DIY Soldering Station with Hakko FX-888 Iron – Part 3

SS_FinalIn Part 1 and Part 2 we looked at the implementation of the Soldering Station. This part covers the tuning carried out to improve reliability of the temperature control.

Tuning should not be required for repeat applications as the parameters are now built into the controller software. However, I will describe the process as it was interesting how additional performance could be obtained from the same hardware by tuning the software.

Continue reading “DIY Soldering Station with Hakko FX-888 Iron – Part 3”

DIY Soldering Station with Hakko FX-888 Iron – Part 2

SS_FinalIn Part 1 we looked at the design and hardware for the Soldering Station. This part covers the software, assembly and calibration of the system to provide accurate and reliable temperature control.

Continue reading “DIY Soldering Station with Hakko FX-888 Iron – Part 2”

DIY Soldering Station with Hakko FX-888 Iron – Part 1

SS_FinalAfter many years persevering with a ‘simple’ soldering iron, I acquired a temperature controlled iron and was amazed at the difference it made to the quality of my work. Recently the iron failed and, although I managed to find the fault and repair it (the temperature sensor wire had broken off), it made me realize that I should keep one as a spare. It is actually quite difficult to repair an iron without an iron!

As I can’t afford to buy an expensive piece of equipment ‘just in case’, I decided to use this as an excuse for a hardware and software project based around a Hakko-FX888 soldering handpiece that I had already purchased.
Continue reading “DIY Soldering Station with Hakko FX-888 Iron – Part 1”

Double Height Digits on a Character LCD Module

LCD2H_FontTwo line LCD modules based on the Hitachi HD44780 LCD controller (commonly referred to as 1602 LCD) are a very inexpensive way to add an output device to an Arduino project, enabling all manner of user information to be displayed in a flexible format.

I have found, though, that I am not able to read this display at a distance (maybe it is age related!). For my own projects I developed code that allows numbers to be displayed over both lines of the LCD display, making the ‘current’ value display for instruments, for example, more obvious and more visible.

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UV Curing Lamp for DIY PCB Solder Mask

UV_Curing_In ActionOne of the downsides of home-made CNC printed circuit boards is that a lot of the copper cladding remains and can lead to short circuits when solder strays onto the common waste area outside the formed tracks. Also, after a while it tarnishes and does not look great.

One solution to both these problems is to apply a solder mask over everything that is not meant to have solder on it, similar to professionally made boards.

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LCD Module Horizontal Bar Graph

BarGraphA bar graph is a horizontal graphical representation of an analog value, where the length of the graph is proportional to its full scale value. I recently needed to display a bar chart on a LCD character display module, but searching the web for code I didn’t find what I needed, so I wrote my own. In case it is useful to someone else, here it is.

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Using the ACS712 Current Sensor

ACS712I recently obtained a couple of these sensors for a project and have been exploring how they can be used to detected both DC and AC currents. I also wanted to understand what was needed for proper calibration of the ADC readings at the Arduino.

The ACS712 hall effect current sensor is commonly available from generic suppliers incorporated onto GY712 sensor boards shown in picture.

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Dual Voltage Power Supply

Dual_Supply 1Switching ‘buck converter’ power supply modules are fantastic, efficient, and can be bought for a few dollars (if not cents!). One drawback for me is that sometimes I need to have both positive and negative voltage supplies, and the buck converter/wall wart combination is not easily adapted to suit.

For these situations I have developed a reusable basic design using the LM317/LM337 3-Terminal Adjustable Voltage Regulators. Continue reading “Dual Voltage Power Supply”

Lathe Mounted Disc Sander

Lathe SandingSanding machines are common in most woodworking shops. I have thought about getting a disc sander for my garage/workshop but I don’t have the space for a dedicated machine and – never having owned one – am not sure how much use it would get, making it doubly hard to justify.

Recently I was looking at my lathe and the penny dropped that this is a horizontal motor to which you can attach stuff that rotates. I had the basis of the disc sander staring me in the face.

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MAX7219 LED Matrix Module Micro Word Clock

WordClockA Word Clock is a clock that tells the time using words.

In an era when super-accurate digital clocks are available to most people on the planet, it intrigues me that Word Clocks have a place as they only show the time to the nearest five minutes!

Building one has been on my project to-do list for a while, but I didn’t want to invest the time and money needed for the various ‘from scratch’ build projects that I found online.

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