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CRT Flyback / Line Output Transformer Destructive Teardown

Small Flyback Transformer
Small Flyback Transformer

Here’s a small flyback / Line Output Transformer from a portable colour TV set. Usually these transformers are vacuum potted in hard epoxy resin & are impossible to disassemble without anything short of explosives. (There are chemical means of digesting cured epoxies, but none of them are pleasant). This one however, was potted in silicone, so with some digging, the structure of the transformer can be revealed.

Cap Removed
Cap Removed

The cap was glued on to the casing, but this popped off easily. The top of the core is visible in the silicone potting material.

The Digging Starts
The Digging Starts

A small screwdriver was used to remove the potting material, while trying not to damage the winding bobbin & core too badly. The bulge in the casing that I originally thought might house a voltage multiplier turns out to be totally empty. The white plastic bobbin is becoming visible around the core.

Bobbin
Bobbin

After some more digging & a lot of mess later, the entire transformer is revealed. The primary & auxiliary secondaries are visible at the bottom of the transformer, next to the pins. These transformers have multiple windings, as they’re used not only for supplying the final anode voltage of several Kilovolts to the CRT, but many of the other associated voltages, for the heater, grids, focus electrodes, etc. These lower voltage windings are on the same part of the core as the primary.
Above those is the main high voltage secondary winding, which looks to be wound with #38-#40AWG wire (about the thinnest available, at 0.07mm diameter. This is wound in many sections of of a few hundred turns each to increase the insulation resistance to the high voltage. The main anode wire emerges from the top of the bobbin.

Output Rectifier
Output Rectifier

Hidden in a recess at the top is the main HV rectifier, which on this small transformer is a single device (it’s probably not internally, most likely a series stack of diodes to get the PIV rating required).

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Cheap Lithium Polymer Battery Packs

In the past, I’ve used RC type LiPo packs for my mobile power requirements, but these tend to be a bit bulky, since they’re designed for very high discharge current capability – powering large motors in models is a heavy job.

I recently came across some Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 battery packs on eBay very cheaply, at £2.95 a piece. For this price I get 6800mAh of capacity at 4.2v, for my 12v requirements, 3 packs must be connected in series, for a total output of 12.6v fully charged.

For an initial pack, I got 9 of these units, to be connected in 3 sets of 3 to make 20Ah total capacity.There are no control electronics built into these batteries – it’s simply a pair of 3400mAh cells connected in parallel through internal polyfuses, and an ID EEPROM for the Tab to identify the battery.
This means I can just bring the cell connections together with the original PCB, without having to mess with the welded cell tabs.

Battery Pack
Battery Pack

Here’s the pack with it’s cell connections finished & a lithium BCM connected. This chemistry requires close control of voltages to remain stable, and with a pack this large, a thermal runaway would be catastrophic.

Cell Links
Cell Links

The OEM battery connector has been removed, and my series-parallel cell connections are soldered on, with extra lead-outs for balancing the pack. This was the most time-consuming part of the build.

If all goes well with the life of this pack for utility use, I’ll be building another 5 of these, for a total capacity of 120Ah. This will be extremely useful for portable use, as the weight is about half that of an equivalent lead-acid.

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13.8v SMPS PSU Build

A while ago I blogged about modifying the output voltage of some surplus Cisco switch power supplies to operate at 13.8v.

Since I was able to score a nice Hammond 1598DSGYPBK ABS project box on eBay, I’ve built one of the supplies into a nice bench unit.

Hammond ABS Case
Hammond ABS Case
Supply Unit
Supply Unit

Above is the supply mounted into the box, I had to slightly trim one edge of the PCB to make everything fit, as it was just a couple of mm too wide. Luckily on the mains side of the board is some space without any copper tracks.

PSU Fan
PSU Fan

These supplies are very high quality & very efficient, however they came from equipment that was force-air cooled. Running the PSU in this box with no cooling resulted in overheating. Because of this I have added a small 12v fan to move some air through the case. The unit runs much cooler now. To allow the air to flow straight through the case, I drilled a row of holes under the front edge as vents.

Output Side
Output Side

Here is the output side of the supply, it uses standard banana jacks for the terminals. I have used crimp terminals here, but they are soldered on instead of crimped to allow for higher current draw. The negative return side of the output is mains earth referenced.

I have tried to measure output ripple on this supply, but with my 10X scope probe, and the scope set to 5mV/Div, the trace barely moves. The output is a very nice & stable DC.

This supply is now running my main radio in the shack, and is small enough to be easily portable when I move my station.