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I got my boards from OSHPark, and the port tester works perfectly. I'm a beginner at assembling circuit boards, and at first I wasn't sure about the orientation of the LEDs. I followed the traces on the board and figured out that the negative lead of the LED goes in the hole with the square pad. Here is a picture of the fully assembled board:





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  • TIU-Signal-Tester
Last edited by johnf

There were a couple of questions about which PCBs I have. They are exactly like the Red ones GRJ posted earlier in this thread as his finished tester board (the newest revision). The parts are exactly what GRJ posted in the BOM for the PCBs. I added to the list a socket for the 74HCT123N and a two position terminal block so you could easily connect the wire/connectors of your choice to connect to your track, TIU, etc. or easily swap leads if you want to.

Also Stan2004 posted some good tips earlier in this thread on how to calibrate the testers.  

Here are some pictures that may help.



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Last edited by rtr12

Looks great John F and RTR.  I have one of the GRJ kits, but must confess I haven't had time to build it yet.  I've been spending too much time at my elderly parents' empty house mowing, doing roof and gutter maintenance, and some electrical upgrades. 

Maybe the electrical upgrades count for something on an OGR electrical topic.  I shudder when I see some of the wiring in this 130-year old house!!!  I never dreamed the remaining knob and tube wiring was still live!!  Well, it isn't any more!

I'm out of kits from the current batch, but I have 4 orders toward the next batch. The boards are ordered in lots of 10.

If anyone else is interested, send and me an email (it's in my profile). When we have enough orders I will place the next PCB order and let you all know. 


For the first batch, I have emailed everyone payment info and asking for their shipping info. 

I've since found that I could use a 5mm LED footprint and get the proper flat represented, you can still pop a 3mm LED in the holes.  In the actual silkscreen of the 3mm LED part the holes break up the silkscreen and that part doesn't make it to the board.  However, I should have just used the 5mm part, the hole spacing is the same and it would have made it clearer.


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  • mceclip0

I included a parts list with a note at the bottom about the LED orientation. But I didn't note anything else. Then Stan posted above about all the other things so I didn't add those to the list. I will do that for the next batch of kits. I was going to try and fix the PCBs as you described above, but they went so fast I ordered more before trying to make the adjustment. 

My color printer shot craps or I would include one of Stan's detailed pictures on the list. All I have at the moment is a B/W laser printer. Guess I'll try it with that and see how it looks. Probably not too good, won't show the pretty red boards... I was looking at some color lasers, but haven't found one that doesn't need $300-$400 worth of toner when it runs out. Nearly double the cost of a 'home sized' printer! Maybe ink jets weren't so bad?

Last edited by rtr12

Thanks, RJR, but I got the envelopes for a little less than I figured so I am good! I figured $1 ea. and they were only about 50 cents each in packs of 6. Tried to use online shipping at USPS, but it didn't seem to like the envelope shipping unless you used priority mail which was like $6.70 or something like that. As you can see, I don't ship much. 

Hope you got all the correct parts and the kit all goes together smoothly. You probably know this already, but see the posts above here from Stan, on the correct orientation of some of the parts that could be installed improperly.

Tom, you need to discover

You can generate first class postage and print it on half-sheet labels.  I believe up to around 4 ounces, it's $2.66 for shipping.  I use tons of padded envelopes with this service.  Of course, I bought the envelopes in a lot of 250, and they were less than $24, so that's around 10 cents apiece.  It doesn't take long to break even if you're paying 50 cents each.   I also buy the half-page labels in bulk to save money as well.

Thanks GRJ,

I'll check out the Paypal shipping, wasn't aware of that before. The $2.66 is what the USPS online said, but wouldn't let me use it online. That's when I took one to the PO to be sure, they then said it was $3.50. I guess they considered it a 'Package' and not an envelope so I didn't want to take chances. About a week ago I got a rate sheet from the PO and it said it was even less than $2.66. 

As for the envelopes I didn't think I would need all that many? But maybe you have a point as we are on the 3rd batch of these now. 250 is a lot for me though, as I really don't ship all that much other than these things. Most things are 'ship to me' and not me to someone else. PO had some nice small boxes, but they were over $2 each, $2.19 or maybe $2.49 even, nice and perfect size, but a wee bit steep $$$.  

I have enough envelopes for the next two batches, but I may try the ones you posted here and see what happens. When I got the ones I have now, I hadn't really thought about shipping until all the parts were here and things were ready to go. Then, oh dear, what am I gonna put these in? Spur of the moment thing... Once I get everything streamlined I'll probably never have anything to ship again. 

I looked at the Paypal and I think I'll try it for the next batch. I'll do a dry run with one just to see what it costs and go from there. They ship UPS too, that's nice for bigger things. I suppose they would have to, but I presume the USPS will accept the Paypal rates without any problems? Sure beats stamps! 

Also. I guess you use full sheet labels with the sticky on the back? I have a bunch of labels left over from when we moved a few years ago, but they are like 2" x 4" or so and I don't think the printer will like those. Don't think I've printed a label since I had a dot matrix printer...Used to print labels for 5.25" floppies back in the day.

The neat thing about the Paypal method per GRJ is when entering the recipients address to print the label, you can also enter an email address.  This way the recipient gets an email with the tracking number; both parties can click to see package progress.  This is USPS First Class "Package" service so you can use thicker padded envelopes to protect the components.  I believe there is a thickness limitation on basic envelope service of 1/4" of something like that so you couldn't use the less expensive envelope rates anyway (which also don't include tracking #). 

If shipping just the raw board without parts (which would be less than 1/4" and less than 1 oz.) you could use just an envelope and pay the non-machinable surcharge since the stiff board can't bend thru USPS sorting machines.  I think with surcharge it's like 75 cents and there's even the butterfly stamp for that purpose.  But unlike package service, no tracking #.


Perhaps obvious but after printing the label at home with the bar-code tracking number, you can drop it any mailbox (don't need to go to PO).  


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Thanks Stan, more good info. According to the rate sheet they gave me, it is 1/4" thickness for letters and 3/4" for the larger envelopes. But their rates were more when I took the first kit up to the PO to make sure I was using the correct postage. I didn't know about the special non-machinable stamps either? You guys are way ahead of me on this stuff!

The PP service looks neat and the tracking email sounds really nice too. I am going to try it on the next batch of kits. You can learn all kinds things around here! As for the mail box, I think the closest one is at the PO. We have those nifty community mailboxes spotted around the neighborhood. They have an out slot, but it's only about a 1/4" to 1/2" opening. Probably not enough for kits to fit in. 

They're only carrying signals, the total current all over the board isn't more than 40-50 milliamps!

As for the boards, you specify the copper weight and the trace width.  You can also pick specific nets and have different trace widths.  Many times, I'll go for heavier traces for ground and power traces, for instance.  In the case of this board, that was totally noncritical, so I just went with a nominal trace width of .012" and 1oz copper.

Just FYI, that trace width is good for 1 amp for external layers for a 3 inch trace.  In other words, way more than sufficient for anything on the board.


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