Introducing the New DYI DRO Adapter Kit

Thursday, March 5, 2020

From the start, my goal for TouchDRO was to create a do-it-yourself DRO project that would allow people to build a powerful digital readout as inexpensively as possible. To make the project more accessible to people who are not comfortable with electronics, a few years ago I started offering pre-assembled adapter boards for sale.

Since the boards are manufactured in the USA on a relatively small scale, their cost is much higher compared to a scratch-built DIY DRO adapter. The original TouchDRO Mixed Scale DIY Kit was designed to bridge the gap at a price point that was about half-way in between. The kit was very successful from the sales standpoint but created an unexpectedly large support burden.

Because I wasn't able to sustainable deal with it, I pulled the plug on the kit and removed it from the store. Since then, I've been getting a constant trickle of emails asking when the kit will be available or if I have any left for sale. After some "soul searching" I decided to offer a new version of the TouchDRO DIY kit, taking into account lessons learned from the last one.

Dedicated DRO Adapter for Shahe Scales

Saturday, January 18, 2020

A few years ago, Shanhe Measurement Instrument Co. introduced a new line of capacitive scales called Shahe "Digital Linear Scale with Remote Square Display" (model numbers 5403-150A/200A, etc.). Thanks to their low price and world-wide availability, the new scales have become a popular choice for budget do-it-yourself DRO builds. Unfortunately, these scales use Mini-USB connectors with pinout different from the iGaging DigiMag, which precluded the use of straight Mini-to-Micro USB adapters to connect them to the TouchDRO Adapter for iGaging scales. To offer a solution that didn't require soldering, I was planning to sell a kit that included the adapter board and a set of USB Mini-B breakout boards that could be connected with ribbon cables. The feedback I received from most of the "Beta" users was that the result was rather awkward; so instead, I decided to design a dedicated adapter board that is pre-wired for Shahe 5403-xxxA scales.

Grizzly G0720 Motor Power Supply Repair - Part 2

Right before Christmas, my three-year-old Grizzly G0720 (AKA SIEG SX4) milling machine's main controller board released some of it's magic smoke. In the previous post I went over the initial troubleshooting steps that led me to believe that my failure was due to a blown output transistor. This appears to be a very common failure point of these brushless motor controllers and the replacement boards are very costly. Since the cost of output transistor replacement is less than 1/10th of the replacement board I decided to attempt it before buying a new board. If you find yourself in a similar situation, this post will guide you through the replacement process.

Grizzly G0720 Motor Power Supply Repair - Part 1

Thursday, January 9, 2020

A couple of years ago, I sold my Grizzly G0463 milling machine and upgraded to the larger Grizzly G0720R (SIEG SX4). To this point, various SIEG machines I've owned have been pretty reliable but my luck finally ran out a day before Christmas. In the middle of power-taping a hole at low speed, the spindle abruptly stopped with a loud clunk and would not restart.

Updated DRO Adapter for iGaging Scales

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

It's been almost two years since the release of last revision of TouchDRO Adapter for iGaging and Shahe scales. During that time I've learned a lot from the interaction with the customers and received a lot of good feedback about the board. Overall the board has been very well received and has proven to be mostly trouble-free. There were a few minor design decisions that caused some issues or confusion for some people, though. For 2020, I decided to tweak the design a bit to make it even more user-friendly. The new board looks very similar to the previous revision and functions pretty much the same, but has a few updates that will make it more convenient to set up.