April 2021

This month’s highlights

DIY Solder Reflow Oven with PID Control (Part 1)

With surface-mount printed circuit board construction becoming more commonplace, this project will help hobbyists to make short work of soldering SMD devices onto boards without all the hassle or worries of dealing with these miniature components. This PIC-based temperature controller converts an ordinary domestic 1500W table-top oven into a solder reflow oven. It incorporates proportional/ integral/ differential (PID) control and a thermocouple amplifier to intelligently manage temperature profiles closely for successful reflowing soldering SMDs onto boards, without the risk of temperature ‘overshoot’. It can also hold the oven temperature at anywhere from 20° to 230°C, and can be used for other tasks where temperature control is important, such as curing resins, paint, glue etc.

Surface mount components are used throughout. Good soldering skills are needed to complete this project successfully.

Programmable Thermal Regulator (Part 2)


Last month we introduced this versatile Arduino-based Peltier module controller that can provide a heating or cooling action in many applications such as home-brewing, horticulture, aquatics, hatching chicks and lab work.  This month the practical aspects are tackled, starting with the Peltier controller shield and the interface shield, followed by the necessary interwiring. Then the software operation is described using the LCD screen interface.

Frequency Reference Signal Distributor

If you have multiple test instruments but only one accurate frequency reference, this project enables you to feed that reference to each test instrument without it suffering any attenuation or degradation. Having one input and six outputs, it’s designed with a 10MHz reference in mind but can handle other frequencies as well.

Surface mount components are used which requires good soldering skills to complete this project successfully.

Kick Start (Part 2)
Getting started with RFID – working with cards and tags

This instalment explains how to incorporate low-cost RFID devices into your projects, including details of some simple Arduino sketches.

Audio Out
Making a Transistor Radio (Part 2)

Continuing the construction of a classic ‘crystal set’ transistor radio the old-fashioned way, on a proper wooden breadboard! Listening to radio broadcasts on a home-built radio for the first time is always a thrill and this radio will be a great father and son (or daughter) project to build together.

Make it with Micromite (Part 27)
Having fun with a Micromite Plus (part 2)

Last month we started building a Micromite-powered RGB led matrix panel, and this month we assemble and test the RGB panel with a microSD card. And there’s a competition to enter!

Also in this issue:

  • The Fox Report – avoiding scammers, and introducing Barry Fox’s fantastic new web site at www.tekkiepix.com – a unique research tool hosting technology and PR photos from the past.
  • Net Work discusses the latest crop of electric vehicles from China and Europe, and the future of hydrogen vehicles
  • Circuit Surgery – deep insights into the topic of Timing and Metastability (Part 2)
  • Max’s Cool Beans – more entertaining and insightful musings as Max ponders the origins of the Universe in between paving the way for an implementation of Conway’s Game of Life.

In next month’s issue:

DIY Solder Reflow Oven with PID Control (Part 2), Touchscreen Car Altimeter; 7-band Mono or Stereo Equaliser; KickStart (Part 3)

April 2021 files for download - 0421-DL.zip

  • Cool Beans Codes
  • Kick Start RFID
  • Micromite RGB LCD
  • Reflow Oven
  • Thermal Regulator

Printed Circuit Boards

We supply PCBs for all our projects going back to 2013.

New PE service – Programmed PICs

Buy programmed PICs for most of our projects.

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