Tricks and Tips 2021

Thread Starter

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,990
This is the third thread with this name I have indexed the first 2 in my personal index, Wendy's Index . To keep it from being closed prematurely, I am setting the following rules:

1. Do not comment just for the sake of posting. Only posts containing a trick or tip will be allowed. This thread will be heavily moderated, anything posted here that do not meet this criteria in the opinion of the moderators will be deleted. If you have a question start your own thread. If you really like the idea use the like tag (button).

2. Any repeats of someone else's ideas from this or the previous tricks and tips threads will also be deleted.

3. At the end of this year This thread will be locked and a new one started next year.

Be aware of my comment about being heavily moderated This thread is not meant to be a dumping ground as has happened in the past.
Electronics Tips and Tricks Thread #1 - July 8, 2008
Electronics Tips and Tricks Thread #2 - Nov. 13, 2012
 
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MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
25,631
Copied from https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/power-resistor-replacement.176913/ as a one time exception.

Wendy


I seem to recall a post recently where someone was trying to locate power resistors with stand off support.
I recently had an issue when looking for similar replacement but did not have much time to seek one out.
I had some power resistors that were meant to be mounted vertically with a channel in one side and board clips.
In order to replicate the original style, I came up with some improvisation.
The pictures tell the story, the muffler cement sets up pretty hard!
14g Copper wire used for support & conductor. Tin from a coffee can trimmed to suit slot and soldered connection.
Max.
 

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Thread Starter

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,990
I'm on a savings kick about using batteries, especially AAA. As it happens a 5/8" dowel is very close to being the same diameter as a AAA battery. So I cut them to length as a AAA, drill a small diagonal hole from the center to the wall as shown. The hole shoud be the flattest side of the dowel.

00.jpg

My biggest use is for under the counter LED lights from Harbor Freight.. I measured 0.7A draw on one of their hand held lights! I use USB power cubes, which usually start at 1.0A and can go as high as 5.1A, usually under $5. I measured the leads on a cut down bad USB charge cord until I found the 5V power leads. On a 6V (4 batteries) 5V will work well. And on 4.5V lights (3 batteries) I put a 1N400X diode in seris to drop the voltage down to 4.3V, on the 0.7A models it is needed, as the design can not tolerate 5V (Harbor Freights designs have no safety factors designed in (destroyed one unit finding this out), strip the power lead, poke it through the hole on the side, fold the bare wire over the end to create one electrode, tape the wie where it enters the dowel and put the pseudo battery in its new home.

2.jpg::1.jpg
How to use diode on + electrode to reduce voltage, Final assembly.
 
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Thread Starter

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,990
I thought of this trick because of toothpick dispensers. I have several large stock of diodes rather than put them in a bag I put them In a pill bottle with a hole drilled in the top 2x the size of the body of the diode. when I need one I shake the bottle upside down until one pops out. I have circled the hole in red to make it stand out.

Diode Despenser.jpg
 

BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
2,007
TIP FOR KEEPING PARTS ORGANIZED DURING PHYSICAL RELOCATION:

If you need to relocate, and you have parts cabinets to move, there is always the risk of parts falling out or getting scattered. It's tedious, but worth it if you take each tray out and saran-wrap it, and put it back. When you get to your destination, everything has stayed in its place in the trays. And you only need to remove the saran-wrap when you actually go access that tray again.

For me, I have rows of parts cabinets of different sized trays, many divided in half, and bin shelving with bins. Saran-wrap is the _only_ way (or some cling-film like it) to wrap things to stay level with the top of a tray and/or oddly shaped parts that may stick outside the dimensions of a bin (or that you cannot afford to mix- different colored LEDs that are the same type and clear, for example- you don't want to have to test thousands of LEDs by hand to redivide them into bins)...
 

Thread Starter

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,990
Whenever I make a protoboard circuit I use something like this for filtering:
Trick and tip.png

Unfortunately, When I went to my parts bin to pull a 220µF capacitor, all of my stock had the leads cut too short to use for a protoboard. So I came up with this:
[centerFilter 1.jpg][/center]


I used a piece of leftover breadboard stock and made it to replace the entire circuit. As a bonus gave me a secure place to attach my power supply clips.
Power Supply Connection.jpg
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,958
Don't know if anyone has suggested this in a previous post. If so - then delete.

Wind a length of solder around a pen. One or two layers is usually what I do. Take one end and thread it up through the middle and out the top.
1635183056405.png
Pierce the top of an old pill bottle and push the end of the solder up through the top.
1635183127237.png
Then place the solder and cap into and on to the pill bottle.
1635183178040.png
Now you have a good bit of solder that fits in the palm of your hand and can be easily pulled out to extend the solder without having to mess with that large spool of solder, or mess with cutting a length of solder, only to not use the entire length before you lose it. Or waste it.

If you have different color bottles you can use one color for tin/lead and another for lead free solder. If you have multiple flux core solders you can label them with a paint stripe, or any other means of marking. This one had the solder type and flux marked with a silver sharpie on the bottle, but handling it rubbed the ink off. A layer of clear packing tape over the label, or a printed label taped to the bottle will work as well.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
26,790
Take about 12 inches of solder off your spool and warp it around the power cord of your soldering iron station.
If you ever run out of solder you will have this emergency supply. Don't procrastinate for too long. Go buy more solder.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,958
I keep my soldering iron on a timer. It doesn't run unless I set some time limit. The reason for that is because I can fire up the iron and then solder one or two joints and set the iron in its cradle and forget it for an hour or more. The timer will shut off after a set period of time. I used an old microwave oven control board. The relay that controlled the high voltage transformer (long gone) is used to power up an outlet. I can also set an alarm timer to remind me of an event that is no further than 1 hour 39 minutes and 39 seconds (a.k.a 99 minutes and 99 seconds). The panel I built it into has two sets of outlets. One set is always powered and the other controlled by the timer. I've even thrown a red light on the timed outlet just because I had one. If the timer is running and nothing is powered I still know the outlet is live. I could use that to control a fan or a charger - for whatever reason I might have.
 

Thread Starter

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,990
I frequently have ideas I describe as a good idea of what a good idea might look like. Which is my way of saying it's not. This may be one of those I'm always needing to probe in a protoboard to see what's happening I had a concept I bought a mixed bag of beads and combine them with some test point pins I had kicking around. I combined the two to make these:

Contact Points.jpg
the idea being to make robust test points you can attach leads to and what not. I used black conductive foam to keep the Super glue from running down the length of the pin. You can still see some underneath some of the beads.

A better idea might have been put the bead in the middle of the pin so I could probe top and have the bottom inserted all the way.
 

JohnInTX

Joined Jun 26, 2012
4,671
Screw tips:

When replacing self-threading screws into a plastic boss, turn the screw COUNTER CLOCKWISE under a bit of forward pressure. The head will rise as the thread rotates against the walls of the hole. When you feel the screw drop suddenly, the threads are lined up and you can turn the screw clockwise in the normal way. This action prevents inadvertantly missing the existing thread and cutting a new one which will eventually strip the hole.

Works for machine threads in metal too to prevent cross threading.
 

JohnInTX

Joined Jun 26, 2012
4,671
Drill tips:

Put your twist drills points down in the drill index box so that you grab the shaft not the sharp flutes. A burr on the shaft can hang when pulling the drill out of the hole causing the flutes to cut fingers.
Use a step-drill e.g. UniBit to drill thin material. A standard twist drill can 'snatch' the material as it breaks through causing injury or a damaged work piece.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,958
Works for machine threads in metal too to prevent cross threading.
Been using that back-threading trick for many years. Back in the 80's I was inspecting while a guy was assembling. He couldn't get the fine threads of a 5 inch diameter header to engage. I asked if I could have a go at it. He immediately criticized me for turning it "the wrong way". As I found that gentle click of the first thread, I stopped and threaded it in correctly. He said I just got lucky. I explained it to him but he hadn't graduated from the school for the mechanically declined, so he didn't understand. Or listen. That header was heavy. About 30 pounds. Holding it in alignment with its mate while trying to get the fine threads to mesh had always been a difficult matter. But I guess I got lucky. Not.
 
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