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21 February 2015

How to build a Dying Battery Simulator MARK 3

Here's an update on my Dying Battery Simulator project. This is my first attempt at building something that goes beyond breadboarding or simulating on iCircuit. I burnt myself on my new soldering iron, but other than that I'm feeling pretty good with myself!


Here's the final box. It love the retro look. I haven't finished the wood at all and right now I have no intention of doing anything more to it. Read on for a bit more detail of how I got to the end of the Mark 3... 


I seriously considered making the box out of cardboard for a while. See here me experimenting. I figured that the only way that I'd truly know whether it was a viable option was to give it a go. This was as far as I got. Whilst I love the idea, it was all going to be a bit fiddly... that and I kept bending the cardboard when I didn't want to. I figured that I needed some other way of doing this.

See the HUGE volt display. I said that I wasn't going to use this didn't I. It was only when my digital one arrived that I realised that it would need a separate power supply just for that. So I ditched that plan and returned to the big-dial. Gone were any thoughts I might have had for fitting this into a small box. In retrospect, I'm kind of digging the larger 'brick' look.


I had a bit of a brainwave when I started to question why I couldn't make the box out of wood. I have loads of offcuts lying around... surely I could use some here? The problem I faced was how to fit the various components that would need to poke through the box sides. It took a while to think of it, but I began to wonder whether I could use some perspex. A little searching later and I'd found a supply of 2mm thick perspect. Would it work? There was only one way to find out!

See above that I've finally got to use my belt clamp! Wahay! I bought this in a sale I stumbled across and instantly wished that I'd had it when I built my cajon. I snapped it up and haven't had cause to use it... until now! It workd a treat. The wood it some mahogany I bought to build my Highwayman Banjo. I cut it all to size on my table saw and here you can see me gluing. I figured that I wouldn't need to do anything too fancy with the corner joints because I'd be fitting a top and bottom perspex plate that would re-enforce. 


Check out this video that +Julian Davies brought to my attention right about the same time that I'd begun putting my box together. It's a super-modded guitar that looks like a real sod to play. When you've finished marvelling at the gadgetry I'm going to point out that IntermedialesDesign has used perspex covers in much the same way that I have. You'll see that he's got led's shining inside a couple. How cool is that! Ha ha. I won't be doing this on my current build, but it is definitely something for the future!


Here's me setting up to put all the innards together last night. I had high hopes of a quick session. I couldn't have been more wrong if I'd tried.

See my new soldering iron. It took hours of farting about to realise that the only way I was going to get it to work was to have it on full. I was suffering from solder that was simply crumbling. By the time I'd finished I was feeling depressed and frustrated.

Testing the finished circuit I found that it worked, but that unlike it had before, when I turned the resistance up full, the voltage was only reducing to 2V rather than zero. Hold this thought. 


I stumbled across this the other day and figured it might be worth a read. It's called "45 Simple Electronic Terminal Block Projects" and is written by R Bebbington. I picked this up for less than 3 quid on Amazon. At first glance it is a collection of crazy projects all held together with terminal blocks. I may do more of a review of this in the future. 


Oh, it's so nice to see the Sun again! Here you can see me venturing out into my garage to fashion the plastic top, bottom and front. I cut them all with my table saw, screwed in place and filed to size. The front is a little bit special in as much as I cut a recess in the wood for the plastic to sit in.

I've chosen round-headed screws for this project specifically because I wanted them to stand proud and give it that "submarine"-engineering feel. I wasn't to precise about any of the measuring; It was all done by eye. See here in this picture that I've drawn on the protective film where I'm going to cut the holes. So far so good.


Here's the box with the holes cut. You might be able to make out a small crack in the perspec leading out of the bottom right corner of the dial component. Yes, the bloody thing cracked as I was cutting the hole for the dial. You should have heard me swear! I carried on regardless figuring that I might learn something in the process and having gotten to the end, I've learnt that it's fine with the little crack! 


Not happy with my wiring attempt last night, I did it all again this afternoon afresh. Here you can see it plugged in and on full. The 9 volt DC supply is registering 9 volts on the display and this is what the cable shown is supplying. When I turn it down, I can only get to 4 volts, or 2 volts under load. I don't understand why this should be right now. If you do, please drop me a comment and put me out of my misery.

You can check out the circuit I've used on my Mark 2 post. And the Mark 1 post reveals a bit about what you can use this box for.

Doesn't the unit look great stood up like this! Ha ha. Of course, the whole point of building this was to experiment with my effects pedals, but you know what, having built it, I don't feel the need to do that right now. We'll just have to wait for that project to drop another day! ;-)


I love this video. When I saw it, it reminded me of the beauty of simplicity. I remember a conversation I had with +Ukulele Russ a few years ago where we were talking ukulele playing. Russ said KISS... Keep it Simple Stupid. Wise words from a wise Alaskan.

Have I achieved a simple design with my Dying Battery Simulator? I let you be the judge of that.


I thought this was going to be a quick update. Here's my last picture for you. It's a shot of a comic I'm reading called King City by Brandon Graham. I'm really enjoying it so far. Perhaps I'll do you a review once I get to the end of it. Watch this space ;-)

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