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Posts from the ‘Electronics’ Category


LED light bar update:

This is a update for my LED light bar project here.

I did some quick and dirty tests to help me get an idea if its even worth finishing. here are some photos of a night time test.

  • No light at all
  • Head lights
  • LED Bar
  • Both LED and Head lights.

Now the bar only had about 80% of the lenses installed, and of the 80%, only about 85% of them had the right focus degree…The wall was about 30-35 feet away.


3D Printing and more coming SOON!

I have some great projects on the horizon!

-3D printing

-1 axis expansion board for a standard CNC to make it a 3d printer. I think i may make it open source!!

-My own 3d printer design, with unlimited expandability for X-Y-Z axises!

-Finish the LED light bar! (I need the 3d printer first) DONE!

-Put MORE crap on here!!! LOL

This new year is going to be GREAT!!!!!


Wireless Transmiter & Receiver Relay

This is a pretty simple RF remote link. It transmits at 315Mhz. The transmitter and receiver are both microcontrolled. Dip switches on both devices allow addressing from TX to RX, this allows up to 4 different TX/RX pairs to work in the same location! Dip switches on the receiver set the amount of time the relay is on. This is coded into the microcontroller.

This was intended to be used as a lockout device, hence the delay needed.

Here are some features:

  • Very good distance of operation
  • Address-ability for TX/RX pairing
  • Time out setting for the relay via dip switches
  • Wireless transmitter with battery life of YEARS
  • Override switch to manually lock on the relay(for testing)
  • PNP transistor controlled battery for transmitter; Thus the battery should last years! (with normal usage)

Automatic Wireless Mic “Ducking” or Gate Switch for TouchTunes Jukebox

UPDATE 9/14/2011

You may have read  my other post on a cheap and effective way to have a “enable” switch with a wireless microphone system. Here is a link.

Now this system works great with VHF type microphones, but I had a lot of problems with implementing it with UHF.  :^/ So i had to come up with a new system, and fast. My boss gave my basically one day!

So now we have a reliable system what will work with any wireless microphone systems, without having to open the receiver or do any soldering. So far their has been 3 Revisions of this current project… hoping 3 time is the charm!

  • REV1 – With microcontroller: works good, but gain on the mic had to be at max, this caused problems. Source code was a little messy…
  • REV2 – Without microcontroller: I used a 555 timer to get the switch on/off times, now gain on mic is no problem. Not to happy with 555 triggering….
  • REV3 – With microcontroller: Dumped the 555,  went back to the PIC, redid all the code (now I have time to tweak it) much more stable.
  • REV3.5 –  Same is REV3 but with SMD type components and a barrier block for inputs and outputs.

Here are some features:

  • Watchdog enabled on the PIC
  • Adjustable input sensitivity for the switch
  • Optically isolated switch @ 2500 Vrms!
  • Pass through audio via RCA connectors.
  • Dip switch adjustable preset “delay till off”: 5sec, 10sec and 15sec
  • Switch output can be used to trigger a MOSFET for high current switching
  • Barrier block for inputs and outputs, allowing a more universal hookup.
  • Balanced and Un-Balanced MIC  operation.
  • LEDs to indicate: Power, Gate On, and Trigger (MIC input)

I will be making a production run of these devices, if you are interested, please use this form to contact me:

All gone….

Automatic Offroad Electric Cooling Fan Dis-abler REV2

Original post

This is the second revision of my design. I added new features and lots of tweeks.

  • Delay of fan start when vehicle is turned on.
  • Delay of fan restart after the water switch has been tripped.
  • One wire water switch, based on “touch switch” technology.
  • 12 or 24 volt system ready, out of the box.
  • Lower part count, now it will fit in a much smaller case.
  • Redundant safety to keep the fan running fully, if the device fails.
  • Very low current draw when in operation.
  • Indication LED to show fan on/off state.
  • Watch Dog enabled to keep the microcontroller from locking up.

Next Rev will most likely be an all SMD device.


Old School PCB Printing

LONG before I had the CNC machine I had to “etch” my PCBs with acid, to remove the unwanted portions of the copper clad board. This was a slow process to say the least.

Their are several ways to achieve your traces on the board.

  • Draw on the copper with a special pen, then etch it
  • Print on a special transfer film, then use a UV sensitive PCB to transfer on to, then etch it
  • Print on normal paper (a few times) then iron it on, then etch it

So what I did to make a production type process was to have my design made into a rubber stamp. I then ink up the stamp and transfer the ink to the copper, then etch. It worked good, not the best way to do it, but i had a friend that made rubber stamps, so it was a very low cost solution.

Of course you still need to drill all the holes…. I LOVE MY CNC MACHINE!!


Automatic Offroad Electric Cooling Fan Dis-abler

Micro controlled device to disable the electric cooling fan when you are entering water in a off road vehicle. Thus preventing the fan from crashing into the radiator when the fan is under full power.

  • Redundant safety to keep the fan running fully, if the device fails.
  • Very low current draw when in operation.
  • Indication LED to show fan on/off state.
  • Watch Dog enabled to keep the microcontroller from locking up.

Stickin’ It To Da Man: Jeep Stereo Harness

Well my Jeep rarely has the doors on, no matter what the weather is like. So my stock stereo finally took a dump.

I went to BestBuy to get a new one. I asked how much install was, the guy said $50. I came back a few hours latter to get it put in. He rang up the install fee, and said it would be $104. WTF!! Apparently they charge for the install, the dash kit, and the wire harness. The dash kit and wire harness were over $20ea. So I promptly said, “no thanks” and walked out.

The wire harness would make the install a breeze. It adapts the harness from the new stereo to the stock plugs in the Jeep. But I didn’t want to pay $20 for it. Unfortunately, the dash install kit is a must, so i had to buy it. 🙁

I got back to my shop, and begun my own install. I ripped out the stereo form the Jeep, and tossed it on my desk. Looked at it for a minute. Then thought, why not take the OEM plugs out of the stock stereo, and solder the new harness that came with the new stereo. BINGO!

I ripped out the 2 plugs from the OEM stereo, which had some nice length wires on it, and soldered it directly to the new harness pigtails. Worked out like a champ! Lucky for me, the pinout for the OEM harness was printed on top of the OEM stereo.


DIY Off Road LED Light Bar

I was surfing the web one day and came upon a site selling LED light bars for off road use. The pictures and videos looked promising. I then saw the price tag… $1300UDS for 42″ long bar. Like this one. WOW!!! I have been playing with LEDs for years. I know LEDs are very cheap these days….

So, I said to myself, I can build that! Thus begins yet another project.

The LED I am using are 1W bright white.

  • 3.6 Forward Voltage
  • .350 Forward Current
  • 100 Lumens

This project for my Jeep will have over 100 individual LEDs. Calculated to be pulling less then 5AMPs TOTAL CURRENT!!! Yes, less than 5AMPs!!!

EDIT 4/18/12: It turns out its less then 3 AMPs!!!

I have designed a custom power supply, in EagleCAD, with over 95% efficiency! I built several prototypes on my CNC machine. After deciding on a design, I ordered prototypes form a board manufacturer. It was easier to get a double sided board from them, rather then making my own.

Obviously prototyping is not cheap, but i figure i will have a working 48″ LED bar for less than $300USD.

Edit 4/18/12: I kinda missed that mark, it was over $600 total.


Microcontroller Based PC “Kick Starter”

In the arcade industry it now more common to use PCs, running Windows or Linux, to run the game software.

A small problem with some manufactures is the inability of the PC to self start after power loss. Even with BIOS settings to insure that the PC will restart, sometime they just don’t!

So, I developed a elegant solution to make sure the PC will come on when the machine is plugged in.

Key features:

  • Always running, as long as the PSU is good, and plugged in to A/C.
  • Multiple attempts to start the PC, before a shut down/error mode
  • Built in WatchDog in the IC, to insure code execution.
  • Checks EVERY 4 hours to make sure the PC is still running.
  • If 4hr check fails, it will attempt to “kick start” PC
  • Plug and Play with any PC or arcade manufacturer(using PCs).