Tag Archives: DIY

Bus timer project

via Dangerous Prototypes


Limpkin published a new build:

For once, this project was not for me… it was for my wife !
Every morning she takes the bus then train to go to work. If she misses her train, she has to wait for more than 30 minutes for the next one. Not missing her bus is therefore quite important.
Where we live every bus station has a display letting you know in real time when the next bus will be there. My first thought was to reverse engineer its RF signal but something easier then came to mind.
In the very same bus stations, a small QR code brings you to a web page displaying the very same “minutes before bus arrival”… HTML parsing therefore made more sense given that I was fairly busy with other projects.

See the full post on his blog.

Overdrive guitar effects pedal

via Dangerous Prototypes


Eddie over at Bantam Tools shared detailed instructions of how to build this DIY overdrive effects pedal:

This project shows you how to make your very own effects stompbox! We’ll go through the steps of downloading the .brd file, loading the file into our software, milling the board on the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine, and soldering the components. This is a great tutorial for those new to milling printed circuit boards (PCBs) or for those who want practice soldering components to the board as a part of a larger assembly.

More info at Bantam Tools project page.

DIY Capacitive Rotational Encoder on the Cheap with FR4

via hardware – Hackaday

Rotary encoders are critical to many applications, even at the hobbyist level. While considering his own rotary encoding needs for upcoming projects, it occurred to [Jan Mrázek] to try making his own DIY capacitive rotary encoder. If successful, such an encoder could be cheap and very fast; it could also in part be made directly on a PCB.

First prototype, two etched plates with transparent tape as dielectric material. Disc is 15 mm in diameter.

The encoder design [Jan] settled on was to make a simple adjustable plate capacitor using PCB elements with transparent tape as the dielectric material. This was used as the timing element for a 555 timer in astable mode. A 555 in this configuration therefore generates a square wave that changes in proportion to how much the plates in the simple capacitor overlap. Turn the plate, and the square wave’s period changes in response. Response time would be fast, and a 555 and some PCB space is certainly cheap materials-wise.

The first prototype gave positive results but had a lot of problems, including noise and possibly a sensitivity to temperature and humidity. The second attempt refined the design and had much better results, with an ESP32 reliably reading 140 discrete positions at a rate of 100 kHz. It seems that there is a tradeoff between resolution and speed; lowering the rate allows more positions to be reliably detected. There are still issues, but ultimately [Jan] feels that high-speed capacitive encoders requiring little more than some PCB real estate and some 555s are probably feasible.

This project is a reminder that FR4 (whether copper-clad, etched, or blank) shows up in clever applications: copper tape and blank FR4 can be used to quickly prototype RF filters, PocketNC built an entire small CNC tool around FR4, and our own [Voja] wrote a full guide on making beautiful enclosures from FR4.

Filed under: hardware, misc hacks

Simpleceiver Plus version 2 SSB transceiver

via Dangerous Prototypes


An update on Pete Juliano’s (N6QW) Simpleceiver project we covered previously:

Version 2 — What is it? V2.0 is the Simpleceiver Plus SSB Transceiver Architecture with the following changes:

  • A GRQP Club 9.0 MHz Crystal Filter is used in place of the homebrew 12.096 Four Pole Filter. This gives the advantage of acquiring the matching crystals for the BFO and with a 5 MHz Analog VFO you can have a two band rig (20 meters or 80 Meters). The only change required is the appropriate matching Band Pass and Low Pass Filters. A couple of relays and a toggle switch will put you on either band. So a big plus here. Or you can leave it on 40 Meters.
  • Compacting the rig in physical size. I have used two 4 X 6 inch PC Board and fit all of the circuitry on these two boards which will then be stacked upon each other.

See the full post on his blog.

DIY through hole plating of PCBs

via Dangerous Prototypes


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.