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Dirt cheap uBitx case #ubitx

N1AFF - formerly KB1JPW
 

I wish I could remember which post covered using switch boxes for cases but this one was perfect and only $4 from an electronic surplus store. My radio literally just arrived this afternoon so I quickly ran out to find a "case." I will add a plate on the back to cover the former cutouts for centronics connectors. The original center switch hole is where the display naturally sits when plugged directly into the board. I will end up popping the front plate onto the mill to get a clean and square hole. This case is steel so I might end up going for something down the road that's lighter. For the price along with a massive selector switch, wire, and a decent set of knurled machine screws, I cannot complain. I bought a larger case for $6 when I need to start looking at upgrades. 


Joe Puma
 

That switch selector is hilarious. Imagine wiring that up to the uB. We’re gonna need more Arduino pins for that bad boy lol 

Joe



On Mar 7, 2018, at 7:09 PM, KB1JPW <a.fairaizl@...> wrote:

I wish I could remember which post covered using switch boxes for cases but this one was perfect and only $4 from an electronic surplus store. My radio literally just arrived this afternoon so I quickly ran out to find a "case." I will add a plate on the back to cover the former cutouts for centronics connectors. The original center switch hole is where the display naturally sits when plugged directly into the board. I will end up popping the front plate onto the mill to get a clean and square hole. This case is steel so I might end up going for something down the road that's lighter. For the price along with a massive selector switch, wire, and a decent set of knurled machine screws, I cannot complain. I bought a larger case for $6 when I need to start looking at upgrades. 


John Backo
 

That is a serial or parallel distribution switch.

It takes a serial port output (6 to 20 wires),
or a parallel port (usually 20 wires) and
transfers it to 4 different receiving ports.
The most common use was to connect one
computer to several different printers.

They were quite common in computers before
the advent of USB and (lately) wifi.

Finding one nowadays at a decent price is a
rarity. A few years back, they were very common
and very cheap. They make excellent radio cases
though one usually has to redo the front and back
parts. I have several with double-sided pcb added
as faceplates. In addition to the cases, one usually
ends up with a 12P4T switch (which is fine for switching
filter banks), and lots of #28 wire.

john
AD5YE.

N1AFF - formerly KB1JPW
 

I'll be uploading a few more pics as I go along. The display is a tad bit too forward for the front panel so I'm flipping the header pins from the back to the front of that board that the LCD plugs into. That will give additional clearance.  I'd not recommend reusing the headers and to definitely use new ones instead. It wasn't worth the hassle and the ugly result.  The heatsinks on the finals also needed to be flipped upside down and slightly angled inwards towards the center of the board to avoid touching the case. I'll add a few strips of kapton tape where they are located to avoid any bumps to the case moving them. I'm still seeing conflicting information on the heatsinks making contact with the case, does anyone have definitive information about the tabs being at ground voltage level?  I'll be added a RJ45 jack for microphone/speaker/up/down (with the related component changes needed for dynamic mics) and a 2A fuse holder adjacent to the power input.  I'll use the provided power jack but will have a short tail to powerpole connectors. That's the extent at the moment I'll be deviating from the original design. 

Thanks to Mike Woods - ZL1AXG for tossing my post up on his page here http://ubitx.net/category/cases/   It was a surprise to see that while looking for additional ubitx hacks a few hours after I posted.  
@Joe - I'll be probably freeing some pins up by going with a I2C display later on
@John - They've got plenty more sitting there on the shelf for the same prices.  The place is a goldmine and has been in operation since 1971 - http://www.esssurplus.com/ They also sell through ebay.  

N1AFF - formerly KB1JPW
 

Getting there slowly. I went ahead and decided to cut new end panels. The front panel still has a few additions and different knobs to find. The rear panel has a USB port missing still.

N1AFF - formerly KB1JPW
 

Things are getting tight in the case. Holding off on the RJ45 jack until I can make sure it's all working happily. I've removed the 16 pin connector and will be soldering leads directly to the board due to space constraints.

Mike Woods
 

Did you mean USB port rather tha RJ45?  You could mount this on the side of the top cover.

Mike ZL1AXG


On Sun, 11 Mar 2018 at 5:56 PM, KB1JPW <a.fairaizl@...> wrote:
Things are getting tight in the case. Holding off on the RJ45 jack until I can make sure it's all working happily. I've removed the 16 pin connector and will be soldering leads directly to the board due to space constraints.

K9HZ <bill@...>
 

You are gonna want to keep those leads as short as possible since they carry RF (the oscillator frequencies) to the motherboard…

 

 

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From: BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] On Behalf Of KB1JPW
Sent: Saturday, March 10, 2018 10:56 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Dirt cheap uBitx case #ubitx

 

Things are getting tight in the case. Holding off on the RJ45 jack until I can make sure it's all working happily. I've removed the 16 pin connector and will be soldering leads directly to the board due to space constraints.


Virus-free. www.avg.com

John Backo
 

Looks good.

It is always a challenge to fit a rig into a small space.

As Bill Schmidt says, watch out for stray RF. You may have to mount some
shielding (which is true of almost any ham and any rig). Hi. The easiest solution
is usually coax cable with included shielding. That probably should be
used for the three RF signals from the Raduino to the board anyway. Ground
the coax on the Raduino side, but NOT on the motherboard side. The cable
to the display can be wrapped with aluminum foil -- that is usually adequate.
Ground the foil on the Raduino side.

A good cable, if you can find it, is RG-48 with teflon insulation and 100%
shielding. It works well every time, and it is a bit smaller than regular RG-48.
It is a natural for smd connectors and GPS.

I wonder about the heat sinks. Perhaps you should drill 2 small holes
and tighten them against the case with long 4-40 screws. As long as the
IRF510's are isolated, the heat sink should be at ground, and the case is a
good place to anchor them. Every little bit helps. They can be tapped to
accommodate the screws so no nuts are needed...But nuts can be used as well.
Alternately, you could place a larger heat sink on the outside of the case
a la the method of Graham, VE3WGW. That kind of heat sink is easily found
as it is usually used in power inverters and voltage converters, especially
solar power units.

john
AD5YE

Michael Shreeve
 

Nice case. Not sure you would want to open the discussion to a "case" discussion in General so I possibly apologize in advance, but the Brazilians are making some of the nicest cases I've seen. For an example, check this one out   https://youtu.be/sFF_mHNBpo0       And this one 

N1AFF - formerly KB1JPW
 

That's pretty slick looking.  

I got it all together last night, plugged in and no smoke. I my antenna was already tuned up for 80m and switched over there. 
I was picking up cw and phone pretty good at a medium volume. And then, there was nothing....

http://ubitx.net/fix-tda2822-audio-amp/ Sigh, I've got one of the WX chips.  All I get now when I power on is a slight pop and then silence.  It looks like I need to go ahead and wire up a lm386 in the meantime

Prior note - I did mean RJ45 - I've got a Yaesu MH-31 handheld mic I'll be adding. I'll be adding a usb port on the back for digital and CAT use.  I've got an old GPS antenna that I'm going to steel some of the cable from for RF signals.  My leads were shortened as much as I can for the moment though for testing. The last pic with the leads was prior to trimming and soldering directly to the board.  Once I get the RF wired up, top speaker, and other jacks installed I'll get some more pics all together once the case is painted.  

Daniel Conklin <danconklin2@...>
 

That looks great!  I've got the small Jameco case and it's just about a perfect fit.  I tried to glue my printed faceplate to it, and the solvent from the glue melted the faceplate and the enamel on the case, so I've got to come up with something safer.  Maybe I'll try spray cement.
Dan, W2DLC

N1AFF - formerly KB1JPW
 

Thanks!  Ouch, always when you think you're getting close to done... 

I've added the rj45 jack for my spare handheld mic along with a mini usb port on the back. I still need to wire up the up/down buttons off the jack.


I left the front plate with the original jacks in case I want to ever use them again.  If I don't I'll end up creating a new faceplate and have the rj45 jack directly on the front.

There is now a 1" fan in the top along with a 2" speaker.  I ended up replacing the green screen with the blue and it's quite a bit easier on the eyes.  The case was painted hammered black on the top and bottom pieces. The front and back plates got coated in hammered silver.  I wanted a bit of an old-school vibe with the hammered paint.  



I realized I never gave the case dimensions - it's 7"wide x 6.5" long and 3" tall ( ~17.5 cm x 16 cm x 7 cm)
When I make it back to the office I'll be printing up laser water slide decals for some last minute embellishments and labeling. 
At this point I'm not sure I'd do another scratch built and recycled case due to the effort and extra time.   (lies, all lies) I definitely spent more time and labor costs building and assembling than I would have if I bought a pre-made case. I've still got some more cable management to do on the inside but had to throw it all together for a quick distraction.  

Daniel Conklin <danconklin2@...>
 

I really like the idea of using the RJ45 jack for the mic.  I finally ended up making mine pretty traditional looking.  I'm still going to add the USB panel connection so I can hook it up to the computer without having to remove the cover.  I will also probably add an external IF connector now that Ian et.al are experimenting with SDR hookups. - Dan, W2DLC

Roy Appleton
 

Oh that is one sweet front panel!

Roy
WA0YMH

On Fri, Apr 13, 2018, 1:26 PM Daniel Conklin <danconklin2@...> wrote:
I really like the idea of using the RJ45 jack for the mic.  I finally ended up making mine pretty traditional looking.  I'm still going to add the USB panel connection so I can hook it up to the computer without having to remove the cover.  I will also probably add an external IF connector now that Ian et.al are experimenting with SDR hookups. - Dan, W2DLC