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TekNoir's Achievements


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  1. I never said that you did. If you would reread what, specifically, I typed, you would see that it was what I had intended to write in the first place. I never said that it wasn't a computer or a terminal. I was simply referencing the supported processors of Borland's C++ Builder's compiler and giving suggestions for compilers that would work. You missed the point completely by trying to nitpick my statement. No matter how much of a computer you say this terminal may be, Borland's compiler still doesn't support it. However, ECET0purdue picked up on this and the terminal came with its own software, which he said he would use, so it's a moot point.
  2. Simply a typing error on my part. I had meant to type "This particular terminal is farther from a desktop computer and nearer to a PocketPC." This was in reference to both the fact that Borland C++ Builder only natively supports Intel and AMD processors used in desktop and notebook personal computers and the fact that PocketPCs have been using the Windows CE operating system for quite some time now and may be a place to look for hints in development. By the way, that link I gave has a whole boatload of information on RFID, from the beginner basic to quite advanced. Definately a good read...
  3. First off, Borland's C++ Builder development suites do not support writing native applications for Windows CE 5 or Windows XP Embedded systems. This particular terminal is farther from a computer and nearer to a PocketPC. You would do well to look here for possible alternatives, such as eMbedded Visual C++ here -- http://msdn.microsoft.com/embedded/ Secondly, at the earlier mention of using RFID for things over 50 feet. Typical ranges for RFID tags are 1/3rd of a meter to one meter for low frequency and high frequency respectively. UHF tags has a maximum line of sight range nearer to six meters. There are, however, active tags with support hardware and batteries allowing ranges of up to 100 meters or more, but these are much more expensive. More information here -- http://www.rfidjournal.com/
  4. Some general information about fluxes, compiled from multiple sources... ----- Flux is an acidic material that is designed to clean oxides from the solder joint and help transfer heat to the solder joint. In general, there are four categories of flux. * Clean (RA): Your traditional flux. Has a highly activated rosin core. * Clean (RMA): Another traditional type of flux, RMA has more acidic content. * No-Clean: By far the most common in today's marketplace. There is less flux per volume in wire core solder. No-Clean flux has weaker acid than RMA. * OA (Aqueous): The acid in OA flux is organic or semi-organic and more active than the acid found in RMA flux. Flux will affect your solder joint quality. * Clean (RA or Rosin Activated) flux is highly acidic, but provides instant wetting action, even for difficult to solder metals such as nickel. Leaves residues which can be corrosive if not cleaned and has been known to cause board contamination because of splatter. Higher smoke and caustic odor. Recommended to use RMA or No-clean flux solder instead. * Clean (RMA or Rosin Mildly Activated) flux is more acidic. Provides wetting action comparable to typical RA fluxes. It leaves heavy residue that needs to be cleaned off the PCB. Lower smoke and odor than RA flux. Pure (99% or greater) Isopropyl Alcohol is the recommended cleaner. Anhydrous (literally meaning "without water") isopropyl alcohol is a non-ODS solvent typically used for removal of partical contamination and inorganic films such as salts, fingerprints, polar soils, white mineral residue, and highly activated fluxes. Parts usually meet dielectric tests immediately after cleaning. Pure Isopropyl Alcohol meets all current Mil-Spec requirements. Rubbing alcohol is typically approximately 1/3rd water by volume and can be used, but is not recommended over Pure Isopropyl. * No-Clean flux leaves much less residue. After light touch-up with No-Clean, cleaning is not necessary. No-Clean also offers improved wetting capabilities and "cosmetics". If you use No-Cleans, you must lower your tip temperatures. High temperatures will flash No-Cleans right off the board. Smoking varies by brand and odor is typically mild. * OA (Organically Activated or Aqueous) flux is highly active and water-soluble. Typically used where there are hazardous waste restrictions or when trying to solder difficult metals. Optimal cleanability with minimal smoke and odor. Tip temperatures used are typically lower even than with No-clean fluxes. Flux greatly affects your solder tip life. * RMA flux is much better for the solder tip. It stays on the tip longer due to its gummy consistency. While soldering, RMA core solder wire will cover the tip and protect it from oxidation. * No-Clean flux is much worse for your solder tip. It burns off right away, and there's less of it. Therefore, the tip will oxidize faster.
  5. Here is a program which simulates working on various types of stipboards/breadboards. There is a demo available. LochMaster I have to admit that I have never used the program and, as such, cannot recommend it based on personal experience. Perhaps others can comment on them having used it or possibly even have other, better, suggestions. Edit: Though this program tries to simulate building a project on a stripboard/breadboard, it cannot actually emulate what would happen were you to "turn on" your project (it can only check electrical connections). What I believe that you are actually looking for would come under the heading of a simulation program. A quick search of this board, any other board, or even your favorite search engine, should give you many alternatives.
  6. I would tend to agree with this statement. More only ever equals more efficient up to a common visible point. Let us take being married for instance and cooking dinner. One person can accomplish the job just as efficiently as both, and for two you can generally cut down on preparatory time (unless you say something to start an argument). Yet, you still cannot speed up the rate at which whatever cooks (unless you are simply making salad). This is true no matter how many people you stuff into the kitchen and I would be quick to point out that the more people that you have working on any one project, the more crowded it becomes and before long productiveness actually decreases. (You may want to point out that more chefs in a large kitchen could get more done quicker, but you would still eventually run into the physical limitations of floor space for the people, counter space for preparation, and stove space for cooking.) I would hate to try and cook while stumbling over ten other people. Likewise, I would rather build my house using three of my handiest friends than ten other people (no matter how good they are) if they are getting in each other's way. (The construction time might very well take the exact amount of time once you consider in the "human factor," i.e. arguing, mistakes, space, laziness, break time, and so on.) This is true for nearly everything in life. (Just try typing a research paper with another person at the same time!) These have been just a few examples. I believe that electronics relies more on visual recognition, being able to recognize what certain combinations of components are able to do at any one time. Mathematics can only take a backseat as can physics when it comes down to it. (Please note that I didn't say that they were completely unimportant, just far less important than being able to recognize common circuit configurations.) You don't have to know boolean math to recognize yes/no logic. Likewise, the more circuits you have seen or built and watched in action, the more that you will understand what any other circuit that utilizes those components in that configuration is doing. All the math in the world cannot make up for visual experience. I would dare say that we all learned electronics in this way to some extent. This from the day that we saw our first simple amplifier made of a single transistor and attempted to understand it. Without any math or physics or anything else, one can look at nearly any circuit and take certain pieces of it and fairly reliably tell you how that particular section is going to act. Even the mathematics behind electronics belies this fact, that everything can be compartmentalized and "summed up" into equivelant basics. Some examples include converting parallel or series resistors into a single equivelant resistance. Troubleshooting any circuit usually involves breaking parts of the circuit down into very basic equivelants. We are only able to do this by recognizing the function (by merely sight alone) of that part and then "black boxing" it. Mathematics or not, this encapsulation is the whole idea behind ICs. Anyhow, I've droned on for far too long. Maybe more some other time. :)
  7. For anyone who is curious and based upon information I have gotten here and elsewhere, I decided to go with a Metcal PS-800 soldering system. It operates much like the Weller WCTP series in that the tip temperature is fully regulated and set according to which tip you have inserted. The tip temperature is held constant (within 1C) while the power adjusts to the load. More information can be found in the link given. Thank you all for your help. I truly do appreciate it.
  8. After doing some research, the Weller WTCPT purports utilizing a unique closed loop method of controlling maximum tip temperature which protects temperature sensitive components. Does this basically act as if you were to lower the tip temperature in any other iron or does it, in fact, remain at whatever temperature was already determined by the tip (700F for the supplied tip)? Having used this particular station for so long, what are your opinions as to how effective it is in actually protecting temperature sensitive components? Thank you all for your knowledge and opinions and please keep it up. I am learning quite a bit between my personal research and here.
  9. I just started learning about electronics last year and at the time I bought myself a very cheap soldering iron to start out with. (When I say "cheap," I mean that I gave the clerk a ten-dollar bill and received change back in exchange for the item.) I would like to upgrade, preferably to a complete station, but I am having a slight bit of difficulty with advertising terms. What confuses me is the connection between temperature and advertised wattage. From my understanding, it takes a tip temperature of somewhere around 361F (183C) to melt 63/37 solder efficiently. However, a great number of soldering irons and soldering stations, as well, only advertise a wattage rating, some give both, and some only give their temperature. I'm not exactly certain how wattage translates directly into temperature rating. I realize that electricity moves through the heating element and the resistance causes heat and that the power dissipated can be measured in watts. Am I missing some simple connection? I would think that the two were unconnected, sort of like the marketing scheme of lighbulbs in watts which have nothing to do with their light output (in lumens). It could be assumed, of course, that higher wattage produces more heat (or light), but this is simply not always true. Thermal properties of the substances involved, basic construction, as well as other factors have to be figured in as well. As an aside, I have noticed soldering stations advertised with tip temperatures adjustable between 350F and 800F, yet their advertised wattage were completely different (42W for one as compared to 80W for the other). I have been told (and read in a number of places online) that twenty-five to thirty-five watts was good enough for electronics work. Yet, I cannot comprehend "good enough." Does that mean that I should not get anything over thirty-five watts for fear of ruining components (which I, once again, would tend to believe has more to do with temperature than actual wattage) or that something with lower wattage simply won't get hot enough? (I should note that I saw some 15W soldering irons with tip temperatures of 600F.) The only connection that I can somehow attribute from research is in the transfer of heat into the joint itself. Higher wattages would transfer the same amount of heat faster than a lower wattage would for the same temperature. I would think that this would be conducive to better and faster soldering so long as you didn't decide to daydream at the exact moment you decided to solder a joint. This is another reason that I question the 25W to 35W "rule." Shouldn't any soldering tool capable of delivering an appropriate amount of it's 360F+ tip temperature be "good enough?" In closing, the two soldering stations that I am considering purchasing (the Hakko FP-102 and the CooperTools/Weller WSL, both comparably priced at 200$ USD and what I have budgeted to spend on a new soldering station) are both well over the 35W recommended for electronics work. I was trying to put together a clearer picture of what I should look at when purchasing my soldering companion for the next number of years. Sorry for the long post and thank you all in advance... Edit: I had inadvertently copied the melting point for lead alone. I have now corrected my data to correctly represent "ideal" electronics solder's melting point.
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