Archive for August 28th, 2012
Having gone to great pains to put the center of the contact studs on the GPS+voice case exactly at the center of the screws on the back of the radio:
I now discover why Wouxun used 7 mm square pads on the batteries: the springy contacts hit the pack so far off-center from the studs that they very nearly miss the heads on the 4-40 brass screws I’m using as contacts. This family portrait shows the radio, the battery pack, and the GPS+voice case:
The lines on the masking tape highlight where the spring contacts touch the case and barely kiss the screw heads:
Squinting at the marks on the battery case contacts (you can’t see it in the pictures), the contact line is maybe 2.5 mm beyond the centerline of the square pads. How this worked on the first case I built, I have no clue. For this version, I deliberately filed the heads a bit less and recessed them into the case a bit more; obviously, that was the wrong thing to do, as the connection was intermittent at best.
For the purposes of getting things working, I wrapped snippets of copper mesh tape (from NASA, according to the surplus blurb, with conductive adhesive) around thin chunks of conductive foam, then put them over the studs. The scars in the plastic came from an abortive attempt to get the springs far enough into the case surface to kiss the very edge of the studs:
There’s no point in having a contact patch on the near side of the radio springs, because nothing ever touches there. So the right thing to do is simply move the contact studs to the far side by 3 mm, centering them around the actual contact point. That means changing the PCB layout by the same amount. That’s easy enough to do, but … drat!
When I took the case apart to boost the mic gain, I replaced those neatly filed studs with unfiled pan head 4-40 brass screws from the same parts stock. The heads were tall enough to touch the radio spring contacts closer to their centers and make perfect contact. Not elegant, but better than that copper braid tape.
The one thing I do not like about the Wouxun battery packs: the radio contact pads are flush with the pack surface, so there’s absolutely no protection against casual shorts when the pack isn’t on the radio. The packs also sport four bare round contacts on their outer surface that mate with the charger, two of which make direct contact with the battery; those sit inside a shallow molded recess that helps prevent inadvertent shorts.
I assume there’s a protective circuit inside the pack that turns off the current on a dead short, but I am most assuredly not going to test that assumption. When the packs aren’t on the radio (which they never will be, effective immediately), they sport a strip of tape across those radio contact pads.