Author Topic: Blitzortung Documentation & Build Instructions -REVISED Oct 13, 2014 5:04 pm PT  (Read 30429 times)

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Offline corwyyn

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OK I'll see what I can put together.  Might be the weekend before I get them done but it shouldn't be too hard to do.
Kevin
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Offline W3DRM

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Oopps - a user has found a typo in the RED build document...  :oops:

I have updated the RED Kit Build documentation for the H-Field Amp & Controller boards. The update was to correct a typo for the installation of C41 in the ceramic capacitor section of the document. It had indicated it was a resistor. The error has been corrected. This error has been in the documentation for a very long time and was just spotted.

As always, if you find anything needing to be updated or corrected, please let me know via a post in this thread.
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Offline SLOweather

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As always, if you find anything needing to be updated or corrected, please let me know via a post in this thread.

As mentioned above, I'd like more info on enclosures and mounting. I know it's making more work for you (I've printed out all of your PDFS so I can start building.) but adding pictures of representative enclosures would be useful too.

Chris

Offline W3DRM

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As always, if you find anything needing to be updated or corrected, please let me know via a post in this thread.

As mentioned above, I'd like more info on enclosures and mounting. I know it's making more work for you (I've printed out all of your PDFS so I can start building.) but adding pictures of representative enclosures would be useful too.

Chris

Hi Chris,

I have already posted some photos of my external (outside) enclosure that some have referred to as my "out house". However, I have also used some BUD boxes to hold the inside PCB's. They are the standard BUD boxes with clear plastic covers. I added some external Radio Shack push-button switches for there RESET and DISPLAY controls on the Controller board. I have not added any audio jacks for the test points, so far. I may do that in the future. I have a separate BUD box for the Controller PCB and the E-field Amplifier PCB. They are connected currently via a 1-foot shielded Cat-5e Ethernet cable. Eventually, I want to mount the two boxes on a separate board that I will mount on the wall of my office. This will let me show-off my Blitzortung setup. I am in the process of moving all of me ham gear out of my garage and into my office. Once that is done, I will finish the Blitzortung setup.

A ink to my current external enclosure photos follows:
I have not taken any photos of my BUD box installations but will do so as soon as I finalize the move of everything to my office. I will also add those photos to the build documentation as an example of how I put it all together. I probably should have done that before this but, as we all discover, sometimes life gets in the way of progress...

More later and thanks for the suggestion.

Best of luck with your Blitzortung build and don't hesitate to post any questions you may have.

NOTE: I have updated the RED build documents as of yesterday to make some corrections with components and other misc details. Be sure you have the latest version of the build doc before you begin. The main change was the inclusion of some kits being distributed with 49.9-ohm resistors rather than the 47-ohm units as shown in the original parts inventory sheets. Either resistor can be used as it is not in a critical portion of the circuit. It has caused some grief to those trying to follow the instructions though. There were also a few typo corrections that didn't have any impact on the build process.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 11:30:13 PM by W3DRM »
Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
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Offline SLOweather

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Leave it to me to make weird mistakes. But from them come valuable suggestions for the documentation.

First of all, one thing the Blitzer people didn't do, that everyone buying the kits really MUST do. Label each outer bag, and then open each inner bag, one at a time and label the inner bags with the board they go with. Even put a piece of tape on the board with its type.

Don, I think it would really benefit your already excellent instructions if you put a picture of the silkscreen side of the board at the beginning of its respective instructions.

Nope, I won't tell you my mistakes... [GHWBush mode]Not gonna do it...[/GHWBush mode]


Offline W3DRM

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Leave it to me to make weird mistakes. But from them come valuable suggestions for the documentation.

First of all, one thing the Blitzer people didn't do, that everyone buying the kits really MUST do. Label each outer bag, and then open each inner bag, one at a time and label the inner bags with the board they go with. Even put a piece of tape on the board with its type.

Don, I think it would really benefit your already excellent instructions if you put a picture of the silkscreen side of the board at the beginning of its respective instructions.

Nope, I won't tell you my mistakes... [GHWBush mode]Not gonna do it...[/GHWBush mode]

Good suggestion Chris! I have added a copy of the unassembled (unpopulated) Amp and Controller boards so they are shown at the beginning of each board build sequence.

If I don't get any complaints or further suggestions for changes, I'll do the same for the E-field boards.

One comment though - when I received my initial RED system (H-field Amp and Controller), everything was included in a single bag. Only the IC's, crystal and a few misc components were found in separate bags. Even the strips of components (resistors, inductors and ceramic capacitors) for both boards were together. I had to count and separate each component individually. Perhaps they changed the way they packaged shipments as they went along and separated items. I can remember opening the original box and finding a huge pile of components starting at me. My first thought was wow, what do I do now?! That was the moment I began thinking about needing some kind of assembly instructions for those who had never done anything like this previously.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 08:12:55 PM by W3DRM »
Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
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Offline jrm30655

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I've built several red systems and this is what I would recommend:

1. Go on youtube and enter "SMD soldering".  There are several good videos and the SMDs cause the most problems.

2. Clean the boards both sides before starting.  IPA can be used, I use something called "switch contact cleaner".  Make sure it is dry before starting.

3. Separate out all the parts by type and count to make sure the count is right and they are all the same.

4. Mount the SMDs first.  I use liquid flux and solder paste for these and use a hot air soldering machine to solder them.  If you use regular solder and an iron, I'd cut toothpicks in half and super glue them to the top of the chip so I can hold it in place.  Trying to hold them with tweezers or anything else is beyond me.  People that can do that must have nerves of steel.

5. WalMart sells "readers" that make great magnifying glasses for about $5.  Trying to hold a chip in place, solder it and hold a magnifying glass requires three hands

6. Before doing anything else, clean the joints with IPA to get rid of the flux, wipe down well with a wipe and inspect the joints.   Of the boards I've repaired 90% are because of those solder joints.  At this point, repair is pretty easy.  Once the other parts are in place getting a soldering iron in there is a bitch.  I have a 20X jewelers loupe that I inspect with.

7. There's a chart in the manual of the parts and the quantity.  I lay all the parts out just like the chart and work my way down.

8. I check all the resistors with a multimeter and make sure they are the right value and separate them by value.

9. I start with the smallest parts in size and work up to the largest.

10. I use standard 60/40 electronic solder

11. When I get everything assembled, I use my hot air system from the back side and slowly go over the whole board.  It is effectively reflowing the whole thing.

12. As a final step, I spray the board with IPA until it is good and wet and wipe it dry to remove any flux residue.

If you have to remove an SMD, hot air is the only way to go.  Many places that work on computers have one and will let you use it.  I've tried everything in the world and nothing else works without some damage to either the SMD or the board.

The SMDs used are really durable.  I've seen them put in backwards, off a pin and burnt to a crisp and still work.

I work with the board on a white towel.  It helps to hold the board in place and see dropped parts.

I've done trouble shooting on several red systems and 90% were SMD problems.  Bad solder joints, bad location or in backwards.  If you can get the SMDs in good, the rest is simple.







 

Offline miraculon

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Good advice and most of it agrees with the experience of other builders here on WXForum.

A word of caution however on this one:

Quote
4. Mount the SMDs first.  I use liquid flux and solder paste for these and use a hot air soldering machine to solder them.  If you use regular solder and an iron, I'd cut toothpicks in half and super glue them to the top of the chip so I can hold it in place.  Trying to hold them with tweezers or anything else is beyond me.  People that can do that must have nerves of steel.

I had a lot of trouble with "free hand" placement of the solder paste on the SOIC8 pads. It mashed out under the part and I had a lot of trouble with solder shorts. There are vias under some of the parts and there was a solder (or paste) short from the leads to the via. I was able to repair it by hot-air removing the part, cleaning up all the solder with wick and then resoldering it  with regular solder.

I have since bought a "mini-stencil" with a single SOIC8 pad geometry cutout. I haven't had the opportunity to use it yet, but I think that this should work better. Production SMD board manufacturing uses stencils to apply the solder paste and it is well controlled.

Greg H.
 




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Offline jrm30655

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I get solder paste in a hypodermic needle from an outfit in China.  The trick is to use very little.  Also, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator but used at room temperature.


Offline SLOweather

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2. Clean the boards both sides before starting.  IPA can be used, I use something called "switch contact cleaner".  Make sure it is dry before starting.


IPA= IsoPropyl Alcohol, not India Pale Ale, which was the first thing that popped into my head. :)

Offline W3DRM

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2. Clean the boards both sides before starting.  IPA can be used, I use something called "switch contact cleaner".  Make sure it is dry before starting.


IPA= IsoPropyl Alcohol, not India Pale Ale, which was the first thing that popped into my head. :)


I've used DNA (DeNatured Alcohol) for years. IPA and DNA have different chemical makeup. My dad used it for cleaning solder joints on old vacuum tube radios and transmitters. That's probably why I continued with DNA...
Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
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Offline jrm30655

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I live in Mexico and you can get IPA in 70% and 90%.  I use the 90% if I can find it.

I've seen some fluxes that claim to be water soluble but haven't tried any yet.

Living in MX presents some interesting challenges.  Almost all my supplies comes from the US or China.  Imagine what the customs people think when they see a needle full of solder paste ot flux.

Offline corwyyn

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I live in Mexico and you can get IPA in 70% and 90%.  I use the 90% if I can find it.
I went down to my local Fry's electronics and purchased a 32oz bottle of 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol for my electronics projects.  I think the bottle was $7 or $8 but I figured it would be around a while, still have about 90% in the bottle after everything I've done so far.
Kevin
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Offline Silversword

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Hi All,

Anyone has a comment for the use of Acetone for cleaning flux after all the components have been soldered before mounting the board in a container.

I have been doing that for a while.  Cleaning off the flux after soldering is a good way to check for good/bad soldering.

--Stan Y.
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Offline jrm30655

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Acetone seems pretty harsh.  It might remove markings on the parts. 

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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 :twisted: This topic needs to be bumped.  Especially with the new "Blue" system on the horizon... So, here... "BUMP", dang it...

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