Thursday, August 27, 2009

Velleman Help Forum

Here is a handy link if you have any questions or need more detailed information on a Velleman kit or product.

Velleman Projects Service Forum

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Electronic Varactor Tuner Transmitter Kit

This past Sunday I put together a Varactor Tuned FM Transmitter / Mike kit# 80-065 by Philmore Datak. This kit is advertised as the best of the miniature FM transmitters, transmits to FM radio frequencies. The Cadillac of FM transmitters and wireless mikes. This started as a backyard picnic table project until the heavy rain came than it was a scramble into the garage to finish up.

This kit features a varactor (tuning diode) tuned Colpitts oscillator and an RF amplifier stage that offers solid performance in the 88-108 MHz broadcast band. Varactor tuning is free from stray capacitance and drift. Recommended voltage is 9 to 12VDC. Per the instructions typical range is from 50 to 100 feet depending on antenna and other conditions.

Parts identification and assembly went smoothly. One resistor lays flat and all other resistors are mounted standing up on end to fit in on the small PC board. The electret mike is mounted directly on board. Kit contains 33 components. Board size is 3/4" x 2-3/4".

How it works: The circuit is broken up into three stages, audio, Colpitts oscillator, and RF amplifier. Audio is picked up by the electret mike and converted to a voltage signal and amplified by a PN2222A transistor. This acts as a small signal linear amplifier. This signal is coupled out to the Colpitts oscillator to provide DC isolation. The advantage of the Colpitts is there are no coils to wind or mess with. The kit instructions give a decent description of theory of operation and a piece by piece run down of the Colpitts oscillator. The RF amplifier uses biasing components (resistors and capacitors) to configure a PN918 to provide amplification of the oscillator signal.

Tuning and alignment went very smoothly. Per instructions I just centered the 10K pot, attached 9V battery, and did a smoke / heat test. Everything checked out, turned on a FM radio with a digital display and found my signal near 92MHz. I put the transmitter in another room and was able to pick up sounds from the radio speaker with antenna wire supplied. But to get the most out of this circuit you will have to play around and tweak it. Using the formula AL= 234/FM Hz to make a antenna that will be compatible with the frequency your listing on. Just divide 234 by the frequency your circuit is broadcasting, cut a wire to that length, should improve your distance and signal.

Overall a very easy kit to put together, just take your time soldering. Street price is around $15.99. I still have to attached a proper antenna cut to size and maybe increase voltage to 12 volts and see how we do. Range on package is 140 feet. With its small size this kit can be hidden just about anywhere, James Bond type stuff. Remember, this is an educational kit only, do not get in trouble.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer Heat

Summer is finally here in New Jersey with the temps heading for the ninety's this afternoon and tomorrow.

Before it gets to hot out I am going to do some soldering on the picnic table and finish off the electronic kit started last weekend. Only a few more components to go and do the important smoke test.

I might even set up the Buddipole antenna and try few a few contacts on 40 meter CW before an afternoon drink or two.

Get outside and build something!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Evening Post

This afternoon I decided to build the Philmore RF Sniffer / Bug Finder kit, #80-990. Yes it is weekend project time.

Chances are I will not find a hidden transmitter at home or my place of work, but when the cooler weather comes I might have to take this kit mobile and play around just a little. The circuit can also be used for testing or troubleshooting RF Circuits. Since it was a nice afternoon I starting building in the backyard on the picnic table. It is always a bonus to be outside building. I managed to load up the resistors and two IC sockets before evening came and my light source got darker. My next component up was a surface mount Hybrid RF Amplifier, better wait until tomorrow for this installment.

They are calling for rain tomorrow so maybe I can finish up and test it out.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!