Fresh PCBs

I just received these FedEX on Tuesday, fresh from China via Colorado.

taillight stack small

headlight stack small

The first stack of boards is the prototype taillight driver, sporting a tilt switch for motion detection. The second board is a pretty similar design, with a bigger inductor and more compact layout. The intention here is to run a trio of Lumiled’s Rebel leds at 0.5 to 1w each off 4AA batteries, for a compact self contained headlight. More details on that idea later!

Dry reading

The next few months might bring some dry reading for the visitors to my blog. The camera I do 99% of my photographic work with has died silently sometime this past week. It’s not that the camera is dead, but it might as well be, as it appears the imaging chip has failed, or the circuitry that processes the signal from the chip.

Here’s a shot of the sprinkler controller I’ve been working on.

That picture was taken in a sun lit room, with overhead lights and a work lamp on. Plus the camera’s AI fired the flash at full power.

I’ll be contacting Nikon regarding repair, but unfortunately, I’m pretty sure it’s the end of the line for this cam. With 3rd quarter taxes coming shortly, I’m not in a position to make a big purchase right now, so it might be a few months before I get a new cam.

If I get desperate enough, you might see some awful pictures from my cellphone on here!


The camera in question is a Nikon Coolpix 5700, which is listed as one of the models affected by the Sony ccd failure problem


Although my problem doesn’t fit the description of the current “service advisory”, Nikon is going to check it out. At best they’ll repair it for free, at worst, they’ll give me a quote on repairs. If it’s within the price range of a new ‘throwaway’ digital, I’ll get it fixed. Otherwise I might just grab an HP / Epson / “insert brand-x here” throwaway to get me by until I can buy something nicer.

Random picture

I found this digging around some old forgotten directories on my web server.  It appears to be four dimly lit RGB leds.

5mm rgb led

Almost a month and nothing new?

Jeeze, almost an entire month gone by, and nothing new from me?

Well, almost … I did finally fill in the [Image Missing] place holders in my pcb fab article.

I’ve been doing a little tinkering, but also working outside … spring time has arrived for my little microcosm and the outdoors needs tending to. I’ve also been having a bit of a mole problem, so lots of time has been wasted trying to deal with them.

I have been in the lab a little, working on a few projects, and burning out parts … I burned my last ‘free’ tps61040 boost regulator, so rather than ask TI for more freebies, I’ll buy some this time, luckily they’re not too expensive. Also I managed to bust a red Luxeon III Star. I had two of them wired in series and hooked ’em to a 12v supply, without any manner of current limiting … needless to say, it was bright for an instant and then dark. Luckily only one star was killed, the other lives on. Here’s a few post mortem pictures, I removed the little lens, which really was filled with silicone goo just like Lumileds claims!

remainder of a red luxeon star, sans lens

You can see a little bit of the goo remaining on the heatsink structure, as well as the fine gold bond wires and fine grid used to power the die.

remainder of a red luxeon star, sans lens

Here’s a bit of a closer view.

This die still works… when I poke at it with the leads of a 3v battery pack, it lights up blindingly bright… wonder how long it will survive before oxygen or something else kills it?

SMD Resistor

1206 smd resistor led

The little black and silver rectangle is a “1206” package smd (or is it smt) resistor. Pictured next to a standard T1¾ or 5MM led.

1206 is pretty big as far as smd resistors go, but they get smaller, 0805, 0603 and theres one even smaller but I’m not sure the number.