Posted on Leave a comment

Rigol DS1054Z 12v Power Supply Noise Filtering

Since I fitted my scope with a SMPS based 12v input supply, there has been a noise problem on very low volts/div settings, this noise isn’t present on the mains supply, so I can only think it’s coming from the switching frequencies of the various DC-DC modules I’ve used.

Scope Ripple
Scope Ripple

Because of this I’ve designed a linear post-regulation stage for the supply, to remove the RFI from the DC rails.
This board takes the outputs from the DC-DC converters, removes all the noise & outputs clean DC onto the mainboard of the scope.

As the scope internally uses regulation to get the voltages lower, I’ve found that I don’t have to match the outputs of the mains supply exactly, for the +/-17.5v rails, 12v is perfectly fine instead.

Scope Linear PSU
Scope Linear PSU

Here’s the PCB layout, with the 6  common mode filters on the input (left), linear regulator ICs in the centre & the output filters on the right.

Scope Linear PSU
Scope Linear PSU

Here’s the schematic layout, as usual the Eagle Project files are in the link below, I’ll update when I have built the board & tested!

[download id=”5589″]

73s for now 🙂

Posted on Leave a comment

12v CFL Lamp Failure Analysis

On the boat I have installed custom LED lighting almost everywhere, but we still use CFL bulbs in a standing lamp since they have a wide light angle, and brightness for the size.

I bought a couple of 12v CFLs from China, and the first of these has been running for over a year pretty much constantly without issue. However, recently it stopped working altogether.

12v CFL
12v CFL

Here’s the lamp, exactly the same as the 240v mains versions, except for the design of the electronic ballast in the base. As can be seen here, the heat from the ballast has degraded the plastic of the base & it’s cracked. The tube itself is still perfectly fine, there are no dark spots around the ends caused by the electrodes sputtering over time.

Ballast
Ballast

Here’s the ballast inside the bottom of the lamp, a simple 2-transistor oscillator & transformer. The board has obviously got a bit warm, it’s very discoloured!

Failed Wiring
Failed Wiring

The failure mode in this case was cooked wiring to the screw base. The insulation is completely crispy!

Direct Supply
Direct Supply

On connection direct to a 12v supply, the lamp pops into life again! Current draw at 13.8v is 1.5A, giving a power consumption of 20.7W. Most of this energy is obviously being dissipated as heat in the ballast & the tube itself.

Ballast PCB
Ballast PCB

Here’s the ballast PCB removed from the case. It’s been getting very warm indeed, and the series capacitor on the left has actually cracked! It’s supposed to be 2.2nF, but it reads a bit high at 3nF. It’s a good thing there are no electrolytics in this unit, as they would have exploded long ago. There’s a choke on the DC input, probably to stop RFI, but it doesn’t have much effect.

Supply Waveform
Supply Waveform

Here’s the waveform coming from the supply, a pretty crusty sinewave at 71.4kHz. The voltage at the tube is much higher than I expected while running, at 428v.

RFI
RFI

Holding the scope probe a good 12″ away from the running bulb produces this trace, which is being emitted as RFI. There’s virtually no filtering or shielding in this bulb so this is inevitable.

Posted on Leave a comment

Zebra P330i Card Printer

Front
Front

This is the teardown of a Zebra P330i plastic card printer, used for creating ID cards, membership cards, employee cards, etc. I got this as a faulty unit, which I will detail later on.
This printer supports printing on plastic cards from 1-30mils thick, using dye sublimation & thermal transfer type printing methods. Interfaces supplied are USB & Ethernet. The unit also has the capability to be fitted with a mag stripe encoder & a smart card encoder, for extra cost.

Print Engine
Print Engine

 

 

 

 

On the left here is the print engine open, the blue cartridge on the right is a cleaning unit, using an adhesive roller to remove any dirt from the incoming card stock.
This is extremely important on a dye sublimation based printing engine as any dirt on the cards will cause printing problems.

Cards In Feeder
Cards In Feeder

 

Here on the right is the card feeder unit, stocked with cards. This can take up to 100 cards from the factory.
The blue lever on the left is used to set the card thickness being used, to prevent misfeeds. There is a rubber gate in the intake port of the printer which is moved by this lever to stop any more than a single card from being fed into the print engine at any one time.

Card Feeder Belt
Card Feeder Belt

 

 

 

Here is the empty card feeder, showing the rubber conveyor belt. This unit was in fact the problem with the printer, the drive belt from the DC motor under this unit was stripped, preventing the cards from feeding into the printer.

Print Head
Print Head

 

 

 

Here is a closeup of the print head assembly. The brown/black stripe along the edge is the row of thin-film heating elements. This is a 300DPI head.

 

Print Station
Print Station

 

 

 

This is under the print head, the black roller on the left is the platen roller, which supports the card during printing. The spool in the center of the picture is the supply spool for the dye ribbon.
In the front of the black bar in the bottom center, is a two-colour sensor, used to locate the ribbon at the start of the Yellow panel to begin printing.

LCD PCB
LCD PCB

 

 

Inside the top cover is the indicator LCD, the back of which is pictured right.
This is a 16×1 character LCD from Hantronix. This unit has a parallel interface.

LCD
LCD

 

 

 

 

Front of the LCD, this is white characters on a blue background.

Roller Drive Belts
Roller Drive Belts

 

 

 

Here is the cover removed from the printer, showing the drive belts powering the drive rollers. There is an identical arrangement on the other side of the print engine running the other rollers at the input side of the engine.

Mains Filter
Mains Filter

 

 

 

Here the back panel has been removed from the entire print engine, complete with the mains input wiring & RFI filtering.
This unit has excellent build quality, just what is to be expected from a £1,200+ piece of industrial equipment.

Main Frame With Motors
Main Frame With Motors

 

 

The bottom of the print engine, with all the main wiring & PCB removed, showing the main drive motors. The left hand geared motor operates the head lift, the centre motor is a stepper, which operates the main transmission for the cards. The right motor drives the ribbon take up spindle through an O-Ring belt.

Feeder Drive Motor
Feeder Drive Motor

 

 

 

Card feeder drive motor, this connects to the belt assembly through a timing belt identical to the roller drive system.
All these DC geared motors are 18v DC, of varying torque ratings.

Power Supply
Power Supply

 

 

 

Here is the main power supply, a universal input switch-mode unit, outputting 24v DC at 3.3A.

PSU Label
PSU Label

 

 
PSU info. This is obviously an off the shelf unit, manufactured by Hitek. Model number FUEA240.

Print Engine Rear
Print Engine Rear

 

 

 

The PSU has been removed from the back of the print engine, here is shown the remaining mechanical systems of the printer.

Print Engine Components
Print Engine Components

 

 
A further closeup of the print engine mechanical bay, the main stepper motor is bottom centre, driving the brass flywheel through another timing belt drive. The O-Ring drive on the right is for the ribbon take up reel, with the final motor driving the plastic cam on the left to raise/lower the print head assembly.
The brass disc at the top is connected through a friction clutch to the ribbon supply reel, which provides tension to keep it taut. The slots in the disc are to sense the speed of the ribbon during printing, which allows the printer to tell if there is no ribbon present or if it has broken.

RFID PCB
RFID PCB

Here is a further closeup, showing the RFID PCB behind the main transmission. This allows the printer to identify the ribbon fitted as a colour or monochrome.
The antenna is under the brass interrupter disc on the left.

I/O Daughterboard
I/O Daughterboard

 

 

 

 

 

The I/O daughterboard connects to the main CPU board & interfaces all the motors & sensors in the printer.

Main PCB
Main PCB

Here is the main CPU board, which contains all the logic & processing power in the printer.

CPU
CPU

 

 

 
Main CPU. This is a Freescale Semiconductor part, model number MCF5206FT33A, a ColdFire based 32-bit CPU. Also the system ROM & RAM can be seen on the right hand side of this picture.

Ethernet Interface
Ethernet Interface

 

Bottom of the Ethernet interface card, this clearly has it’s own RAM, ROM & FPGA. This is due to this component being a full Parallel interface print server.

Ethernet Interface Top
Ethernet Interface Top

 

 

 

 
Top of the PCB, showing the main processor of the print server. This has a ferrite sheet glued to the top, for interference protection.