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David Ashton
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Re: Ferric Chloride
David Ashton   10/16/2013 6:12:12 PM
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@Karen I quite enjoyed Chemistry at school and had a couple of chemistry sets at home too.  Of course these days the chem sets (and the teaching at school) are pretty tame.  I remember our chem teacher at school would not let us see what happened when sodium reacted with water.  So my friends and I hatched a plot...we stole some sodium from the lab, I carried it home in my pocket wrapped in oily tissue in a plastic bag (It was kept under oil in the lab as it reacts with air).  At home we chucked it in our swimming pool.  It rose to the surface, bubbling furiously and then exploded.  To this day I get cold shivers wondering what would have happened had it started combusting in my pocket.

David Ashton
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Re: Me too!
David Ashton   10/16/2013 6:22:28 PM
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@antedeluvian  Hi Aubrey....I did read and comment on your How it Was on the subject.  You certainly got a lot further with the computerised stuff than I have - I gotta learn one of the tools soon.   Watching the track pattern come out on the board as you develop it always gives me a thrill - like developing your own photos did.  Your descriptions of waiting an hour for the display to pan are a graphic reminder of how PC performance used to lag behind software requirements in the old days - though that seems to be a problem still, I doubt users these days would wait an hour!

zeeglen
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Re: Ferric Chloride
zeeglen   10/16/2013 8:33:00 PM
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Back in college a couple of us students had summer internships, one day we were assigned the task of servicing the PCB etching machine.  This was a small tub on wheels that used a magnetically-coupled impeller to slosh the feric chloride around while the pcb remained stationary.  I forget whether it was just a cleaning or if we had to replace the pump impeller, but whatever it was necessary to first remove the ferric chloride.

We undid the drain on the tub and collected the ferric chloride in a plastic bucket.  After we finished servicing the system I started pouring the ferric chloride back in.  About a quarter-bucket later I suddenly remembered - "The drain plug!"  Was quite a mess and took a lot of paper towels, but the tray shelf in the bottom of the cart caught most of it.  Fortunately none of the profs noticed.

David Ashton
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Re: Ferric Chloride
David Ashton   10/16/2013 9:02:11 PM
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@Zeeglen - even when it's not my vile HCl / FeCl3 mix, it's certainly not stuff you want to chuck around the place.  I've often thought, when I'm sloshing a PCB back and forth in an old icecream container, that I must make a bubble etcher - like a thin aquarium tank with a tube with holes at the bottom connected to an aquarium pump to blow bubbles thru the liquid to agitate it.  Maybe a heater as well....   Then I don't make another board for a couple of months and the idea vanishes till the next time.....

zeeglen
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Re: Ferric Chloride
zeeglen   10/17/2013 12:42:45 AM
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The wierd thing was that I had never made that dumb mistake when changing the oil in my car.

Duane Benson
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Very interesting article
Duane Benson   10/17/2013 7:19:25 PM
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David - I've used the black tape and pen from Radio Shack, but never a Vero board. I didn't have much luck etching the PCBs though, so I tended to fall back to wire-wrap or proto-board.

These days, we're kind of in a golden age or tools and suppliers. I'm contstantly amazed at how much we can do these days, with free or inexpensive tools. Not to mention, the wealth of information at our dispoal.

Back in the 1980's, I tried to design a Caller-ID system. The phone company had just started sending the information down the phone line prior to the ring signal, so it was possible, but no one was selling the things yet. It proabbly took me six months or more of searching, calling, ordering documents & repeat before I found enough documentation to get close. The same would probably take me about 20 minutes now.

David Ashton
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Re: Very interesting article
David Ashton   10/18/2013 4:18:03 AM
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@Duane...  Vero board, to you, would be akin to spark transmitters.   Nevertheless for guys like me it has its place.  I was looking at Crusty's  recommended Vee-cad, which works out layouts for you, and might give that a go.   

Ref your documentation searches.  I occasionally think about how complicated our lives are with internet and mobile phones and stuff, but then I think of the time I spent trying to get datasheets in those days,  As you say, usually it's a couple of clicks now  But I still think these things are double-edged swords....

Duane Benson
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Re: Very interesting article
Duane Benson   10/18/2013 3:53:26 PM
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David - I expect that I had considerably easier access to documents than you did, but I still had to drive an hour and a half and promise voluminous future purchases to get one the the many data books I ended up with.

grover_gren
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Re: Ferric Chloride
grover_gren   10/21/2013 4:29:37 AM
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Dave you are not the only 'dinosaur' out there! I still use veroboard for prototyping, but the crepe tape, UV light box, and caustic soda / hot ferric chloride baths have not been out for a few years now. You talked about SMD - my solution was to find an ebay supplier of SMD to 0.1 pitch adapter boards to interface to veroboard :-) Though hand-soldering the devices in place has taken some practice...  

In my time I have seen some veroboard monsters though, sorry to say but they have been mainly from hobbyists or apprentices. The classic is 240VAC mains wired straight into the veroboard to a flatpack-mounted transformer, with the copper tracks intact except for one small break by a hand-twisted 3mm drill, the tracks then running under the transformer into the secondary low-voltage side!

David Ashton
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Re: Ferric Chloride
David Ashton   10/21/2013 5:58:04 AM
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Hi Grover1.....I've thought about getting some of those SMD adapter boards as I got some very nice SMD audio compressor ICs off some old radio boards.  Theoretically I could make my own - Niche PCB designer can do stuff like that - but probably cheaper and less hassle to buy.

I've also seen some shockers with mains on veroboard.  I DID do it myself once, but actually stripped a couple of whole tracks off either side of the live one and took out 3 or 4 holes with my cutter,  I still was not happy.  

For a good veroboard cutter you need a 4 mm Drill, 3mm might leave a trace of copper on the side and then you have problems....And mine's in a nice holder to give you some torque.

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