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Re: [smartsockets] Is anyone interested in a group purchase scheme ?

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  • Ray Fenwick
    (Please excuse the double posting from Neonixie-L) Hi Chris I reckon I d be ok to make up the boards with decent instructions and the components there. I ve
    Message 1 of 12 , May 12 3:10 PM
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      (Please excuse the double posting from Neonixie-L)

      Hi Chris

      I reckon I'd be ok to make up the boards with decent instructions and
      the
      components there. I've made a Nixie clock from a kit ( Laurence
      Wilkins'
      NixIIe, no less), but put it in a custom enclosure with a dekatron
      spinner
      and internal mains transformer rather than the wall-wart. (Note to
      self -
      upload a picture to the group...) :)

      The problem would come from my lack of knowledge (and therefore
      confidence) in obtaining the correct components, or having to work out
      how/where things go myself.

      Of course it is a great way to learn, but my budget doesn't allow it :(

      If a smartsocket's kit was available on eBay (for example) I'd
      certainly be
      buying some, but as it is I think I need to do a couple more builds
      before
      I tackle a "find all the bits yourself and work it out" project!

      Ray
      On 12 May 2008, at 22:33, Chris wrote:

      > Would anyone be interested in getting some B7971 PCB's ?
      > If there was enough demand I am sure that one of use could get a batch
      > of boards made up. If you are interested just reply to this message,
      > or
      > send me an email if you wish to remain anonymous, and if there is
      > enough interest shown in the next couple of weeks we can get some more
      > boards made.
      >
      > Chris
    • Brett Paulin
      Hi Chris, I d be interested, but after building my first 6 boards, I d prefer to make the next lot use surface mount transistor and resistors. I actually used
      Message 2 of 12 , May 12 6:42 PM
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        Hi Chris,

        I'd be interested, but after building my first 6 boards, I'd prefer to make
        the next lot use surface mount transistor and resistors. I actually used SMD
        resistors in place of some of the through-holes on one of the boards as a
        test too see if they would handle the volts, and its running fine.

        I suppose that means a board re-design, tooling, panel costs etc, so if thats
        not a realistic option, I would probably take another 2 of the current design
        boards if that helps.

        brett


        On Tue, 13 May 2008 07:33:41 am Chris wrote:
        > Would anyone be interested in getting some B7971 PCB's ?
        > If there was enough demand I am sure that one of use could get a batch
        > of boards made up. If you are interested just reply to this message, or
        > send me an email if you wish to remain anonymous, and if there is
        > enough interest shown in the next couple of weeks we can get some more
        > boards made.
        >
        > Chris
      • Chris
        ... to make ... actually used SMD ... boards as a ... so if thats ... current design ... It has crossed my mind before to make an SMD version, but at the
        Message 3 of 12 , May 13 12:54 AM
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          --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, Brett Paulin <yahoogroups@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Hi Chris,
          >
          > I'd be interested, but after building my first 6 boards, I'd prefer
          to make
          > the next lot use surface mount transistor and resistors. I
          actually used SMD
          > resistors in place of some of the through-holes on one of the
          boards as a
          > test too see if they would handle the volts, and its running fine.
          >
          > I suppose that means a board re-design, tooling, panel costs etc,
          so if thats
          > not a realistic option, I would probably take another 2 of the
          current design
          > boards if that helps.
          >
          > brett
          >

          It has crossed my mind before to make an SMD version, but at the
          moment I work at producing things and selling them on at about cost
          price, so I am trying to serve everyone from one basket. An SMD board
          would be good, but then beginners and newcomers easily get daunted by
          the prospects of SMD, I did myself.

          We had better see what the demand is like first
        • Chris
          There are some instructions already in the files section Ray, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smartsockets/files/%2CB7971/ Although there are no pictures in this
          Message 4 of 12 , May 13 12:57 AM
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            There are some instructions already in the files section Ray,
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smartsockets/files/%2CB7971/

            Although there are no pictures in this version. I did a more detailed
            assembly instruction set for the ZM1350. I could easily add to the
            B7971 instructions, but it's all just a question of getting the time
            to do it at the moment.


            Chris


            --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, Ray Fenwick <ray@...> wrote:
            >
            > (Please excuse the double posting from Neonixie-L)
            >
            > Hi Chris
            >
            > I reckon I'd be ok to make up the boards with decent instructions
            and
            > the
            > components there. I've made a Nixie clock from a kit ( Laurence
            > Wilkins'
            > NixIIe, no less), but put it in a custom enclosure with a dekatron
            > spinner
            > and internal mains transformer rather than the wall-wart. (Note to
            > self -
            > upload a picture to the group...) :)
            >
            > The problem would come from my lack of knowledge (and therefore
            > confidence) in obtaining the correct components, or having to work
            out
            > how/where things go myself.
            >
            > Of course it is a great way to learn, but my budget doesn't allow
            it :(
            >
            > If a smartsocket's kit was available on eBay (for example) I'd
            > certainly be
            > buying some, but as it is I think I need to do a couple more
            builds
            > before
            > I tackle a "find all the bits yourself and work it out" project!
            >
            > Ray
            > On 12 May 2008, at 22:33, Chris wrote:
            >
            > > Would anyone be interested in getting some B7971 PCB's ?
            > > If there was enough demand I am sure that one of use could get a
            batch
            > > of boards made up. If you are interested just reply to this
            message,
            > > or
            > > send me an email if you wish to remain anonymous, and if there is
            > > enough interest shown in the next couple of weeks we can get some
            more
            > > boards made.
            > >
            > > Chris
            >
          • marc_bury
            ... Hi Chris, that is a great idea ! As a matter of fact, I tried to contact Onno Tromop in Nederlands (http://www.tromop.eu/) since he proposes PCB based on
            Message 5 of 12 , May 13 1:19 AM
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              --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, "Chris" <fixitsan@...> wrote:
              >
              > Would anyone be interested in getting some B7971 PCB's ?
              > Chris
              >

              Hi Chris, that is a great idea !

              As a matter of fact, I tried to contact Onno Tromop in Nederlands
              (http://www.tromop.eu/) since he proposes PCB based on your design,
              as well as programmed PICs and kits of PCB pins to handle the B7971.
              I particularly like the kit with 6 PCBs, 6 PICs and 6 kits of pins.

              So this is really a suggestion: if you organize the making of
              smartsocket PCBs, why not also porpose bunch of pins and even
              programmed PICs for others ?

              BR,
              Marc
            • Owen Rubin
              Per my previous request for getting boards made, one user in this forum did post that he was getting more made and people who wanted them could contact him.
              Message 6 of 12 , May 13 1:26 PM
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                Per my previous request for getting boards made, one user in this forum did
                post that he was getting more made and people who wanted them could contact
                him.

                Are we talking about making more? I might be interested in some more, but I
                too would like to see them complete if you are planning on using surface
                mount components, as I have no way to build such a board. If normal
                component type, then a board and a programmed PIC should be included, as
                some of us are not so handy programming the pics, and I agree, a completely
                stuffed board tested, and a complete kit would make great eBay items, which
                I am happy to set up auctions for if someone builds enough.

                Cheers,
                -Owen-
              • Chris
                ... I suppose that is not too difficult at all. The only issue I have is with cost. If there is only a small amount of interest then the price is high. This
                Message 7 of 12 , May 13 2:08 PM
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                  --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, "marc_bury" <marc_bury@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, "Chris" <fixitsan@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Would anyone be interested in getting some B7971 PCB's ?
                  > > Chris
                  > >
                  >
                  > Hi Chris, that is a great idea !
                  >
                  > As a matter of fact, I tried to contact Onno Tromop in Nederlands
                  > (http://www.tromop.eu/) since he proposes PCB based on your design,
                  > as well as programmed PICs and kits of PCB pins to handle the B7971.
                  > I particularly like the kit with 6 PCBs, 6 PICs and 6 kits of pins.
                  >
                  > So this is really a suggestion: if you organize the making of
                  > smartsocket PCBs, why not also porpose bunch of pins and even
                  > programmed PICs for others ?
                  >
                  > BR,
                  > Marc
                  >


                  I suppose that is not too difficult at all. The only issue I have is
                  with cost. If there is only a small amount of interest then the price
                  is high. This makes them unnatractive to more people at a time when
                  it would be useful to have more people interested to get the prices
                  down. I certainly wouldn't expect to ask for money up front.

                  I'll look into it, I might be able to pay up front for a small
                  surplus of boards to be made, but as has been pointed out Onno Tromop
                  may well be the best bet, his board house can do re-runs easily as
                  far as I know. It all depends if Onno has the time to do this, should
                  we talk about this off-list Onno ?

                  It has been suggested a number of times that a kit similar to what
                  you have suggested should be made available. It's not great knowing
                  that people want to make these but can't foot the bill for a small
                  run of boards, hence the reason behind the group purpose idea.

                  Chris
                • Chris
                  ... forum did ... contact ... more, but I ... surface ... included, as ... completely ... items, which ... The issue I have is that construction of a socket
                  Message 8 of 12 , May 14 12:58 AM
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                    --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, Owen Rubin <orubin@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Per my previous request for getting boards made, one user in this
                    forum did
                    > post that he was getting more made and people who wanted them could
                    contact
                    > him.
                    >
                    > Are we talking about making more? I might be interested in some
                    more, but I
                    > too would like to see them complete if you are planning on using
                    surface
                    > mount components, as I have no way to build such a board. If normal
                    > component type, then a board and a programmed PIC should be
                    included, as
                    > some of us are not so handy programming the pics, and I agree, a
                    completely
                    > stuffed board tested, and a complete kit would make great eBay
                    items, which
                    > I am happy to set up auctions for if someone builds enough.
                    >
                    > Cheers,
                    > -Owen-
                    >


                    The issue I have is that construction of a socket was taking me over
                    30 minutes per socket when making batches of ten. The demand doesn't
                    seem to be high enough to warrant construction costs. One board house
                    quoted me a price for making and stuffing boards which would have
                    made them slightly more expensive than the prices I charged, but not
                    by much , if I ordered fifty.


                    Another way to make them more cost effective is to make boards which
                    drive more than one tube. The next easiest would be a 2-tube socket,
                    with one larger microcontroller driving both tubes. Alternatively a 4-
                    tube display would also be more cost effective.

                    The units could be made to work exactly the same as single sockets so
                    singles, doubles and quads could probably be mixed together in any
                    combination. It would mean quite a serious re-write of software but
                    thats the part I really enjoy. I suspect I could make these dispalys
                    multiplexed, which would reduce parts count.

                    An issue with multiplexing is that some of the effects are processor
                    intensive and it may not be possible to get the smoothest
                    transitions, but a double could be made with one controller, direct
                    drive which negates that issue.

                    This is something I need to do some work on, but I am wondering if
                    anyone had any interest in this idea because most people are making
                    two, four and six tube displays and therefore there seems to be a
                    logic in making sockets for even numbers of tubes.

                    I'ld be interested to hear anyone's thoughts.

                    Chris
                  • Brett Paulin
                    ... Surface mount components are a lot easier than you might think to hand assemble. The hardest part is not losing the components. :) Really fine pitch IC s
                    Message 9 of 12 , May 14 1:51 AM
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                      >> Are we talking about making more? I might be interested in some
                      >> more, but I too would like to see them complete if you are planning on
                      >> using surfacemount components, as I have no way to build such a board.

                      Surface mount components are a lot easier than you might think to hand
                      assemble. The hardest part is not losing the components. :)

                      Really fine pitch IC's are probably a bit hard, but DIP IC's dont need
                      the "bend-to-fit, insert, bend again to hold while you turn over, solder,
                      cut, pickup cut leads" process that through-hole discretes do anyway, so I'd
                      stay with a DIP for the Micro and SMD for the discretes. no Board flipping
                      with components falling out for SMD's either.

                      A pair of tweezers, a magnifying lamp (if you arent short-sighted - I am, so I
                      can see them fine) and you're away. Give it a go sometime, I use SMD
                      discretes for all my prototype's constructed on donut board now - it makes
                      assembly so much faster and neater.

                      Another idea *if* you are doing a board redesign - maybe run some wide
                      edge-connector style tracks to each edge of the board with the data-in,
                      data-out lines flipped appropriately so if you are mounting the boards all
                      next to each other (most likely), then you can just bridge links (perhaps the
                      cut-off through-hole leads - ;) ) from one board to the other to link them
                      together and then you dont need to spend ages making all the inter-board
                      connector cables.

                      Multiplexing probably isnt worthwhile with the cost of the micros being so
                      cheap.
                    • guus.assmann@wolmail.nl
                      A redesign using SMD will reduce the partcount a bit. Use driver IC s (high voltage ULN2003 version) These contain 7 drivers. So 2x 16 pin IC s and one
                      Message 10 of 12 , May 14 11:03 AM
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                        A redesign using SMD will reduce the partcount a bit.
                        Use driver IC's (high voltage ULN2003 version)
                        These contain 7 drivers. So 2x 16 pin IC's and one transistor will do the
                        trick.
                        I'm not sure if "base-resistors" are needed. If so, there's SMD-Arrays for
                        this too.
                        But it may cost a bit more and won't be a lot less work.
                        The end result may even be the same size as through-hole components.
                        All in all, some work and questionable improvement.

                        Still, I would be willing to make a redesign.

                        BR/
                        Guus Assmann

                        >-- Oorspronkelijk bericht --
                        >To: smartsockets@yahoogroups.com
                        >From: "Chris" <fixitsan@...>
                        >Date: Wed, 14 May 2008 07:58:52 -0000
                        >Subject: [smartsockets] Another type of socket , doubles, quads,(was) Re:Is
                        >anyone interested ....
                        >Reply-To: smartsockets@yahoogroups.com
                        >
                        >
                        >--- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, Owen Rubin <orubin@...> wrote:
                        >>
                        >> Per my previous request for getting boards made, one user in this
                        >forum did
                        >> post that he was getting more made and people who wanted them could
                        >contact
                        >> him.
                        >>
                        >> Are we talking about making more? I might be interested in some
                        >more, but I
                        >> too would like to see them complete if you are planning on using
                        >surface
                        >> mount components, as I have no way to build such a board. If normal
                        >> component type, then a board and a programmed PIC should be
                        >included, as
                        >> some of us are not so handy programming the pics, and I agree, a
                        >completely
                        >> stuffed board tested, and a complete kit would make great eBay
                        >items, which
                        >> I am happy to set up auctions for if someone builds enough.
                        >>
                        >> Cheers,
                        >> -Owen-
                        >>
                        >
                        >
                        >The issue I have is that construction of a socket was taking me over
                        >30 minutes per socket when making batches of ten. The demand doesn't
                        >seem to be high enough to warrant construction costs. One board house
                        >quoted me a price for making and stuffing boards which would have
                        >made them slightly more expensive than the prices I charged, but not
                        >by much , if I ordered fifty.
                        >
                        >
                        >Another way to make them more cost effective is to make boards which
                        >drive more than one tube. The next easiest would be a 2-tube socket,
                        >with one larger microcontroller driving both tubes. Alternatively a 4-
                        >tube display would also be more cost effective.
                        >
                        >The units could be made to work exactly the same as single sockets so
                        >singles, doubles and quads could probably be mixed together in any
                        >combination. It would mean quite a serious re-write of software but
                        >thats the part I really enjoy. I suspect I could make these dispalys
                        >multiplexed, which would reduce parts count.
                        >
                        >An issue with multiplexing is that some of the effects are processor
                        >intensive and it may not be possible to get the smoothest
                        >transitions, but a double could be made with one controller, direct
                        >drive which negates that issue.
                        >
                        >This is something I need to do some work on, but I am wondering if
                        >anyone had any interest in this idea because most people are making
                        >two, four and six tube displays and therefore there seems to be a
                        >logic in making sockets for even numbers of tubes.
                        >
                        >I'ld be interested to hear anyone's thoughts.
                        >
                        >Chris
                        >
                        >
                      • Chris
                        ... Thanks for the input over SMD components, I really must get myself to do something about it. I think i just use through hole because it is still readily
                        Message 11 of 12 , May 15 12:24 AM
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                          --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, Brett Paulin <yahoogroups@...>
                          wrote:
                          >>>

                          Thanks for the input over SMD components, I really must get myself to
                          do something about it. I think i just use through hole because it is
                          still readily available, but would like to try some SMD before it
                          becomes compulsory !



                          >
                          > Another idea *if* you are doing a board redesign - maybe run some
                          wide
                          > edge-connector style tracks to each edge of the board with the data-
                          in,
                          > data-out lines flipped appropriately so if you are mounting the
                          boards all
                          > next to each other (most likely), then you can just bridge links
                          (perhaps the
                          > cut-off through-hole leads - ;) ) from one board to the other to
                          link them
                          > together and then you dont need to spend ages making all the inter-
                          board
                          > connector cables.
                          >

                          Edge connectors on the side ? Great idea !
                          I guess I would need to make the tracks across the board which join
                          the edges larger than normal if somebody wanted to make a very large
                          array of them and hoped to pass all signals and voltages through
                          every edge connector ?

                          What would be the best track size here ? ' As large as can be made to
                          fit in the space allowed ' I suppose ?

                          Chris
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