[time-nuts] TTimelab question

Bob Stewart bob at evoria.net
Wed Feb 22 16:44:43 EST 2017

Hi John,

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.


      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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