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jsud2002

DIY LED clock kit

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I learned to solder when my extractor hood packed in; got some solder and an iron for about £6 from tool station. Fixed the hood and saved about £150.

I tested the hood before I put it back together, to my surprise it worked....  unfortunately my surprise was intensified somewhat as at the time I was contacting live parts and 230v is quite a jolt!

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16 hours ago, Jonesinamillion said:

I learned to solder when my extractor hood packed in; got some solder and an iron for about £6 from tool station. Fixed the hood and saved about £150.

I tested the hood before I put it back together, to my surprise it worked....  unfortunately my surprise was intensified somewhat as at the time I was contacting live parts and 230v is quite a jolt!

As I said earlier, learn to avoid zaparoonies off the mains, always keep one hand in your pocket (NO! not for that! naughty boys! :nono:) tracking 230v across your heart from one hand to the other is not recommended, things can come to a sudden stop!

BTW, I gave in, I've sent for one! :russian_roulette:

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Hate to say... not my project and not LED's but electronics are my background (worked for HP for 30+ years). Searched these for quite some time. A Nixie clock. I wanted the biggest and baddest tubes made (IN-18's). Was going to get a kit but this showed up all assembled with the NIXIE's, case, converter..., everything! That was cheaper than me putting it all together (not cheap by any stretch!). I couldn' resist. Makes the nicest glow at night! The wife even loves it...

20171207_133403_zpsrq5bsgwd.jpg

20180403_190822_zpspdhauhqv.jpg

(Hope I didn't hijack her thread)

 

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There's nowt wrong with a BIG Nixie or two - - :nono:

(Her sister's nice as well!)

When I started in 'puterin' we had a room at work built on a suspended floor with the big reel to reel machinery humming away. We had to wear clean overalls and overshoes to keep the dust down just to go in and take the readings off the NIXIES. Those were the days!

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10 hours ago, Mechanical Alarm said:

20180403_190822_zpspdhauhqv.jpg

 

I saw my first Nixie clock last week whilst watching a netflix series called Travelers , one of the characters had one in his flat . As the nixies are out of my price range it got me thinking what else could I buy and stumbled upon the LED kits . 

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On 01/05/2018 at 01:16, Mechanical Alarm said:

Hate to say... not my project and not LED's but electronics are my background (worked for HP for 30+ years). Searched these for quite some time. A Nixie clock. I wanted the biggest and baddest tubes made (IN-18's). Was going to get a kit but this showed up all assembled with the NIXIE's, case, converter..., everything! That was cheaper than me putting it all together (not cheap by any stretch!). I couldn' resist. Makes the nicest glow at night! The wife even loves it...

20171207_133403_zpsrq5bsgwd.jpg

20180403_190822_zpspdhauhqv.jpg

(Hope I didn't hijack her thread)

 

 

Oh, I need one of those in my life!

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My kit arrived today!

It's reasonably priced and the PCB is (or looks anyway) good quality. Checking with my handy jewellers loupe, the PCB is "plated through" - - which for the uninitiated means the holes on the board are effectively double sided and when you solder in a part, there is a connection made not only between the part and the bottom of the board (where you usually apply the soldering iron) and also between the part and the top of the board via the actual solder. This allows the PCB to be made as neat as possible as you can have tracks to other parts both on the top and the bottom of the PCB.

The individual parts are well enough labelled and the orientation of most looks to be well marked in the silk screened parts symbols on the board (both sides). I'm not sure about P3 on the board as to what part this actually is - - think I would have to solder in everything else and then use what's left - - possibly it's the bit that looks like a glass diode in the physical parts, but I haven't checked the actual part for any printed part number or whatever. P1 is also (at this stage) doubtful as to orientacion, but all may become clearer as work goes on.

Q1 thru 4 are the small black three legged semiconductors (transistors) and they absolutely MUST be correctly placed as per the silk screen or it just won't work as well as potentially destroying the parts on switch on.

I'd suggest it may be sensible for those trying this for the first time, to go back to the original advert and print off the pretty pictures to help in assembly, I know I will do so - - the instructions by themselves are barely just adequate, and all help will be useful.

@jsud2002 , let us know what iron you have ordered, some may be just TOO big to construct this PCB, and will destroy the PCB by applying too much heat.

Any questions anyone - - just ask, keep the thread going as required.

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@mel I ordered this cheap and cheerful piece of kit .. I did not want to spend a fortune on something I may not use again 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/14-in-1-230V-30W-Electric-Soldering-Iron-Tools-Kit-Sets-Stand-Desoldering-Pumps/263636517655?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

I did find this video on you tube showing how it is all done and noticed he mentions he had a spare part or two . The video is rather long and in times a bit stretched out so if you decide to watch it be prepared to fast forward some of it . 

 

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@jsud2002 looks good enough, the tip MAY come out of the iron itself and be reversed to have an even smaller tip, I have seen them where you can do this by loosening the Philips screw slightly, but check the instructions when you get the iron. If there's a selection of tips. use the smallest one there is!

You should also "season" an iron by letting it heat up in the holder, melt some solder onto the very tip ONLY, then flick any excess off again before use. AS I said before, practice a bit before you start and get the confidence going. Look at the PCB and you will see the "shiny spots" are very close together. You have to just apply enough solder to complete the joint, but NOT as much as will "bridge" over to another spot.

Take it gently till you get used to soldering as an art/job, all your joints made should be "shiny" - if they are a dull grey then you may have what is called a "dry" joint with a high electrical resistance - - simply put, the electrickery won't get through as much.  I've spent many an hour "fixing" VEGA tv sets ( a wee portable telly from Russia ) simply by remaking all the many dry joints in them, they were notorious for it!

Good Luck - - keep us posted!

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6 minutes ago, MyrridinEmrys said:

I have one very similar ... I say I have one but my stepson "borrowed" it and is now in his room. If I was to venture into his room to retrieve it I may never be seen again :laugh:

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@MyrridinEmrys is correct, a "third hand" is very useful, simply to hold the PCB steady whilst you work around it - - as you can see in the video, he kind of holds it as well as applying solder and the iron all at the same time. You can make a small subsitute by screwing a clothes peg to a bit of board and using the peg to grip the PCB in the position you want it in.

(You learn these things working in remote locations without a workshop - - find an local shop and buy some clothes pegs, drill a hole in one leg, self tapper into bit of scrap board and BINGO - - I've even asked a woman for a peg from her clothes line - strange look but when I explained she laughed and gave me a couple )

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The soldering kit arrived this morning and all looks to be good. One question though that hopefully someone can answer what is this 

IMG_20180505_105249671.jpg

It appears to be some kind of hard resin ? 

@mel looking at the tip of the soldering iron I believe it is small enough to do the job 

IMG_20180505_105306358.jpg

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16 minutes ago, MyrridinEmrys said:

It looks like rosin flux. I think it becomes liquid when heated.

What would it be used for ?? 

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The wee box looks like flux in block form. Go back to where I said it's good to "season" an iron? It may be you find the solder melts OK but just runs off the tip and you lose it all over the shag pile carpet. :taz:

Let the iron heat up (particularly on the very first use) and stab it into the flux block for a second or two - - the flux should kind of melt and fizz a tad, coating the tip of the iron - - it is just the tip of the tip you stab into the flux block - - then you  just touch the tip with the solder and it should nicely coat the tip of the iron with a nice shiny film of solder.

"Kind of" the theory is that - that film of solder will remain thin but molten meaning you don't have to linger longer on the joint with iron and overheat parts and PCB etc.

Jaysus Keyrice, these things are second nature for those who have experience, but ferkin hard to describe on paper without being able to just demonstrate as you talk them through! :bash:

Bit like dancing - - I can teach you to dance by demo, but on paper it's a nightmare! :spam_laser:

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@mel cheers for the advice .

Hopefully on Tuesday I have the house to myself so the plan is to do it then. 

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1 hour ago, jsud2002 said:

Hopefully on Tuesday I have the house to myself so the plan is to do it then. 

Don't forget the Germolene, plasters and fire extinguisher. :thumbsup:

 

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You need the rosin flux to make the solder flow properly. 

As you are making small electrical joints you can use rosin cored solder. 

That makes things easy. Your solder is hollow and stuffed with the stuff.

If you are a plumber and making copper water pipe joints you might need to heat a large area at once, that's when you are going to use your box of flux. You will be using a blow torch rather than a soldering iron.

Don't panic. Your kit will turn out fine.

 

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On 03/05/2018 at 11:11, ziggy1024 said:

 

Oh, I need one of those in my life!

Oh yes a nice Nixie tube clock, does anyone recommend any particular UK kit supplier I wonder?? Do they do make a very faint click/tick when they change number??

Edited by odyseus10

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