Archive for the ‘Electronics Projects’ Category

I have an electronics work bench. Every electronics work bench must have three things at a minimum; a soldering iron, a multimeter, and an oscilloscope. Don’t ask me why, just accept it as gospel. I can understand the first two but it seems to me the third item might be a little superfluous for a minor hobbyist. Being an on again off again minor hobbyist I of course went and bought one last year. Now I didn’t get anything super fancy, they can run into the tens of thousands of dollars after all. I bought the relatively sanely priced Rigol DS1102E after seeing a few videos about them over at the EEVBlog. I went ahead and just spent the few extra bucks for the 100MHz one instead of doing the hack, you never know when a firmware upgrade is going to make the hack obsolete. 

Apparently when you have an oscilloscope you need a function generator also. It’s another one of those arcane items that go on your bench to add ambiance. Some people use it to send signals to their oscilloscope too but since I have no idea what I’m doing I just wanted more buttons and lights. You can get a used one on Ebay for fairly cheap but I haven’t done any projects for awhile so I decided to build one from a kit. I went with the one from Jyetech, the model FG085. It seems to have a lot of features for the price, good reviews on Amazon, and will allow me to actually build some of my own test equipment. 

The parts just came in a Ziploc style bag inside a padded envelope, which seems to have been the biggest concern in the comments I read. I guess it was fairly common to have the surface mount inductor, that was pre-soldered to the PCB, break off. As far as I can tell all of the parts on mine seem to be intact. 

The instructions aren’t the easiest to read because of their size but you can view them in the Jyetech web site so I just put them on iPad and I can zoom in to whatever panel I want.

Instructions and Bag O’Parts.

As you can see it’s not the fanciest of enclosures but who needs another beige box

Once again I didn’t think about making this a blog post until after I started so I only had my phone camera with me.

I’ve got my tools ready. My Aoyue 937+ bit the dust when I moved. It still turns on but the base sometimes doesn’t recognize that an iron is plugged in so it just keeps getting hotter and hotter. I used this as an excuse to buy me a Hakko FX-888D

New Hakko

I was able to get the first few components installed without too much hassle, though I’ll admit that USB port got a little hot to the touch when I was soldering it. I probably should have switched to a smaller tip. I think it’s got a 1.6 on there now. I think I’ll switch it out for a 1.2. Luckily for me my old Aoyue and the Hakko use the same tips so I have a pretty good selection. The 1.6 was fine for everything but the USB though. The USB mini has some pretty small pins.

Mini USB

Through step 4

I told myself i wasn’t going to do a whole lot with it tonight. Just the first panel of instructions, steps 1-5. I even tested the caps with my one other piece of DIY test gear, my Blue ESR meter.

I got carried away and decided to do the second block, which was adding the LCD screen.


Probably should have just gone to bed.


Looks like I’ll be breaking out the ol’ de-soldering iron. I was really hoping to avoid that for once. That’ll have to wait for next time though because on that note I’m calling it a night.


Well I guess it’s about time to get off my ass and finish the humidor project. After completing the proof of concept (and blowing up two Ardweenys) I ordered the components I would need to make the final board.

Everything but the resonators came in promptly. I ordered them on the third of June through an Amazon re-seller called Uxcell. I got an email from them stating they were shipped out a couple of days after I ordered them. As they were coming from China there was a considerably longer shipping time than I’m used to with Amazon. The latest estimated delivery date was July 16th. When I still hadn’t received them by the 17th I sent them an email. It worked out that since I work second shift, and sent the email when I got home, that it arrived during their business hours and I got a prompt response. There was no hemming and hawing, they simply asked if I wanted a refund or a resend of the product. I requested a resend and it arrived in a couple of weeks. I assume my original package is sitting in some customs warehouse somewhere. For something that cost $2.66, with free shipping from the other side of the planet, I certainly can’t complain.


I’ve been working on a project that uses the guts from the Secret Knock Gumball Machine. My goal is to modify the project to open a humidor I planned on giving to my brother in law for Christmas. As with everything else in my life I am obviously way behind schedule. I wanted to add way too many accessories and decorations. It just got out of hand, so I scrapped all of the frou-frou.

I made a video of a proof of concept back in December but haven’t really got past that point. I went to work on it the other night but blew up my Ardweeny when I turned on my power supply and forgot it was set to thirty volts. I’ve got a new one on the way from Solarbotics and hopefully I can get in the mood to finish the project soon.