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Mike, NI2S's Ham Blog

Page 3

From here on out, I will be posting discussions of the various elements of assembly that I find the most challenging, along with pics.  I will also post when I complete a PCB.  Now that I have started the build, I can say that the use of a lighted, articulated magnifier is a must (5x is best I think).  Also, keep in mind that I have one rather significant handicap in building this rig:  I am color blind in red and green.  This means I am almost solely dependent on my VOM  (Volt Ohm Meter for the un-initiated) to determine the resistance of banded resistors.  What I do is study the resistor bands, and take a guess at what I think is the correct resistor.  Then I hook it up to the VOM to see if I guessed right.  Most times I do guess correctly, but about 20% of the time I guess wrong, and the VOM tells me so.  I particularly struggle when red and brown are next to each other, and green and orange side by side throws me too.  Subtle differences in shading are the tip off on which color it might be.  So, I proceed very slowly and carefully when installing banded resistors because of this.  Everything is checked and measured at least twice.  If I've screwed up the setting on my VOM, then that could mean the difference between installing a 100 Ohm resistor and a 100K Ohm resistor.  Caution rules the day!  Especially so because it's been a very long while since I've built a complex kit.  And an equally long while since I've had to use my VOM to identify resistance measurements.  Time will tell if I got it right or not.  I will have the same difficulty if color wiring comes up down the road in this build. The Heathkit HW-5400 was loaded with colored wiring, and it drove me nuts! Wish me luck!

3/AUG/06:  The Control Board assembly is now complete.  I had no major problems assembling this board.  The iterative assembly steps were clear and concise - easy to follow along.  None of the component installations on this board had a high level of difficulty, although you do need some skill with a soldering iron, which is quite easy to obtain with modest practice.  I had a little trouble with the crystal grounding jumpers, and a little trouble positioning the '103' cap on the back (solder side) of the board. 


A few minor gripes of the Control PCB assembly process (strictly my opinion, of course.  During the build, I was instructed to use several of the cut leads from the components I had previously installed.  However, since I was trying to keep my work area neat and clean, I was throwing those leads away as I cut them off after soldering.  At the beginning of the assembly instructions, there should be a note that several of the excess leads will be needed as jumpers.  Digging through the garbage bag was not fun.