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16  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)? on: January 17, 2011, 02:39:45 pm
Samsung home printers seem to get referred to, in the hobby circles, as a very good make for doing TT prints .

I like your board BTW and in reference to your being able to 'publish' your PCB pattern I think your OK if it's not for profit.

I use PCB Wizard for my board design. I have an official disk I bought from maplins which runs under WINE in Linux. I also have a 'broken version' which runs off my USB stick. This makes it easy for me to take the stick to the printers with the file to be printed as well. So the printer inserts the stick on his PC fires up PCB wizard and opens the file to be printed.

I have no printer at all so this is a great help to me. I have also drawn up some 22mm diameter PCB's for LED arrays using 'The Gimp'. This allowed me to rotate the LED's to 'non- standard' attitudes. That is not just vertical and horizontal. I draw them up twice size then scale, convert to a PDF and off to the printers again.

If this link works you can see the words on the PCB to.

Some of the lettering is only 1.5mm high if that. I am fairly constantly surprised with how much closer I could make's just having the nerve to do it. Using the 'if it ain't broken, don't fix it' mode of thinking  ;D


17  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)? on: January 17, 2011, 12:09:52 pm
There is a possibility that the toner had a different make up. This may account for it but don't quote me =D . Using an iron I did on occasion have bad spreading of some tracks so there is a trade off on heat and pressure to resolve it I would think. It's all down to practice in the end to get that 'knack'.

I dread my laminator breaking........In fact I have a spare stashed away ready to modify and press into service  :smiley

I should say that from time to time there are minor imperfections that I have to use a sharpie to fix. But usually only a minutes work at far. But I do expect to have a total screw up some time that will require a full clean down and restart at some point.


18  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)? on: January 17, 2011, 07:06:08 am
The photo paper I have at the moment is -

HP 'Everyday photo paper'. It is semi-gloss (I think I called it semi-matt earlier) for inkjet. It is 170g/m2.

The gloss paper at the printers was also about 170g/m2. It reminded me of the stuff used on 'up marked' magazine covers.

There is a knack to using a household iron. I struggled bravely on with it for a couple of months. It is probably the most intensive part of the process. The iron needs to be moved around. But not by 'skating' pick it up and place it back down. Overlapping where it has just been. Apply plenty of pressure.

Make sure the edges of the PCB are de burred as if left in place it may stop the iron putting enough pressure near the edges leading to poor adhesion.

Pre heating the PCB first with the iron is also a good move. I do have a tutorial posted up at the projectdalek site (I'm a mod there shhhh) If you want I could post it in a new topic? It was written based on my first efforts.

My very first attempt, which was to build a prototype voice mod on, went perfectly, 100% even, using the TT on photo paper. Previously, and at much expense, I had fought with the 'press n peel blue'. This was very hit and miss with regards to the PnP crinkling at the edges during transfer which smeared the traces or left gaps. This may be purely down to not having the knack but I was up and down the temperature scale trying to cure this issue without success.

Local printers are also more likely to let you use your photo paper in their machines as the PnP needs to be attached to a normal bit of paper to act as a carrier to ensure it passes through the printer without mishap. Also if your not using the whole sheet it's pricey or just fiddly cutting out the piece you need to stick to the carrier. with photo paper you can be a bit wasteful for the price.

Obviously I have moved on with the conversion and use of a laminator but the basics are all the same.

To date I have made, in the 2 years since my first efforts, around 40 PCB's and probably a few more than that. I have a page set up now, waiting to print, with about 8 PCB patterns on it. ;D


19  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)? on: January 15, 2011, 05:51:57 pm
Hi Pwillard

I don't want to drag this thread to far off course. But, do you find it difficult to remove the emulsion layer when soaking the paper off the boards when using the high gloss?

I used gloss paper for my first few boards and it was hellish to get off. That's why I now use matt or semi matt photo paper now. It all comes of really easily. I can even, carefully, use a pan scourer to clean the last remnants off to clear the 'through holes' for better etching. The scourer is the type on the flip side of a sponge not a metal pad.

Also, my friendly local printers, did some test prints for me on heavy weight gloss paper that they use to do fancy fliers on for other clients. This paper is very cheap and the results were as good as photo paper and soaked off even easier.


20  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)? on: January 15, 2011, 09:29:08 am
Hi there

If non of the toner is transferring then either it's not a laser printer that printed the image, used the wrong type of paper, the iron wasn't hot enough or the copper clad has a 'film' or chemical layer that is interfering.

I use matt or semi matt photo paper with an iron set to somewhere close to the polyester setting. Lots of pressure needs to be applied to aid good transfer. I actually use a laminator I converted with a cloths iron thermostat to do the transfer now.

I take it you are cleaning the copper face? I use fine wire wool then wash the copper with hot water and detergent before drying.

I started doing my own 2 years ago and have never had a major issue that a sharpie wont fix.

Hope this is of some help.

EDIT: Read the thread properly. Iron temp is favourite.
21  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Baby steps on: January 21, 2011, 10:41:50 am
I guess I may have just terrified the chip to death  ;D

At least it is working again though.

I changed the some numbers around and symbols to change the direction of the LED's.

Then I realised I only had to swap the 'HIGH' and 'LOW' of the two lines that loop to change the direction  ;D ;D ;D

So much to learn so little lifespan!


22  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Baby steps on: January 21, 2011, 08:51:02 am
It looks like I tried to change the wrong part of the code. I think, and I'm only guessing, I sent the arduino into a loop that was so fast it couldn't communicate with the PC.

I found the correct bit of code today and have changed the direction of the 8 LED's.........GOSH! Aren't I clever  ;D


23  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Baby steps on: January 20, 2011, 05:28:46 pm
I have just had a brown trouser moment! I changed some code to try and get a row of LED's to run from right to left instead of left to right..........Locked the board up the green LED was going bonkers!

Programmer could not be uploaded to =O

Went to the directed to web page. Nothing similar to the listed issues.

So in the end I did the following. Partially based on resetting a router when it goes AWOL =D

I held the reset button down inserted the usb and hit timing seems to have been perfect as It's now all working again......thought I'd fried it! And me with 70 breadboard hookup wires on the way =D
24  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Baby steps on: January 19, 2011, 07:15:14 pm
As a rule I only use them if I have to. Other than that it's a selection of online electronic suppliers and ebay. With all the benefits of spending less.


25  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Baby steps on: January 19, 2011, 05:44:35 pm
One tip I'm going to follow is to 'flow diagram' what I want to do with a given circuit. It wont make the programming any easier but at least it can be broken down into 'chunks' that may be easier to get my head round.

I've looked at a lot of sketches and how-to guides and there seems to be the long hand method of coding and, when your really smart, the short hand method which uses array's and values to minimize the amount actual code needed to do the job.

I've just looked at Maplins for jumper wires...........£4 sterling for 10 pcs  of one length. ............ Ebay  70 pcs in 4 lengths £4. I know where my money will be going  ;D

I to have one specific project in mind. Actually I have already drawn it up and simulated it with out using a processor. The Arduino, once I get my head around the coding, will at the same time make the design simpler but allow a greater complexity to the control without having to add extra components here and there.

What have I let myself in for?


26  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Baby steps on: January 18, 2011, 03:25:22 pm
Mine will be a mix of Copy/Paste mixed with a generous side order of desperation!

I have a pair of tri colour LED's flashing from red to blue in antiphase just copy/pasting code and adjusting pin numbers. A minuscule step but it works.

I think I need to go to Maplins and grap some 'proper' breadboard wires and a dedicated breadboard.


27  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Baby steps on: January 18, 2011, 08:13:12 am
I can do elegant.......It's the coding that's going to be iffy  :-/

My Module arrived today! It is in fact a clone, but no matter, it works!

The board is marked -


The make up of the board includes the 'auto' voltage/power input. Overall I am very pleased and my only niggle is that the crystal isn't sat flat to the PCB which is a non issue really.

As soon as I plugged the USB cable in the 'Blinky' sketch started running. So I placed an LED in Pin 13/GND and that completes my first lesson  ;D

I'll just scratch my head and wonder what to do next I think.....Over a lovely cup of Yorkshire tea!


28  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Baby steps on: January 15, 2011, 05:40:35 pm
Hi Chaps

I have an Ubuntu OS (Linux). I have been Windows free for 2 years......good grief I sound like a client at a 'Windows Users Anonymous' meeting  ;D

I have been reading sketch's, tutorials and watching youtube video's of everything Arduino. My mind is set to explode out of both ears I think. I get the drift but I fancy there is some subtlety in good coding which I hope will make more sense when I have my module and start trying the various tutorials.

It should be a laugh.....depending on your point of view.


29  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Baby steps on: January 15, 2011, 09:18:10 am
Hi All

This is my first post along with my first foray into the 'black art' of coding. I have some experience with programming '........................' . Sorry that pause was whilst I laughed myself silly. For programming please read ZX81 - and perhaps 10 lines of basic.

I dabble in electronics and despite some success, DIY voice modulator manual on the project dalek boards, I am and always will be a rank amateur.

Due to some issues with retention of information I find it a bit of a slog. I have been avoiding uP's like the plague but am wondering if it may be a worthwhile path to follow. I will at least have a bash and see if I can do anything 'interesting'.

Or I may be swapping one set of 'problem solving' for another  ;D

For my Birthday my Lovely wife has ordered a arduino diecimila clone with a 328 uP on board. I have the IDE software installed on my Linux box and 3 weighty tomes, OK PDF's, to read and guide my first steps.

I have a few ideas, simple fare, of what I want to have a bash at but not a patch on the majority of applications the membership seem to be conjuring up.

I draw up my own PCB's and make them using the toner transfer method. I converted a laminator using a clothes iron thermostat  to get the hotter range needed to do the job.

Successful electronic projects I have done-
Voice mod for Dalek use. A lot of people from the UK, US and AU have taken up the design to use in their builds.
Knight rider LED array for 'Dalek Storm'
Sound and lights for dalek weapon can see a pattern here cant you  smiley-wink
A few LED props for a 'Doctor Who' Look a like, working on a 'Berylium chip' prop for him now to.
and various breadboarded circuits just to play with.

That's about it I think. Hopefully I'll have my arduino mid week and can start asking stupid good questions.


30  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Homebrew Waterfall Display HOWTO on: January 15, 2011, 08:21:20 pm
I've never seen the advert before. Very clever indeed. I cant add anything useful to this but this may be of some note to your/anyone's efforts.

Using such small bore valves may not work as well as you expect. I'm working on the theory that the viscosity of water remains the same. Scaling down the apparatus will present a higher resistance to the flow of water through the smaller bore of the valves.

So there may be a limit to the minimum bore needed for the water to flow fast enough to give good delineation of patterns. This may be overcome by having a higher volume of water in the 'trough' so that the water pressure, caused by the mass, over comes the smaller bore.

I'm not trying to rain on anyone's see what I did there  ;D I just wonder if it may be a problem. One area that makes me wonder is model boating. One book I read pointed out that a model boat, even if scaled to the nth degree, will still act differently in the water, to it's full size counterpart, because the waters density remains unchanged it is denser in relation to the model.

It would be a great feat to see though and the solenoid system sounds feasible if the time/distance and water flow can be sorted.


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