Homemade Boards:- Si570, WA6UFQ Controller, K5BCQ controller, Rotary Encoder.


Note! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE THESE METHODS TO BUILD A SOFTROCK! Tony's kits are complete with a PCB, just make connections to it! Below is a picture of my board and the tools used to make it. After scoring the board is cleaned with sand paper and the grooves cleaned out. This may be done a few times, looking with an eyeglass until no debris remains. This seems crude but I have used this technique for many years, providing no swarf is left it proves a reliable method. These have been used to convert earlier crystal controlled Softrocks to make them frequency agile. Tony once produced a kit with a proper board to do this. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/XTALL%20daughter%20board/  

This page was  intended to show how one can get away without a printed circuit. DIL ICs can be mounted upside down (Dead Bug) like the Si570 on similar boards. With the right tools and skills SOICs may be similarly wired. 

The board is double sided, the drilled holes are used to connect with the ground plane on the reverse. After the photo I drilled a few more. Size 40 x 23mm, 1 3/4 x 1"


 The populated board:- Semiconductors from left side. The Si570 is 5x7mm, small but not too small. A fine tip is needed.

Centre left, FIN1002 level converter. This is a LVDS receiver, it may be mounted away from the Si570, connected with a twisted pair terminated with 100R. Centre Si570. A 100nF capacitor is mounted vertically next to the +ve pad. See lower picture.
Right LP2992 3V3 regulator. Note, for stability under all conditions, a ceramic 4u7 capacitor is recommended for the output of this regulator but I have not used one but a 10uF and 100nF instead.
A 68R in series with the 12V supply reduces the regulator dissipation. At about 100mA the resistor dissipates over 1/2 watt. This point may be supplied with 5V from a suitable regulator.

I have used surface mount components, mainly second-hand removed from old boards! Wired components may, of course be used tacked on like my interconnecting wires.

The Si570 is decoupled by a surface mount 100nF mounted vertically. 

2 FETs to interface with the LPT parallel port, for frequency control. For PicAxe etc I2C control connections made direct to SDA, SCL. (PicAxe runs off the 3V3 line.)

More convenient now would be a USB ATTiny85 as in the Softrock. Or an independent controller as lower on this page.

Another attempt for another Si570. This time I have terminated the LVDS input to the FIN1002 although this may not be necessary for such a short twisted pair. 

WA6UFQ-Prototype Board This board was made for the WA6UFQ Si570 controller. It takes a few hours to design and make. If size is critical, and you know exactly what components will be fitted then place them on the board and draw the tracks in pencil. Like other boards I have drilled a few holes to link to the ground plane on the other side. This is built only for the Si570, I have omitted the components required to interface with the DDS 30/60 which it also will control.

The populated board. On the other side is the PIC, a resistor array and the 10MHz crystal. Also two sockets to take the LCD leads. I then removed the sockets to reduce the height of the board and wired an LCD directly. The red lead is the5V connector for the LCD power. This is taken from the 5V regulator in the Si570 box. (It is actually outside, to minimise the heat inside.) Care should be taken if you use this for the LCD backlight, it may need a bigger heatsink. The connector goes to the Si570, on the Softrock 6.3 & 8.3 it may go to the PIC socket. It connects the SDA, SCL, 3V3 & ground.

The board and mouse wheels were cut and fitted into a box made with more double sided board. (Facia to follow, perhaps!) The mouse wheels are a little fiddly to use but do the job. The switch of one is used as the "set" switch. Their connections found by just trying each of the three pins to ground in turn until they worked properly. Note they work after a fashion whichever way they are connected! The controller is attached to a stand-alone Si570 unit. This has a PIC controller stuck on it which plugs in to the unit. there is also a connector for paralell port control.

A Kees, K5BCQ/John controller I built.

This is a Kees/John controller built with a spare chip. It is followed by a switchable divider. It shows the versatility of the controller, the display can be configured to show the actual output of the divide by 128. It does not need this divider, but it does allow low frequencies to be generated for LF Softrocks and other things! The LCD obtained from Cecil is shortened by cutting about 11mm (~3/8 inch) from each end. This removes the contact pads but wires are easily soldered to points on the board.

Further versatility is demonstrated here, I used a mouse rotary encoder, the controller allows the tuning rate to be set to accommodate 12 or more pulses per increment.

I assembled this on a small piece of PCB using SM components but any method can be used. D1 and D2 are contained in one package at the mouse encoder. The cogged wheel is between that and the LED. You may well find they are connected like this with the +5V common. I do not think the resistor values will be critical, any in the same range may well work. I just used those because that's what I had in SM! The transistors again can be any small NPN device. The + voltage with the controller is 3V3. With other applications it could be higher, and mine still worked at 2V. The Pulse connections go to U1 pins 15 and 16. A separate push-button is used at pin 14. The "Internal Pullup" resistors, of course, are contained in the chip's circuitry. You will have to devise a way of removing the encoder assembly from the mouse, a certain amount of cutting and gluing will be required! As the controller allows the number of pulses per increment to be set I left the cogged encoder wheel complete, this could be modified to suit other needs.

Si570 controller http://www.qsl.net/k5bcq/Kits/Kits.html  

Si570/Softrock Information

G4ZFQ Old Index page.


Here is a really good way of using PCB material for circuits and boxes. Now on http://aa7ee.wordpress.com/page/2/  Look for August 2nd and September 24 2011, he keeps adding to the pages, it will soon be on page3.

Temperature Stability. At 5MHz (divided frequency) the frequency has varied 3Hz over a week when the room has varied 5 degrees Centigrade. I have mounted one on a Khune crystal heater and observed a movement of around 1Hz under similar conditions. The Khune heater holds a temperature of 40 Centigrade so would not work well in the tropics.

August 2008 G4ZFQ April 2015 11 pictures on W/cable to be moved.

http://homepages.wightcable.net/~g4zfq/ Old Site Index

The background is an Argo display of QRSS reception on 80m.