Friday, June 17, 2011

Field desk -Part 6 - contents

The contents of the field desk reflect it's intended purpose.. a portable electronics experimental/prototyping workstation.
Figure 1 - Desk opened
The bottom shelf (LHS) contains 2 deep containers - the bottom containing tools (pliers, strippers, third-hand, soldering tools, etc) whilst the top container houses the current project, some breadboard, veroboards, etc - This container should be fairly empty since I won't want my project being damaged.
Figure 2 - bottom containers out - light in place and IEC cord inserted
The middle shelf (LHS) contains 4 shallow containers - each of the type which has movable dividers. One container is filled with Resistors, another with capacitors and some mixed semis (BC (NPN and PNP), diodes, MOSFETs, 555/556, opamps,regulators, etc) The next unit has mix of parts including variable resistors, LEDs, header strips, sockets, buttons, switches... a bit of a grab bag of useful stuff. The last container contains the PICAXE chips (08M, 18M2, 28X1) plus other minor bits and pieces.
I am going to have to modify at least one of these containers so the keypad, and LCD screens can fit in there - currently they're in the "Projects" container.
Figure 3 - component trays out on display
The top shelf/drawer (LHS) is for documentation and software. It will also contain the USB/Serial adapter, connection cable, and a USB thumb drive for software. I plan on being able to use my work laptop when I'm in accomodation, or my shed PC when I'm at home.
Figure 4 - Top drawer

Figure 5 - light stowage area, and soldering station in box
The RHS compartment (under the power box) houses the 58W soldering station I bought on Ebay. Above that is a old lunch container filled with various colours and grades of hookup cable. Some of the cable is Cat5 solid cable - useful for breadboarding and veroboard work, some is stranded cable salvaged from various sources, stripped and coiled in... there are a couple of sizes of cables so I can build for signal, and power requirements.
Figure 6 - Cable container, and spare trays on open door/desk
Stats for the finished project..
Size - 600mm W x 450mm H x 300mm D (24" x 18" x 12")
Weight (loaded) = 15Kg (~33 lb)
DC supplies - -12, -5, 3.3, 5, 12 volts with total power output of up to 450W - input is 240VAC at 0.8A normal, but up to 10A for GPO loads.
Build time = Cabinet and sheet-metal construction - 4 days, painting (not including drying time) and trimming = 2 days.

The objective of the desk is to be able to work on projects, learning or simple construction, in a self contained environment. When I leave my roster, I simply stow the desk in a secure location, and take with me a thumbdrive, and "lunch box" containing the finished project to take home. The thumbdrive will contain the copies of source code, etc, and a shopping list of parts to collect and bring back with me on my next roster. The notebook, and code copies in my laptop will remind me where I'm up to upon my return.

Next postings.... hard to say - I've a few work and community commitments which will prevent me taking on any new projects. I have already started cleaning up the shed (while the varnish and paint was drying) and packing away some gear in preparation for these commitments. Over the next couple of months I hope to get these upcoming changes and commitments settled in, and then get back into the swing of designing, and completing these projects... believe me, the "to do list" is not getting any shorter.

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