Sunday, June 13, 2010

I have stuffed the board with 24 super bright LEDs. In fact I have reused the old ones that are still good. They have a warm tone I prefer. You can see the daughter board "on-edge" in this shot. It has two brass lugs that twist and lock into the power buss holders. The holders can be strung with connecting wires so you can have a string of up to 8 (or more with a higher amp transformer) in series.

A side by side comparison. The one on the left is the new design using the warm LEDs. The one in the middle is using the cooler blue LEDs running on AC. And the one on the right is the AC warm LEDs. I can't tell any difference in brightness between the two warm ones like I thought I could. Since I ran out of the cool-colored LEDs, I can't do a full comparison with those yet.

Milled another 2 boards (total of 5) but am only using 4 right now. Measured the current at 285.5mA (~72mA per module). The transformer is rated 9V 1A, but the voltage is 10.71V. That is 3.05 Watts. Compare that to the 18W package marking.

Things are bright and easy to see again. Now I can get back to my projects.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Milling a LED light circuit

For the past couple of years I have been reviving some LED tasks lights I bought at Costco by replacing burned out LEDs. Each modules has 24 LEDs and it's tedious to find the 1 in the series that is the bad one. The circuit is a transformer-less capacitive AC circuit and it so poorly designed/built that the LEDs are being overdriven.

My solution was to redesign the modules for 12V DC using 8 parallel strands of 3 super bright LEDs pulling 18mA per strand. This video shows me cutting out the new and improved circuit board.


Monday, May 31, 2010


Been a long time since I've updated this blog. I have been addicted tot he and all thing computer controlled for the last 3 years. I have a CNC router and a desire to make things. You've seen my old Illuminames. I was using bamboo boxes from an outlet store. Next I tried making my own boxes with sliding lids, but those were a lot of work. My new version is a CNC cut box big enough to hold a custom circuit board (also CNC milled).

Here is my latest version make from an Australian red cedar that used to be part of a nice patio set from Costco before the weather and bugs destroyed it. Anyway, I plan to custom make these and sell these with all proceeds going to Autism Solution Center.

Other examples are here.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Hall sensor board take 2. here is how it turned out on the second go around. Tested it with a neodymium magnet and it works perfectly.

Also, I got a lot better result on the soldermask using thinner for the Vitrea 160 paint.
Wart Zapper! Here is a circuit I found on the web. I claimed to zap warts (something I wanted to do. Long story short,


I followed the directions here using SMD parts and adjusting the layout to fit on one side.


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Hall sensor break out board results:

Well, 1.1mm was just too small :) Never got it to work. Oh well, it was a long shot by hand for sure.

So I redid it for a "bigger " sensor device. Also, I am playing with a soldermask technique I found at It uses a glass paint called Vitrea 160. The image above I painted it with a narrow drush and avoided the pads. Then let it dry for a day and baked it to fuse the paint.

It's a work in progress as I'm not fomd of the "blobiness" of the paint. Trying to get the glass paint smooth is proving a challenge. I want the paint to flow and level out, but it doesn't. I may have to buy some of the thinner to see how that goes.

This last image shows a test I did using Press-N-Peel blue to mask the pads. I then painted over everything, baked it, and then used acetone to remove the mask (and paint on top. Worked really well, just need to improve my PNP blue techie as the mask smeared (due to too high heat and pressure I'm sure).


Sunday, July 26, 2009

I new milled circuit. Helping out a guy I met on the web that wanted a circuit milled. This is just a test to see if I can do the SMD pads. With the Widgetmaster and Wolfgang ... yep :) The smallest pads are .254mm wide. This is right off the mill with no "cleaning" of the whiskers of copper. I'm impressed.

Removed by request.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Milled an illuminame for me :D

1/4" Lexan. I bought some ball nose endmills. The rouging pass was with a 1/8" 2-flute end mill. The finish pass was a 1/16" ballnose. The max depth is 1/10". The sign is roughly 8 x 3.5"

I plan to light it from underneath.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I added a more precise spindle to my CNC router.

I broke down and bought a mount for my Wolfgang spindle to mount it to the Widgetmaster router. Was it worth it? You tell me...

Ran a test circuit to compare...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I know, I know ... It's been a long time since my last update. However I wanted to share this one. I was contacted by my alma mater to help them mount a SMD hall effect device. Rather than ask me what would be best, they already ordered the part. It's unbelievably small. How small, 1.1mm square!

Yeah, have a look at what I milled out:

Even closer:

The whole board is about 1.5 inches. There are 2 surface mount capacitors in the bottom right. They are size 805 for those that care :D

I'll update when I actually mount the switch and test it. This is a BGA device (4 balls) ... I've never soldered a BGA but plan to use my hot air station. My other option is to buy a skillet from goodwill and do a reflow.