for me to build an enclosure to help combat the warping of larger parts printed in ABS. So, I purchased a cheap case that resembles LEGO.

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