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Top 17 Helpful Hints for Constructing Electronic Systems

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antedeluvian
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Re: Magnets:
antedeluvian   5/3/2014 11:41:59 AM
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salbayeng

There are some great hints here. Thanks for sharing. I will add them to my arsenal.

 

salbayeng
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Hint 18: solder caddy
salbayeng   5/2/2014 7:17:45 AM
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Tired of all that solder tangle on the bench top? 

Make a solder caddy!.
  • Take one of the (empty) shake n bake pancake mix plastic containers. 
  • Cut a cat flap on the back of the carton.
  • Poke two or three 1/8" holes in the front of the carton.
  • place a small solder reel in through the flap, after first feeding the solder through one of the small holes.
  • Put some more reels in , you can get two or three reels in depending on size, write the type of solder above the hole,  I have typically 311 = very active , 362=general purpose, and X39 low-residual in one caddy, (the other has unleaded and 60/40 1.8%) 

All Done! now you have you 3 different solders available with no mess and no tangle, and a  handle so you can pick them up. As the caddies are nice rectanglular shaped containers, they can be easily stored away.

Because of the friction inside the caddy, the solder doesn't unspool if you pull sharply on it. And with 3 spools in the caddy it is quite heavy so won't follow you across the bench.

 

salbayeng
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Re: hint10 cable ties
salbayeng   5/2/2014 6:56:59 AM
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Yep, I wrote a SOP on cutting cable ties using the "cut through the block" method after a helpful employee cut through a soft silicone coolant tube buried deep inside a machine (took 4hrs to replace that tube, after a replacement was airfreighted to him.)

In lieu of twist ties, I prefer to use single conductor wire, e.g. alpha 6715S is hard drawn, no real need to twist once you have wrapped them around the bundle, and you can make S hooks and
other shapes that you might otherwise have made with paperclips. Enamelled magnet wire is also good for soft twist ties. Great for getting the loom nice and neat before applying cable ties

n.b. I keep most of my wire under the bench , rolling on something like curtain rod. Under the lip of the bench, about 1" in from the edge, I screw a length of aluminium extrusion (1/8" x 3/4"
or whatever ) , it has a strip of self adhesive foam stuck on top (3/8" x 3/4" or thereabouts). The extrusion is screwed enough to half-compress the foam , then you simply push the wire end
through the gap between the foam and desk, and the wire stays there after you cut it. You can usually get 3 curtain rods under the average benchtop, so you get a different colored wire every
inch or so. So to make a cable of red yellow black green, just grab the four colors you want pull them out to whatever distance, put a quick twist on the loose end (so you can put it in a
battery drill as per earlier hint) , cut off the handful of cables, tie a knot at the end just cut, hook that knot over something convenient (the toggle on the bottom of the maggy lamp) and
twist it up with a drill.

Note you can get a tighter twist on the cable by one of these methods
  • give the twisted cable a very strong tug with pliers before releasing the drill chuck
  • apply a hot air gun gently along the cable before releasing the drill chuck


salbayeng
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Magnets:
salbayeng   5/2/2014 2:23:55 AM
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I find magnets are really useful (e.g. the 1/2" diameter NdB type) . 

e.g. You can keep all your jewellers screwdrivers and PCB tools in a neat row stuck to a filing cabinet.

One of the best uses is with small heatshrink, take a bundle of 2 foot lengths of different colors, fold them in the middle, now take a keyring (of the split variety) and feed the bundle in the same way you put a key on the ring, but stop halfway, so the keyring acts like a spring clamp. The steel keyring will stick to any convenient magnet on a  filing cabinet maggy lamp etc. 

The old style Maggy lamps are almost completely steel, so can be covered with magnets to keep all those small screws etc literally "in your face" .

I tape a magnet to my 4 dioptre "reading" glasses , so it sticks to my maggy lamp. ( Note put the magnet on the left side if your maggy lamp is on the right)


Most crocodile clips,  some banana plugs, and all D-types have steel shells, so a lot of test cables will simply stick to magnets. 

salbayeng
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Re: thermocouple
salbayeng   5/2/2014 1:20:16 AM
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re  "the red wire is always the negative" ,  

Well, you must be from America , where "the black wire is always positive" .

I also notice there is a European standard (for wiring of machinery) where all power wiring (220vAC) is red and all DC wiring is black

While on the topic of confusing polarities , Tantalum capacitors have the black stripe on the positive end , and TVS's have the black stripe on the positive terminal (They are zeners after all) . The problem is that Tants, diodes, and TVS's are all available in SMA size packages. 

 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: I want a finger wrench!
Max The Magnificent   4/29/2014 9:38:07 AM
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@kfiend: Max, I don't find these comments particularly amusing!  :-)

I don't blame you -- I just found out that I maxed-out your credit card -- I wouldn't be happy either!

kfield
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Re: I want a finger wrench!
kfield   4/28/2014 11:35:34 PM
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Max, I don't find these comments particularly amusing!  :-)

capriracer351
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Re: thermocouple
capriracer351   4/27/2014 10:24:46 AM
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Actually, when it comes to thermocouple work, the red wire is always negative. Somewhat confusing as compared to regular DC

Wnderer
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Re: I want a finger wrench!
Wnderer   4/26/2014 6:11:33 PM
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@Max I agree -- these would be a red-hot givaway -- no need to ask Karen -- I'll just put it on her credit card LOL

 


I think an industrious techno-goto guy could get a sponsor to put their logo on it and get them for nothing.

betajet
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Re: Resistance Soldering
betajet   4/26/2014 9:43:41 AM
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A high-current low-voltage supply can be useful for melting a weak short circuit on an inner PCB layer or other hard-to-access location.  I've used a lab supply to do this, but the resistance soldering unit should work great.  The voltage has to be low enough so that it doesn't damage anything when (or if) the short opens up.

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