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Jeff Eckert Russ Kincaid
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Ron Hackett Lou Frenzel
Ronald Anderson Ron Newton
Matt Bates John Gavlik
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EVERYTHING FOR ELECTRONICS
and ample use of bypass capacitors on the microcontroller power input
leads and analog components. They might also consider using a pre-amp and
dedicated high resolution/low noise A/D converter chips instead of the
relatively modest A/D circuitry in the microcontroller.
So, from a practical perspective, how do you get out of your
technological comfort zone? One way is to scan through this issue of
Nuts & Volts and try your hand at a project that you’d typically skip because
it’s not in your area of expertise.
The best way, of course, is to team up with someone who is both
comfortable in his or her technological area and uncomfortable in yours.
You’ll both expand your comfort zones and, as a bonus, get a bit of practice
mentoring — a great skill to develop. NV
October 2013 7
I just wanted to pass this along
to Ron Newton. We have been
running his Gravimeter project from
the January 2013 issue for the past
few months and it appears to be
working pretty well. I just pump the
analog signal into my Arduino device
and measure the signal via LabView.
I attached a DC jack to the unit
so I can run it for weeks. Also, I
notice on power-up, if I let the unit
stabilize for a few hours I don't see
as many spikes on the waveform. Do
you think the spikes are due to
hardware stabilization or earth
movement at certain times of day?
It’s kind of interesting.
Rob Short W7FJ
Thanks for the feedback. I see
these types of spikes on my
seismographs all the time in the
summer when it gets hot. Since they
sit on a concrete floor, I have always
assumed that it was the expansion
and contraction of the concrete and
its aggregate, or just the ground.
However, with the gravimeter it may
be the substrate settling down. If you
get interested is seismology, take a
look at the May 2012 issue. Recently
on eBay, a batch of geophones were
on sale for $12 which really makes
the unit very sensitive, small, and
I have just read Don Hicke's
feedback, "Fluid Remarks" in the
August 2013 issue, and tend to
disagree with his theory of the flux
remover penetrating the stripboard
and making it conductive. Those
boards are dense and won't let
normal cleaning fluids penetrate
them. Additionally, I have never seen
or used a flux remover that is
conductive and, in fact, most of them
could be sprayed on an operating
circuit with minimal effect.
What I suspect is that Don was
bitten by one of my old nemeses —
water soluble flux from the solder.
Water soluble flux leaves a coating
on the board that can only be
removed with water — not chemical
cleansers. This coating that can't be
seen by the naked eye is essentially
salts that attract moisture and
become conductive, as well as
High humidity is enough to
cause this effect, and the higher the
circuit resistance or impedance, the
more sensitive the circuit is to the
leakage between components. If a
circuit is assembled with a water
soluble solder, it needs to be washed
in clean hot water; preferably deionized if available.
Water washable flux is fine for a
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