The Electrician's Work bench

The mindless ramblings of a savage drunk with a screwdriver.

Archive for the ‘Build Log’ Category

CNC build

Posted by 0ldrunk on December 23, 2010

Well it’s been some time since posted or worked on any thing. I still don’t have a lot of free time but just a quick post on something I’ve been poking at.
CNC Build Log 0.1
Not a lot info ready to post but it’s just the first step towards a working 3 axis CNC PICmicro Controlled. At this time I’m looking for a fast cheap build. So it’s going to be small and limited but useful none the less!
For the controller it’s a PIC16F870 3 axis Driver. It was bought as kit total cost with stepper motors was around $150CND dollars.
The kit was purchased online from and the creator has done excellent build guide for the driver kit. This is the lowest cost kit don’t expect a professional CNC machine out of this controller but a good small start to familiarize one’s self with the way CNC machines work and how to tell one what to make for you.
For the software end I’m going OpenSource with EMC2(Enhanced Machine Controller). I’ve only run a test so far the assembled Driver works but I need a faster PC since the current test rig is 300Mhz CPU with 764megs of ram but runs Puppylinux very smoothly but EMC needs at least 700Mhz. EMC will run on the PC but misses steps like crazy.

Test setup

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PIC 18F Programing

Posted by 0ldrunk on December 24, 2009

After some trial and error, trying to program the 18F2550 proved to be harder then I thought. I tried to program it first via the ICSP header on my Velleman K8048 and was getting errors during programing, after some reading I added two 47pF caps for PGD and PGC filtering with still no success. Did yet more reading and built a ART2003 programmer which is a simple LPT programmer meant for the 18F2xxx chips and still no success, so after yet more reading finally I figured out it could be a COM problem with my computer and installed PORT TALK drivers and tried again with the Velleman and success the chip flashed with out any errors. One note is that the software Velleman supplys with K8048 is as about as useless as tits on a bull  use WINPIC , not winpic800 but WINPIC. The K8048 will program 18F chips (18F2550 tested only by me) with the ICSP header and some trial and error and 22pF~47pF  PGC/PGD filtering caps!

I have now tried the programed chip in the PICkit 2 clone and well I have to go back and double check my wiring as there seems to be a problem, windows reports it as a unknown USB device and the PICkit2 software won’t detect it at all, but if I hold down on the button well plugging in the USB the busy LED starts to flash which means its going into bootloader mode to take firmware updates, so this is a good thing I’m guessing it means the chip is flashed and working it just may have to do with my build of the circuit board, stating to realize that its time I just learn how to do printed circuit boards and get the materials needed so that I can eliminate future errors on my part.

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PICkit2 Lite

Posted by 0ldrunk on December 21, 2009

Well I have just about finished my PK2 clone all is left is to program the 18F2550 with Microchips PK2 firmware and test it all out.

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USB PIC Programmer

Posted by 0ldrunk on December 5, 2009

Well after some some more research and a trip out to my local electronics shop I ended up figuring out that I can build a “Junebug” which is a striped down lite clone of Microchips’ PICKit2. about the same amount of parts to build as the GTP but supports more chips and is supported by software like MPLAB IDE and Flowcode3/4 which I use so this should shave some time and effort on new projects as it will be faster then my old serial Velleman K8048, plus now I can use my laptop for programing since the PK2 is USB . Nothing wrong with the Velleman and its proven it’s self to be a good programmer for the cost and getting started with PICmicros.The old serial programer will still be handy for some chips that need more then 5VDC for programing as my PICkit2 lite will only do 5V chips, as well I need the old serial programer to build the JuneBug as at the core of the new programmer is a 18F2550.

* One important note is if using the Blueroomelectronics schematics for the PICkit2 lite, there is a mistake on the USB connection, PINs 15(D-) and 16(D+) are backwards, when building you have to switch them around or it may not work, if you download the datasheet for the 18F2550 you will see this too!*

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Computer build

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 28, 2009

Some friends of my’n just had their computer die on them, at first it seemed like the video card may have died but even with a swap out of the video card still no go, it just wasn’t booting up at all. So took advantage of the Black Friday sale and picked up a Asus mother board, 2Gigs of Crosair DDR2 1066Mhz RAM , AMD Phenom 64 X3 2.4Ghz CPU with 3.5MB Cache, Diablotek 400Watt PSU , and a extra DVD drive.

When I pulled out the old hardware and took a better  look I found two blown Capacitors near the CPU, so the motherboard is NFG. I’m hoping the old Ram may be still good so I can get another old computer going but the old PC3200 Ram physically don’t look too healthy some of the resistors look blown, going to test it any way just to be sure.

Right now I have all the new parts installed into the case I have reused the old video card assuming that it still works, the old DVD drive, and the HD, I had spare 200Gig drive kicking around so I tossed that in too as the new C: drive seeing as I’ll need to re-installed windows and the original HD is the only back-up of my friends’ Data. So going to try to boot the new hardware and begin with OS install I don’t foresee any other problems at this time.

Update: the spare 200Gig bit the dust, rebooted the system and drive failure came up. Any way the rest of the computer runs fine, just no spare drive.

Update 2: Well Mycrowshit found a way to screw me up(again!). Every thing was fine and running till I brought it back to my friends’ place and connect it to the network and windows activation comes up, “no problem” I think “I’ve had this happen before, just re-activate because of the new CPUkey” so I tryed activate over the internet and would not work “Okay…I’ll just call MS support” an Hour of swearing at Raj from India later got me transferred to a US Mircosoft rep, she kindly tells me. To sum this I was told I’m up shit river with out a paddle. Oh Yay me! The orginal company that build the computer needs to give me their activation key but the company is long gone!

I’ve resolved the issue and let just say IF you ever wondered why people hack and crack software, NO its not because of piracy it’s because software makers are F**KING IDIOTS!!!!!!!

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LED Cube

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Just another limbo project I haven’t had the time to sit down and work on more but hope to soon maybe over Christmas.

I started building a 4x4x4 LED cube some time ago and now that I’ve set myself up a personal blog I can can continue to post my work. Right now the LEDs have been soldered into a cube and have only started to plan out the controller, most if not all LED cube projects I’ve seen online are Atmel/AVR based and any PICmicro controllers I’ve come across have been for small 3x3x3 cubes or disPIC(16bit?) chips or built for RBG LEDs. I’m just using solid colour LEDs for cost right now and I’m use to working with the 8bit PIC micros. I’m going with 18Fxxxx PIC chip for the brains and the one I’d like to use has built-in USB function so I can update the LED animations with a computer and have it open for future projects like a winamp visualization plugin someday , most likly I’ll never get that far but wishful thinking.

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