Posts Tagged Repairs
Riding around the block after a nasty storm showed far more than the usual number of leaves on the Dutchess Rail Trail:
I spotted several trees down on both sides of the trail approaching Maloney Road, with another large branch across that access ramp:
You might be able to see the large tree down across the trail on the far side of the road, up the slope.
Maloney Rd had many downed trees:
With chainsaw chips and flare ash piles everywhere:
The National Weather Service in coordination with Dutchess County Emergency Management officials, have confirmed a brief touchdown of a tornado on May 31. The tornado path began near the intersection of Maloney Road and Route 376. The tornado traveled due east along and just north of Maloney Road for approximately 1.25 miles before dissipating. Damage included numerous snapped hardwood and softwood trees and the roof lifted off a shed.
Both of Mary’s gardens suffered beatdowns, with the Vassar Farm plot pretty thoroughly pulverized by marble-size hail; she’s not in a good mood right now.
The DPW crews had plenty on their to-do list, but that branch was gone a day later.
Update: The top of the barely visible tree in the second picture just kissed the trail fence, but a much larger tree smashed both fences on its way across the trail:
If you need some firewood, maybe you can make a deal …
Prompted by the condolences on the death of my Beckman DM73 Circuitmate, I brought the carcass back to Squidwrench, took it apart, annoyed the switches, and re-soldered the battery connections:
I worked minute dots of Caig DeoxIT into the switches, without disassembling them, with magical thinking guiding my technique. One of the battery connections seemed suspect, but we’ll never know.
In any event, it beeps happily when turned on (*), the LCD behaves properly, it’s no longer pressure-sensitive, and life is good! It surely needs calibration, but that’s definitely in the nature of fine tuning.
Thanks for nudging me into Doing The Right Thing™.
(*) Including the double beep with the AC/DC button held down.
I’d added Mad Phil’s trusty Circuitmate to the tool kit I carry along to Squidwrench:
Over the last few months it became increasingly erratic, eventually got to the point where slight pressure on the case would blank the display, and finally didn’t turn on at all. Yes, I replaced the batteries.
So I took it apart:
Nothing seemed particularly broken and, even after resoldering all the joints, it continued to not work at all:
If you want to try your hand at instrument rehabilitation, let me know.
Compare this picture:
… with any of the doc for the generic AD8950/51 DDS modules you’ll find out on the Interwebs. This snippet from the seller’s schematic will suffice:
Here’s a closer look at the 2×7 header in the upper left corner:
Don’t blame me for the blur, the schematic is a JPG.
Compared it with the board in hand:
Yup, the D7 and GND pins are reversed.
Some careful probing showed the silkscreen is correct: the pins are, in fact, correctly labeled.
Should you be laying out a PCB in the expectation of using any DDS module from the lowest-price supplier, remember this high truth: Hell hath no fury like that of an unjustified assumption.
Fortunately, I’m hand-wiring the circuit and caught it prior to the smoke test.
After puzzling over the AD8310 Log Amp module’s peculiar frequency response, I hacked up the front end circuitry to match the data sheet’s recommended layout:
Given the intended LF crystal-measurement application, a hulking 51 Ω metal film resistor sprawled across the ground plane will work just fine. All three ceramic caps measure a bit under 1 µF; I intended to solder the input caps atop the existing 10 nF caps, but that didn’t work out well at all.
I should harvest the InLo SMA connector to prevent anyone from mistaking it for an actual input.
With that in place, the log amp output makes more sense:
That trace tops out at 150 MHz, not the previous 500 MHz, but now the response is flat all the way out. The log amp generates plenty of hash when the tracking generator isn’t producing a valid signal.
The 60 kHz response looks different:
So it’s really the log amp response to the absolute value of the sine wave (or, more accurately, to the sine wave re-zeroed around Vcc/2), with minimum output at the input’s zero crossings. At 500 mV/div, the log amp says the input varies by 42 dB = 1000 mV/(24 mV/dB), which might actually be about right for a zero-crossing (or zero-approaching absolute value of a) signal; logarithms don’t deal well with zeros.
The AD8310 datasheet and AN-691 suggest the 2.5 V output corresponds to +10 dBm = 12.5 Vrms input, which flat-out isn’t the case. However, the actual 500 mVpeak = 350 mVrms input is 2.5 mW = +4 dBm, so maybe it’s within spitting distance of being right.
AN-691 recommends 10 µF input caps for “low frequency” use, showing results down to 20 Hz; 1 µF seems to get the circuit close enough to the goal for use near 60 kHz.
It also recommends a cap on the BFIN pin (pin 6) to reduce the output stage bandwidth = “video bandwidth” and improve the overall accuracy, which remains to be done. The datasheet suggests rolling VBW off at 1/10 the minimum input frequency, which would be around 3 kHz for use with 32.768 kHz crystals. The equation, with reference to the internal 3 kΩ bias resistor:
CFILT = 1/(2π 3 kΩ VBW) – 2.1 pF = 18 nF
For a bit more margin, 1 kHz would require 56-ish nF.
The PCB has a convenient pair of pads labeled C6 for that capacitor. This may require protracted rummaging in the SMD capacitor stash.
Rolling off the VBW should reduce the hash on the 100 kHz end of the frequency sweep and filter the 60 kHz response down to pretty much a DC level.
Applying the 10 dB and 20 dB SMA attenuators to the input from the tracking generator and recording the log amp output voltage produces this useful table:
With the terminating resistor on the correct side of the input caps, the log amp seems to be working the way it should, with an output varying a bit under the nominal 24-ish mV/dB over a 30 dB range.
We need caps! Lots of caps!
A quick search with the obvious keywords suggests nobody else has noticed how these modules work over a reasonable bandwidth. Maybe I’m the first person to use them in the LF band?
Once again, the single moving part on my first-generation Kindle Fire stopped working. As before, the switch contacts accumulated enough fuzz & contamination to prevent any current flow, but this time the (soft) solder joints attaching the switch body to the PCB failed:
My joint cleaning & fluxing wasn’t up to contemporary standards, as shown by the obviously un-fused footprints left in the upper pads:
The switch frame seems to be unplated steel, which shouldn’t be an excuse.
So I dismantled the switch, cleaned the contacts and tactile bump plate, put it all back together, and did a much better job of surface preparation:
The other joint:
And, for completeness, the switch leads:
I don’t like the way the joint on the right looks, either, but we’ll see how long the whole affair holds together.
This may be the last time I can repair the Kindle, as a bypass cap came loose while I was working on the PCB, the screen has been accumulating dust at an increasing pace, and several latches securing the back of the case have cracked.
Methinks it’s getting on time for a new pocketable memory device; if only Pixel XL phablets had a bigger screen and didn’t cost night onto a kilobuck.
So: jouncing over the larg(er) potholes / pavement discontinuities / debris on the roads around here wobbulates the front fender enough to pull the stays out of those tidy 18 mm = 6 diameter deep sockets on the fender clip.
Perhaps a generous application of heatshrink tubing will help:
Waving a heat gun around a 3D printed part seems fraught with peril, even with PETG’s glass transition temperature around 80 °C = 175 °F, as ordinary polyolefin tubing shrinks at 140-ish °C. Aiming the hot air stream more-or-less away from the clip (and the tire!) carried the day. PLA would surely have gotten bendy.
The proper solution surely involves screw clamps and suchlike. I really dislike fiddly hardware: I hope this hack survives.