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Archive for category Machine Shop

Vacuum Tube LEDs: Better Radome

A two-legged spider radome base definitely looks better than the four-legged version:

Arduino Pro Mini - NP-BX1 - radome
Arduino Pro Mini – NP-BX1 – radome

The radome base now has a hole punched in its bottom for the data lead, with the two power wires going out the sides as before:

Arduino Pro Mini Battery Holder - SK6812 radome base
Arduino Pro Mini Battery Holder – SK6812 radome base

The alert reader will notice the vertical strut on the far side doesn’t go directly into the center of its base fitting. I attempted a bit of cosmetic repair on the horizontal wire below the Pro Mini and discovered, not at all to my surprise, (re)soldering a connection to a 14 AWG copper wire an inch away from a 3D printed base doesn’t work well at all.

Doesn’t affect the function and, as nobody will ever notice, I’ll leave it be.

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Epoxy Joint: Test to Destruction

Some years ago, I put the LED power supply for one of the Kenmore 158 machines atop a plastic project box with an adjustable boost supply inside:

Needle LEDs power supply - exterior
Needle LEDs power supply – exterior

The LEDs connected through a coaxial power jack on the far side of the box, held in place with a generous blob of epoxy:

Needle LEDs power supply - interior
Needle LEDs power supply – interior

A closer look:

Kenmore 158 COB LED - power supply jack
Kenmore 158 COB LED – power supply jack

I’m adding a light bar, similar to the one now going onto the Juki TL-2010Q, which needs a direct connection to the 12 VDC supply. Rather than add another coaxial jack, I ripped out the existing jack and installed a DE-9 connector (serial ports being a fading memory by now), giving me an opportunity to test the epoxy joint:

Kenmore 158 COB LED - power supply jack - epoxy bond
Kenmore 158 COB LED – power supply jack – epoxy bond

Which required grabbing the connector with a pair of pliers and twisting / bending / abusing until it popped free. I don’t know how much grip the scored lines added to the joint, but the connector definitely didn’t give up without a fight; it wasn’t going to fall off on its own.

To be fair, the epoxy had a better grip on the coaxial jack than on the plastic plate, perhaps because the bottom of the jack had all manner of nooks and pins intended for PCB mounting. Ya use what ya got, sez I.

The new connector looks exactly like it should and, because it’s held in place by a pair of screws, should last forever, too:

Kenmore 158 COB LED - power supply
Kenmore 158 COB LED – power supply

More about all that, later …

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Juki TL-2010Q: COB LED Light Bar

Mary needed more light under the arm of her Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine, so I proposed a 12 V 6 W COB LED module instead of the high-density LED strips I used on her Kenmore 158s:

Kenmore 158 Sewing Machine - Cool white LEDs - rear no flash
Kenmore 158 Sewing Machine – Cool white LEDs – rear no flash

Because the COB LEDs dissipate 6W, far more power than I’m comfortable dumping into a 3D printed structure, I redefined a length of aluminum shelf bracket extrusion to be a heatsink and epoxied the module’s aluminum back plate thereto:

Juki TL-2010Q COB LED - test lighting
Juki TL-2010Q COB LED – test lighting

Unlike the flexible LED strips, the COB LED modules have no internal ballast resistors and expect to run from a constant-current supply. Some preliminary testing showed we’d want less than the maximum possible light output, so a constant-voltage supply and a few ohms of ballast would suffice:

Juki TL-2010Q COB LED - ballast resistor test
Juki TL-2010Q COB LED – ballast resistor test

With all that in hand, the heatsink extrusion cried out for smooth endcaps to control the wires and prevent snagging:

TL-2010Q COB LED Light Bars - end caps - Show layout
TL-2010Q COB LED Light Bars – end caps – Show layout

The central hole in the left cap passes 24 AWG silicone wires from the power supply, with 28 AWG silicone wires snaking down through the L-shaped rectangular cutouts along the extrusion to the LED module’s solder pads.

The model includes built-in support:

TL-2010Q COB LED Light Bars - end caps - Build layout
TL-2010Q COB LED Light Bars – end caps – Build layout

Assuming the curved ends didn’t need support / anchors holding them down turned out to be completely incorrect:

Juki TL-2010Q COB LED - curled endcaps
Juki TL-2010Q COB LED – curled endcaps

Fortunately, those delicate potato chips lived to tell the tale and, after a few design iterations, everything came out right:

Juki TL-2010Q COB LED - heatsink endcap - internal connections
Juki TL-2010Q COB LED – heatsink endcap – internal connections

The “connector”, such as it is, serves to make the light bar testable / removable and the ballast resistor tweakable, without going nuts over the details. The left side is an ordinary pin header strip held in place with hot melt glue atop the obligatory Kapton tape, because the heatsink doesn’t get hot enough to bother the glue. The right side is a pair of two-pin header sockets, also intended for PCB use. The incoming power connects to one set and the ballast resistor to the other, thusly:

Juki TL-2010Q COB LED - light bar connector diagram
Juki TL-2010Q COB LED – light bar connector diagram

The diagram is flipped top-to-bottom from the picture, but you get the idea. Quick, easy, durable, and butt-ugly, I’d say.

The next step was to mount it on the sewing machine and steal some power, but that’s a story for another day.

The relevant dimensions for the aluminum extrusion:

Aluminum shelf bracket extrusion - dimensions
Aluminum shelf bracket extrusion – dimensions

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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DSO150: USB Battery Charger

Continuing the process of silk-purse-izing the DSO150, a batch of USB 1S lithium battery charger modules arrived from halfway around the planet. I drilled & filed a suitable hole / slot / aperture in one of the few remaining spots in the case, then stuck the PCB to the bottom with good foam tape:

DSO150 - USB charger - internal layout
DSO150 – USB charger – internal layout

Because the charger includes cell protection circuitry, I replaced the original protected 18650 cell with a bare cell sporting solder tabs. The cell should go directly to the charger board, but the switch disconnects the + wire; I’m unwilling to believe the charger won’t slowly and inexorably discharge the cell if I don’t use the DSO150 for a few months. It could happen.

A label makes the hole look almost professional:

DSO150 - USB charger - Micro-B jack
DSO150 – USB charger – Micro-B jack

Well, makes it look Good Enough™, I suppose.

The power switch gets a label, too:

DSO150 - USB charger - battery switch
DSO150 – USB charger – battery switch

Flipping the switch ON lights up the scope from the battery.

The charger (sensibly) will not route power from the USB port to the scope without a battery, so you must plug in a USB source with the switch ON, then flip the switch OFF. I don’t know why you’d want to do that, but there you go.

Now it’s a real portable instrument, with all the inconvenience of managing a built-in lithium cell.

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Vacuum Tube LEDs: Radome Prototype

Definitely not a vacuum tube:

Arduino Pro Mini - NP-BX1 cell - SK6812 - blue phase
Arduino Pro Mini – NP-BX1 cell – SK6812 – blue phase

It’s running the same firmware, though, with the Arduino Pro Mini and the LEDs drawing power from the (mostly) defunct lithium battery.

The LED holder is identical to the Pirhana holder, with a 10 mm diameter recess punched into it for the SK6812 PCB:

Astable Multivibrator Battery Holder - Neopixel PCB - Slic3r
Astable Multivibrator Battery Holder – Neopixel PCB – Slic3r

Those embossed legends sit in debossed rectangles for improved legibility. If I repeat it often enough, I’m sure I’ll remember which is which.

The 3.6 V (and declining) power supply may not produce as much light from the SK6812 LEDs, but it’s entirely adequate for anything other than a well-lit room. The 28 AWG silicone wires require a bit of careful dressing to emerge from the holes in the radome holder:

SK6812 LED PCB - Pirhana holder wiring
SK6812 LED PCB – Pirhana holder wiring

The firmware cycles through all the usual colors:

Arduino Pro Mini - NP-BX1 cell - SK6812 - orange phase
Arduino Pro Mini – NP-BX1 cell – SK6812 – orange phase

A pair of tensilized 22 AWG copper wires support the Pro Mini between the rear struts. The whole affair looks a bit heavier than I expected, though, so I should reduce the spider to a single pair of legs with a third hole in the bottom of the LED recess for the data wire.

The OpenSCAD source code needs some refactoring and tweaking, but the Pirhana LED solid model version of the battery holder should give you the general idea.

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Sony HDR-AS30V Helmet Camera: MicroSD Card Spacer

Sony tried, they really tried, to make their proprietary Memory Stick flash memory cards catch on, but the slot in their HDR-AS30V Action / Helmet camera accepts both Memory Stick Micro and MicroSD cards. The two cards have slightly different sizes, the AS30V’s dual-purpose slot allows MicroSD cards to sit misaligned with the contacts, and the camera frequently kvetches about having no card.

The only solution seemed to be starting the camera while watching the display to ensure the card worked, but it would sometimes joggle out of position during a ride.

I cut out a tiny polypropylene rectangle(-ish) spacer to fill the Memory Stick side of the slot, sized to fit between the spring fingers holding the MicroSD card against its contacts:

Sony HDR-AS30V Camera - MicroSD card and spacer
Sony HDR-AS30V Camera – MicroSD card and spacer

Not the best cutting job I’ve ever done, but it was an iterative process and that’s where I stopped. If this works and I have need for another / better spacer, I promise to do better.

The spacer’s somewhat mottled appearance comes from tapeless sticky (an adhesive layer on a peel-off backing: inverse tape!) applied to the top side, which will affix it to the slot. I’d rather glue the spacer to the MicroSD card, but then the card wouldn’t fit in the USB 3.0 adapter I use to transfer the files.

The chips along the left edge of silkscreen come from my fingernail, because pressing exactly there seems to be the best way to force the damn thing into the proper alignment.

So the slot + spacer looks like this:

Sony HDR-AS30V Camera - dual-card slot with spacer
Sony HDR-AS30V Camera – dual-card slot with spacer

The MicroSD card fits in the far side of the slot, facing toward you with contacts downward, thusly:

Sony HDR-AS30V Camera - MicroSD card with spacer
Sony HDR-AS30V Camera – MicroSD card with spacer

And then It Just Works™, at least on the very few rides we’ve gotten in during December and early January.

Incidentally, the blue and exceedingly thin latch finger holding the battery in place will snap, should you drop the camera on its non-lens end from any height. Conversely, should you drop it on the lens end, you can kiss the optics goodbye. Your choice.

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Tensilizing Copper Wire

The “bus bars” on the battery holders are 14 AWG copper wire:

Astable - NP-BX1 base - detail
Astable – NP-BX1 base – detail

Slightly stretching the wire straightens and work-hardens it, which I’d been doing by clamping one end in the bench vise, grabbing the other in a Vise-Grip, and whacking the Vise-Grip with a hammer. The results tended to be, mmm, hit-or-miss, with the wires often acquiring a slight bend due to an errant whack.

I finally fished out the slide hammer Mary made when we took a BOCES adult-ed machine shop class many many years ago:

Slide Hammer
Slide Hammer

The snout captured the head of a sheet metal screw you’d previously driven into a dented automobile fender. For my simple purposes, jamming the wire into the snout and tightening it firmly provides a Good Enough™ grip:

Slide Hammer Snout
Slide Hammer Snout

Clamp the other end of the wire into the bench vise, pull gently on the hammer to take the slack out of the wire, and slap the weight until one end of the wire breaks.

With a bit of attention to detail, the wires come out perfectly straight and ready to become Art:

Straightened 14 AWG Copper Wires
Straightened 14 AWG Copper Wires

The wires start out at 1.60 mm diameter (14 AWG should be 1.628, but you know how this stuff goes) and break around 1.55 mm. In principle, when the diameter drops 3%, the area will decrease by 6% and the length should increase by 6%, but in reality the 150 mm length stretches by only 1 mm = 1%, not 3 mm. My measurement-fu seems weak.

Highly recommended, particularly when your Favorite Wife made the tool.

The Harbor Freight version comes with a bunch of snouts suitable for car repair and is utterly unromantic.

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