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Schematic and Parts List are attached to this post!

This guide is for the Consult beta test box that some of you guys are (hopefully) soon going to try to build. Builders: please post your comments, questions, and pictures in this thread. When I'm satisfied that these things are actually buildable by people that don't wield a soldering iron on a daily basis and most of the bugs are ironed out these pieces should be available for sale on the forum store front.

The schematic for the board is attached to this thread. It should match the boards you are building on. Also attached is a parts list in excel format with links to www.mouser.com where you can purchase all of the components. I will supply the circuit board, the white consult-wanna-be plug, and the pins. Note: the box and LEDs are not needed for this board to work. If you want, you can do something kind of slick and mount the board under the dash and use a panel-mount DB9 connector, as shown in the photo below. The board is pre-drilled for standoffs for this kind of mounting, or using other enclosures. These holes are not used for the box I spec, it has internal rails that hold the board. If you do this one piece of advice: mount the DB9 connector a little farther back on the shifter console, if you mount it as pictured when the seat slides forward if you've got a cable plugged it it will hit the cable and bend the connector. Don't ask how I learned this.



Anywho, on with the box. What your trying to build is shown in the picture below. Note that this one does not have LEDs. I haven't yet built a box and actually mounted the LEDs to it as I always get lazy and just call it finished without the flashing lights. The LEDs I've speced are snap-ins, and should mount just by drilling the proper size hole in the box. If I get a chance to build a box with them I'll document this. Ok, for those of you that don't have a box, what you can't see is that this is an extruded aluminium anadized black box, and its built like a little brick. I really like it, especially considering how cheap it is. I think you could drive an se-r over it and it would survive.



Ok, I've broken the construction down into three different tasks: assembling the circuit board, doing the fabrication necessary on the box, and finally building the consult plug. I think its actually easier to do these out of order and do the second task first, but I've got more photos right now for the board assembly so thats what I'm listing first. For the second task, it helps to be using a board thats not already stuffed just for mocking things up.

Also note, there should be hi-res versions of these pictures in my gallery if you need a better view of something.

TASK 1: Assembling the circuit board

Ok, first off print yourself a good color copy of the schematic. You don't have to know what everything on there is doing, but it helps to follow it along as you build.

Step 1 - Solder in the resistors and the single diode. Resistors can be soldered in any direction, they don't have a front or back. On the circuit board you will see a R# where a resistor needs to be placed. If you fold the leads of the resistor as shown in the picture below it should go in the holes on either side of the marking. The resistors always go in the same direction as the text, and lay directly on top of the text.



Make sure you put the right resistors in the right spots, and put the ends in the right holes. Don't mix up your resistors! Unfortunately I think I'm using slightly different values in the photos than what the parts list calls for, but look at the photos to make sure your putting them in the right spots.

when you get done soldering the components, make sure to cut the dangling leads off with a small pair of cutters. You need to trim them kind of short to fit in the box correctly.

Ok, the diode is directional. You need to place it facing "forward", as the next two photos show. The dark side of the diode is the "front". I actually forgot to place the diode in this step so I'm substituting a later photo, ignore the rest of the components.





Step 2 - Place the ICs and the Transistor

All the little chips are labeled U#, with the label in the top portion of the chip. Each chip has a notch on the center top part, this denotes the top of the chip. Aslo, the writing always goes down direction, and pin 1 is always the top left pin. Note on the circuit board pin 1 is always designated with a square pad. Anywho, place the chips as shown below.



Ok, I forgot to place the transistor in this step when I was assembling it, so I'm using a later picture again. The transistor is labeled Q1. Note which direction the curved part of the transistor faces, as shown in the picture below. The pins are also kind of close together, so be extra careful soldering this one.

 

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Step 3 - Place the Capacitors

First lets place the smallest cap. Its the 1000pF cap (p = pico, or 10 to the minus 12th power). Like all the small caps, this one is not directional. Also, all the small caps need to be placed as shown below, on end with one leg folded down. All the caps are slightly below the their C# label on the board (except C7 which is above its label). One pad is square and the other is circular.





Ok, next place the remaing small caps. Note: I specified all 0.1uF caps (u = micro, or 10 to the minus 12th power). If you building this from scratch and are not using the ST232 chip I specified but a Ti or Maxim variant you will probably need to change caps C3-6 to 1uF caps. Btw, I've drawn all these caps with the correct direction indicated for you guys cobbling it together from scratch if your not using bipolar caps.



Next place the two large caps (C1 and C2), the 47uF guys. These big dudes are directional (aka polarized). Note that one leg is longer than the other. Also, one side has little minus symbols. When you place these, the side with the long leg is the "positive" side and needs to go in the square pad. Don't place these backwards.



Also, don't place the cap all the way flush with the board. Attempt to stand it off slightly. You need to bend it forward for it to fit in the box, as shown below.



Step 4 - Place the oscillator

This is the big metal can thing. It has a dot indicating pin 1, as well as that corner is not rounded. Again, pin 1 is indicated on the circuit board with a square pad. Try to get this guy even with the board and not bent and touching the board. Don't let the metal case touch one of the traces.



Step 5 - Place the regulator

The voltage regulator is the rather large thing with the metal tab sticking out the top. Place him as shown below. He is directional, don't put it in backwards. The metal tab should face up, and the writing side of the device should face down. Like the big caps gently fold him over after soldering him in place.



Step 6 - Place the DB9 connectors

These should just snap into place, then solder the pins. The femal (pc side) goes on the right and the male (car side) goes on the left.



Thats it, you've assembled the board! Now to put it in a box and make the connector....


Task 1 FAQ

Oscillators: Yes, the feet are ok to touch the board, thats what they're there for.

Capacitors: They're fine however you mount them. Only make sure that you put the 1000pf cap in the right spot, mixing that guy up is bad. Also make sure you mounted the two big caps correctly, if they're backwards thats bad too.

Diode: The stripe towards the "bottom" of the board (where it says Consult Basic Board) is backwards. Thr stripe should point "up". Diodes are like one way valves, they only let current flow in one direction. That diode is there to protect the board from very bad things. Mounted backwards, it prevents the board from ever getting power.

Chips: If you mount them backwards its usually easier to destroy these when you remove them.

Extra holes: Yea, those are called "vias". When you design a board you have to have a way of connecting traces on the top to traces on the bottom. You do it using the vias.
 

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