Finally got around to replacing the old corroded soldered-in D cell in the RCA Voltohmyst with a new battery today.
Snipped the wires off the battery and into the trash it went. Had to drill out a rivet to remove the battery holder clip.
The battery holder is a little on the big side and just fits into the space vacated by the old battery and clip. Soldered the wires onto the battery holder and fastened it to the Voltohmyst using some double sided tape.
Now it’s got a new battery that can be replaced whenever it’s needed.
Next thing to do is go through the manual and read up on how to calibrate the meter.
Saw someone at the TARC swap meet with one of these little Tektronix 222 DSOs for sale, so I bought it. Terrific timing since my Hitachi oscilloscope died a while back and I still haven’t gotten around to looking into it.
It’s little, and doesn’t have a lot of capabilities but I think it will do pretty much everything I need (at the moment). It comes with two scope probes that are permanently attached. It’s designed to be powered with an 8V SLA battery, but it looks like batteries with the right form factor and voltage aren’t readily available anymore. I did find a promising looking battery replacement project though. This one didn’t come with a battery, but a standard sized power jack lets you power it with wall power. It’s even got a RS-232 serial port!
The scope seems simple enough to figure out how to use without a manual, and I was even able to find a service manual online to download.
Here I’ve got one of the channels measuring the output from one of my EtherkitSi5351 breakout boards. I don’t remember what I have my RedBoard making the Si5351 do, but I seem to be getting a pretty good signal out of it.
One of my acquisitions from today’s TARC swap meet was a variable power supply. The person I bought it from acquired a bunch of these from a school district surplus auction. I’ve been wanting to get a variable power supply for the workbench, so I bought one of them for $20. Seemed like a pretty good deal. Almost grabbed a second one from him.
Banana jacks provide AC and DC outputs, and voltage for both is controlled by the knob on the left. Two meters show DC volts and amps, but if you’re using the AC output, you’ll need to measure it yourself.
The panel indicates the power supply will do 0-20 VDC and 0-25 VAC. With no load, the power supply topped out at 35 VDC and 26 VAC. This is an unregulated power supply, so any load is going to bring the voltage down.
Getting inside the power supply requires removing a total of 18 screws (6 on each side, 6 on the top). Seems a bit excessive to me, but I didn’t design the thing. Once the screws are out, removing the top exposes the innards.
Not much to it inside. There’s a big beefy transformer which accounts for almost all of the power supply’s weight. Voltage control is performed by the variac. A large (and loud) 120mm fan (lower right) provides cooling.
The key just turns a metal plate that flips the actual power switch on or off.
The cooling fan gets its own power supply so that it’s not affected by changing the output voltage. It’s just a 12V wall wart that gets powered from the AC input I think (haven’t traced any of the wires to see what goes where).
Plenty of modification potential with this power supply. I’ve got a small list of easy ones that I think I’ll make:
Replace the key with a regular switch
Switch out the banana plugs for 5-way binding posts and Powerpole connectors
Replace the fan with a quieter one
This seems to be a pretty sturdy power supply designed for the harsh environment of a high school lab. Everything inside looks to be in pretty good condition.
I was using it to look at the output of one of my EtherkitSi5351 breakout boards when it made a high pitched “pffft”, the waveform disappeared and a bunch of indicator lights came on.
Haven’t opened it up yet to see if I can spot anything wrong. The scope still turns on, but there’s no display. The indicator lights behave like the scope is working, but there’s nothing on the CRT. That could be a good sign.
Will be a while before I have some time to poke around the innards of the scope.
No smoke, popping or other unusual sounds/odours when I plugged it in. Some initial testing with batteries and some resistors suggests a bit of recalibration or maybe a bit of repair might be needed though.
Removing four screws from the back lets you take the back cover off (a fairly substantial chunk of cast aluminum) revealing the innards of the meter.
The blue adjustment screws are trim pots used for adjusting the meter calibration.
One thing that surprised me was the presence of a soldered in D cell.
No idea what vintage the battery is or what it’s used for (at the moment), but my multi-meter showed it still had 1.4 V across it. The battery has definitely seen better days. I think I’ll see about replacing the battery with a battery holder so it can be removed and replaced in the future. Fortunately it looks like the wires have enough slack to work with.
The rest of the meter looks to be in pretty decent shape, and pretty clean. Without taking off the face of the meter, it’s a little hard to get in there to check out the middle. There are two tubes in the unit, a 12AU7 and 6AL5.
Lots of colourful wires at the range selector and mode selector switches.
The probe for the meter is a big chunky thing, about the size of a Sharpie marker.
Next step will be to go through the manual and read a bit more about the meter works before I try to dive in and replace things.