DIY through hole plating of PCBs

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Jan Mrázek documented his experience experimenting with DIY through-hole plating of PCBs:

I’ve been thinking about though hole plating for several years. The general procedure is simple – you have to activate non-copper surfaces (make them conductive) and then you apply standard electroplating procedure. You can find many tutorials on the internet, however, most of the require hard-to-get chemicals for the activation solution. Few weeks ago, I noticed that the local electronic component supplier had started to sell Kontakt Chemie Graphit – a conductive paint. It’s basically a colloidal graphite in an organic solution. It is supposed to be used for making surfaces conductive to prevent static electricity discharges. This could be perfect for activation of the non-copper surfaces! So I gathered all the necesery chemicals and equipment and made a test run.

More info at mind.dump() blog.

Simulating 3-phase AC for energy monitor testing

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Tisham Dhar blogged about his 3-phase synthesizer:

Finding 3-phase is difficult, convincing the owner of the said supply to test some home made hardware is even more so. After building a 3-phase energy monitor my testing options for it appeared very limited. So I set about making my own low-cost 3-phase energy monitor calibration system.

See the full post on his blog.

Check out the video after the break.

How to build your own RS232 to TTL converter

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A how-to on making a DIY RS232 to TTL converter by Jestine Yong:

As I read many pages on the internet I saw there is a sort of adapter so called “USB to TTL adapter” who can communicate through with the uC. I had not the time to order one but I give a try to make one for the COM port. Actually it is an RS232 to TTL converter which I found better from my opinion than that USB to TTL adapter.
Here is why I like more this RS232 to TTL adapter than the other one:

  • can be used on a real RS232 port
  • it is a stable voltage level converter
  • can be used on USB port too (through USB to RS232 converter)
  • there is no VCC ( somebody would say it’s a disadvantage but wait…) *
  • it is a real hardware stuff, no emulation etc. (if it is used through a real com port)
  • can be built really cheap and easy

More details at Electronics Repair site.

Building a 12V 110Ah battery bank using 80 32650 LiFePO4 cells

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Kerry Wong built a DIY battery bank using eighty 32650 LiFePO4 cells:

During the past couple of weeks I have been busy making a large battery bank using the eighty 32650 LiFePO4 cells I bought on eBay. The battery bank I am building is a 12V (13.2V nominal) 4S/20P one. With each cell rated at 5.5Ah the battery bank has a capacity of 110Ah, which is just under 1.5kWh.
While These cells are marked as 32700 they are technically still 32650 cells according to the datasheet, which is a little bit confusing. Since I am making a custom battery bank the actual cell dimension is not as critical.

See the full post on his blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Build your own testing/programming jig

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Sjaak has published a new build:

Inspired by an old article from sparkfun and some tests I conducted myself I came up with a PCB that holds the pogopinholders and an lasercut acrylic fixture for the PCB on top. Using the dirt(y)cheap services from dirtypcbs.com the cost for this jig, including pogopins and their holders is about 45 USD. As an advantage you receive 5 lasercut acrylic and 10 PCBS which allows you to make 3-4 jigs in total!
To design the PCB that holds the pogopins I started with a 10×10 PCB with M3 mounting holes and imported the to be programmed PCB (File, Import, Eagle drawing) and place this in the centre (not mandatory, but looks prettier).

See the full post at smdprutser.nl.

Network cable tester

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Dilshan Jayakody writes, “This is an automatic Cat6 / Cat5 network cable tester designed using NE555 timer and 4017 decade counters. This unit test all 8 wire lines of twisted pair network cable and indicate pass/fail status with single LED. We design this unit to test network connectivity issues in Cat6 / Cat5 cable systems and it is capable to check both crossover and straight-through type network cables.”

More info on his blog here.

DIY ISA game control adapter with parallel IO

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Dr. Scott Baker has published a new build:

My Xi 8088 homebuilt PC is running a little short on slots, so I wanted to combine the functions of a game control adapter and an 8255 PIO board. Two functions in one slot. As to why one wants each of these things:

  • A game control adapter is used to interface to PC joysticks. These are the old-style analog joysticks with the 15-pin connectors.
  • An 8255 board is a general purpose interfacing board, providing 24 bits of digital IO that can be configured as inputs, outputs, or a mix of both. This is not in and of itself a “parallel port”, but could probably be used to implement one.

See the full post on his blog.

The Boat PC – a marine based Raspberry Pi project

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Domipheus has published a new build:

In late 2015 I was doing my usual head-scratching about what gifts to get various family members for the holiday season. My wife mentioned making something electronic for my father-in-laws boat, and after a few hours of collecting thoughts came up with an idea:

  • A Raspberry Pi computer, which could be powered off the boats 12v batteries
  • This computer would have sensors which made sense on a boat. Certainly GPS
  • I’d have some software which collated the sensor data and displayed it nicely
  • This could plug into the onboard TV using HDMI
  • It would all be put into a suitable enclosure

Project info at Domipheus Labs homepage.