Saturday, 28 February 2015

Hypex UCD400HG Amplifier Repair

Before we begin I want to make it clear this is a guide only. The repair worked for me and I cannot be held responsible for any damage caused to your board or yourself. If you are not a qualified engineer I would recommend this job is left to a professional! 

I have a pair of Hypex SMPS400 power supplies that were dead as described in my previous post. When I got them working again I found that both UCD400HG amplifier boards had a hiss and crackle sound when no input was fed into them. When sound was fed into them they would cut out and take a few minutes for them to reset and work again. The fact that both had the same fault might be an indication that this is a common fault so I hope this helps you! Again there was no info online so I checked the obvious first and managed to repair them both.

This is what the board is like when connected to the power supply.

These are the capacitors that I replaced shown in the following photos.
C40, C41, C42 & C43 they are all 22uF 63v

After replacing all 4 capacitors they powered up with no noise and worked as normal. I hope this helps you to repair your faulty amp module! 

Hypex SMPS400 Power supply repair.

Before we begin I want to make it clear this is a guide only. The repair worked for me and I cannot be held responsible for any damage caused to your board or yourself. If your not a qualified engineer I would recommend this job is left to a professional! 

I have a pair of Hypex SMPS400 that were dead. The fact that both had the same fault might be an indication that this is a common fault? There was no info online and I tried getting service information but the makers just wanted me to send back for a repair. As there was no diagram available I checked the obvious first and managed to repair them both.

This is what the board is like when connected in the amp.

There are three capacitors that you need to check and replace. C25, C26 & C27 
They are all 220uf 35v. C25 was the most difficult to replace but when they were replaced it came back to life.
Here are close photos of the parts that needed replacing. I have highlighted the capacitors in both photos.

I hope you manage to have the same success as me at repairing your power supply. 

Good luck.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Guardians of the Galaxy Tape Deck

One of my favorite movies of the moment is Guardians of the Galaxy! When I saw the film there were a few props I thought I could make from the weapons to the mask Star lord wears.
When I saw the tape deck on his ship I thought yes I can make one of them!
I repair audio so I thought I could incorporate a working tape player into the design and get it to work Ashely as looking cool!! (Well hopefully)
This is the end goal! 

There are a few posts in prop forums I have seen. Let's see what I can achieve!

I have sofar designed and printed the housing for the tape deck. I may have to redesign and reprint it though as the tape deck I have got is slightly different to what I had initially thought. I have also designed and printed some of the knobs and bought some handles.
Here is the original compared to my work so far

Not looking great at the moment but early days yet! I have got to redesign the 3d printed cassette holder. I think the boarder needs to be thicker and the bar that seperates the tape from the buttons needs to be slightly lower. 

More to follow!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

3d Printed Star Trek Phaser Rifle

I have wanted a star trek phaser rifle for a while and started looking at making one from plastic sheets using a pepakura pattern I found online. I even made a small cardboard one to see how it would look.

This is the goal of my project! Let's see how close the finished prop looks.

Since getting my 3d printer I thought I would give it a go and I manged to stumble upon a set of free stl files.
The parts have been designed so they will fit onto most 3d printers.
These are the parts I have printed so far. I have already joined some of the parts. As they are printed in ABS the best way to join them is with Acetone. This makes a chemical weld to join the plastic.
Here are the parts so far.

I have just ran out of white ABS so while I'm waiting on some more to arrive I will be printing the rest in blue ABS. The whole thing is going to be painted anyway so it doesn't really matter. 

Here is the printing of the last piece of the prop. This part took the longest, over 4 hours to print

Here is what the completed and assembled Phaser Rifle looks like.

The next step is to fill and paint the prop. I will post photos as I go so you can see it at the different stages.

More to follow! Come back soon!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Liebster nomination.


Thank you to 
Ellie Jones for nominating me for the Liebster award! For those of you who don't know what the Liebster award is, it is an online award that is passed from one blogger to another with the aim of promoting blog's that have less than 200 followers. They are a few rules, these are....

1) Thank the person who nominated you with a link to their blog
2) Display the Liebster Award button in your post
3) Answer the questions you are given
4) Nominate up to 10 other bloggers with up to 200 followers and inform them by commenting on their blog or contacting them
5) Write 10 questions for the bloggers you have nominated

So here are the answers to Eleanor's questions....

1. Marvel or DC?
Marvel as I like the whole marvel universe and the way the movies link in to each other making one big story!

2. What is your favourite hobby?
I enjoy making projects using my 3d printer and building electronic circuits for the projects I am making

3. What inspired you to start your hobby?
My dad always let me to help when he was doing any diy or soldering etc and I guess it built from there I now work as an electronics engineer and still do it as a hobby! 

4. Eggs benedict or English breakfast?
English breakfast!!!

5. What new craft would you like to have a go at?
I would like to try glass blowing or pottery

6. Who taught you to ride a bike?
My mum and dad taught me. I remember riding up and down the road we lived on and riding without stabilisers for the first time.

7. What is your favourite star constellation and why?
The plough as it helps you to find north and your way hone if your lost ;) 

8. What is your favourite blog you like to follow? 
I follow James builds a lot of props and costumes using his 3d printers and other skills he has developed!

9. What are you currently working on?
Probably too many as I never get them finished, automatic lights for the stairs,an enclosure for my 3d printer, a 3d printed phaser rifle, a Dick Tracy watch,the tape deck from Gardians of the Galaxy. I've probably forgotten some other ones but they will get done eventually! Lol

10. What is your favourite film of all time?
I like a lot of scifi films from Star Trek to Gardians of the Galaxy but I think Back to the future would have to be my favorite of all time!

I've neglected my blog a lot and this has inspired me to start posing some more, so watch this place for more exciting projects?

Thanks again Ellie for nominating me! Don't forget to visit Eleanor's blog on

I'm going to break the chain here I'm afraid as I do t currently follow and blogs with less than 200 followers. Sorry! 

Friday, 5 July 2013

DIY Solar PV Immersion Water Heater

My Mum and Dad have had a 3KW solar panel system installed over a year ago and my dad has been pleased but wanted to make more of them by heating the hot water as well. He had been looking at options like Immersun that cost anything from £349 upwards. This seemed a bit much and we were sure we could come up with a cheaper and just as effective way of doing the same job.
We found a website called A cleaver man on there had come up with a circuit that uses an Arduino Uno. 

This is the circuit I found via a link on

My job was also made a lot easier as a board design had been made and all I had to do was etch the boards, solder it up and assemble it! All I needed was a shopping list of parts to buy or acquire from work. (With my boss's permission!)

Triac BTA41-600B   Spiratronics (all order inc delivery £11.40)
Opto couple MOC3041-M  Spiratronics
Op amp LM358AN Spiratronics
Diode 1N914 Schottky  Free (Had Already)
8pin ic socket (Had Already)
Arduino UNO  £12.90
CT SCT-013-030  £6.87  eBay
PCB Transformer 3VA 9V+9V Spiratronics
Terminal block 2 way x5  Spiratronics
3.5mm stereo pcb jack  Free (Had Already)
Resistor 180R .25w metal film Free (Had Already)
Resistor 330R .25w metal film Free (Had Already)
Resistor 360R .25w metal film Free (Had Already)
Resistor 12K .25w metal film Free (Had Already)
Resistor 15K .25w metal film  Maplin £1.40
Resistor 150K .25w metal film Maplin £0.96
Fuse holder CPC £0.66
PSU for Arduino 12V .5A Free (Had Already)
Case 194.5x145x78mm  eBay The Allendale stores  £6.90
Heatsink Free (From Scrap Plasma TV)
Cable glands PG11 x 2 CPC £1.10 (only used one in the end)
Ferric chloride EBay £5.19 ( had lots left for future projects)

Total = £47.38

Here is the assembled box just before we installed it.

Here is the finished and installed "Magic Box" (as my dad calls it)

It works much better than I had hoped, my dad has turned off the gas heating for the hot water and so far he reckons that the water is hotter than it was before and they are saving on there gas bill!

Job done! 

Diy 3D Printer Made From Scrap!!!!

This is my blog to attempt a build of a 3D Printer based on the RepRap Prusa Mendel i2.
I have been looking at getting a 3D printer but have been put off by the cost. The cheapest off the self kit I have seen in the UK is the Velleman K8200 at Maplin for £699.99.
I work as an electronics engineer repairing laptops, ink and laser printers and audio equipment. As I work in electronics I am hoping that I can get reclaimed parts from work. (With my bosses permission)

Today I start the long process of hoarding what I can. I have saved an HP printer/scanner from the bin and have reclaimed a smooth rod approximately 400mm long.A piece of glass for the print plate surface? Some springs (might come in) and 2 optical sensors I hope to use end stop stop sensors, instead of mechanical switches.

I still have a long list of parts to get but I have to start somewhere! 

I've bought a Tap and Die set today from a car boot sale cost me a massive £7. Thought it might allow me to have a go at making a hot end for the printer if I'm feeling brave! Bargain, couldn't resist!!!

Just been car booting (yes again!) lol. Got a set of brackets that I may be able to use in the construction of the frame. Cost only £1. Am trying to source either free or cheap aluminum frame material or make from wood? (Not ideal as heavy) we will see

As you might have guessed i have had a bit of a change of mind. I was going for the RepRap Prusa Mendel i2. I have now changed my mind a bit and decided on a 3D Drag or as it is known at Maplin the Velleman K8200 as I mentioned earlier in this blog.
I has found some step by step assembly instructions at and seems more sturdy (we will see). It uses 4 instead of 5 stepper motors that will immediately save on the cost of parts I will have to purchase. 

This is what I am trying to achieve!

I have managed to get 2 more smooth rods and drive belts from a scrap Dell Printer, at least be able to use the 
Smooth rods not too sure about the drive belts.

Update on this project! (At last)!

Unfortunately I decided to call it a day on building my own 3d printer.
The main reason was that the cost of essential parts like stepper motors and electronics was going to bring it into the £300 ish cost and I didn't want to spend that kind on money on something that might not work or work very well. :( 
I have kept the parts I acquired for any future projects so thay won't go to waste.
I decided to buy a 3d printer instead!!!!!
I was looking for a while and decided to go for a Makerbot clone. It's a Duplicator 4 with Dual extruders. It is basically the same as a Replicator printer, probably with lower quality motors and electronics but the software it runs is the same and seems to produce good prints.
This is the model I got!

The printer had a couple of things I wanted to change. The first was the light in the printer. 
When the printer is on is a bright blue. This looks quite good but isn't very practical as the light doesn't show the item being printed very well for photos or seeing how the print is going.
I bought a 24v led strip from ebay and it was a simple matter of soldering the new one in its place.
You can see for yourself the difference in the photo below but the difference in real life is much more noticeable. 

The next upgrade I wanted to do was to enclose the printer as this would improve the print quality I am getting. This is achieved by preventing drafts and keeping a more even temperature in the printer so the plastic cools at a more even rate.
You can buy a ready made enclosure kit but I wanted to see what I could achieve myself.
As I work in electronic repair I have access to scrap LCD TVs. When they are scrapped we stip them down into parts to recycle. In the back of an LCD or LED tv screen there is usually a piece of Perspex that is clear apart from some small white dots that help in lighting the tv screen uniformly. I've used a couple of these to create my enclosure.

The best way I found was to score and snap the pieces to make the sizes needed. The sides were then drilled and bolted into place. 
The top I stuck with tape to hold it into possition and used clear silicon to joint the parts together.
The door is a temporary solution as I'm not that happy with the look of it and the hinges aren't the best type. I may design some hinges myself and cut another piece of plastic to fit better but it does the job for now.
In all I am quite please with what I have achieved and my prints are improving, probably partly due to the enclosure and me learning as I go. 
Watch this space for my projects I'm working on. The main ones are a Star Trek Phase Rifle and the cassette player from Gardians of the Galaxy! :)
Thanks for reading and hope you will come back to see how my projects are progressing.