Lowering the height of the uBITx

Sajeesh VU3PSZ  felt that the height of his case could be reduced further as there was lots of space to spare.

He soldered a separate connector below the PCB and straightened the leads on the Raduino board so that it plugs in horizontally underneath the main board.   This saves around half an inch in the required height of the enclosure.

Reference #1      Reference #2

A nicely presented Hammond 1402 case

Dave WI6R shows off his Hammond 1402DV (V for Vented since the heat sinks are inside).

It’s tight with the Volume Control mounted in between the display and the extrusion. So the PCB is mounted as close as you can get to the right side extrusion, then mark for the display and pot, with the encoder centered between the display and right side.

Dave used his own connectors for Mic, Headphones and Paddle and a Power Pole power connection on the rear panel.  On the far left is the stock BNC antenna connector.

There was room to later mount a USB cable as show.   Dave thinks he should have centred the Power Pole connector with the USB rear panel connection, but that’s what happens when you add things in later …

Reference

You’ve got mail: a mailbox enclosure

Scott K2CAJ  was looking for a suitable metal case for his uBITX and ended up wandering down the mailboxes section of the local Lowes (a large hardware supplier to the domestic market in the US).

“They had a slim upright letterbox, the Gibraltar City Classic, for under $13.  The letterbox has a recessed back panel that limits the interior thickness to 2.5″, but all you have to do is pop the panel it off and turn it around, and you get the full 3″ of space. I added some rubber feet and used some scrap metal to hold the jacks and knobs on the same side as the board. The front lid neatly flips open to reveal the goods”, Scott said.

These cases are available in bronze and black, without any “US MAIL” detail on them.  There is a snap-on plastic fleur-de-lis if you want it, but beyond that it’s just a case.

Scott says “Now I can tell people that I got my uBITX in the mail, wah wah wahhhhh….”

RadI2cino … another Raduino replacement

Jim Sheldon W0EX  has announced the availability of the joint effort from himself and N5IB – the RadI2Cino (prounounced “Rad ee too CEE no”).  This is an almost “Drop In” replacement for the original uBITX Raduino card.

The attached PDF (N5IB_W0EB_RadI2Cino) contains the complete information on this new Raduino replacement.

In summary, the changes/enhancements that have been incorporated in the RadI2Cino include:

  • I2C is used so the 16 pin LCD display header has been eliminated
  • The LCD display contrast pot has been eliminated
  • The 16 pin and 8 pin uBITX headers are retained and connect in the original fashion
  • Arduino NANO I/O pin assignments have been rearranged to free up digital and analog I/O pins
    a) D8, D11, D12 now used for key, paddles, and PTT.
    b) D10 used for an A/B split selection button.
    c) D9, D13, A3, A6, A7 now available for other needs.
  • The LCD display is operated via an I2C bus connection.
    a) Contrast control is now part of I2C interface “backpack”.
    b) Larger, 4-line displays are supported.
  • The TO-220 5 volt regulator has been replaced by a surface mount 7805 1 amp regulator.
  • A surface mount 3.3 volt regulator has been added.
  • A 4-pin header has been added to give access to the I2C bus.
  • A logic level translator has been added to the I2C bus to protect the Si5351 clock chip.
  • Manufacturer-recommended RC de-bouncing for the rotary encoder phases has been added.
  • Provision is made for an optional dropping resistor to reduce regulator dissipation.
  • Several powering options are provided, selected by shorting jumpers.
    a) power everything through the NANO via the uBITX +12V rail**
    b) power the NANO from the uBITX +12V rail, and the rest via the 5V regulator**
    c) power everything from the board mounted 5 volt regulator.
    d) power the Si5351a from the NANO’s 3.3 V output.
    e) power the Si5351a from the on-board 3.3 V regulator.
  • Though the PC board is slightly longer, mounting holes compatible with the LCD display are retained.
  • An additional 8 pin header is added for access to the newly free I/O pins.
  • Uncommitted PCB pads are provided to connect serial I/O and NANO Reset. NANO mounting pads are intentionally oversized to allow for a low profile, machined pin, socket for the Nano.
  • Heavy use is made of silk-screened labels to identify signals and functions.

** If the optional dropping resistor is not used DO NOT EXCEED 12V when using these power options.

THIS PRODUCT SOLD OUT WITHIN HOURS.

More boards are on order but due to the Chinese New Year they won’t be shipping until around the end of the month.

Jim asks that  all inquiries and orders be held off until after he announces the availability of the next batch.

Reference

Another Raduino replacement coming

 

Nik VK4PLN has been working on a simple “open source” Raduino replacement board.   He has now provided photos of both sides of the board.

It will use the Adafruit Clock board. All devices will, therefore, run at 5v.  inouts and dimensions are similar to the original so it can be used as a direct drop-in replacement, or it can be modified for i2c display and other GPIO mods.

Nik is hoping it will work out cheap (50c a board, $3 nano, $8 Si5153 board plus a 7805 regulator and a few other bits and pieces).  He plans for the board to accept either Surface Mount Devices or Through Hole devices, particuarly for the capacitors and resistors…

It is hoped that this would be a cheap easy build for a Raduino replacement. An initial assessment of costs (ex Ebay.com) is as follows:

VK4PLN RadinoI2C board : $8
LCD + Backpack : $3
Si5351 : $8
Arduino: $4
+bits : $2
= $25, not too bad.

Nik invites constructive comments and thoughts

Reference

Arduino IDE Naming Issue Fix

Yvon NU6I  says: “What bugs me with the Arduino is the lack of proper naming convention. Whatever software I download from the web or github, once it is loaded in the IDE, be it Arduino or UCIDE it always shows as uBitx_20. Looking in the output window doesn’t show the project/file path. Easy to be confused.”

Ron Pfeiffer W2CTX replied with the solution: “In the Arduino IDE, just select  Sketch –> Show Sketch Folder“.  This assumes you gave the folder a sensible name …

Jack, W8TEE says “You can also set the default using File –> Preferences from the menu bar. I usually just create a directory for each project, placed in an appropriate subdirectory.”

One more annoyance solved!

Reference

WSTJX-Portable

Ian Lee KD8CEC has been busy releasing his Version 1.01 sketch for the uBITx.  However, he has also been busy with modding the wsjt-x Linux software to do some amazing things with the uBITx.

He has now announced the release of version 0.5 (Beta) of Wsjtx-Portable.

For those who are not familiar with wsjt-x, this software is a general purpose graphical user interface (complete with waterfall display) for digital HF modes.  The software is a great product, and is available in Windows, Linux, and MacOS flavours to cover every amateur operator’s PC set up.  What is more, if you have installed KD8CEC’s V1.01 uBITx sketch, this includes Hamlib CAT functionality so WSJT-X will work with your uBITx on all of those digital modes.

So what is WSTJX-Portable?   This is a modified version of WSJT-X that is designed to be used on a Raspberry Pi and a 3.5″ TFT touch screen.

Did you want a nice compact touch screen for your uBITx, but don’t want to hack your uBITx enclosure and push your Arduino Nano to the limits?  Then here is the answer! The uBITx is controlled by the Raspberry Pi via the 3.5″ touch screen.  You can dial up a frequency, set the step value, change band or mode, go to TX or RX, etc. right from the touch screen.   Quite a feat!