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De La Rue Coin Counting Machine

Here’s some teardown photos of an old De La Rue coin counter, used in businesses for rapid counting of change into large bags.

Mechanism
Mechanism

An overview of the whole mechanical system of the counter. Coins are loaded into the drum at the rear of the machine, which sorts them into a row for the rubber belt to pick up & run through the counter. The coin type to be sorted is selected by turning the control knobs on the right.
The control knobs adjust the width & height of the coin channel so only the correct sized coins will be counted.

PSU & Switching
PSU & Switching

The counter is driven by a basic AC induction motor, the motor power relay & reversing relay is on this PCB, along with the 5v switching supply for the main CPU board.
The SMPS on this board looks like a standard mains unit, but it’s got one big difference. Under the frame next to the main motor is a relatively large transformer, with a 35v output. This AC is fed into the SMPS section of the PSU board to be converted to 5v DC for the logic.
I’m not sure why it’s been done this way, and have never seen anything similar before.
The edge of the coin channel can be seen here, the black star wheel rotates when a coin passes & registers the count.

Controller PCB
Controller PCB

Here’s the main controller PCB, IC date codes put the unit to about 1995. The main CPU is a NEC UPD8049HC 8-bit micro, no flash or EEPROM on this old CPU, simply mask ROM. Coin readout is done on the 4 7-segment LED displays. Not much to this counter, it’s both electronically & mechanically simple.

Counter Sensor
Counter Sensor

Coin counting is done by the star wheel mentioned above, which drives the interrupter disc on this photo-gate. The solenoid locks the counter shaft to prevent over or under counting when a set number of coins is to be counted.

Motor Run Capacitor
Motor Run Capacitor

Under the frame, here on the left is the small induction motor, only 6W, 4-pole. The run cap for the motor is in the centre, and the 35v transformer is just visible behind it.

Main Motor Drive
Main Motor Drive

Main drive to the coin sorting mech is through rubber belts, and bevel gears drive the coin drum.

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Duratool ZD-915 12v Conversion

Inkeeping with everything else in my shack being low voltage operated, I had planned from the outset to convert the desoldering station to 12v operation. It turns out this has been the easiest tool to convert in my shack so far.

PSU Outputs
PSU Outputs

The factory SMPS is a fairly straightforward 18v 12A unit, with only a single small oddity: the desoldering gun’s heating element is controlled from inside the supply.

Iron MOSFET
Iron MOSFET

Next to the output rectifier on the heatsink is a large MOSFET, in this case a STP60NF06 from ST Micro. This is a fairly beefy FET at 60v & 60A capacity, RDS On of <0.016Ω.
This is driven via an opto-isolator from the main logic board. I’ve not yet looked at the waveform on the scope, but I suspect this is also being PWM’d to control temperature better when close to the set point.

Iron Element Controller
Iron Element Controller

Rather than fire up the soldering iron & build a new element controller circuit (Lazy Mode™), I opted to take a saw to the original power supply. I cut the DC output section of the PCB off the rest of the supply & attached this piece back to the frame of the base unit. I also added a small heatsink to the MOSFET to make sure it stays cool.

12v Power Supply
12v Power Supply

Since the fan & vacuum pump are both already 12v rated, those are connected directly to the DC input socket, that I’ve installed in place of the original IEC mains socket. The 18v for the heating element is generated by a 10A DC-DC converter, again from eBay.

Oddly, the iron itself is rated at 24v 80W, but the factory supply is only rated to 18v. I’m not sure why they’ve derated the system, but as the station already draws up to 10A from a 13.8v supply, increasing the voltage any further would start giving my DC supplies a problem, so it can stay at 18v for now.

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Duratool ZD-915 Vacuum Desoldering Station Teardown

For a long time I’ve needed a decent vacuum desoldering tool, as I do much stripping of old PCBs for random parts.
Solder wick works well for most things, but it’s expensive & can be fiddly. It also doesn’t keep very long as the copper braid oxidises & after that point it never seems to work particularly well, even when soaked in fresh flux.

Desoldering Station
Desoldering Station

As usual eBay to the rescue! I managed to pick this one up for £80.

Vacuum Pump
Vacuum Pump

Removing the lid reveals the internals. Front & centre is the vacuum pump, with the mains supply behind it. There’s also a very noisy cooling fan at the back. Not sure why since the unit never gets warm enough to actually warrant a fan.

PSU
PSU

On the other side is the PSU. This is an 18v 12A rated SMPS, with a bit of custom electronics for controlling the iron element. Mounted to the back case is a small black box, more to come on this bit.

PSU Board
PSU Board

Cracking the case of the PSU reveals a pretty bog-standard SMPS, with a surprising amount of mains filtering for a Chinese supply. The DC outputs are on the right.

20160101_111613

From the rail markings, this is clearly designed to output some more voltage rails – possibly for other models of unit. In this case though, a single 18v rail is present. The iron’s element connects directly to the supply, controlled via an opto-isolated MOSFET.

Chinese Voltage Regulation
Chinese Voltage Regulation

As both the fan & the vacuum pump motor are 12v devices, some provision had to be made to reduce the 18v from the power supply to a more reasonable value. Inside the black plastic box are a pair of 1Ω 5W power resistors, connected in series. The output from this connects to the fan & vacuum pump. Because cheap, obviously.

Controller
Controller

Finally, here’s the controller PCB, the main MCU is an 8081 derivative, with a Holtek HT1621B LCD controller for the front panel temperature readout. Iron temperature is achieved by a thermocouple embedded in the heater, I imagine the potentiometer on the left side of the PCB is for calibration.