[time-nuts] TTimelab question
bob at evoria.net
Wed Feb 22 16:44:43 EST 2017
I have to agree with you about enclosures. They make the difference between a DIY unit and a nice commercial unit, but they are very expensive. The enclosures I use are about $20 each from Mouser. But the end panels are another $20 each: milled front and back. So, that's $60 per unit. One suggestion I might make is to check into what it would cost to make the end panels from circuit board. At volume, it might be significantly cheaper that $20 per panel. Learning KICAD well enough to make an end panel isn't that difficult.
OSHPark has better prices on larger volume orders. Off the cuff without looking, I think I pay about $19 per mainboard for an order of 10, so that would probably work out to $15 for a pair of PCB end panels. That's still $35 per enclosure, though. You'd probably need to order 15 of each to meet their minimums. There are other suppliers that have better prices, but I have no experience with them or their costs. It wouldn't be as nice as milled aluminum, but it should work just as well.
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From: John Ackermann N8UR <jra at febo.com>
To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement <time-nuts at febo.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 8:13 AM
Subject: Re: [time-nuts] TTimelab question
I really like the setup that Mark is describing. As to TAPR's plans,
we've found that enclosures are a challenge -- metalwork is pretty
expensive unless you get significant volume, and in our niche market,
that's hard to do.
But I am hoping to find an inexpensive clamshell-type enclosure with
flat front and rear panels, and then do up designs (perhaps with Front
Panel Express) for those panels. That can be done at a reasonable cost,
and at a minimum we can make design files available so people can order
their own panels.
For my own use, I'm also going to do a couple of 2U rack enclosures --
one to hold two TICCs operating independently, and another for the
"megaTICC" -- four units slaved together to make an 8 channel counter,
with a Raspberry Pi controller along the line of what Mark described.
(In multi-board mode, each TICC outputs on its own USB line, so the
RPi's main purpose is to deal with the 8 channels of data from 4 USB
I'll make the design files for those enclosures available as well, but
it may be a while as my entire lab is now packed up as we are in the
final stages of moving from Atlanta back to Dayton.
Also, in a day or three I'll be announcing a simple project that sprung
out of the TICC assembly and testing process that some of you might find
useful. We're still finalizing details on that.
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