First things first: The electron pump

What is the most basic ingredient you need, to dabble in hobby electronics?

Electrons!

For years I got mine by tapping an old AT-PSU with crocodile clips. It worked, but the unused cables were always in the way and the clips weren’t exactly the most fit connections for a power supply. So I decided to clean up my table, put the PSU into a nice case and — while I’m on it — include a variable voltage source.

I designed the case with QCAD LibreCAD, gave some finishing touches with Inkscape and had it produced by Formulor, the German Ponoko.

This is the result of my efforts:


As you can see, I switched from crocodile clips to 4 mm banana plugs. The voltages the PSU delivers are not exactly +/- 5/12 V, but they are sufficiently close enough to power electronics. And if I need an exact voltage, I can use the variable voltage source (2.6 V ~ 10.5 V). It is based on the L200C and also includes a variable current limit, so alternatively I can use it as a variable current source (0.05 A ~ 1.5 A). Though if I short circuit it and set it to the maximum current, the actually delivered current slowly drops due to the linear regulator heating up. But up to 1 A it seems to have no problem at all.

At the back you can see the 20 pin connectors that I will use as my personal bus system to connect my DIY-equipment. It delivers the voltages +/- 5/12 V and will also feature a data line to enable automated data acquisition. But more on that another time. ;)

Here you see that it’s quite cramped in there, so for a short while I doubted that it will all fit. But luckily enough it worked out and now I’m quite happy about my new, old electron pump.

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3 comments
    • Ast said:

      Thanks. This is actually not printed, but they offer to burn vector images into the MDF with their laser cutter.

      Unfortunately it gets quite expensive really fast if you want to cover areas with this. So I just had them laser the contours and filles the areas with a pen myself.

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