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Old 6th April 2013, 09:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dan Moos View Post
Along the same line, I know that pro boards aren't individually soldered, but put in a sort of "solder bath", getting quick and extremely accurate results. Again, this isn't a big deal, but it would be cool if there was some sort of DIY method that sort of did the same thing.
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Not at home.
There is. Read my first post.
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Old 6th April 2013, 10:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Along the same line, I know that pro boards aren't individually soldered, but put in a sort of "solder bath", getting quick and extremely accurate results. Again, this isn't a big deal, but it would be cool if there was some sort of DIY method that sort of did the same thing.
There are solder pots that create a 4-6" wide flow and are about the size of two shoeboxes (but a LOT heavier). I have never priced one but no doubt they cost a pretty penny. They do the job very well, though. Then there is the crucible-type electric solder pot.
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Old 6th April 2013, 10:47 PM   #13
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Originally Posted by Dan Moos View Post
What about tinning? I see that in a lot of the Y.T. videos. Is it necessary?
I guess most people tin to avoid copper oxidation.
Problem is I guess most do it by hand, with a soldering pencil, quite crude, and impractical in a complex or thin tracked PCB.
I much prefer painting copper with homemade rosin flux.

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Also, any experience with transparency paper? I know that the printer needs to support it, but other than that, how is it? I've read you can sort of "preview" the transfer before you completely peel the paper off this way.
All lasers can print on transparency, problem lies not in the machine but the "paper" itself.
Inkjet transparency melts, sticks to rollers and destroys the machine.
Laser transparency is high temperature mylar.
But I see no advantage in using it for thermal transfer, I much prefer to find a good coated "inkjet photo paper", which has the printing side coated in water soluble dextrin or gelatin (like dessert jelly, but pure, unflavored), so it disolves in warm water.
Practice makes perfect, like everything else.

As of commercial fabrication, for the "modern" experimenter, who builds an Arduino or a DAC or something similar, very complex, multiple layered with hair thin tracks, in a stamp sized PCB, yes, it's better to order from China and wait.

For the (analog) Audio DIYer, who uses "simpler" but much larger PCBs, prices climb real fast, because you pay by the square inch, and the typical "bargain" PCB is only around 2"x2" .
A Robot builder can put a lot there; an Audio guy not much, if anything at all.

Musical Instrument amps typically use a *huge* PCB with "everything inside"
Click the image to open in full size.
.... even the line Fuse and other live parts (which I find crazy); I *shudder* thinking about what they would cost if ordered singly from China, considering how many 2"x2" units might each be equivalent to.
This Fender example is about 24"x8"


FWIW I make my own PCBs, here's a batch of 36 100W power amps + PSU, air drying the rosin flux coat.
Size: 4"x6" each (equivalent to 6 bargain PCBs each).

Click the image to open in full size.

Same, being drilled:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 6th April 2013, 10:55 PM   #14
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@jcx: There are so many reasons, not the least of which is that this is a hobby you know. Sorta defeats the purpose if I pay someone to do it.

For linear audio work, I won't need near the tolerances that a pro fab house can give.

The time is also a factor. Hours instead of days.

As far as dangerous chemicals go, well I suppose I should not work on tube amps any more either since 400v will ruin my day pretty quickly. A hobbyist can be plenty safe. Wear proper gear, pay attention, don't be stupid. There's my safe practices! I do construction for a living. "Safe practices" is 5% common sense that you will do anyway if you have any business near power tools. The other 95% is to protect against the one in a million lawsuit because someone poked their eye out with their hammer.

As far as needing to learn hand prototyping techniques, recall from earlier in the thread I said I have been doing hand wired tube amps. Between that and breadboard work, I think I have "paid my dues" enough to do my own PCBs.

Destroy clothes? I guess if I etch boards bare handed with my church duds on, that would be a problem.

Its not like no one is doing this. Quite the opposite, many are, and no one in the scads of Y.T. videos looks like the toxic avenger with their cloths burning off.

As far as poor result goes, I see plenty of DIY stuff on the web that looks far better than what I require. I suppose if I was doing RF stuff, I'd think twice.

As far as chemical disposal, for my purposes one can of Ferric Perchloride the size of a can of acetone or such should be enough. I realize I need to dispose of it properly, but its not like I have to deal with commercial quantities on a daily basis. More like a small can a few time a year at most.
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Old 6th April 2013, 10:57 PM   #15
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It's not a PCB fab hobbyist thing. It's an electronics hobby thing. There's just no way to get a comparable result as quickly. Dead bug, veroboard, point-to-point just don't match up. I can have an idea and have a board in my hands an hour later
that's not right to dangle before beginning hobbyists - after how many hundreds of hours of working at it?
for that fast turnaround you must have secure space to leave things set up - no way to set up, cut, clean stock, print, fuse, mix, heat etchant, clean up after in 1 hr while exercising remotely adequate caution for someone untrained in handling corrosive chemicals - and when did you do the artwork on that time budget


the performance comment is plain wrong - until you get to frequencies requiring defined impedance, matched length trace, lots of them

Linear Technology high speed analog products - some pushing measurement SOTA were often "dead bug" - see Jim William's app notes
http://cds.linear.com/docs/en/applic...ote/an47fa.pdf

I seldom have the patience to hand proto more than one channel - but I do hand prototype when I'm not using fine pitch smt

and then leave some space, extra pwr, gnd holes, NC pads on your 1st pass PCB layout


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Per:

>The Alexander amp is a high speed design so I think the physical design is really important. No hard wiring!<

If you combine hardwiring (component leads only, no separate wires) with low-impedance ground and power planes, and design a tight layout, you can make some pretty high-bandwidth circuits. I've designed and built all-discrete 600MHz amplifiers like this.

If anything, I find it easier to go faster using 3-dimensional circuit structures rather than keeping everything on the pcb (2D). A calculated mixture of smd, leaded board and 3D also works well, and is how I normally design.

hth, jonathan carr

Moos - you know your interests - but many of these threads seem to just jump in as if there is no other option to home etching

Last edited by jcx; 6th April 2013 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 6th April 2013, 10:59 PM   #16
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@JMFahey: I saw one video where it was some product called "liquid tin" or such, and it was a bath that the board was put in. Any thoughts?
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Old 6th April 2013, 11:05 PM   #17
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the performance comment is plain wrong - until you get to frequencies requiring defined impedance, matched length trace, lots of them
What, you mean, like, complete miswiring is not a performance issue?

The big advantage of a PCB, given the technology I use, is that if you draw the circuit right, the connectivity on the PCB will be right.

This is not something to lightly dismiss in terms of the overall effort involved in construction, the greater likelihood of getting it right first time with all that that means in terms of positive feedback, and the savings in debug time and destroyed components.
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Old 6th April 2013, 11:10 PM   #18
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I would also add to jcx that I am not a "beginner in the hobby". I have been doing tube guitar amps for awhile. Its just that now that I am getting into solid state power amps,, PCBs seem like the obvious next move. If I were completely new to electronics, I likely would not be asking about PCB work, although the more I read about it, the more I feel I should have tried it sooner.

It appears to me that many people are doing PCB's cheaply, easily, and with good result at home. Its hard for me to understand why its not a good way to make the hobby more DIY.
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Old 6th April 2013, 11:17 PM   #19
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@JMFahey: So I assume that's one channel per board in those photos, yes? And the PSU is on the same board? This is one area that keeps amazing me.

With a tube guitar amp, to me the schematic always looks way simpler than the built product. With solid state, I look at a schematic, and can't believe how "clean" its pcb looks!

I hope I can get boards as least as good looking as yours. Tell me about this home made solder flux.
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Old 6th April 2013, 11:18 PM   #20
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@JMFahey: I saw one video where it was some product called "liquid tin" or such, and it was a bath that the board was put in. Any thoughts?
Yes, it's so damned expensive I didn't even use it at work.

Oh, one advantage of modern etch resist is that you don't have to clean it off, it continues to keep the copper in pristine condition and you can solder clean through it.
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