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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge

John Pawlicki (K8AG) on January 8, 2007
View comments about this article!


Learning to Build Electronics - A Challenge

Have you every considered building your next transceiver, or radio accessory? Have you considered kits but worried because you might not have the skills to successfully build a kit and make it work? Would you like to learn how?

Kit building an be daunting for someone who has never wielded a soldering iron before. There is a way to build skills without spending a lot of money. Rather than looking at new project construction, you could look into old project destruction.

Experience in handling electronics components, soldering and desoldering, disassembly and simply working your way around electronic equipment can be as close as your next throw-away computer, VCR, CD player or transistor radio.

You will need tools, but you will need them for any kit building that you might pursue after you become a wizard electronic technician. A minimum of tools that I would recommend would include 2 screw drivers (one flat blade and one phillips), one small flat blade screw driver (the kind that get into set screws easily), a decent pair of small diagonal cutters, a decent pair of long nose pliers (not needle nose, but long nose) and a good soldering iron (check on-line suppliers for a selection), a solder sucker and solder (yes solder for desoldering is very useful for getting old solder to start melting properly) and a magnifying glass. One more pretty useful device is a DVM. They have some pretty cheap units nowadays (like $10 or so on line). The DVM can be used to check for shorted parts, test transistors and diodes somewhat, and measure resistor values. If it measures capacitance, so much the better.

You want to avoid tubed electronics and especially TVs as they have a large capacitance in the picture tubes that can kill you a long time after the power is off. Tubed electronics have high voltages that can linger in power supplies long after the unit has been turned off and disconnected from the AC mains.

Be sure that the unit has been unplugged from electricity for a long time. The challenge is to disassemble and keep as many parts for your parts drawers and junk boxes as you can, without cutting a single lead. You will need to learn to desolder (every bit as important as soldering). You will learn to deal with old solder and glued in parts. An added bonus is that you get parts for experimentation for free.

Since the unit is a throw away anyhow, you don't have to worry about damaging anything. Whatever is damaged you can simply throw away. Computers especially have a lot of really great parts like oscillator modules, bypass capacitors and connectors.

So try a deconstruction project before your first construction project. You will be amazed at the confidence it gives you.

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K7FD on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

OK, I've completely disassembled my 756 Pro III...now what?

John K7FD
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by W4LGH on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
One has to learn their limitations! Guess you just learned yours. Always remember the KISS principle!

73 de W4LGH - Alan
http://www.w4lgh.com

 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KG6AMW on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Good one John. I'd love to get back into the electronics hobby. I spent many hours as a teenager soldering and assembling projects in the 60's. I recently did a AM/FM radio kit just for old time sake. The problem for me now is time and energy, there isn't much left after a 10 hour work day and family commitments. I look forward to retirement.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KG6WLS on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
This was something that I did when I was kid. Anything and everything that I got for christmas, birthday, etc. that used batteries or a wall wart, was totally dis-assembled and put back together. 9 times out of 10 I was able to make it work again....well, sort of. But, that was the fun of it. Take things apart to see what made it work. Am I right??

After my parents found that they were just throwing their money away on any electronic device that they got for me, they went out and bought me radio kits instead :)

73 de Mike
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by WB3ERE on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I did it the other way around, bought a tube (transistors had not yet been invented) radio at a hamfest, owner claimed everything was there. I got the manual w/schematic and all the parts were there. Discovered that OLD caps still have a snap in them the hard way, one would think that rolling around loose in a box of metal items that they would get shorted out, but it took my pingers to do it.

It took a long time, about a year, to get it all wired up CORRECTLY, but after learning how to read a schematic, read resistor values, not always IDEAL or logical component placement and that micro or picofarads can sting you, it was functional and served me for eight years before being melted down in a house fire.

Then I had to re-educate myself in the fine art of solid state devices. I'd rather play with the tubes, there was something about the warm glow, the high pitched squeel and the aroma of a lit tube.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by WB3ERE on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
BTY, it wasn't a Heathkit, it was a WRL Galaxy. No instructions as to put resistor r1 to pin 6 of V3.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by W4LGH on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Reverse engineering has always been a great way to learn. I had to take everything apart to learn what made it tick. Got pretty good at putting it back together and making it work again too. Was also a great way of building up some spare parts too!

Good article...brought back a lot of good ole memories. Start simple and work your way up!

73 de W4LGH - Alan
http://www.w4lgh.com

 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by AI2IA on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
While there are skills that can be learned by tearing down electronic devices, there are some hazards to this process that occur more often than when assembling kits. You can inhale more solder fumes desoldering than when soldering. There is more opportunity to flick molten solder when attempting to remove components. There is a greater chance of overheating components with unpleasant and unsafe results, and there is an increased chance of injury to hands and fingers from sharp surfaces.

While disassemably skills are important, I believe that more can be learned by starting with the construction of simple kits before progressing to complex ones. In any case, be sure to wear eye protection, and proceed carefully.
 
Deconstructing Heathkit  
by K6WHP on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
A while ago, QST ran an article by a ham who said he grew weary trying to get a vintage Heathkit or Eico kit. He wanted to relive his younger days but found the prices of the unbuilt kits to be obscene. Instead, he rescued one of those old war horses from some swap meet bargain pile for $5 and preceded to do what John describes in the article above. Except, when he got it all down to the bear metal, he lovingly re-plated, repainted, and re-assembled the entire rig into a pristine collector's item.

Interesting and novel concept. There are some mighty fine old transmitters and receivers out there -- circa late fifties early sixties -- that are ripe for this type of activity.
 
RE: Deconstructing Heathkit  
by K3AN on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Man, look at all those risks AI2IA listed. How many more can be added?

I bet his parents never got him a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. "You'll shoot your eye out!"
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by N3JWN on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I don't really know why there’s less interest in electronics then there use to be!! I started when I was 8 after building foxhole radios from a Cub Scout manual..... My Father bought me a 2 tube radio experimenters kit for Christmas,, They used a 1T4/3V4 TUBES THE BASE WAS PEG BOARD A 45 VOLT AND 1.5 VOLY BATTERY PACK AND ABOUT 50 DIFFERENT CIRCUITS PAPERS WENT OVER THE PEG BOARD ABD YOU PLUGGED IN THE COMPONANTS AND WIRED WUP FOLLOWING THE DIAGRAM!! FROM A SUPER REGEN REC TO A SIMPLE AM CW TRANSMITTER!!.. I leaned the color code read all I could about capacitors and Vari caps they facilitated me…I loved shortwave listening I knew 5-6 friends that fathers were engineers at Westinghouse Martins and Bendix All were Hams and there sons were Novices but they would never ether encourage or help me. I showed them radios I’ve repaired or built from scratch but still no encouragement!! Anyway I stayed in learning took 4 years of electronics in high school and over a year of ET school in the Navy, worked as an electronics Tech @ Bethlehem Steel for 36 1/2 yrs.... Today I‘ve talked @ schools and seems kids are not even aware of Ham Radio let alone electronics!! We need to help spread the word, teach, encourage young ones about radio/electronics/Ham radio but I guess times change I DON’T KNOW WHY??… I've always been taught board level repairs and nothing is out of bounds for trouble shooting and Ill de the first one to admit you can’t fix everything but we try,, There are lots of kits for example an am/fm Radio you can build on a blue board I can’t find the name right now but it only cost $35.00 the instruction teach you the color code all about variable capacitors and trimmers... what the individual components do and how they work!!! HOW TRANSISTORS WORK AND HOW TO CHECK WITH A METER!! YOU BIULD EACH STAGE TROUBLE SHOOT MAKE IT WORK AND TEST BEFORE YOU BUILD THE NEXT STAGE SO THE STUFF IS STILL AROUND!! BUT IT STILL TAKES ENCOURGEMENT AND WITH 10-12 YR OLDS ADULT SUPERVISION!! So the application is still there// another great Idea is the articles in QST and the internet… Get some components and a small bread board meter and a signal, generator, power supply,and start experimenting it works!! With ons of how to do and how stuff works on the internet just Google what you want to build or learn!! Sure with I had that when I was growing up!! If the interest is there you can learn and find a way.....Just be safe and I say if you don’t know don’t do it!! ASK someone first Have Fun..... thanks!!!!
Dick / n3jwn!!
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by WA2JJH on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
TAB publishing used to sell books like 101 easy single transistor projects. After I had built the old EICO PC
kits.(no longer made. An extra large pc board and simple projects like audio amps.)

I would buy the parts, make my own pc board. Then solder the parts in. Of course it never worked on power up. So one would have to trouble shoot. Then after I got it working, I would build it into an aluminum mini-box.

This was all in the 1960's. I then made the projects in "Popular Electronics''(not in print).

NOTS&VOLTS is an excellent monthly. They have many projects from lasers to cold fussion. There is a good portion of ham radio projects too.
N&V also list's what is left of hamfests as well.

As I was told, after sputnik was launched.....America was concerned about the USSR's intentions. Millions of dollars flowed into technical high schools. That was then.

Seems like todays youth wants to get the latest video game.
 
RE:For K3AN  
by EXWA2SWA on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You did mean the "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle", didn't you? Not something so mundane as a simple BB-gun ...

My favorite Christmas movie, bar none.

73,
Jim KE5CXX
 
RE:For K3AN  
by KG6WLS on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You did mean the "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle", didn't you? Not something so mundane as a simple BB-gun ...

My favorite Christmas movie, bar none.

73,
Jim KE5CXX

Mine too!!

"I triple dog dare ya'" and "Fah rah rah rah rah, rah rah rah rah". My all time favorite!

73 de Mike
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K1CJS on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I don't really know why there’s less interest in electronics then there use to be!!"

Have you looked at the inside of a newer radio or TV set nowadays? If you did you'd see more IC chips that take the place of circuitry, more surface mount components that can't really be put in by a person with a soldering iron (the tip on the smallest is still too big) and other things that make repairing and building too hard for the average Joe. In a TV, what used to be a 24" by 18" chassis and other parts (the tuner and other controls) are now all contained in a compact 10" by 10" circuit board. Specialty tools are just about REQUIRED to work on those boards.

It is true that there are kits that still allow you to put together your own projects, but the pricing of some of those kits are out of this world, especially the older ones, and some of the newer ones don't have components, they have modules--and you don't really get the actual experience of placement of individual parts when you build those because only the larger parts are separated, not the individual resistors, capacitors, etc.

Also, if you are going to deconstruct existing radios and other electronic devices and attempt to reassemble them, you need more than just the basic tools the author lists. You will also need soldering tools to unbend connections on circuit boards and connection points, several different screwdriver sizes of both types, and several different types of small pliers to grab, hold, pull, cut, and so on when you are working on the devices. Also a very good idea is a small clamp on vise to hold the parts (boards) you are working on.

Of course, if you are just going to disassemble the units to provide parts for your stockpiles, the extra tools aren't needed. But, if you want to disassemble those units with an eye to reconstructing them, you need the right tools so you won't damage something beyond the point that it can be reused.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K8MHZ on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Don't try this with old watches...
 
RE:For K3AN  
by WA1RNE on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

Kit building is a great way to get started.

If you haven't soldered before or are unsure of your skills, I'd recommend practicing good techniques before ordering a kit or restoring or repairing equipment.


Read through this on-line guide from EPE Magazine first:

http://www.epemag.wimborne.co.uk/solderfaq.htm


The simplest way to hone your skills is to start with a handful of terminal strips, composition resistors, capacitors (small ceramics, they're cheap) and some hook-up wire. You can get all of this stuff at Radio Shack. Bolt the terminal strips to a piece of plywood or aluminum and practice your technique.

Note: In addition to a good Solder Sucker, Solder Wick is also a good tool for certain de-soldering situations.


Soldering courses are available as well. Here's one I found recently: I don't know anyone who has ordered this but going by the downloadable manual it looks decent:

http://www.vectronics.com/man/pdf/VEC-1500K.pdf

You can also Google "soldering courses" or "soldering techniques" for more helpful info.


WA1RNE

 
RE:For K3AN  
by EXWA2SWA on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I triple dog dare ya'" and "Fah rah rah rah rah, rah rah rah rah". My all time favorite!


Yup - and I keep waitin' for the "major award" from Gigaparts to come my way; and yes, my shack does have a window on the street side ... a perfect spot for a "major award".

We'd better let this thread get back to its original purpose!

I went to a technical high school, was in Electronics shop half-daze for 4 years, released my share of smoke from Heathkit components, and remember stripping every usable (and unusable) part from a monstrous-huge console left over from some Air Force project - great fun and even learned a little, too! These days, parts are too small, too close together and too sensitive to heat for shaky hands and aging eyes ...

 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by LNXAUTHOR on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
- i go to local surplus shops and buy $1 video, networking, modem, and other boards for SMT practice (sometimes you can find some nice components)...

- since i'm a new ham, i figure i'd better start learning how to do SMT work, as through-hole stuff will be going 'buh-bye' in the future?
 
Build Electronics safely –- A Challenge  
by AI2IA on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
We get all kinds of nuts on eHam.net. If K3AN thinks my advice on safety is worth his ridicule, he has a lot to learn, and learn it he might, the hard way.

I have held and used my commercial radio operators license for over forty years. I have worked in avionics for over twenty-five years, and I have served in the military in ground radio. I have written technical manuals on airborne electronic equipment, and I have maintained a wide range of radio frequency devices. If I suggest putting safety first, don't take my suggestion lightly. I have seen some ugly results from unfortunate people who didn't take safety seriously. Don't be an example for others.
 
RE: Build Electronics safely –- A Challenge  
by AE6RO on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I used to take old tube radios apart when I was a kid.
Later on I built Heathkits. Sometimes they worked the first try. Once or twice, anyway.
Less interest in electronics today because what you can buy is so much more complex than what you can build, and less expensive. And with tubes you can see the parts and understand the circuits. Can you imagine taking an i-pod apart and putting it back together?
I never thought of solder fumes as harmful. That ol' rosin smell is better than Paris in the spring!
73, AE6RO John
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by PE1NPG on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My first electronics disassembly job was a Dutch Philips tube receiver at age 14. 400 VDC on the right hand indexfinger, it doubled in size in a minute...(&$#&@@#@$!!). My parents thought a went crazy.
Sure that was the first and the last time.
I now have a Engineering degree in (below 24VDC) electronics! I'm still the only one in my family with technical degree.
37 years later a still have to build my first tube amplifier, still on the list.

73 de Jean-Pierre
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by AE6RO on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Might have left it plugged in before you went to work on it?
Don't they use 250 volts AC in the Netherlands? That would hurt, alrigh.
And is it true they don't have curtains in the windows?
I built a tube regen receiver that use 27 volts DC on the plates, and it worked pretty well.
Like listening to Radio Nederlands news, they have very good coverage. Like the BBC used to be. 73, AE6RO
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K4JJL on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Have you looked at the inside of a newer radio or TV set nowadays? If you did you'd see more IC chips that take the place of circuitry, more surface mount components that can't really be put in by a person with a soldering iron (the tip on the smallest is still too big) and other things that make repairing and building too hard for the average Joe. In a TV, what used to be a 24" by 18" chassis and other parts (the tuner and other controls) are now all contained in a compact 10" by 10" circuit board. Specialty tools are just about REQUIRED to work on those boards."

Not true. I've used the same iron to R&R ICs as I have to install PL-259 connectors. You just need some know how to do it. To solder the tiniest of pins, don't worry about touching them individually. Instead, make sure the solder pads are clean with a wick and some flux. Then install the new IC. Once you get it seated properly, wipe one row of pins with the flux brush, put a bead of solder on your iron, then wipe the iron slowly across all the pins. The flux will do all the work. It will make sure the pins don't get soldered together.

As far as the circuit board goes, just pull the whole thing out of the TV, fix the problem, and put the board back. I've fixed numerous TV's this way. Mitsubishi really helps you out by labeling the connectors with the connections on the board. Most of the wiring lays back where it originally was (unless you get crazy with it).
 
Christmas Story  
by AA4LR on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"You did mean the "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle", didn't you? Not something so mundane as a simple BB-gun ...

My favorite Christmas movie, bar none."

You guys realise that the movie is based on stories by Jean Sheppard, who was a ham...?
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K1CJS on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Jared,

I did say 'just about' required, not definitely required. I too have done some IC replacements somewhat the way you describe, but unless you're very careful and check your work there is the possibility of a short between the pins/pads or an open between the board and the IC pins/pads. This type work is DEFINITELY not for the beginner, which I believe was the topic of the author (learning) when writing this article.

73!
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by W7MDC on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Having grown up in the era of ICs, I learned from the get-go how to deal with temperature and static sensitive electronics. My whole kit is set up for that kind of work. Rest assured, the kids that are growing up today will be quite capable of dealing with ball grid arrays and other seemingly impossible surface mount technologies.

 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by N5LX on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
K7FD

"OK, I've completely disassembled my 756 Pro III...now what? "


hahahahahaha

Now thats FUNNY!!!!
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by AE6RO on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The kiddies of today will NOT be soldering surface mount components anytime soon. Industrial soldering is done by robots. The kiddies are used to buying complex electronics cheap and throwing it out when it breaks or just throwing it out so they can buy a new one. 73, AE6RO
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by W7ETA on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I need a lighted magnifying glass for small stuff.

Soldering, unsoldering PCBs was good practicise.

I just roll my eyes at SMT stuff.

Nice article.

TNXs

Bob
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K0BG on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It certainly isn't the tools; those you can buy. It isn't the availability of parts; look hard enough on the internet, and you can find anything and everything you'll need;. It isn't the time; there is always a way to find time to build your favorite device. Then what is it that stops folks from home brewing what ever they need? It's knowledge!

Nowadays, the average amateur is into instant gratification. The popularity of the Elmer's Forum here on eham.net is evidentia prima facie. So is the popularity of MFJ and its myriad of fringe products to answer every nitch-itch. Add in a dose of anecdotal poppycock, and one could easily draw the conclusion that amateur radio is a dead duck.

Well, it is. At least in the vain it used to be. The unfortunate result is, we have the uninformed utilizing the informed to achieve the aforementioned instant gratification. That's great! But I wonder out loud; if folks had to pay for the advice they get here for free, how many would remain amateur radio operators?

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by RADIOGUYR2 on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I disassembled my Icom 706. Then I sneezed and now I can't find the diodes. Ya that works. I know lets take apart the ameritron 1500 and try to determine if all the parts are good. Bet that is a trial by fire when you hit the on button.;)

another fine project idea from hasbeenbow

Lets not and say we did. No one will know these days
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by WB2WIK on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
For the reasonably well-sighted SMT technology isn't very daunting. My eyes aren't what they once were, but I can hand-attach or rework parts that are 0204 size (2mm x 4mm), which is pretty small. It takes equipment that isn't very expensive and surely doesn't take up much space.

I'm about to buy a BGA rework station; now, that's something you don't find in too many garages (yet). But almost all new boards in the digital world employ these devices, which can be expensive and go obsolete quickly, so if we're not prepared to rework when needed, we can end up with even larger piles of junque than we already have!

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by NI0C on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with the author that disassembly and desoldering practiced on junk electronics circuit boards is good practice for home brew and kit assembly projects. This is especially true if one's experience with soldering is confined to the occasional solder lug or PL259 connector.

It takes more skill to remove components from printed circuit boards than to install them. This is especially true with plated thru connections. Just keep in mind the the component being removed is generally expendable, while the board is not! I do share AI2IA's concerns regarding the hazards of fumes and melted solder involved when removing components.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by W8DPC on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Lets not and say we did. No one will know these days "

Let's get a license and get some credibility. You want to criticise, yet you don't want to be a man and account for what you say.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by PLANKEYE on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I agree!

Plankeye
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by K4JSR on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Mr. Katz; Be sure to use BALL GRID LEAK BIAS with that new re-work station. You only want to do class C work! :-@
I am going back to my rocking chair now...
When you are my age, you are ALWAYS "up the creak"!
73, Cal K4JSR
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K0NEB on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I teach Kit Building at many hamfests and put on group kit builds to teach people how to sling solder and make something fun that they can't usually buy. I used to call it "The Lost Art Of Kit Building". Now, I know it is not a lost art, but there are plenty of new hams who have not been exposed to it yet. I tell them that like their spouses sitting at the TV making some kind of crafts, we can set up a small area and sling some solder and make a small project in an hour or two. It doesn't have to be fancy, just be enjoyable! Yes, disassembling old PC boards teaches valuable lessons in hoe to desolder properly without damaging the board, and how to salvage parts that you might need in later projects. I also endorse getting an assortment of common resistors and capacitors and otehr standard low-cost compnents to hafve spares on hand for repair and modification of kits. The most fun of making a kit is trying your own mods and ideas to improve or customize it! I hope to see everyone, beginner to expert at my Forum at Dayton in Msy!
73, Joe KØNEB
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by WB2WIK on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge Reply
by K4JSR on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Mr. Katz; Be sure to use BALL GRID LEAK BIAS with that new re-work station.<

::Problem I always had with grid leak is finding a good pan to catch the drippings.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by N8IK on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Speaking of catching drippings - when soldering or desoldering please wear shoes and socks. The elapsed time from the table top to top of a bare foot is not sufficient to permit cooling to a reasonable temperature. Trust me on this.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by KC9GJC on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I learned about the dangers of hot solder on bare skin when I helped my father redo some plumbing in the house- YEEOOWW!
 
RE: Is that all you can say  
by RADIOGUYR2 on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
KX8N on January 8, 2007
"Lets not and say we did. No one will know these days "

Let's get a license and get some credibility. You want to criticise, yet you don't want to be a man and account for what you say.

-------------------------------------------

Wow that orginal. LOL. Are you one of the guardians of the ham bands too. Least of all to say your comment is very negative and disrespectful. I take it as being a biased and conseated in nature. not Unlike the person that wrote it no doubt.

I think it very funny that someone who has nothing to say on this subject than to attack the people who do. Does this mean that the person attacking is of any greater stature. I think not. Yet the display of his thoughts are so mindless and demenor that one wonders how he gets along on the ham bands--- as a man --- accounting for his thoughts and actions.

No doubt a vanity call to make us all think that he is a old timer that knows what he is talking about.

Why it would be like me saying that he never protected this country or served in any branch of the military and was a war protester that burned american flags for the chicken foot ones. I did my 20, did you??

As to getting a license. I have had mine a lot longer than you have ever dreemed of and was at it long before you were a twinkle in your moms eye. AND I know the code quite well too. Again something that I was doing a long time before you were born in 1972. Not to bragg but, I was quite good at it back then too when you had to do 20wpm to get a extra class license unlike the 5 wpm today where you passed by osmosossss and some luck.

Remember A is didah not dididah. Oh well someday you will learn. Till then try not to stick both your fingers in the light socket at the same time. One will give you a thrill without a second opinion.

Observe the warning labels least you dont' take up smoking again. Besides being politically incorrect these days, You know how that made all your hair get curley , cooked and cause it to fall out. I especally liked the twin tilt things on your eyelids.

Remember the hot end of the soldering iron goes to the board to melt the joint. The other end is the one you hold on too. Like all basic instruction--- you have to plug it in to make it work however. No its not No-fooling magic..

So their. nana-nana

-30-

 
Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by KE5EOT on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Here are some soldering tutorials.

Here's a small video
http://downloads.oreilly.com/make/wp_soldering_small.mp4

Here's a larger version in higher definition
http://downloads.oreilly.com/make/wp_soldering.mp4

Here's a PDF for those that would rather read
http://downloads.oreilly.com/make/wp_soldering_small.pdf
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K3ANG on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Somebody here said some words about taking an ipod apart.
Go to http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/ipod.htm to see what makes an ipod tick. The HSW guys spend $200 for a 30-GB iPod video with a cracked LCD.
And a brand-new, perfect one costs $299!

Oh, and the smell you get from tubes?
That's the dust burning off.

My two cents.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by W8DPC on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Not to bragg but, I was quite good at it back then too when you had to do 20wpm to get a extra class license unlike the 5 wpm today where you passed by osmosossss and some luck. "

That's cool, but you're still a coward for not using your callsign.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by WA2JJH on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Check out 'NUTS&VOLTS'. A sepreme electronic monthly.
They have 5x more projects per month than Popular Electronics and radio electronics would have.

From simple op amp circuits, Ham radio,SWL,Robotics,lasers, and the controversial.
A Psychic wave detector,cold fusion,cable box trix.

All their projects have the PC Mask,parts sources, as well as assembled-n-tested.

They also have all the Hamfests listed, as well as Computerfest
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by WA2JJH on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
forgot www.nuts&volts.com. Get a free copy. Then decide if it is worth the year subscription.
IT IS!!!!!
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by VK2GWK on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
To desolder components I am still using the paint burner.... Heat up the PC board till the solder melts and tap the board on the ground or against an other object. Most components will drop out. Even surface mount stuff (needs some sweeping and sorting) :) Do this outdoors - the fumes of smoldering PC boards are not very healthy and will upset the XYL.

It is surprising how many components survive this abuse and are usable for little projects and tests.

When building something that has to last a while I usually use new components but make a prototype with my "junk" ones first.

Medium sized SMD components can succesfully be used on VERO board. Needs a fine tipped soldering iron and a magnifying glass..... and no boozing the night before :)
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by QRZDXR on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Not to bragg but, I was quite good at it back then too when you had to do 20wpm to get a extra class license unlike the 5 wpm today where you passed by osmosossss and some luck. "

That's cool, but you're still a coward for not using your callsign.

----------------------------------------------

Thats' cool... are you for real!! what a statement LOL

Coward huh.... mighty big talk from one that is only 4'-2". Oh well ... I call 'em as I see 'em...give you a extra class license and you develop a attitude of greatness... LOL.

Your just the kind of person who turn on their computer to send cw to some poor person learning it by ear, crank it up to 35 wpm, type in the gettysburg address and sit back sipping your soda while the computer is blasting away and the person at the other end is burning up his pencil-- you think its real fun to watch 'em burn... yes sir a real man of men. Why I'll bet if I sent cw at 3 wpm you still wouldn't know what we are talking about if you didn't have your computer to translate it for you.
your a so much better man, than the rest of us. (only in your own mind)

Did you ever read the articles here or do you just come in to troll, spread hate and discontent, insult others to show your BMOTB of men and then when whipped leave?

So far I see nothing from your highness about the topic at hand dealing with the reverse engineering and learning how to solder... or any sign of intellegence along the lines of leaning anything electronic. You do know that is what were talking about here if you havn't gotten a clue yet. Thus U R frustrated and can only come up with CB type of attitude to arbratrate your lack of knowledge (tisk tisk you being a extra class ham and all) which is leading to exposing your inept ability.

(surely you can at least go to the web sites and learn how to de-solder and take your radio apart). putting it back togeather may take a higher form of intellegance than what your capable of so you might want to box up all the little parts and send 'em back to the manufacture with a note saying you want a discount. It should be easy for them to put it togeather the second time. After all--all the parts are in the bag. If they ask why you didn't put it back togeather (you being a extra class ham 'n all) you can opt out by saying-- you need further training on assembly or you burned your fingers on the heating iron and can't move 'em but need the raido back tomorrow for a sked)

Were not saying that your wife left you because you were displaying your best brillance but...(something about you not being the brightes light in the harbor)

could it be you were caught thinking again. You know how that hurts you so to do that. So why-- the pain?

A item you should check into aquireing is a solder sucker (no its not a adult toy) they have them at Radio Shack. I am sure that you will find it quit useful in a multi use roll (other than what it was orginally designed for. It was made to suck up very little things quckly) In your case it fits the bill. Another item that you should aquire is some solder wick. Here you can use it to wick up any mess you make that the solder sucker leaves behind. (were talking electroics heer) when you try to get the lead out ( the proper place off the board.. you know that place where them electronic parts are located that make your radio work)

both of these items will work well in your application of removal.

One other thing. don't use a under rated heating iron their pilgram. Remember Tim allens motto... more power. Well in this case you need more heat. About 2000 watts (One of them big old Weller Soldering guns that look like a jack hamer in a hand gun style and have the two little hight intensity lights so you can see what your vaporizing. A two speed trigger (first notch for sissy second for man'ly) that gets up to about 1100 deg C. It will work wonders on your soldering abilities to fuse things togeather. If you can't get the part de-soldered you can just wait a littl longer and it will vaporize anyting up to steel with the heat. You want to ask for the one that will melt the solder, turn the fiberglass board into gell and get all that old nasty burnt oxidzed copper off. think of all the copper you can sell back surplus when you wipe the multi purpose 6 inch soldering iron wedge clean. Don't worry about where it came from. Think of the money your going to be getting when you turn it in for salvage. Why at least pennies on the dollar.

Oh and speaking of keeping the tip of the old heating iron clean... you want to go get your wifes dishwashing sponge and put some common household lemmon scented ammonia on it. Not only will it clean the iron but it will disinfect the room each time you wipe that big old hot chisel tip on it. (snuke)

Hubbies don't try this at home without your wifes OK first. She may not approve of the use of her sponge for your hobby.

C isn't electroics fun.
 
RE: Build Electronics safely –- A Challenge  
by W4LGH on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I never thought of solder fumes as harmful. That ol' rosin smell is better than Paris in the spring!
73, AE6RO John"

After 45+ years of inhaling solder fumes, it hasn't hurt me hurt me hurt me hurt me hurt me, OK..better now. No seriously, been smelling that stuff for a LONG time, but never aquanted it to Paris in Spring!

Whatever rolls your crank, I guess! (grin)

73 de W4LGH - Alan
http://www.w4lgh.com
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K9MI on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Old motherboards make great practice pieces. Desoldering and then clean the part up is also good practice. You can learn about the right temp, etc., by de-soldering the old component, then put it back in if possible. Most with traces on the bottom, so you can learn.

I'm just a rookie ham with 27 years in and one thing I've noticed that I think has taken away the builder in ham radio, is that you see things already built, with a warranty and more features then the kit. And if it's cheaper, well you go for the already built unit.

So you miss out on working at the component level. I think it would be neat to build something like one of the Eleckraft radios. I think that would be a bit large to tackle as one's first kit, but not only would that be a good experience, you're building a radio with one of the best receivers in ham radiio.

73 Mike, K9MI
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by W6TH on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
I retired to get away from soldering and building, but some how it never leaves me.

I never found soldering being a challenge, I found it very useful, as a matter of fact I was at Wam-Mart yesterday and bought two rolls of solder. These two rolls will be gone by the end of the month.

You may find a problem getting the 100 watt irons or the 30 watt irons as it all boils down to not heating the transistors. Good cheap irons at Wal-Mart for a couple of bucks or at $2.49, but are at the 20 watt level. I have a few for heating on your gas range or as back years ago heating with a blow torche, hey man, those were the days ain't that right Archie Bunker?

P.S. You beginners, let me know how many holes you burnt on your work bench, or how many times you burnt the rug, the iron falling off the table on to the floor or how many times the xyl asks , whats that I smell burning?

.:
 
Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by AI2IA on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
When hams like W4LGH and AE6RO joke about the fun of breathing solder fumes, they are toying with a very serious health hazard. I warned about some hazards earlier, but various bird brains on here saw my post as an opportunity to ridicule. Solder fumes contain tin, lead, and toxic substances. Effects beyond respiratory ones, such as dermatitis and worse are yours if you expose yourself needlessly to this hazard.

"Respiratory effects
l When heated, particularly to temperatures above
200°C, rosin-based solder fluxes form fumes
containing a range of resin acid particulates and
other components as gases. Lower temperatures can
significantly reduce the amount of fume produced.
Between 250°C and 400°C particulate fume levels
can triple.
l When inhaled, rosin-based solder flux fume can lead
to occupational asthma or make existing asthmatic
conditions worse. The fume can also cause irritation
to the eyes and upper respiratory tract.
l Rosin-based solder flux fume is now regarded as one
of the most important causes of occupational
asthma in Britain. When the asthmatic effects are fully developed they are permanent and irreversible.
Continued exposure, even to very small amounts of
fume, may cause asthma attacks and the person
affected may be unable to do any soldering with
rosin-based fluxes again." - quoted from the British Safety Executive.
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KF4HR on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Ok... no sniffing the melting solder; gotcha.

Assuming I have the time, I enjoy building. In the past I've built a lot of things. Hey!!! Why not bring back HEATHKITS (or grief-kits as the case may be)?
With design & development, packaging of all the parts, boxing, manuals, etc... a HW-101 (Hot-Water 101) kit couldn't cost more than say... $3,295 or so now-a-days! :^))
 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by AE6RO on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I wasn't joking, Raymond. I learned how to solder when I was eleven years old and always liked the rosiny smell. I also like the laquer smell from WW II radios like ARC-5.

Life is hazardous. There are lots of worse hazards that no-one talks about, at least in California.
73, AE6RO
 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by W6TH on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.

Did you know that in California there is a law that says no smoking cigarettes unless you are a minimum of 25 feet from any building.

Imaging the money that could be made by catching those that take smoke breaks at Wal-Mart.

.:
 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by W6TH on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
Rember those days while soldering the antenna wires outdoors when we have held two or three soldering irons on the joint to be soldered.

No need now as we can use the butane burners to do the job.
.:
 
Good Memories  
by WD8JMM on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Yep - I remember getting the phone call at work one morning, 10:00 AM. My wife was hysterical. "There's something burning in the house and I can't FIND it!" I don't see any smoke, but the kids and I are on the front porch - come home and rescue us..."

Sure enough, my previous evening's repair project had ended with me forgetting to unplug the soldering iron. Left it on its stand, but the cat had decided the cord looked interesting.

By the time I got home, there was a nice dark patch on the hardwood floor, and the smell of singed oak took a couple of hours to evacuate.

Yes, I know, I was lucky, and I'm very careful anymore about such things, but it's stories and memories like this that the appliance operators will never enjoy sharing.


73
 
RE: Good Memories  
by WA2JJH on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I also had the old solder blob drop on my foot. What adds triple insult to injury is the 10 seconds of agony. It takes about 10 seconds for the solder splatter to cool enough. Then you can rip the flattened solder blob off your foot! OOUUCCHHHHH!!!!!

Those 10 seconds of watching in shock is worse than ripping the solder blob off! That is not a 'party' either, because you remove many epidermal layers of skin off with the cooled down splat!

How many of you did this classic as well. A busy night kit building. Without looking you reach for the soldering iron. Unfortunitly you grabbed the barrel of the iron, not the handle!
After you have seen the nice array of blister bubbles days after on your fingers, you will never make that mistake again!!!!
 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by N1XBP on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I grew up lying on the floor flipping through dad's Heathkit catalogs. I've always been sad they went out of business before I was licensed myself, and I think we lost something there in terms of affordable amateur radio kits.

The other problem is that surplus military equipment is no longer as plentiful or useful for conversion to amateur use. Or affordable.

Most kits I find, unless they are put out by the QRP community, seem to be mostly blinky lights rather than useful. Where are the QRO rig, tuner, and amp kits these days? The 100W version of the K2 is the only one I know of.

Regarding solder fumes, I occasionally come across little blower fan/filter combos which purport to help with the fume situation.. as for me, I like the smell of diesel in the morning so I guess I'm not the right one to comment on that.

Oh, and be careful when putting pressure on a component and heating the leads.. it may pop out on to your hand when the solder melts and give you a nifty permanent scar like mine. You know it's a really good burn when it doesn't hurt.
 
RE: Christmas Story  
by EXWA2SWA on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"You guys realise that the movie is based on stories by Jean Sheppard, who was a ham...? "

Jean Sheppard, yes; ham no. Nice bit of info? Yup!
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K8OCN on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Two problemes with building kits anymore,
1) Parts keep getting smaller
2) My eyes keep getting worse!

I think its a Conspiracy to make me buy all my stuff instead of making it!
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by W6TH on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.

I bought a few heathkit HW's on ebay which were junkers and stripped them down for parts. Also did the same with a MFJ 562 tuner from ebay and built myself a good 3 KW tuner with a 3 KW balun. I don't run my amp any longer, but still can use it with the 100 watt rigs. I have several high voltage capacitors at 200 to 250 puffs and wind my own coils with number 20 house wire. There are a few junkers on now keeping my eye on for parts.

Plenty of available parts if you know how to buy wisely on ebay. Buy the clunkers and repair them is good practice.

.:
 
RE: Good Memories  
by KD5TLC on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WD8JMM and anyone else who will listen,

If your wife smells something burning in the house, and can't find it, let them know to first exit the house with the kids, in-laws,out-laws, pets, etc. then call 911... get the right people with the right tools on the way ( trust me, they won't mind, and they look forward to finding out what's burning) then surprise the hubby with a phone call about what's going on... this sequence vs. the previously mentioned call for help to a husband at work, and the subsequent time it takes for him to get home and investigate can save lives and property. And if it turns out the cat got interested in the hot iron you left on last night... well.. you won't do it again.

...This from a guy that drives a big red truck...

Please and Thank you
 
RE: Christmas Story  
by K3WVU on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, Jean Sheppard was a ham.
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by W9SZ on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
First off, here's a web page about Jean Shepherd K2ORS:

http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2003/05/02/1/

I grew up building many things with vacuum tubes in the mid-60's (we'd later call them "vacuum-state electrostatic repulsion transistors)! I gradually began building things with solid-state devices. There were always warnings about destroying them with heat or static discharges. I have to say I've only lost one device due to either in 35 years of building - and that was an MF10CN switched-capacitor filter chip which was notorious for being sensitive to static damage.

Nowadays I've become addicted to surface-mount devices. Just about everything I design and build is mostly or entirely made with SMD parts. I use a modified soldering iron - the cheapest way to go is to get one of those Weller 25-watt soldering irons. A 10-24 screw fits perfectly into the threaded hole. Wrap a piece of #18 or #16 wire around it and leave about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of bare wire sticking out beyond the end of the screw. You can tin it with solder and use it as a fine tip. I've been using those for years.

The trouble with disassembing some of the newer electronic circuit boards is that you don't know what you're getting. IC's may have just house numbers on them and you have no idea what they are. Resistors are usually marked with numbers that indicate their value but inductors and capacitors often are not.

I could give you a lot of tips about unsoldering them, though! I've even successfully unsoldered and replaced 44-pin surface-mount IC's.

73, Zack W9SZ
 
RE: Safety First.  
by W6TH on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.SAFETY FIRST,

( THINK I WILL GET A PATENT ON MY NEW INVENTION. WHEN A SOLDERING IRON GETS TOO HOT IT AUTOMATICALLY SHUTS OFF)

.:
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by N2RRA on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Good article John!

Since last year just the other week, LOL! I said that for 2007 I will start building a transmitter. Deconstruction is certainly a good way to start as a refresher.

It's also good for some to know the difference between "Deconstruction" and "Reconstruction" before opening their IC-756. Little game plan for ya'. LOL!

73 John,
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by WB2WIK on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge Reply
by VK2GWK on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
To desolder components I am still using the paint burner.... Heat up the PC board till the solder melts and tap the board on the ground or against an other object. Most components will drop out. Even surface mount stuff (needs some sweeping and sorting) :) Do this outdoors - the fumes of smoldering PC boards are not very healthy and will upset the XYL.<

::Henk, I have no reply to your comment but just wanted to thank you for the nice chat we had on CW two days ago! Funny bumping into you "here," after working on the bands...

73 de Steve WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by W1RKW on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Spend $1000.00 on a $20.00 Heathkit from Ebay and learn the right way
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KC8VWM on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
SAFETY FIRST,

( THINK I WILL GET A PATENT ON MY NEW INVENTION. WHEN A SOLDERING IRON GETS TOO HOT IT AUTOMATICALLY SHUTS OFF)

--------------

You must be responsible for inventing that very same feature which intermittently occurs inside one of my radio's.

I didn't know it was a safety feature until you told me.

Oh well, I learn something new every day.

73
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KB5DPE on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"OK, I've completely disassembled my 756 Pro III...now what? "

2. Place all parts, including microphone and power cords in a shipping container. I will email with the address to send them to.
 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by N0NB on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
by N1XBP:

"I grew up lying on the floor flipping through dad's Heathkit catalogs. I've always been sad they went out of business before I was licensed myself, and I think we lost something there in terms of affordable amateur radio kits."

Heath hung on in the early '80s, updating their line, but by then the onslaught of cheaper more affordable gear from Japan had already swept them over. I built an HW-5400 in 1984 and had to ship it off to their store in Shawnee, KS to get it fixed and operational. I learned later that the thing was as deaf as a stump above 20 meters. I traded it for an Explorer 14 yagi a few years later.

While building kits were fun, it didn't make one an electronics expert. The Heathkits I built were a compromise and were no longer leading edge. In fact, they had almost become a joke compared to what the company had once offered caompared to the other manufacturers' offerings.

Heathkit was in the right place at the right time when commercial built ham radio electronics was moving from a curiosity to mainstream and the first mass-produced gear was often beyond the financial reach of the average ham. Looking at QST or CQ magazines from the late fifties to mid-sixties will reveal how much real money could be saved by building (plug the numbers into an inflation calculator). By the mid to late seventies mass production techniques had made kit building, as a means to save money, obsolete.

But to take a stab at the question of why kids don't get into electronics these days. I think that it is a simple matter that electronics is such a part a part of their lives that it holds no special magic, at least electronics in and of itself, but what it does is another story. Put another way, they are fascinated by what the electronics do, not in the guts of the gadget itself. A lot of us grew up in a time when electronics was rather rare. Sure, there was the radio and TV, but not much beyond that, so electronic toys were a big deal in the seventies and early eighties.

Electronics is now a commodity and is not seen as anything special by the general public. In a way, electronics is a victim of its own success.

 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by KC5CQD on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Did you know that in California there is a law that says no smoking cigarettes unless you are a minimum of 25 feet from any building."



Correction!! That's within 20 feet of a building! Trust me, I know. I'm a Louisiana transplant that now resides in Monterey, CA.

But.....

Since I'm the ONLY city electrician that my city has working for them.......I smoke in the office and no one says a word about it. hihi!

I suppose that since it took them over a year and a half to find a qualified electrician, their sensitivities about smoking had to take a back seat.
 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by KG6WLS on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Since I'm the ONLY city electrician that my city has working for them.......I smoke in the office and no one says a word about it. hihi!"

Might you be working for the City of San Diego? I hear that things are kind of tough over there these days.

73
Mike
 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by KG6WLS on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Whoops! Never mind. You said Monterey, CA.

 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K4JF on January 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"You must be responsible for inventing that very same feature which intermittently occurs inside one of my radio's.
I didn't know it was a safety feature until you told me.
Oh well, I learn something new every day. "

That is called the Microsoft technique. What we would call a bug, they call a feature.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by W4LGH on January 10, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
~"K7FD on January 8, 2007..says...OK, I've completely disassembled my 756 Pro III...now what? John K7FD"~

Just curious...have to figured out how to re-assemble it yet? And does it work? (hihi) If not for $75 an hour, I will be glad to do it for you! (Might be cheaper to buy a new one!)

73 de W4LGH - Alan
http://www.w4lgh.com

 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by W5AOX on January 10, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"TV's have a large capacitance that can kill you ?"
I, and surely others older than 30 years old, have been kicked at least dozens of times by the leftover High Voltage charge stored in a TV (or older video monitor) picture tube/CRT. The biggest danger that I have thus dealt with is that of ripping my arm or hand as I jerk the "Zapped" appendage backwards OUT of the cabinet or chassis. I have never heard of anyone suffering lethal effects from such a shock; unless perhaps prior heart trouble lead to problems when surprised by such a jolt.
Has anyone ever heard of anyone DYING from contact with such voltage? If the TV power is ON, the voltage can be upwards toward 20-30 KV, but the current is too low to hurt you, but it certainly scares you and causes violent reflexes while trying to escape the "bite". If the TV power is OFF, the voltage is much lower, and the resulting shock is of a very short duration. I've never considered these circuits lethal.
Now, I DO know several who have died from encountering much LOWER voltages, such as the input 117 or 220 VAC coming into powered devices, OR the high voltages encountered in transmitter or tube amplifier circuits which CERTAINLY have lethal currents available upon contact.
I haven't seen a transformer-powered TV in years.
They used to be good sources for transformers for power supplies, sweep tubes for inexpensive transmitter use, etc. But that just shows how much of an old fart I am.
Jim
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by AB1GA on January 10, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
'AOX

Yes, almost any voltage over 40V or so can be lethal under unfortunate circumstances. Current flow through the heart can cause it to flutter, which if not immediately treated is a good as stopping it altogether.

There was a QST article about this many moons ago (for me at least, late 60's I think). As little as 10 milliamps of current through the heart can cause heart flutter. The exact value varies with the health of the individual and the frequency of the current with, you guessed it, 60Hz being just about the worst.

It is true that contact with high voltage causes muscle spasms which cause immediate separation. At some voltages, however, (few hundred to few kV), power line workers have experienced spasms going the "other way", they clench on to the wire and can't let go. At the very least they suffer severe burns, at worst even the strongest hearts give out. Muscle spasms have also resulted in power line workers being thrown from poles, which can also hurt.

I'm glad you've never been hurt by your encounters with high voltage. Perhaps you keep one hand in your pocket or behind your back when you work? By doing so you limit the paths the current can take through your body, reducing the risk.

.dale.
 
Respecting Low Voltage  
by AI2IA on January 10, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It was not uncommon in the Navy on a steel deck with 35 volt welding equipment to experience serious and sometimes fatal injury because the supply is well regulated and can continue putting out high current through a victim without an internal voltage drop in the equipment.

Also, I know of at least one tragedy where an engineer on a ladder with scope probes touched a low voltage point with his elbow and proceeded to fall into the equipment rack resulting in a lethal high voltage shock.

When you can, work with all power off, but if you must work with power on, give due respect to those low voltages!
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KF7CR on January 10, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I used this as a way to "connect" with my 16-year-old son. We each vounteer to deconstruct broken and archaic computers for a local nonprofit reuse and recycling organization. It provides us an opportunity to dialogue re good vs bad construction. Before, he didn't know the difference between pliers,side cutters or sheet metal sheers. Now he knows it and is becoming quite handy.

I'll let you in on a secret. The chief cause of dead computers is a dead CPU fan. Too much dust or frozen bearings. Do yourself a favor and blow out your computer every six months or so. Oh, and you can tell the computers owned by smokers. Everything inside is a sticky disgusting yellow.

We are using the knowledge we gained to build a kick a** dual core gaming machine. It passed the smoke test and actually worked when we remembered to plug in the third power plug to the motherboard.

The computer center rehabs computers and places them with schools, the needy and ships some overseas. Donors of dead systems get tax deductions. And we get some great junk box parts for next to nothing. Lots of copper, aluminum and gold is retrieved and sold. It is a sight to see 5 gallon buckets full of old pentiums!

This has been great father-son bonding time. Plus we are doing good for the environment! Next step is to get my son interested in software defined radio. I'll make a ham of him yet.
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KF7CR on January 10, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I used this as a way to "connect" with my 16-year-old son. We each vounteer to deconstruct broken and archaic computers for a local nonprofit reuse and recycling organization. It provides us an opportunity to dialogue re good vs bad construction. Before, he didn't know the difference between pliers,side cutters or sheet metal sheers. Now he knows it and is becoming quite handy.

I'll let you in on a secret. The chief cause of dead computers is a dead CPU fan. Too much dust or frozen bearings. Do yourself a favor and blow out your computer every six months or so. Oh, and you can tell the computers owned by smokers. Everything inside is a sticky disgusting yellow.

We are using the knowledge we gained to build a kick a** dual core gaming machine. It passed the smoke test and actually worked when we remembered to plug in the third power plug to the motherboard.

The computer center rehabs computers and places them with schools, the needy and ships some overseas. Donors of dead systems get tax deductions. And we get some great junk box parts for next to nothing. Lots of copper, aluminum and gold is retrieved and sold. It is a sight to see 5 gallon buckets full of old pentiums!

This has been great father-son bonding time. Plus we are doing good for the environment! Next step is to get my son interested in software defined radio. I'll make a ham of him yet.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KO6UJ on January 11, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"You want to avoid tubed electronics"
I completely disagree.

Tube electronics are a great place to start and are still the best for many applications. Plus, they are simpler and more forgiving. Here are a couple of amps that I built in a few evenings:

http://spaces.msn.com/guygordon

Building quality equipment is easy and a piece of cake.

73
g
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by AE6RO on January 11, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I look at it this way: you can't buy tube gear any more so you might as well build it. There's lots of new parts out there and what you can't get new or new old stock you can salvage or find at a ham swapmeet.
Or make parts yourself, like they did in the early early days.
The circuits are a lot simpler and easier to understand. Just have to watch out for the higher voltage. You can use safe low voltages like 45 or even 27 volts in receiver projects, even stacked batteries if you like. 73 AE6RO John
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KC8VWM on January 11, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Or make parts yourself, like they did in the early early days.

--------

I don't know about the "early days" but I remember in the 70's I used paper towel rolls for winding tuning coils, my dad's razor blades and pencil leads as parts to build myself a radio similar to the one listed at this link below:

http://sci-toys.com/scitoys/scitoys/radio/razor_radio.jpg

Building your own electronics can be very simple.

In fact, I once found it very challenging to find a way to build a radio with the least amount of components.

It came down to a single diode and an ear piece. It was amazing the darn thing actually picked up a local AM BC station!

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics �- A Challenge  
by KB5DPE on January 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I'm about to buy a BGA rework station;"

Steve,
Which one are you looking for? I'd like to find a used APE Chipper, similar to the Chipmaster I used at work, bur open to suggestions.
73 Tom KB5DPE
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KB5DPE on January 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"The kiddies of today will NOT be soldering surface mount components anytime soon"

Oh, I don't know about that! I did it daily during the last 15 or so years of my working career and even at 64 (after having a detatched retina repaired) thoroughly enjoyed it. It's different, but certainly not much greater challenge than learning to solder in the first place 50+ years ago. I'm even now looking for an affordable rework station to use in my hobby. It's all in what you get used to.
Tom KB5DPE
 
RE: Safety First.  
by KB5DPE on January 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"( THINK I WILL GET A PATENT ON MY NEW INVENTION. WHEN A SOLDERING IRON GETS TOO HOT IT AUTOMATICALLY SHUTS OFF)"

Too late! Someone already beat you to it. My station at work cut back to 350 degrees after a predetermined (programmable) period of time. Temp. was programmable also.

 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by KB5DPE on January 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Continued exposure, even to very small amounts of
fume, may cause asthma attacks and the person
affected may be unable to do any soldering with
rosin-based fluxes again." - quoted from the British Safety Executive."

Well, at the risk of incuring more of your wrath and "comments" I relate my own experience.
Born with asthma, regular attacks from about two years of age on. Started becoming interested in electronics at about age ten and began using soldering irons. Began working in electronics at age 19 after MANY years as a hobby and worked in electronics as a technician for almost forty years, retiring in 2005. Asthma attacks during all of that time but infrequent and never changing in severity or frequency to this day at age 65. Interestingly, smoked cigarettes from about age 14 until age 27. Again, no change in severity or frequency of asthma attacks UNTIL I QUIT SMOKING at age 27. For about a year AFTER I QUIT asthma attacks became quite severe and more frequent, then subsided back to their previous levels. I realize that one case cannot prove or disprove a theory, but it does cast doubt on the dire predictions contained is some of these posts. As with cancer, heart attack and other scares, I live my life as I see fit and accept the consequences of those choices and IN SPITE OF MY RELATIVELY MINOR HEALTH PROBLEMS, my insurance companies have always MADE MONEY off of me, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. I rest my case.
Tom KB5DPE


 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by KB1THH on January 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Re K0GB
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –-

>by K0BG on January 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>It certainly isn't the tools; those you can buy. It >isn't the availability of parts; look hard enough on >the internet, and you can find anything and >everything you'll need;. It isn't the time; there is >always a way to find time to build your favorite >device. Then what is it that stops folks from home >brewing what ever they need? It's knowledge!

Most correct on a few points, on Time, I'll dissagree with you for more than obvious reasons.
"knowledge" Yes it is wanted but lacking in all of us on differant levels. That is why everyone seeks more on their topic of interest....read below....

>we have the uninformed utilizing the informed to >achieve the aforementioned instant gratification. >That's great! But I wonder out loud; if folks had to >pay for the advice they get here for free, how many >would remain amateur radio

Out side of your 'instant gratification' remark...
T Jefferson, as an 'informed person' worked hard to
educate the 'uniformed masses' with a clear vision.
We all can educate and gain, otherwise we breed ignorance and suffer as a whole. That brought us teachers, schools, Libraries and in our fold, our muchly needed and dwindling number of active Elmers.
Those that have a thirst for knowlage most always pass this knowlage on to others. That is where our hobie has kept on going ...
Let's not change directions now.
 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by 5R8GQ on January 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>TO Tom KB5DPE who said:

>IN SPITE OF MY RELATIVELY MINOR HEALTH PROBLEMS, my >insurance companies have always MADE MONEY off of >me, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. I rest my case.

I'm not exactly certain what your health care provider's profit on you has to do with de-engineering safety issues. By your shouting, you seem
to be angry that that they supposedly made money of of you. Well guess what, health care providers are in buiness to make money. You want a non-profit health care system, move to a socialist state like Denmark and pay 85% of your income in taxes. You are lucky, 50 million Americans have NO heath care insurance.
Don't care you say? YOU pay for it in taxes when they end up in the ER and through medicaid and medicare.

Don't like the health care system in the US? Yeah, it has it's problems. But if you were to travel around the world and see health care in 90% of the world, you would get on your knees and kiss the ground that you live in the USA.

Ken Pendarvis AD6KA/5R8GQ
Registered Radiologic Technolist, R.T. (R)
 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by KB5DPE on January 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I'm not exactly certain what your health care provider's profit on you has to do with de-engineering safety issues. By your shouting, you seem
to be angry that that they supposedly made money of of you. Well guess what, health care providers are in buiness to make money. You want a non-profit health care system, move to a socialist state like Denmark and pay 85% of your income in taxes. You are lucky, 50 million Americans have NO heath care insurance.
Don't care you say? YOU pay for it in taxes when they end up in the ER and through medicaid and medicare."

I haven't a clue what you're talking about. I don't recall anything that I said that could reveal my opinions about the health care system in this country or anywhere else, for that matter. This is not the forum for such a discussion. If you're referring to my EMPHASIS on the statement that was meant to show that, in spite of my occupation, I am still relatively healthy, let me, once again EMPHASIZE, that that was the purpose for the capitals, NOT the computer spawned idiocy meant to denote SHOUTING! If you wish to discuss the health care system with me, please email me directly, I have plenty of things to say that, I'm sure WILL, justifiably, invoke your outrage, but, again, this is not the place. A little touchy, aren't we?
Tom KB5DPE

 
RE: Permanent and irreversable - jokers beware!  
by KB5DPE on January 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Ken, from your QRZ biography:
"There's nothing like working DX. I can't believe I wasted so much time hanging out on 2m repeaters! That's for losers!"

No, Ken, that's for those that are learning the hobby and for those whose interest is mainly in socalizing with other hams which you clearly do not care to do. Please disregard my previous invitation to discuss medical care with you in private email; with the arrogance expressed above, it would not be a discussion, it would be a lecture by you. Lighten up, Ken, the world does not revolve around you!
Tom
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by MASON on January 13, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
He may not use his call sign for the very reason I don't on this forum. There are some people here I would not want to be bothered with. You qualify as one and are rude. Thanx. MASON to KX8N
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K4NR on January 13, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
KO6UJ,

Nice job! Have to appreciate the clean point-to-point work.

I sold my "horns" years ago. Still have a set of Heresy I's that sound as good today as they did over 25 years ago. Paul's designs were great.

73 de Tom, K4NR
 
Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by WB6MMJ on January 16, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
When I was about 9 years old I use to go to the trash cans in front of Ham`s houses on trash day and sometimes would find old radios and things. I would hide them in the bushes and on the way home from school pick them up and take them home. I would strip them of all parts. We all have to start somewhere in this hobby. Some of us were programmed to build and some were not. It has to be in your blood. I have fixed many radios and built my share of HF Amplifiers. I get as much fun out of fixing and building as I do talking on the bands. I only wish I would have earned my Ham license sooner. I earned my novice in 1975.
Randy/WB6MMJ
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by K8AG on January 17, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
We called it alley pickin. I too used to grab anything that looked interesting from the trash in the alleys behind our houses. It was fun disassembling old equipment and making things. It was a great hands-on way to help me see what really works, and what does not.

73, JP, K8AG
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by WB6MMJ on January 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I like that. "Alley Picken". I guess I wasn`t alone in that. The good old days
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by WA2JJH on January 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Alley picken? I think some call it.."DUMPSTER DIVING".
One does not have to dive either. I pass by tons of dumpsters with old computers,monitors,and old cheap stereo's just laying on the surface.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by WA2JJH on January 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
AD6KA/5R8GQ ..I am a Bio-medical engineer. We both know certain inside matters. OK G.O.M.E.R. S.H.P.O.S.A.,frequent flier, "Vitamin-N instant patient
R.M.A.","writer",N.H.I.,B.O.S.,"croaker" are vernacular
many know.

Have you not seen the trend. I saw it on TV NEWS.
Doctors that perform special surgurys are dpening up their own hospitals. They hand pick their nurses and other support staff. OF course NO INSURENCE.
The patients are execs of fortune 500 corps and others that make more money in 2 weeks than some make in a year.

Also Thailands medical facilities are head and shoulders above many I have experienced in park avenue hospitals.

Your young. You will not be such an optimist.
 
RE: Learning to Build Electronics –- A Challenge  
by AD5VJ on March 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Punt
 
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