Julian on February 25th, 2014

Final Production Run of the PWM5 I’m taking a break from manufacturing the PWM5 Solar Charge Controller, so I’ve closed the shop. This is so that I can spend more time building my YouTube channel. If you have contacted me recently about purchasing the PWM5, there are parts in stock for about 50 more units [...]

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Julian on November 20th, 2012

Project Banana is nearing completion. The idea is to make up a kit of connectors to simplify connecting the PWM5 between a solar panel and a battery. On the battery side, there’s a pair of modified crocodile clips which have banana sockets attached. The positive croc clip has two red banana sockets and the negative [...]

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Julian on May 29th, 2012

If you’re serious about surface mount components, you need a pick and place machine. By serious, however, I mean really serious! A quick check on eBay and there’s a second hand one for ¬£10,000. There are companies in the UK that have these machines and who offer a PCB assembly service. But the set up [...]

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Julian on May 18th, 2012

The PCBs have arrived back from Chiltern Circuits. There are 8 panels, each containing 28 printed circuit boards. I’ve made a minor change to the circuit too. The IRFZ44N MOSFET has been replaced by an IRF3205. The new transistor has a lower ‘on resistance’ so a little less power is consumed within the device. The [...]

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Julian on May 8th, 2012

The PWM5 is getting a new PCB. Functionally it’s identical to the stripboard layout and indeed many of the strips have been retained and the pads are mostly laid out in a matrix. Two wire links have been replaced by printed tracks so assembly time will be reduced. A silk screen component layout will be [...]

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Julian on April 23rd, 2012

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with a stripboard PCB – it’s neat, reliable and easily available off-the-shelf. The problem is the amount of time it takes to construct. First, the 32mm by 36mm piece has to be cut from a larger sheet. The scoring jigs help, but a lot of further cutting is required using a [...]

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Julian on April 22nd, 2012

Microchip’s PICkit3 has made programming the 12f683 a great deal quicker and easier. Until recently I was using an old PICkit1 which was slow, had no ZIF socket and required that I run up MPLAB every time I wanted to program a batch of chips. The PICkit3′s programmer-to-go function is extremely handy. The hex code [...]

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Julian on April 9th, 2012

Getting a consistent fit between the inner and outer pieces of heatshrink sleeving requires a bizarre production technique involving a kettle of boiling water and a vacuum cleaner crevice tool. Pre-shrinking the sleeving is the only way to ensure the LED lines up with the hole in the outer covering during final assembly. Firstly the [...]

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Julian on September 18th, 2011

When the four lengths of red, yellow and black wire come off their reels, they have a considerable curl in them. I needed to find a way to lay them straight for a few days before production – it makes soldering them to the PCB a lot easier. The solution is a set of panels [...]

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Julian on June 7th, 2011

So far, around¬†300 controllers have sold to locations around the globe. I’m keeping a list of countries that I’ve posted to. Here it is. United Kingdom Ireland Sweden Finland Denmark Latvia Netherlands Belgium Bulgaria France Switzerland Spain Portugal Italy Malta Malaysia Singapore Philippines Indonesia Australia Canada United States and now… Greece Tahiti Austria Turkey Germany [...]

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