Low Cost Lab Frequency Reference

The internals of a home built 10 MHz frequency reference.

[Mark] wanted an accurate frequency reference for his electronics lab. He specified some requirements for the project, including portability, ability to work inside a building, and low cost. That ruled out GPS, cesium standard clocks, rubidium standard clocks, and left him looking for a low cost Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillator (OCXO).

The Low Cost 10 MHz Frequency Reference is based around a Morion OCXO. These Russian oscillators are available from eBay second hand at about $40 a pop. With a stability well within the requirements, [Mark] order a few.

The next step was to stick all the components in a box. The two OCXOs in the box need about 3 amps to heat up, which is provided by a 12 V PSU. For portability, a sealed lead acid battery was added. The front panel shows the supply voltages, switches between mains and battery supplies, and provides connectivity to the OCXOs.

Since OCXOs work by heating a crystal to a specific temperature, they can use quite a bit of power in the heating element. To increase battery life, a neoprene foam insulator was wrapped around the OCXOs.

For less than $100, this portable tool will aid in calibrating equipment or creating very accurate clocks.

Another Awesome Electronics Lab in a Box

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We called, and [Brian Zweerink] answered! Here’s another awesome example of making an electronics lab in a box!

But first off, who the heck is [Brian Zweerink]? He’s a fellow who helped us win the Redbull Creation Challenge of 2012 by building and programming the circuits for The Minotaur’s Revenge Dueling Labyrinths! We really need to do stuff like that again… What do you guys think?

Anyway, back to the hack. [Brian's] version of the Make Your Electronics Lab in a Box, is similar, but also unique. What we like about his version is the electrical outlets inside the box for plugging in tools, the super-handy-stash-away-magnifying-lamp, and the size of his box; lots of room for storing components up on the top shelf! The only thing he’s missing is his oscilloscope, which was a bit too deep for the box, so it had to stay separate.

What do you guys think?

[via Reddit]

Make Your Electronics Lab in a Box

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Unless your lucky enough to have a big personal workshop where you can have dedicated stations for all kinds of different tools, you’re probably like most of us here at Hack a Day — lots of projects, but never enough space.

[McLovinGyver] lives in a small flat, and finds setup and cleanup time often take longer than the project itself — so he’s come up with this handy dandy Electronics-Lab-in-a-Box (trademark pending).

The guide is really more of a series of pictures of his process of building the portable lab, but he shows off some great ideas of things you might want to include in your own personal version of it. The first step is deciding what tools you need in the lab. In general, your power supply unit, soldering iron, hot air re-flow and fume exhaustion are going to dictate the general size and shape of your lab — from there, it’s just a matter of filling in the gaps with the rest of your small tools.

[Read more...]

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