Posts Tagged ‘soldering


on the bench : led fidgit spinner kit

A Blue Mat Group Member ,Coffee Break Series

Diy Electronic Kit LED Gyro DIY Welding Kit Rotating Lantern Inline Components Diy Electronic Sodering Project(without Battery)….. Ali Express .78 cents

Well maybe not a fidgit spinner per say but a small soldering project to take a break from troubleshooting.

For the geek type, schematic, RC time constants etc

Just 2 resistors to differentiate and correct polarity on the LEDS All items silk screened on the board .

care of Ali Express

critique solder skills

touched up a few of the welds after this for appearance

I used CR2025 batteries, OK

Apparently a chopper circuit to give you the effect of the individual LEDS vs. a single solid line of light. Camera only picking up 1/2 or less.

A lighted spinner for your fidget

Note to self: order soldering iron tips


On the bench.. VTVM Test probe kit.

This a continuation of the repair and restoration of a Simpson 303 VTVM.

The Blue Mat Group Member Series

The final decision was to purchase this kit. $21.35 seemed pricey but the alternative was to scrounge around for parts and/or order the balance of parts I didn’t have. Considering what i would have to do and I wanted to get this job up and running to have as my main meter, I placed the order (eBay).

After receiving this kit I realized that this was the better choice. The coax cables were just the right size and flexible. The other included test lead wire quality matched to boot. All the parts needed were there , no need to raid the parts bins. Plus I would have some parts left over for the parts bins.

The kit, great packaging, recyclable for parts storage or use as seller packaging.

The meter waiting to be completed, My combo LED fluorescent bulb lamp in the reflection.

un boxing or un bagging

attention to detail even a Velcro loop is included.

A quick view of the eBay listing, the seller had pictures that answered all my assembly questions. The finish for this project had been on the back burner for weeks. Retrieved the parts bin, now where did I put that ? (mushroom container) for the repair to get the male parts of the connectors. Now where’s the schematic?

It was the normal start at the bench , prep the soldering iron ,replacing a piece. Then locating the schematic to the meter to verify the placement of the inline resistor to the correct probe and available for troubleshooting if required.. Assembly is straight forward, first I assembled the grounding lead, no problem soldering. The seller specified by pictures , 3 inches of stripping for the coax cables. The hardest part is the fishing of the inner conductor down through the probe handle and out through an angled bore at the end of the probe handle in the metal tip.

R29 1 megohm resistor in the probe, supplied by the kit.

schematic , most of it is the multiple decks of the multi layer rotary wafer switches

replacing the barrel sleeve on the iron.

cross section of the supplied wire from the kit

Once through, some of the stripped wire is pulled through and the probe trim ring is screwed to the top of the probe tip, locking the wire in place and making the connection.

The second time around for the second probe, was problematic, The center conductor was tinned,. After repeated ( time consuming) failed attempts, I fished a length of thin wire solder up from the tip and tacked the center conductor lead to it. Acting as a fish tape, I simply pulled the solder wire through. The wire followed !. Done with the probe set , nice. It’s a bit frustrating and time consuming fishing wires but the probe handles are permanently attached (as i first tried to unscrew them) so they won’t unscrew and loosen as another set I have does frequently. The completeness of the kit even includes labels for the probes and transparent heat shrink . Well Done !

The 1 meg ohm resistor soldered to the center conductor

the angled bore at the top of the probe tip.

using the solder wire as a wire puller

No problem, a time saver I should have used at the start.

tinned lead

folded back for connection to the male coax connector

I soldered the shield braid to the metal bushing

The completed connection less the outer part of the connector

The outer part just screws on with the nut, backed up the small cable with a few layers of shrink tubing.

The completed male end of the probe lead

On the other end the wires had to be stripped to connect the lead to the coax connector, supplied by me as I replaced the original connectors on the meter when rebuilding it. those male connectors are not available and not included when I bought the meter.

.At first the leads did not work ! Guess what ? The first tech help question “is the unit plugged in” applied. Duh..

Another problem was that on the ACV/ohm , the ohms reading was shorted and not reading. The problem was that the cable braid was shorting to the center conductor after the connector was assembled. I trimmed back the braid, it;s not necessary to connect it at the coax end of the lead.

A final check of the meter was done now and revealed that any AC voltage readings were not properly registering . Ouff! Troubleshooting time. Was the rectifier tube faulty? The tracing reveled an error either in the wiring or a crazy schematic.

Now the time began to fly. Mistakes by tracing the schematic wiring from one page to another lead me down a path that cost time. I pulled the stapled schematic paged apart folded them and joined the pages to indicate the correct path from one page to another. One problem solved. Now a broken wire to nowhere was found from one of the wafers . With the proper tracing, it was discovered that one of the capacitors replaced was in error, going to ground instead of going to the probe connector and to the tube.. Most of the tracing of this device is done by tracing layers of selector switches connected to banks of resistors. Keeping my fingers crossed the meter was plugged in and set to measure AC line voltage. Voila ! Success. Luckily the mistake did not damage the meter when I checked it with 120vac previously.

All in all, including making a cup of coffee break , the bench time was from 13:10 to 18:03 . Taking my pleasurably time with soldering and troubleshooting was worth it. The meter is now ready to go as the humidifier repair is next on the bench.

Now with the purchase and rebuilding of the meter and the probe kit the best part, of course is the use of an analog meter, a Simpson. I would do the required Happy Dance, but I don’t do dances.

1 megohm reading

Final AC line voltage test , before calibration

The coax connections offers better shielding when you need a accurate reading of low ac voltages and the proper isolation for high voltage readings .

5 stars for the kit, those who frequently order parts know the time that’s involved if one had to do all the working ordering all the parts included in this kit.


Electron maneuvering

Just a post about current electronics , hacks etc. while everything else is going on.

Computer power supply project.

Since computer power supplies are plentiful, utilized an old video tape player case  to enclose a power supply, digital readout meters serve as a power indicators. 12 volt, 5 volt and 3.3 volts. On /off switch mounted to case. The on/off switch is connected to a soft control 2 wires on the ATX power supply, not the mains voltage input. Opening in top for fan exhaust.

Most projects are a work in progress. Power supply is short proof , the on/off switch will reset power. Should add some banana jacks later, for now alligator clips to the appropriate connectors and USB jack for 5 volt appliances. When necessary, a voltage/amperage digital gauge is used in line to monitor current as this is a several 100 watt supply that will provide quite a bit of amperage at the outputs. Now a stable bench top power supply is available when needed.


 LED lighting

Some single color, not RGB for now, low-cost modules to control low voltage LEDs either cob, strings or other low voltage lighting that can benefit from dimming, strobing, or speed adjusting dimming with or without  remote control. Installed in-line to LEDs. Under cabinet strip lighting, re-wiring of lamps to a low voltage LED illumination are some of the uses. Could they be used for other purposes other than lighting?

In line push button controller on LED tape lighting, no  on/off switch,  so one will have to be installed if necessary. Note: found out later that centre button is On /Off switch long press for off , short press for on stepped dimming when on.

The remote control module has more control with on/off and of course more convient to use (as long as the remote doesn’t get lost!).

One concept, edge lighting a prototype stained glass art project. LED tape sandwiched in the channel. Remote lighting control. Inexpensive 120vac to 12 volt modules (wall worts) are used for the low voltage supply.

Cob LEDs project

Analysis, fragile, not flexible but very bright for the size.

Know as filament LEDS

Inexpensive and could be used for a variety of lighting projects.

These are higher voltage models.

A round 1 watt Cob LED, now my desk light, in comparison to a strip led tape. Both are 12 VDC. The LEDs on the cob are extremely tiny.






LiPo battery charging

The USB chargers that come with 1s batteries either charge slow since they are limited to a USB amperage or quit working. Small 3s battery balance  charger boards (other varieties available) fed from 12 volts wired with JST connectors to provide multiple battery charging. An education of the wiring of a balanced charging plug (multiple connector)  LiPo  batteries. With the use of small adjustable voltage regulation boards, these batteries are excellent for  portable battery-powered projects instead of non charging alkaline cells. One note of caution, this technology can provide amps of low voltage power from a small package, an accidental short can easily melt wires and weld contacts together. There is usually no fusing within the battery. As you go up the ladder to higher capacities batteries, a LiPo safe (container) should be considered. The larger batteries can pump out amps for high current applications and should be handled carefully.  With some high capacity drones and radio control projects a small fire extinguisher may be cheap insurance.

The ALPHA1 250 Class Drone Construction.

Not to be satisfied with assembling a kit as usual, the 250 ZMR project continues. Wiring can quickly evolve to a mess. The flight controller , receiver and associated Electronic Speed Controllers are miniature computers. After mounting these components, there is little room for wiring, also utilizing PWM receiver controls results in a rats nests of wires. (this may be changed to single wire receiver). The supplied plug-in connectors were removed and ESC control lines were hardwired to the flight controller. The main DC power to the ESCs and battery connector wires also hardwired with both  a single 2S or parallel  2 in  series 2S connectors (for 4S power) available. The DC main and possible battery location will be below the main deck along with the ESCs. Some drone designs utilize a 4 in one ECS, mine of course are separate units. A variety of aluminium spacers were ordered to attach the deck plate(s) that will be used for a lower profile.

one iteration
another design, lower top plate.

Associated wiring of the flight controller outputs to  below main deck ESCs, removal of the supplied right angle header on flight controller and the wires hard soldered from below cleaned up some clutter. Next will be the addition and calibration of the receiver. Considering still using the solid hull sides (cut horizontal) enclosing the electronics on decks and /or more horizontal chassis plates (chopped and channeled). Antenna mounts ordered for receiver. USB extension cord used for programming after build.

Mains wiring to the motors is enclosed in carbon fiber conduit which further complicated the wiring scheme. The wiring for the receiver inputs is yet to be added.

You can see the previous difference if interested at repair of the UDI drone/ state of the drone/ updated

Dronin Flight Control is currently loaded on board, All other flight control software still did not work on a MAC laptop so  a Windows desktop system is used for calibration. May be a bad cable USB etc to the MAC but  time-consuming pointless troubleshooting at this point. Would be nice to a have laptop programming available for portability.

Wiring of the ESCs was time-consuming as the factory wiring was removed and soldered to custom length and some was rewired for proper motor rotation. Some jitter on the ESC motor testing but cleaning up and soldering of the ESCs and calibration cured the problems.



Rotating hearts LED display

“An unique gift for any romantic occasion” reads the advertisement from It’s been a while since I built a hobby kit and the last one I built  years ago was the Flashing LED Sweetheart. This year the Rotating Hearts LED display was ordered. It’s a CANA kit, made in Canada and for $29.95 seemed slightly expensive over the $6.95  Flashing LED Sweetheart, but it has 2 double sided  circuit boards, 46 LEDs, and an assortment of resistors, transistors and capacitors.

Lets take a look:




You’ll need a soldering iron, rosin core solder (I can’t believe how expensive solder is now) , a set of nippers for clipping the leads flush to the boards, a small place to work and good lighting to identify the marking of the components, such as the color bands on the resistors.

The Rotating Hearts LED display Cana kit contains 2 instructions sheets. One general assembly guide sheet, and an assembly guide sheet specific to the Rotating Hearts LED display.

The general assembly guide sheet contains info on soldering tips, diagrams and instructions for mounting components, their orientation, and charts for reading component values. 

Unpack the kit and sort out the components, read through the instructions sheets before starting.

The circuit boards are  well laid out and marked for proper placement of components. Observe closely the parts that are polarity sensitive to avoid damaging them or resulting in inoperative results.

The assembly guide gives you the order to install components and as in the General assembly guide specific diagrams on component placement.


Neatness counts, avoid solder bridges and cut off the leads close to the board.




Double check all the components ,If all goes well when you apply power it should create a moving light display,

the speed adjustable through a trimmer potentiometer.



Kit building is fun and if you interested in electronics, educational. This Cana kit provides a schematic but no theory of operation.

The small parts and small solder pads gives you exercise of manual dexterity and if needed, troubleshooting skills.

Assembling kits also can make handmade gift that is special.

This Cana kit  provides a power jack for a wall wart power supply but I used a 9 volt battery for now. has a wide assortment of kits and electronics.  

After the Valentine chocolates, flowers and dinner fade away, two hearts remain.


January 2023

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