06/17/16

5 Tools Everyone Tinkering In Electronics Should Be Using

1. Soldering Iron — Weller WESD51 Digital Soldering Station
For me a good soldering iron is really a necessity, specifically something with changeable tips and a flexible cable. I now have the best solder iron I have ever owned. The Weller WESD51, a digitally controlled iron with a max output of 50 watts. The iron is microprocessor controlled with a temperature range of 350F-850F. Digital LED display provides temperature setting and actual tip temperature readout in degrees. If I leave my iron on for some reason, it has auto power-off after 99 minutes.
https://www.amazon.com/Weller-WESD51-Digital-Soldering-Station/dp/B000ARU9PO
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2. Xuron — Cutters and Pliers
Nippers, cutters and precision pliers make life so much easier. You can cut closer to your solder points and hold small parts better. I normally would be a little more general in my recommendations, but I really these tools compared to my Kobalt needle nose.
http://xuron.com/index.php/main/consumer_products/3
Xuron-Butterfly-Pliers-Arrangement
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10/25/13

“Must haves” for new AR-15 shooters

from http://bearingarms.com/

dpms223buds-e1381842327567

 

We’re going to be looking at this basic rifle, used in it’s most common role as a target range plinker from 0-300 yards, serving a secondary role as a self-defense weapon.

The very first thing you must know, without exception, is whether your rifle is chambered in .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO, or one of several hybrids chambers.

Despite the claims of keyboard commandos to the contrary, these chambers are not identical, and the 5.56 NATO round generates much higher chamber pressures. This can be dangerous, so do not fire 5.56 NATO rounds in a rifle chambered for .223 Remington. Read your owner’s manual, and if you do not have one, get one from the manufacturer. Fire only what they have designed the rifle to fire.

Now, on to the “must haves.”

The first and most obvious addition we need to make to the rifle above is the addition of a rear sight or optic. There are three basic choices to make.

  • non-magnifying optics
  • magnifying scopes
  • iron sights

While being in the middle of building an AR-15 I am frequently researching various things from gas systems to optics. This Article from bearingarms.com sheds some like on a few basic things to consider. Your mileage may vary but give it a go. For the full article find the link at the top of this post.

10/19/13

One Day Builds: Adam Savage Makes Something Wonderful from Scratch

I’ve never been a BladeRunner fan or even watched the movie the entire way through but I really enjoyed this build of Adam’s. It is a gun case built from a finish plywood, brass hardware, paper covering similar that you would see on a guitar amplifier and green felt. From start to finish 7 hrs he states in the video. I envy his workshop and tool selection. Not to mention the amazing parts he keeps in stock.

I have a cigar humidor I have turned into a storage container for my Everyday Carry, EDC, tools and such. I would love to improve it a little and line it with a nice green felt. To me that seems very manly. This video kind of reignites to project, and gives me a few tips for the build and ideas on how to build it up. Watch it!

Watch Adam build, from start to finish, a stylized box to carry and display his Blade Runner Blaster prop replica. The entire project took less than one day to complete, and Adam narrates this video with commentary about his design and construction methods.

Find photos of this build and the completed box at http://www.tested.com

adamsavage 44815-onedaybuild_066 44842-onedaybuild_093
44833-onedaybuild_084 Adam-Savage-Blade-Runner-Build-4-600x398 Adam-Savage-Blade-Runner-Build-3-600x398
05/13/13

Repost: kb6nu.com – Solder: 60/40 or 63/37?

Orginial Post

File this under  ”You learn something new every day.”

A 1-lb. roll of Kester 44 solder with a 63/37 tin-lead formulation is $22.96 from AllSpec Industries. Kester 44 with a 60/40 formulation costs only $21.06.

 

A couple of days ago, someone on theHamRadioHelpGroup mailing list asked, “So I’m about to put up my first antenna and I need to solder the connectors to the coax. I know learned this in the book but I can not find it, so what kind of solder should I be using?”

Pat, K7KBN, replied, “Rosin core, 60/40 lead/tin (63/37 is better).  Don’t use any acid core or acid flux solder, and avoid the no-lead junk.  The diameter of the solder depends on your taste and experience.  Connector work requires more solder than circuit board work in most cases. And for connectors you need an iron with a massive tip that won’t cool off when you touch the body of the connector like a typical gun tip will.”

So, of course, I had to ask, “Why is 63/37 better?”

The answer? “The 63% tin/37% lead solder alloy is “eutectic” (Google it).  Basically it has NO ‘plastic range.’ It changes instantly from liquid to solid.”

Mark, K5LXP, ever the practical ham, added, “For anything hams solder you would be hard pressed to discern the flow, hardness or durability difference between any of these lead alloys. Hams being hams, 60/40 is usually the cheapest. That makes it ‘better’ right there!”

10/8/12

Kenwood TM-V71A Dual Band: Installation in Dodge Nitro, Continued Part 3 – Mounting and Assembly

IMG_20121004_120147

IMG_20121005_155938

What I decided to do. The remote control head would be velcro-ed the a ledge on the dash. This ledge is slightly angled so that the display is angled upward for best viewing. I also have it rotated ever so slightly to even further improve the viewing angle.(Figure 5 & 6)

Next, where to mount the body of the radio? What I came up with is under the front passenger seat, towards the back. With the contours in the floor pan and the rear bench seat the way it is, this is really, I think my best option. One day if I feel adventurous I may mount it under that bench, but not today.

IMG_20121005_155925IMG_20120920_172933The radio mounting bracket started life as a small piece of 22 gauge steel I found on the side of the road. 22 gauge, how do I know? The sticker was still on it. This was crudely bent by hand to mostly mate up with the curves and contours of the floor. It mostly does. To attach my bracket in a permanent manner I left enough metal to drill a hole and use a seat bolt to hold it down.(Figure 7, 8 & 9) The pressure of the seat holds it firmly.


Now running the wire out from the radio over to the center console, which can be seen in figure 7 & 8. I then ran it through the center console all the way to the front. Up behind the dash and out where the knee panel meets the speed cluster surround.(figure 5 & 6, at the top)Using the factory Kenwood radio mount as a guide, I drilled 4 holes in the sheet metal. Then I bolted it together.

Basically this is all to my mobile installation. There’s a few extra pictures I’ll share here at the bottom.

I’ll write up my external speaker setup later.

IMG_20121005_192807 IMG_20121005_155947 IMG_20121005_155938

10/5/12

Kenwood TM-V71A Dual Band: Installation in Dodge Nitro, Continued Part 2 – Disassembly

To continue with with my previous post about my mobile installation of my Kenwood TM-V71A dualband. So we are done figuring out the logistics of actually setup up the remote head. Now on to my method of mounting.

As mentioned I’m driving a Dodge Nitro SUV. I initially thought that this mobile install was going to be a pain. Actually it’s not remotely difficult. Getting power into the cabin from the battery is super easy, opening up the dash is super easy, as is the center console and mounting both parts is easy.
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Looking at the image to the left, figure 2, you see a picture of a Dodge Nitro dash. With the battery of the SUV being on the left side, drivers side, that is where I focused my efforts in wiring.

Looking at the image to the left, figure 2, you see the speedo cluster, the knee panel, radio area and center console.
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1. I failed to snap a picture of the removal of the speed cluster dash area. But it is as follows. Lower the steering wheel all the way down. Firmly grasp the top most forward plastic and pull back towards yourself.

2. Two remove the knee panel that is below the steering wheel. The the top plastic edge of the knee panel exposed, firmly grasp and pull down with even force. Doesn’t take much at all. Only two clip hold up the hinged panel. Once it has hinged down as far as it will, slide the panel 3 inches to the left and it comes off.
IMG_20120920_172933
3. If you look at the shifter there in the front middle off the console.(Figure 3) You see the frame that looks like brushed metal. It is plastic so go easy. If you are in this truck looking down at it, you notice a gap between the shift base and this faux metal area. Insert  tips of your fingers and pull up gently. It helps to engage the ebreak.

4. Next if your sitting in the back seat looking a the rear of the center console near the floor you’ll see that the back cover is one piece. Very easy, just grasp it and pull slightly. I’ve included a picture with it removed as I don’t have one from before. (Figure 4)
IMG_20120920_172912

5. Lastly after popping the hood move to the drivers side, near the brake master cylinder. Look on the firewall under the brake master cylinder and to the right near the fender. In this area there are two pass troughs on the firewall. On my vehicle one is fully in use from the factory but the over merely looks like a rubber plug. Pull the out the plug. No tools needed, it just pulls out. Don’t those it.

Disassembly Complete.
To be continued…

Continued in Post 3: Mounting and Assembly

10/4/12

Kenwood TM-V71A Dual Band: Installation in a Dodge Nitro

This write up is on an installation of a Kenwood TM-V71A Dual Band VHF & UHF mobile amateur radio into a Dodge Nitro SUV. The Kenwood TM-V71A radio is a modern radio with remote control head capability. Technically a remote head kit available from Kenwood is required to take advantage of this feature, but in reality this isn’t true. The remote kit certainly will make your installation easier. The kit would include a adapter and bracket to attach the head to and the specialized cables to hook the head to the body. The basic remote kit only includes an extended cable for the head to radio, no extension for mic to radio. There is an extended remote kit available that I believe has the basics, plus a extended mic and power cable adapters.

With that said, here is how I did it. If you take a look at the small cable that hooks the remote head to the body when they are hooked together you will see that one end is a RJ-45connector(standard ethernet connection) and the other end is a slim RJ-12 connector. Similar to a telephone line(same wiring), but about 1/4 thinner. Then at the termination of the mic cable you’ll see that the connection is also a RJ-45 connector. These two RJ-45 connections are standard size. So to extend this to connections I acquired two RJ-45 male to male couplers, as scene in figure 1.

I should mention I looked for a couple days for this special RJ-12 cable with no luck. I could have fabricated something up, but my method is easier.

To complete all these extended connections here’s what you will need:

  1. 2x RJ-45 couplers
  2. 2x Ethernet Cables(for efficiency’s sake, short as possible)
  3. 2x Ferrite Choke(Optional)

Step 1. Plug a coupler onto each ethernet cable
Step 2. Plug an ethernet cable into the head and into the microphone plug
Step 3. Plug the appropriate end of the include head wire into your extension
Step 4. Make your mic connections

Now this is an optional step but in the kit you can see that cable has a ferrite choke to keep RF emissions traveling down your remote cable. I ordered two from Mouser. I’m going to do it.

***Found these specifically fitted for CAT5 cable***
http://www.iautomate.com/products/Ferrite-Chokes-for-RFID-CAT5-Installations.html

Continued in Post 2:Disassembly