Recently I found the need to do some measurements on 75Ω CATV equipment, only having 50Ω test equipment to use. For this, matching networks exist to convert 50Ω to 75Ω, but they’re fairly simple, so building them was a viable option.
Above is the very simple schematic to create the 75Ω match. To help keep any parasitics down, this circuit will be built directly onto the back of BNC connectors, that are soldered back-to-back, before being covered in shielding tape.
Here’s the first 50Ω BNC connector, with the resistor network soldered on. I’ve used 4x 360Ω resistors in parallel to create the 90Ω to ground, and a single 43Ω series resistor on the centre pin.
This end view of the arrangement shows the 4 resistors evenly spaced around the centre pin & soldered to the shell.
The centre pin of the 75Ω BNC connector is trimmed down to match the length needed to touch the end of the series resistor, and it’s soldered in place. It’s a bit tricky, soldering within the gap between 2 of the ground pins!
Finally, the internals are shielded with copper tape, soldered at the seams.
Some time ago I did a couple of posts on cheapening up the maintenance of Eberspacher hot air heaters by making the glow plug screens myself. Now one of my pieces of stainless mesh has been in the heater for nearly a year, and the heater is starting to get a bit smoky on a cold start. This is usually a sign that the screen isn’t allowing the fuel to vaporise quick enough for the glow plug to ignite the flame, because it’s becoming blocked. So far the heater has had about 150L of diesel through it with my DIY screen.
After removing the plug, here’s what’s left of the screen. The bottom end has completely disintegrated, but this is to be expected – OEM screens do the same thing as this end is exposed to the most heat in the burner. There’s quite a bit of coke buildup on the top end of the screen around the fuel nozzle, again this isn’t surprising, as this is the coolest part of the heater not all the heavier fractions of the diesel fuel have the chance to vaporise.
Looking further down into the mixing tube of the main burner, everything looks good. There’s a coating of soot in there, but no tar-like build up that would tell me the unit isn’t burning properly. Another advantage of making my own screens is that they’re much easier to extract from the hole once they’ve been in there for months. The OEM screens have a stainless ring spot welded to the mesh itself to hold it’s shape, and once there’s enough fuel residue built up the entire mess seizes in place, requiring some sharp pokey tools & some colourful language to remove. The single loop of mesh held in place by it’s own spring pressure is much easier to remove as it collapses easily.
I’ve decided to change the mesh size of the screen while I’m in here, in this case to 80 mesh, which is much closer to the OEM screen size. There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference so far in either the starting or running capability of the heater, although the thicker wire of this screen might last longer before disintegrating at the burner end.
A while ago I posted about the glowplug screens in Eberspacher heaters, and making some DIY ones, as the OEM parts are hideously expensive for a piece of stainless mesh (£13).
Above is the old factory screen that I extracted after only 5 gallons of diesel was run through it, it’s heavily clogged up with carbon & tar. The result of this clogging is a rather slow & smoky start of the heater & surging of the burner while at full power.
It wasn’t as badly stuck in the chamber as some I’ve removed, but extracting it still caused the steel ring to deform, this was after using a scalpel blade to scrape the carbon off the rim.
At the time I did some tests with some spare copper mesh I had to hand, but the problem with copper is that it’s very soft & malleable, so didn’t really hold it’s shape well enough. The factory screens are spot welded to keep them in shape, but as I don’t have a spot welder, I am relying on the mesh having a bit of springiness to keep it in place against the walls of the glowplug chamber.
eBay provided a piece of 120 mesh stainless steel mesh, 300mmx300mm for £8. It’s a bit finer than the stock stuff, but appears to work perfectly fine as long as there’s no gunk in the fuel to clog it up.
I cut a strip off the large piece, as wide as the OEM screen, about 32mm. This 300mm long strip is then cut into 4 pieces, each 75mm long. (it’s easily cut with scissors, but mind the stray wires on the edges! They’re very sharp & penetrate skin easily!).
These pieces are just the right size to form a complete loop in the glowplug chamber, and the stainless is springy enough so that it doesn’t deform & become loose.
The OEM screen is multiple turns of a more coarse mesh, but the finer mesh size of the screens I’m using means only one turn is required. Multiple turns would probably be too restrictive to fuel flow.
With one of these pieces of mesh in place, the heater starts instantly, without even a wisp of smoke from the exhaust. Burner surging is also eliminated. Even if the service life of my DIY replacement isn’t as long as an OEM screen, the low price for such a large number of replacements certainly offsets that disadvantage!
A piece of mesh from eBay would provide enough material for quite a lot of replacements, and probably more than the service life of the burner itself!
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