Posts Tagged ‘Projects’

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.


I’ve always thought I was the king at breaking things. Then my daughter came into her teenage years. She breaks stuff with out even touching it, just ask her. 

#1 Daughter – “Daddy my X is broke. Could you please fix it?”

Ever suffering sire – “How did you break it?”

#1 Daughter – “I don’t know. I wasn’t even touching it. It worked fine when I went to sleep but was broken when I got up.”

Now when I break something I generally know what happened. I’m hard on stuff. If I can drop from three stories and still work (albeit a few days later), I expect my equipment to be able to do the same. I break a lot of stuff. I can’t tell you how many hard drives I’ve gone through in my ruggedized Panasonic CF30

But apparently my daughter can do the same damage without even coming into contact. Recently she came to me with her phone and told me the power button was broke, and asked if I could fix it. Once again the gadget gremlins had struck during the night. “It was fine when I went to bed, but not working when I got up.” “I rarely even use the button, and I always have the case on.”

Some how my wife and I have never managed to even scratch our phones, and I’m no easier on my phone than I am on anything else.I drop it several times a day, never even cracked the case. My daughter has gone through two backs and now a power button. My nieces phones and other iDevices all have cracked screens. I don’t get it.

I was hoping it would just be a stuck button or misaligned spring. I took the back off, cracked once again, and tried to pry the button up. No such luck. After randomly taking out a few screws, and getting nowhere, I thought I’d better get some help. Thanks to the wonderful guide over at I was able to take the phone down to its constituent parts with out breaking anything. Of course after going through the hassle and headache of taking the thing apart, the button was just fine. There’s nothing that can really go wrong with it, it’s just a stud. The actual button is an almost microscopic drop on a tiny little flat cable, so I had to put everything back together until we can order the part. Amazingly it actually all went back together, and I only dropped one of those nano scale screws on the floor twice.

The look on my daughters face when she saw the phone scattered in a million pieces over the kitchen island almost made the hassle worth it though.

Sorry, I hadn’t planned on making this a blog post so I didn’t take a lot of pictures.

Tiny screws everywhere!


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.