Sunday, 17 May 2015

New Workshop - Feeling Drained

I had an unexpected call from the ground works contractor to say he would be able to start work on the floor slab and drainage earlier than expected so thing have once again started to move ahead.  This week they got the drains in and on Monday they will be digging the soakaway.

Big thanks to my dad who came over on Saturday & Sunday and made a start on painting the render. Also to Steve for coming round with his ronnie and drilling the foundation for the power cable.

Hopefully by the end of next weekend we will have a nice concrete floor and maybe even the guttering and downpipes.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Rubidium Lab Frequency Standard - Design Pt 1

Due to the bank holiday I finally had a bit of spare time today so I decided to try and make a start designing my Lab Frequency Standard.  I say start but in truth I have been researching this for some time.  I even ordered many of the parts so I had everything I would need to build a prototype.

Feature List

Whilst I was tempted to add all sorts of features such as a LCD display I decided to keep it simple. Below is a list of the feature I felt were essential.
  1. For it too be mains powered so not to tie up my bench PSU.
  2. A solid enclosure which is available in various sizes so I could make other devices to match.
  3. A combined power and status LED.
  4. Both 10Mhz and a 1Hz outputs.
  5. Independently buffered outputs.
A 24v power supply and the enclosure were easy to find and order online but I opted to prototype the the other parts of the system before designing a PCB.

Prototyping the Status Circuit

I decided to start with the status LED circuit, I had originally thought of using a micro controller but in the end I went with a simple transistor based circuit. After a bit of searching I found a project of which part of the design was just what I needed. Luckily I had all the parts so I knocked up a quick prototype and it worked perfectly.

Prototyping the Frequency Divider

I had originally intended to use a dedicated frequency divider chip to get the 1Hz output but they were a little on the pricey side of things.  After a bit of a search I came across TVB's site where he talks about using PIC microcontrollers to do the same job at a fraction of the price.  You can even order a pre programed PIC from him,  I decided however to opt for programming my own.  This is made much easier by the fact he has published all the HEX on his site.

The only issue currently is I cannot find my old programmer and I have not had much luck getting a cheap one I purchased on eBay to work although I think that might be a windows 8 issue.  Once I have overcome this issue I will get this aspect prototyped as well.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Coming Soon - May

Well writing a public list of what I was going to achieve has been at best a partial success. Like I expected I got distracted by other things, what with work, fizzPOP and Climate-KIC PIP but some progress has been made with most things from the list.  First the successes:
  • As per my previous post the workshop now has a roof, the walls are rendered and I have soffits and facia's.
  • The Printrbot build is now completed and I have done some test prints, although I am yet to use it in anger.
Progress has been made with the following:
  • The design has pretty much been finalised on the frequency standard project and I have most of the parts ordered.
  • The battery tab welder is progressing nicely, just waiting for a few parts to arrive and i can start the build.
And no progress has been made with the following
  • Other than a bit of light research no progress so far on designing my lab programmable DC load.
  • The OneTesla Tesla Coil kit is still sat in the box.
This months list is as follows, I have tried to be a bit more realistic with my goals:
  1. Pour the workshop floor and hopefully get some doors fitted.
  2. Finish designing and start assembly of my battery tab welder.
  3. Finish designing and start building my lab frequency standard project.
  4. Start work designing my lab programmable DC load
  5. Build my OneTesla Tesla Coil kit.
  6. Start designing a USB phone charger run off Makita batteries.
Hopefully I will make my way through a few more of the items than last month!

Friday, 1 May 2015

New Workshop - Rendered speechless

Just another quick end of the week progress report on the workshop.  I am really surprised how much things have progressed this week things have really moved along. The soffits and fascias have been installed and the rendering has been completed which was no small feat considering the weather has not been great.  We didn't get the guttering up but all in all things have moved on nicely.

Things will slow down now as I am waiting for the concrete floor to be poured and the drainage installed which the contractor can't fit in until the end of the month.  Once that done the doors can be fitted and we will be about done other than the fit out .