Experiments in Drag Soldering 2

Here’s a quick video I did of my first experiments with drag soldering using a new Metcal hoof tip that I picked up on eBay.  This video only shows the technique on Small Outline (SO) packages, which are pretty easy to solder by hand, regardless of technique.  With minor alterations in technique, drag soldering works ...

Epic Hardware Hacking Weekend

It turned out to be quite an epic weekend of building boards and getting things up and running.  It’s good to be back in the groove with my own electronics projects – it’s been far too long that I’ve been away. As a wrap-up to the weekend I thought I’d put together a bit of ...

Custom PCI Express Riser

One of the other boards I had in the latest order is an oddball PCI Express 1X riser card, which I could not find commercially.  In trying to figure out how to plug a PCI Express parallel port card into my little 3.5″ Atom motherboard, I couldn’t come up with a way to make it ...

Machine Breakout 2

I populated the machine breakout PCB this morning.  This board will actually be installed inside of the CNC milling machine, and the various homing and index sensors will wire to it via the mini-sized green screw terminals.  The 40 pin header adapts to a Centronics (old school printer) style plug, and connects back to the ...

Population: Tire

I got my final batch of boards from Laen in the mail today.  I had three designs in this batch, so I was pretty anxiously awaiting delivery. I set right in to populating the main CNC PC board, which I designed almost a month ago.  I used a lot of different soldering techniques, and shot ...

Rigol DS1102E Unboxing & Mini Review

It’s been a week of new toys for the electronics lab here at the world headquarters of Tangent Audio.  Yesterday brought the affordable hot air reflow tool, and today brings my first personally owned digital storage oscilloscope. The low-end Rigol scopes can be had in 50Mhz and 100Mhz versions (both 2-channel) for about $325 and ...

eBay Hot Air Rework Tool Review

Based on Dan’s review and Dave Jones’ review, I picked up a Kendal 899D hot air/soldering iron rework station off of eBay for about $80.   These tools seem to be good value for the money.  The hot air section works well enough, though the soldering iron has uninspiring performance at best.  They are available on ...

More Boards!

Another purple envelope was waiting for me in my mailbox when I arrived home this evening.  I noticed that Laen had mentioned he shipped the January 9th boards out on Saturday, but I didn’t expect to receive them essentially “next day” via USPS first class. For the most part, the boards look great.  The only ...

From the Trenches: Embedded Platform Work 5

I’m tinkering with a new platform for my embedded projects, based on the NXP LPC1768, which is an ARM Cortex-M3 chip. I picked up an eval board (the Blueboard LPC1768-H) back in late 2010.  The board is nothing to write home about, and has some design choices that I seriously question (like non-0.100″ aligned headers… Really guys? ...

The Hammer

I thought I’d try to get one more design into the January 23 Laen PCB order.  For the new CNC electronics setup, I’m going to be using a 3.5″ form factor Atom PC motherboard.  It unfortunately does not have a parallel port, which I need to talk to the FPGA card.  However, the board does ...