Small project #11 — “674″

674_GAL

Don’t you just hate it when you run out of holes and have to use a bridge wire to some free patch on the proto-board? I thought so.

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Small project #10 — IKEA Samtid reading-light upgrade

Yet another reincarnation of a PT4115 based LED lamp. This time I chose to add a micro-controller to the mix. No, not an ATtiny13 but an ATtiny45, as it contains a much desired feature for this job: high frequency PWM using an on-board PLL clock multiplier. An ATtiny25 would’ve been plenty, but the 45 was cheaper. Go figure.

IMGP9584

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Sunday Teardown — Soy-milk maker

IMGP9511

First a word of warning: Stay clear of any soy products. They can seriously fuck up your health. You don’t want to go down that road.

I’m proud to say that by means of this here tear-down, I’ve transformed this kitchen appliance into a much safer state. I’ll transport the remains to my local recycling-center tomorrow – minus a couple of parts that went into storage ;-)

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KiCad Interactive Router (release version)

Use BZR 4875 or later if you try out the new features.

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How long do SSD drives last — not long enough

Almost exactly 4 years ago I bought a 64GB SSD for my then much younger laptop. It is a “Super Talent FTM64GX25H”.

IMGP9140

Read transfer rates were about 130MB/s in my machine. How much is to be attributed to the SSD itself or the SATA controller, I don’t care anymore. It was definitely multiple times faster than the 120GB disk that was in there before. And it ran much cooler as well. The hard-disk tended to run very hot and overheat. Probably the wrong model for that laptop, as there is virtually no airflow around the disk.

The fancy box it came in advertised it as

“Rugged, Low Power, Silent”

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Spontaneous LED bulb teardown — IKEA ledare 400lm

I bought this LED bulb about 21 months ago for €11.99.

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I liked it!

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Small project #9 — PC-fan tacho-signal spoofer

Some time ago I got an email. Yes it still happens.

Someone was having a problem with computer / server fans. These things can get insanely loud, think vacuum cleaner on maximum power. Some of the 40x40mm models spin up to 6000 rpm. Absolutely not an issue if servers are rack-mounted in a server-room, but if you like to keep one of those machines in your personal space, that is a big no-no. So said person replaced these fans with slowly-spinning and silent PC-fans (80×80 or bigger, I don’t really know). But, the server’s BIOS / fan-monitoring wasn’t happy. It thought the fans were failing and forcefully shut the server down.

I was asked if I could build a little something that would measure the tacho-signal of the slow-spin-fans and scale that up to values that match the signal from the previous fans, fooling the hardware-monitoring, making it believe everything was ‘as usual’.

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Small project #8 — ATtiny13 DFN10 programming adapter

There are DFN10 / QFN10 test-sockets, but these things cost close to 100 bucks, which I’m not (yet?) willing to spend on this.

If this should work, I would be able to add preprogrammed chips to some SMD DIY kits in the future.

t13-DFN10-prog-adapter-top t13-DFN10-prog-adapter-base

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Photoelectric smoke detector — teardown

IMGP7851

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PT4115 LED module – upgraded to Nichia NT2x757D LEDs

First the old version, using the best small LEDs I could get hold of at that time: Nichia NSSL157 and NSSW157 types driven at about 100mA.

LED-Square_PT4115_dual

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Small project #7 — USB powered inspection light

USB_inspection-light

Quite often I run into the problem of getting light to where I need it when inspecting SMD solder joints. The ring-light I built some time ago provides a lot of light, but is too large to get close to the objects of desire.

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YOUYUE 858D+ hotair station — reverse engineering #6

Adding some more stuff is always fun.

IMGP8969

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A long long time ago I can still remember…

CMBBS

To all the still young whippersnappers, this was before the internet became ‘en vogue’ and easily accessible. Unless you wanted to pay 20$ per hour for a dialup connection using an analog modem with a 9600-link, maybe even 19200.

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And this is why we should wear protective glasses

IMGP8860

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YOUYUE 858D+ hotair station — reverse engineering #5

The lack of an ISP connector on this board has given me a lot of grief. This little adapter board will solve that problem once and for all. It also provides a couple of through-hole pads for potentially adding some more stuff. Clearance distances to the high-voltage parts should still be tolerable.

mockup

You can find the gerber files on the projects page.

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Happy New Year 2014!

happy-new-year-2014

In case you may ask yourself if I’m a bit “early”, this year I’ve chosen to post when the first country passes into 2014. It is Samoa (UTC+14h).

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More Stencils from OSH-Stencils — Panellize this!

My first ‘real’ panel.

LED-strip_PWM__front

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YOUYUE 858D+ hotair station — reverse engineering #4

Possibly (and hopefully) the last post in this little hot-air station series. I’ve opened and closed that device far too often – and popped out the chip multiple times in each instance. You see the designer failed to add a programming header!

TO THE PILLORY WITH HIM (or her)!

So I finally decided to add my own programming header – lots of cables involved. Enjoy the images. I also took the opportunity to fix some other issues.

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YOUYUE 858D+ hotair station — reverse engineering #3

After tweaking some control loop parameters and adding a hard-limit for the temperature (heater cut-off + resetting the error term, effectively restarting the loop), the massive temperature overshoots are a thing of the past.

I declare this a success.

“Some changes (video will come later):”

  • Improved button response
  • Display meaningful error message if the wand is not connected (FAN)
  • Added persistent temperature set-point storage
  • Tweaked the control loop some more :-)
  • Display set-point once temperature is within +- 4°C (removes annoying noise on display)

I also had to fix one of the safety-earth wires. To be fair, it probably fatigued due to me dismantling the device many many times.

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YOUYUE 858D+ hotair station — reverse engineering #2

In part one I dealt with the very basics: fan control, buttons and the display.

Now it is time to attack the business end of this device!

Safety warning / disclaimer:

Please understand that operating a device powered by line-voltage, especially if it is open and you may stick your fingers inside (which you really really shouldn’t), is a potent source of all sorts of bad things of a final nature.

  • You may severely burn your flesh (not just medium, but well done)
  • You can start a fire and burn down your house
  • You can electrocute yourself, then start a fire and burn down your house

I think you get my point.

If you still insist in opening up such devices, there is one rule to rule them all:

Always make sure the power cord is unplugged, before you stick your fingers inside the device. Check for that fact repeatedly. Don’t allow your brain to trick you into thinking that you’ve unplugged the cable some time ago, always check, double check, triple check. If you leave your workplace and come back or you got distracted by something, check the power cable for unplugged-ness again. If you know you cannot trust yourself, cover the power-socket of the device with tape. Then check that the tape is still in place…

BE PARANOID! BE A SAFETY NAZI!

You’ve only got one life – and there is no backup to restore.

Step 8: reading the thermo-couple

youyue-858d-plus-thermo-voltage

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