It has Begun


Discussion for purchasers of our original IN-7 Nixie chessboard

Posts: 13

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:13 pm

Location: Texas, USA

Post Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:46 pm

It has Begun

Hello nixie group!

I got my kit about two weeks ago, and plan to do some chronicling of my build here. Hopefully I'll learn something from you all, and maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes :oops: .


When I received my kit, the hardware bag had opened in transit and there were literally hundreds of tiny parts loose and free in the package. Unfortunately there were some scratches and friction that resulted, but oh well.

My six year old helper sorted every piece with me and we placed each component in its own marked bag. I have a box full of old U-Line bags from my other "projects," and they worked perfectly. A few of the tiny washers were AWOL, but easily remedied. Everything else was in order, saving one of the piece bases had a big chunk taken out of it.

I will upload some photos of the process later this evening.

My plan of attack right now is to complete enough of the board PCB that I can have the ability to light up one piece...which leads me to my first question. I am working to complete one row of the board right now. Is there a specific section that can be completed so that I am able to apply power? Or does the entire board need to be finished first?

After this post, I will work to get everything in order and post my process with photos. Hopefully we can engage in great discussions about this super cool project.

Thanks all!
Ed G.
Central, Texas, USA

BTW, Congtats on the article in Make: Magazine Tony. Good for you!

Posts: 18

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:42 am

Post Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:21 am

Re: It has Begun

Welcome aboard. I actually just got my kit about a week ago and have been working on it a bit.

SO I assume yours is probably just like mine with the black PCB board and printed boards for all the pieces.

Tony has done a great job of supporting this and ive tried not to bug him with to many questions. Some stuff to watch out for that I have already done I could only find one photo with high detail of where all the components needed to be on the new board. I did accidently flip around an electrolytic cap and blew it when I hooked up to power. Rapidly fixed my error and put a new one in.

I also overloaded a coil and blew out the mosfet which in turn fried a resistor which I have since then fixed. Im finding the worst part about the whole project to be winding the coils :) Since you have a coil winder you built you ought to be in good shape there. Second worst part so far has been stripping the coating off the copper wire so you can solder the coil. :)

If you need any pictures or anything let me know. I can take them of my board and send em over to you if you need. I pretty much have an entire row up and running and about 3 pieces made at this point. I usually just coil one set of coils a night then test em out. Oh another note. When you put the pins onto the PCB im actually drilling down into the bakelight or whatever this stuff is below the PCB and allowing more of the shaft of the pin to slide further down into the hole so that the path of draw of the hole helps hold the pin in thus relieving stress on the printed traces. Those traces will tear off the PCB if enough force is put on a soldered on pin and if you tear a trace off in the wrong spot you could be SOL. SO I recommend sinking the pins into those holes away to allow mechanical retention to help you out some with holding the pins in place. You will see what im talking about when you get to that step.

Lee

Site Admin

Posts: 926

Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:05 pm

Post Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:44 pm

Re: It has Begun

The display pins are one part I've never been happy with, they're difficult to alighn and mount properly. Adding an extra paxolin disc, drilled to help keep them in line as you're doing with the former top may be an idea for a future version but will make the base a bit thicker.
Make sure when drilling the coil former not to go right through as the anode pin will touch the windings and before the tube strikes there's quite a high voltage on it, easily enough to go through the wire enamel if it gets scratched.

Posts: 18

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:42 am

Post Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:04 pm

Re: It has Begun

Excellent points tony on the pin holders. I have not yet drilled into the coil but I am doing it before I wrap the coil around the coil former so as to avoid this issue. I already burned up one MOSFET somehow :).

In positioning them what I do is stick all the pin bases into the PCB then place the nixie tube down on them so it self aligns them all straight then I solder them in place this way and seems to be keeping them in track. My biggest fear has been pulling a trace off the PCB then im screwed. I have been placing four pin holders on the PCB's as well figure share the load between more of the PCB traces for when the tube is removed or any side loads it may experience. So far its been working alright I will try and take a picture of this tonight as well.

On a side note the Peice bases that hold the PCB and all with the hole in the top of it. I noticed in your prototype pics you have a milled line around the the top that you put the engravers wax in. Mine are just shiny on the top without the milled out line to paint the black or white side ? Is this how they are supposed to be were the lines excluded from the kit? Just curious I really like how you have that nice milled out ring on the top of the bases around the tube to indicate which side they are on.

Site Admin

Posts: 926

Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:05 pm

Post Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:22 am

Re: It has Begun

I only made the one set using the ring design, all the others have been plain. I thought it would make an opportunity to design your own pattern or maybe use a slightly different design for each type of piece.

Posts: 13

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:13 pm

Location: Texas, USA

Post Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:27 pm

Re: It has Begun

Alright, here are a few pics and description of my process if you are interested.

When I received the much awaited package, I took on the task of counting everything and putting them in their own component bags...this this complies with the left side of my OCD brain.
Attachments
DSC_5971.JPG
DSC_5971.JPG (235.59 KiB) Viewed 21600 times

Posts: 13

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:13 pm

Location: Texas, USA

Post Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:36 pm

Re: It has Begun

From there I was not really sure where to begin. I looked at the order in which Tony added the instruction posts and decided that I wanted to populate some of the board PCB first.

My goal was to get a row finished, then complete a base coil and a piece coil and see if I can get some orange light to happen in a tube.

I started in the top left corner, opposite of the power leads. I populated that entire row and did not yet install the PIC.

Here are some snaps of that process...

DSC_5961.JPG
Workspace and a the first round of soldering.
DSC_5961.JPG (171.48 KiB) Viewed 21599 times


DSC_5962.JPG
Close up of that area...
DSC_5962.JPG (224.45 KiB) Viewed 21599 times


DSC_5966.JPG
With PIC in place but not soldered.
DSC_5966.JPG (245.08 KiB) Viewed 21599 times

Posts: 13

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:13 pm

Location: Texas, USA

Post Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:47 pm

Re: It has Begun

Continuing...

DSC_5969.JPG
Further Along.....
DSC_5969.JPG (171.92 KiB) Viewed 21597 times


I continued until that entire row was populated.

DSC_6016.jpg
Full Row without PIC
DSC_6016.jpg (134.96 KiB) Viewed 21597 times

Posts: 13

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:13 pm

Location: Texas, USA

Post Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:54 pm

Re: It has Begun

From there I corrected the trace error on the flip side of the board. I have a Philips screw driver that I got overzealous with a while ago and broke. The sharp edge that was left on that tool worked very well for me to scrape off the insulation and expose the tracking.

DSC_5985.jpg
Busted, re-purposed tool.
DSC_5985.jpg (95.32 KiB) Viewed 21595 times


DSC_5988.jpg
You can see the traces exposed here
DSC_5988.jpg (142.16 KiB) Viewed 21595 times


And a closeup of the solder bridges after completing the repair.

DSC_5990.jpg
I did this eight times in all...
DSC_5990.jpg (142.8 KiB) Viewed 21595 times

Posts: 13

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:13 pm

Location: Texas, USA

Post Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:09 pm

Re: It has Begun

My next goal was to complete these tests that Tony has suggested elsewhere. He wrote:

"For quick power points the vertical link on the centre right is 0V and any point on the ferrites will be OK for 12V. It should only draw a couple of mA at this point through the 1k5 resistor next to the pic.
Once the pic is fitted the 2 links between the ferrites carry the mosfet drive, check them for about 2.5V or a scope for 70khz"

I have a regulated power supply that can supply 10A at 13.6VDC that I put on my variac and dialed back until it was supplying 12V. I put the (-) lead on the vertical jumper on the right and (+) lead to the leftmost ferrite filter.
Not sure what went wrong but I could not get any readings, no matter where I placed the ammeter. I went from the 1K5 resistor to 0V, and also put it in series at the 0V link.

Can anyone point out my error?

While I am asking that question, I went ahead and built one board coil and wound one piece PCB coil. I was thinking about another builder that put the bolt into a drill chuck while winding and made a little winder using my cordless drill and an old plastic bowl that has bee marooned in the cupboard without a lid for years.

DSC_6006.JPG
The sacrifice.
DSC_6006.JPG (241.57 KiB) Viewed 21594 times


I stuck it on my drill press and used the bit like a router and cut out a little window for my magnet wire roll.

DSC_6007.JPG
Meatball surgery.
DSC_6007.JPG (178.86 KiB) Viewed 21594 times


I then set my roll on it so that it can spin freely.

DSC_6008.JPG
Nested.
DSC_6008.JPG (213.06 KiB) Viewed 21594 times
Next

Return to Nixie Chessboard V1

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software