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1. If you have ordered a number of kits. Build and test one kit to make sure you have everything correct. Then build the others using the first as an example.

2. The strip on the large capacitor next to the transformer is the "minus" side.

Any others from those who have built kits?

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Yes I have two... I made a big mistake on one! Resistor networks go in a specific direction. "Wanna-be know-it-all" Jeff didn't think before he soldered. It is next to impossible to de-solder something like this, so make sure you have your parts in the right direction before you make 'em permanent.:{

When I soldered the DIPs and DIP sockets, I bent pins in opposite corners to hold them in place(IE pins 1 and 8, on a 14 pin DIP) Then I soldered the straight pins across from the ones I bent (7 and 14) then straightened out the bent pins before soldering them. It made it easier on me than tring to hold the DIP in place, and straightening them kept them from bridging to another trace when soldering.

jeff

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I have one board that I bought which is factory assembled. When I complete each kit, I place it next to the factory board. Anything different really jumps out at you. Although not necessary for proper operation, I try to orient all the resistors in the same direction. It makes it much easier to check that I have used the proper valued resistors in the right place once the construction is completed.

If you can't find the proper part number as reflected on the assembly diagrams, go back to the parts list table. There are additional part numbers listed there for some components that have been supplied as alternates.

Even though I read the complete manual before beginning assembly, it's pretty difficult to remember everything. If you can't find it in the kit or something seems confusing, go back to the earlier parts of the manual.

Page 13 of the manual lists R28 twice. The listing on the left hand side of the diagram is actually R29 (as printed on the circuity board). Don't fret, the values for both R28 and R29 are the same.

After I solder a component and trim the leads, I tilt the board at a variety of angles to look for solder bridges, bad joints, etc. It is much easier to look at a single component when you complete the soldering than to try and look at all the soldering when you complete the board. (Although, I do go back and gvie all the connections a second look when I am finished.)

Use a small/fine tip on your soldering iron. The tip that came on my iron is almost too large; a smaller tip would be better. Speaking of soldering irons, make sure you keep wiping off the tip on a wet sponge and keep it tinned.

I use a scrap piece of this "rubbery" shelf liner between the circuit board and table/work surface to keep the circuit board from moving/sliding when I solder.

When you start to get tired, it's time to take a break. Don't think, well I will take a break when I finish this page of the instructions. If I do that, I find myself beginning to rush. That's when I make the most soldering mistakes. Finish the component you are working on and then take a break.

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jeffmill wrote:

Yes I have two... I made a big mistake on one! Resistor networks go in a specific direction. "Wanna-be know-it-all" Jeff didn't think before he soldered. It is next to impossible to de-solder something like this, so make sure you have your parts in the right direction before you make 'em permanent.:{

R2 Should be the only one you have to worry about orientation. It is Bussed, meaning all of the resistors are tied to one common pin at one end. The other resistor networks are Isolated (bunch of individual resistors next to each other). You can look at page 2 of the datasheet to see the internal diagram of the resistors: http://www.bourns.com/pdf/4600x.pdf

Hope you have not already gone to the trouble of desoldering them.:}

I noticed that on my factory assembled CTB08, the 470 Ohm resistor networks are backward from what the silkscreen shows.
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Solder fumes & toxicity

While you are assembling the kit, use a small fan on LOW speed to blow the solder fumes away from your face (good ventilation is important), and WASH YOUR HANDS with soap after soldering or handling solder.

Solder is about 40% lead and about 60% tin. Bad stuff to eat, and bad to get in your eyes. Take a look at this document for more details: Safe Soldering Work Practices

It's also a great idea to wear protective glasses while soldering, since you'll run into an occasional rosin "pop". If you aren't a kid, then magnifying-type glasses will help in more ways than one.

Desoldering

If you must desolder something, generally, you can move from pin to pin with the soldering iron and svck the solder out with a desoldering bulb immediately (or wick it out with desoldering braid) after heating each pin, but use caution to keep from overheating the components and the circuit board. It's preferable to use a desoldering tool with suction and heat in one unit. If the solder doesn't melt readily, put a tiny bit of flux on the solder joint -- don't just keep heating the solder joint or something will get damaged.

Once you have removed all of the solder and allowed things to cool off, heat up each "stuck" lead one at a time, then use a small wooden stick to wiggle the lead around as it cools. If it sticks again, come back to it after you have done the rest of the leads. If it keeps sticking, you probably still have too much solder in the joint and will need to clean it out a bit more.

Always ensure that each and every lead is individually desoldered and movable before attempting to pull the component out. If you have even one lead that is not fully desoldered, you may be greeted by the unpleasant sight of a circuit board trace peeling off the board substrate. Ugh. And in many cases, the cladding from the plated-thru hole will pull out as well. Double-ugh.

If you have a simple 2 or 3 lead component, you can sometimes "rotate" heating each lead one after another while gently pulling on the lead that is being heated. This has the effect of "wiggling" the component out of the board. Don't get in a hurry.

If you have (or can get) spare replacement components for something that needs to be desoldered, and if the leads are long enough on the component side to allow the leads to be clipped, you may want to consider doing so. This will allow you to remove one lead at a time by heating the lead and simultaneously gently pulling the lead out of the hole with tweezers or small pliers.

So what's the best solution? Don't make any mistakes. :D And if you do make a mistake, practice desoldering on something else that is of little or no value. I spent a couple weekends desoldering two computer motherboards at a friend's recommendation. Quite a learning experience, but the boards were free (trash dumpster) and provided a huge variety of components to desolder. Some parts can't be desoldered without high-$$$ equipment, but I still went to the trouble of removing such parts by force (screwdriver, wire cutters, blowtorch) just to see what was involved. If you do remove parts by force, you must wear leather gloves and goggles, since motherboards have a lot of small and/or sharp parts on them that will fly off to points unknown when removed forcefully. :cool: Without gloves, you'll find all the sharp parts. Without goggles on, "points unknown" may be your eyeball (not sold in stores).

Okay, what did I miss?

Tom

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(Just moving this to the appropriate forum location.)

This tip comes under the "red face," or "I can't believe I did that" category.

When I ran the hardware utility on the first board that I assembled, I did not get a red flashing LED, nothing. After about an hour of checking solder joints, etc., I gave up and tested the second board that I built. Everything tested as it should on that board. I put the first board up, figuring that I would look at it again when I was less frustrated. THEN, I remembered that as I was building the second board and was inserting the Micro Processor, U2, into the socket, it took more force to seat it than it did for the first board I assembled. I made a mental note (that I promptly forgot) to go back and check the Micro Processor on the first board to assure it was seated all the way.

Sure enough, I had not inserted it completely into its socket. So, my tip, make certain that you use sufficient force to COMPLETELY seat the ICs into their sockets.

Everything worked as advertised once I did this.

Embarrassing mistake, but hopefully someone else will learn from it.

Denny

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After positioning the Light Duty Heat Sinks and screwing the head of each Triac to the heat sink, solder all the Triac center leads first. After the center leads are soldered, use the wire nippers to cut the center leads. This will give you much more room and maneuverability to solder the two rear leads of each Triac since the Light Duty Heat Sinks limit access to the rear leads.

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make sure you have microprocessor inserted in the correct direction, if you put it in backwards, you will have a steady red light and that is it

bob

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Use a multimeter to check all your terminal leads are working correctly after you build it. You don't need to put a plug on every terminal and see if the lights come on. This is how I do it.

Connect your input power cords to the board.

As usual, make sure the light blinks when power is supplied and goes steady when hooked up to a PC with the hardware utility on.

In the hardware utiilty, select all channels and turn them all "on".

Use a multimeter to test each terminal screw. It won't show 120 without something connected but you should get a reading of around 30 on each screw.

Check each hot and neutral (Make sure you know what you are doing so you don't short it out!).

If you have one that doesn't work, recheck all your solder joints for that channel starting with the Triac.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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I have a question. for the rotary switches, the board is marked as if 8 is on top and 0 on the bottom. the instructions say to put 0 at the top. Which one do i do?

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smarts53 wrote:

I have a question. for the rotary switches, the board is marked as if 8 is on top and 0 on the bottom. the instructions say to put 0 at the top. Which one do i do?

Put 0 at the top.
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  • 1 month later...

Hey Guys, Just registered on the board. I have built 2 16D Boards and they work fine on the test bench, with computer inputs. I haven't actually connected up any lights though, That will be tested after My wiring is done on my house.

Robogeek

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robogeek wrote:

Hey Guys, Just registered on the board. I have built 2 16D Boards and they work fine on the test bench, with computer inputs. I haven't actually connected up any lights though, That will be tested after My wiring is done on my house.

Robogeek

Welcome to PC! We are glad to have another Floridian. Enjoy yourself and read a lot. :]

Michael B
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My only recommendation is check check and recheck! Also, don't be in a hurry, take your time and take some breaks.

I had a problem identifying the resistor marking bands, the purple didn't look purple it looked brown. Thought I had wrong resistors in my kit UNILL I got them under a different light, then they checked OK. (different light color spectrum)

I have built a number of Ramsey kits and my LOR kit was even easier! I used to assemble for a living (many moons ago) and the kits make it fun, not work!:)


Papa

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:happytree:
I can't agreee more with the previous posts, I've built 2 16D boards and my advice is take it slow, take lots of breaks and check everything before soldering.
You'll be a lot happier if you do. Everything worked fine the first time for me and I've had lots of fun already, can't wait to set up a display in my yard. My neighbors are going to hate me!

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I used a large lighted magnifying glass while soldering and it helped quite a bit.

If you use blue painters tape to hold your parts in place be carefull and make sure that the tape is stuck to the part and the board on each side of the part. I used it to hold the opto isolators in place (or so I though) and there was a sag in the tape so when I flipped the board over and soldered them in place there was a nice wave effect in the postitioning of the optos.



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I do fine pitch surface mount soldering at my work. Therefore we have 20x to 80x microscopes, you can see lots of things bad about a solder joint in one of those. I did look at my LOR boards under it, they didn't look pretty. But with the pins being so large they don't have to look pretty like .012" spaced small surface mount parts.

Robogeek

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I built three LOR 16 ch. delux kits and 1 Ramsey fm25 transmitter kit this year. All worked fine on the first try. I'd never assembled an electronic kit before. Two things to help new guys with limited budgets and experience:

1) get a good magnifying light for $13 (cheap) here: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=31679

2) get a good pencil-type soldering-iron at Wal-Mart. only $9 and comes with 3 sizes of tips. Found it after buying 2 others at differnet places (D'OH!). Harbor Freight also sells a bigger, gun-type iron for the heavy-duty components like power terminal lugs and the fuse holders. I think it is $15.

Those two things will eliminate most of the aggrevation of building the kits and improve your results.

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markm wrote:

I built three LOR 16 ch. delux kits and 1 Ramsey fm25 transmitter kit this year. All worked fine on the first try. I'd never assembled an electronic kit before. Two things to help new guys with limited budgets and experience:

1) get a good magnifying light for $13 (cheap) here: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=31679

2) get a good pencil-type soldering-iron at Wal-Mart. only $9 and comes with 3 sizes of tips. Found it after buying 2 others at differnet places (D'OH!). Harbor Freight also sells a bigger, gun-type iron for the heavy-duty components like power terminal lugs and the fuse holders. I think it is $15.

Those two things will eliminate most of the aggrevation of building the kits and improve your results.


Well Said, The key to it all is Patience. Dont rush thru kits.



Mike
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  • 4 weeks later...

njamateur wrote:

How long should it take a novice with some electronic kit building experience to build a 16 channel board kit?

Less then 3 hours... People have built the kit in less than an hour.
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My first board took me 4-5 hours, since I wasn't sure about what I was doing and was afraid the board wouldn't work. I've had no PCB trouble-shooting experience and little knowledge of electronics. The last two boards took about 2 hours each. the LOR instruction manual is very good and the new blue boards are easier to assemble. My biggest problem: mounting the resister packs correctly (got one backwards). De-soldering an 8 pin pack is NOT FUN.

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