Monday, December 31, 2012


This where I'm going to take some time and touch on electronics. I'm preparing to put out several kits that I originally started working on for a vendor, but since he wouldn't come off the money for the development and since we are no longer working together, I'm going to do these circuits for myself and sell them on the market for a very fair price!

Below are a few photos to show a few things I'm going to touch on and there's a link to a development movie showing some of what I've built in discrete circuits. There's a long stretch that shows an assembled DLM circuit which uses the same components that I'll be using and have used in the past. As a matter of fact, I suggested a list of parts to DLM when he was looking for a replacement of the 3909 chip I think it was. Finally, in the movie you will see an old "Spark Chaser" circuit that the vendor wanted me to replace. That was a circuit that I repaired, that had bad solder joints and loose connections.

Essentially, I'm going to be covering the Basics, LED flashers, CCFL's, Fader Circuits, UVCFL's, Surface Mount LED's, Discrete Circuits and may at some point get into PIC Controllers, though there are a wide variety of those types of programmable circuits. I'll get into timing and digital circuits as well. I will most likely do a primer on soldering and breadboarding circuits as well.

Let's take a little time to identify the different parts in an electronics circuit. Below you can see some of the parts in an LED driver circuit....

There's a nice article here...

In the above schematic you see the standard designations of some of the components in another LED circuit and below you can see where I've taken the time to identify those parts in a schematic.
Below you'll see a selection of flasher and fader circuits, a great many of the flasher circuits use the 555 timer, or the 556 dual timer, the more advanced circuits use the 4017 clock / counter as well, there is also an LED driver circuit that drives a number of LEDs. I used a similar circuit while working on a job for Thomas Sasser. The job was for prototype lighting for the Art Asylum Enterprise-B. I'll explain more about these circuits later on.
Electronics Terminology PT 1. In electronics there's a wide variety of terms and names used that are not used in many other trades, or skill sets. I want to take some time in between sections to go over basic terms covered. Below is a list of basic terms and names used thus far, as well as links to wiki's describing each term in more detail. When you look at, or read the wiki's don't get bogged down, or frightened by the formulas. They aren't nearly as daunting as they seem on the outset. Resistance; The ability, or quality of an item to resist electrical current flow. ex, the resistor in the circuit reduced the current flow to usable value. Capacitance; The ability, or quality of an item to store an electrical charge. ex, the new capacitor held a charge far better than the one that was replaced. Below are some examples of circuits used specifically for lighting starship models. Years ago when Steve Iverson was the mod of HT Bob Canfield was working on trying to help some of the guys on the forum light their vehicals. I got ahold of him and suggested that we work together on an illustrated primer for the guys on the forums. I thought he would take the circuits that he had already listed and described and I would do the illustration. For some reason he decided to do it himself, which was fine with me, but I still think I could have been of some help. The circuits and illustrations below are all Bob's work. Thanks Bob, from myself personally and from the community as a whole.
Electrical resistivity and conductivity.
Current Limiting.
Next I'll build a practical circuit and show each stage step by step and will make a movie of the process and the resulting operation. Keep on Trekkin! -/\-
Before we can get into the building of circuits, we have to think about the reistor color code. We have to understand how to get the right resistors to bias our circuits. The first part of that is understanding the color code...
The above will give you two different ways of looking at resistors, 1 is the color code, 2 is for the colorblind. At any rate, you have to be able to quantify each resistor for each specific application within each circuit. Below is come more recent work on electronics, there will be further updates soon with new circuit builds, more on resistors, capacitors and IC chips as well other new information..... In the photo below I've lit up some light film with a 9v battery run through an inverter. An inverter take a DC voltage, sets up an oscillation and amplifies that oscillation to a desired frequency and amplitude to create a sine wave required for operation of high voltage and high frequency circuits such as is required for light film and, or CCFL's and UVCCFL's. I don't recommend light film as its longevity is much shorter than that of today's mass produced "Super Bright LED's", Light film is primarily used where space is of a minimum, or where you want to light long flat surfaces. As you can see below, it's much easier to use surface mount LEDs for lighting nacelles and the like.
Below you can see the circuit that I've been working with thus far and a breakdown of the parts of that circuit. I'll also be building a "Night Rider and Cylon eye circuit.
Below you see I'm using one of those "Try Me" buttons to check for and to sort out all of my LED's from recent circuit builds. Since many of the super-bright LED's have clear casings this can be a handy thing to have around the work bensch.
Below is another way to get desired color into your lighting effects using transparent film of different colors, this way you only have to buy one kind of LED and you don't have to worry about biasing different colored LEDs at different power levels.
Below you will find a schematic representation of various components, a view of a 555 timer and a power supply schematic.
As you see, I'm expanding my horizons past Star Trek and will be making circuits for a lot of different things.
Below you can see where I was working on the Enterprise B for Sasser. Can't remember if this was his pic, or mine. The last picture is another LED driver circuit.
It's long over due for an update, so here we go.... One thing that we haven't touched on much is conductors, those things that conduct our potential energy to where we want it to go. Gold, Silver, Copper and Aluminun, in that order are the best conductors. Gold is primarily used in high-end computer and sound systems as it makes for the best conductor and the best connectors. Silver is used in a lot of comsuner electronics from computers to cell phones and as a result the price of silver continues to go up. Copper is the most common metal used in electrical and electronics, but again, as demand for copper goes up and mines have difficulty keep up with the demand, the price also continues to rise. Aluminun is primarly used in cheap electrical and electronics applications because it is cheap, but the main drawback with it is that it tends to oxidize a breakdown faster than any of the above mentioned materials. Below I show various common conductors. Many of these conductors, or wires can be found cheaply, or slavaged from existing equipment. Additionaly, you'll see a picture of a small fan. The battery powered fan costs $1.00 at your basic thrift store, or dollar store... If you must have spinnys for your Enterprise model, you can use these motors, or you can go to Edmund Scientific and look for motors and reduction gears to facilitate your needs. You do NOT have to buy expensive after market items, you can make your own. Of course there are always self contained units that you can use for some applications, or you can even learn how to create your own boards. You'll see some brass etch materials below, the process is essentially the same and I'll show a demonstration on that at a later date. I'll get into all of this later. Check out the photos and as always.... Keep on Trekkin! =/\= ;)

Adding new electronics options and designs....

Remote controled and tactile interior and nacelle lighting and effects.