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Apache AL13P & TL-320b - One Pass PCB Toner Xfer

Single pass Lower Temp Toner Transfers. Now available as a DIY kit. Open Source, Dual laminator compatible!

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Build this Project to add these laminator capabilities:1) Can transfer toner at LOWER temps plus adds thermal sensor failure protection2) Speed control using multiple automatic fwd/rev passes suitable for synchronous AC motors.3) Cool down function for rollers that overrides the heater. 4) No other mods required. Safe 12VDC build.5) Under 2 hours including building the kit. Available direct (mosaicmerc@yahoo.com).6) Achieve 10mil traces with 1 oz copper reliably.7) Plug n Play operation, no soldering or mods to laminator circuitry.8) Fully reversible mod. Operates at less than 80% OEM maximum temperature!9) Optimizes magazine & PCBFX Pulsar paper transfers & Dry transfer to metal products!9a) USE EBAY Yellow toner paper too!10) The Laminators can be toggled to do 'normal' paper & card laminations at the touch of a button! No loss of original Function. FYI:

Description:

UPDATE: BOTH APACHE AL13P & TRULAM TL-320B compatible.


I've taken a robust document laminator (AL13P or TL-320B) that features all metal construction with metal gears, silicone rollers and temperature control, and added features to make it more suitable and safer for toner transfer using readily available papers, especially magazine paper or http://PCBFX.com PULSAR products & Dry Transfers! Yellow EBAY Toner transfer paper works quite well. Note the thermal image indicating a 6% high roller temperature. Helps for precision work when presetting temperatures to suit different Toner brands. My Printer is an HP1102W. OEM or substitute Toner works fine.


Background:
I have been frequently frustrated by having to use a combination of clothing iron and document laminator as reliable results are ever elusive.
Converting a laser printer to direct PCB printing is complex and not a project I wish to entertain. It would be heavily mechanical and the results would still require post printing 'fusing' of the print onto the copper. I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the easy to modify Apache AL13P from Amazon to simplify and streamline my PCB making using non photographic methods. Have a look at my SMT PCB prototyping Hackaday project for more detailed usage pics & videos.


Powerful Capabilities:

Reliable, repeatable, cost effective and time effective toner transfer to single or double sided copper clad board up to 1/16" (or thicker) (1.6 mm) thick. The detail of the toner transfer method can be as good as 5 mil! http://PCBFX.com explains how to do this with 5mil detail with their enhanced papers. Thus, it is suitable for a lot of SMT applications as well. Yellow EBAY toner paper is also excellent.

I do single pass, double sided transfers, aligned/registered via 0.5mm - 0.8mm 'pinhole vias', built in to the layout at each PCB corner and then simple etching of both sides at once. This beats the multiple step, direct printing method which requires tricky, flip over & reprint alignment & resist curing for both sides of the printed board by baking or additional chemical baths before the etching. Also, direct printing requires a dedicated printer to hack apart, literally, as well as additional dedicated inks or toner/roller cartridges adding costs. This project only adds capability, it does not defeat the original purpose of the laminator and does not require expensive supplies, only paper!

Features:
1) Thermal sensor failure protection.
2) Speed control using multiple automatic fwd/rev passes suitable for synchronous AC motors.
3) Cool down function for rollers that over rides the heater AND keeps the rollers in motion for a fixed 16 minute period with an alert to shutdown after.
4) No other mods required . No roller tensioning required!
5) It takes less than 2 hours to make the modifications including building the kit.
6) It achieves 10 mil traces with 1 oz copper reliably.
7) Plug-n-Play operation, no soldering or modifications to laminator circuitry.
8) Fully reversible modifications.
9) Optimized for http://PCBFX.COM & magazine paper (eg. Pop. science mags or Harbor Freight Catalogs). Yellow EBAY toner paper is also excellent.

Specifications:
It o
perates between 320 F and 350 F to span the range of board stock from scissors cut-table thru 1/16" (or thicker) double sided transfers. HP Toner temps. Other brands may be a bit different. Use 380F for Brother Toner.
Net speed reduction is approximately 12:1 achieved by using recurring 5/8" forward and 1/2" linear reverse motions cycle with the rollers. Heater is OFF during reverse part of cycle to prevent roller hotspots.
This has the effects of applying multiple pressure and heat cycles to the toner transfer ensuring a good result without tampering with the 60 Hz synchronous motor operation & torque levels.
The net result is a single automated COMPLETE pass of the copper clad via multiple sub passes during the process.
The speed reduction can be altered by adjusting the trimmer...

Read more »

Lam_Mod_V2_11.HEX

PIc code with no repeat beeping for cooldown.

hex - 1.37 kB - 01/19/2019 at 19:44

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Lam_Mod_V2_2.HEX

PIC code

hex - 1.37 kB - 01/19/2019 at 19:43

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9h etch layer2.jpg

After etching

JPEG Image - 977.76 kB - 12/28/2016 at 14:39

Preview
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9f Foil transfer 2.jpg

After foiling, side 2 of doublesided transfer

JPEG Image - 1.82 MB - 12/28/2016 at 14:39

Preview
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9g Etch layer1.jpg

After etching

JPEG Image - 948.00 kB - 12/28/2016 at 14:39

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View all 14 files

  • 1 × Beeper (3-5V) jameco part # 2098523
  • 2 × Capacitor 0.1 uF 50 Volt X7R (10V minimum) jameco # 544921
  • 3 × 10 uF 50 Volt Radial Capacitor (25V minimum) jameco # 29891
  • 1 × Resistor, Trimmer 10k Ohm Jameco # 770371
  • 3 × Transistor General Purpose BJT NPN jameco # 783421

View all 13 components

  • THEORY OF OPERATION

    mosaicmerc11/21/2014 at 01:21 0 comments

    Theory of Operation

    A document laminator is tuned to apply temperature and pressure suitable for sealing plastic pouches over paper and card stock. Heavier duty laminators can handle heavier pouches and heavier card and are capable of higher temperature operation. Print Toner is mainly pulverized plastic and melts within the range of laminator temperatures (around 150 Celsius) at the rollers.

    In order to optimize toner transfer to copper clad board of various thicknesses and copper weight, the laminator must increase its temperature{, }pressure or both. This is usually achieved by using multiple maximum temperature passes; up to 20 times for a particular toner transfer to be of good quality with no drop outs on non optimized papers. This method is tedious and prone to repeatability issues based on such factors as the board length & thickness, copper weight, ambient temperature and the speed with which the board is returned to pass through laminator again. The thermal capacity of the copper clad and its cooling between passes is the variable here. Each additional pass increases the net temperature of the board to approach the roller temperature and re-presses the toner onto the copper.

    The modification simply automates the multi-pass approach and adds both time & energy efficiency benefits while simultaneously enhancing both repeatability and safety. Relying on the 60 Hz A.C. synchronous motor speed, the linear motion of the rollers is controlled via forward & backward mini passes to achieve up to a 12:1 speed reduction of the original linear speed. No alteration to the rotational speed or torque is used. No tampering with the 120 VAC power is done. This provides a number of direct benefits such as: reduced roller hot spots as compared to 'stop & go' slowdown methods; repeatable roller speed versus triac based speed control; chopper methods of speed control which stutters a synchronous motor. Lastly, the best benefit is overlapping heat/pressure passes with insignificant copper clad board cooling in between; delivering energy and time savings.

    The effectiveness of the approach is enhanced by the nature of the Apache AL13P control system which offers integral motor direction and temperature control. The modification leverages the features of the OEM control and does a minimum of alterations. Adjusting the tension of the rollers via the 4 bottom screws should not be required, limit doing this to a turn or two of tightening to avoid overloading the motor. The net result is reliable transfers using much less heat and pressure and time compared to other 'popular' laminator instructable type mods done before. Optimizations are possible for faster production by having more OEM temperature headroom in the laminator without hacking the heaters and risking a fire or laminator damage.

    The modification circuit employs a small PIC 12F675 micro-controller to sense the OEM thermal sensor's condition as well as to control the timing of the roller motion and provides a simple man-machine interface for control. A beeper is included to provide for audible feedback or alerts based on the selected operation mode of the system or any alarm conditions. A thermal sensor failure will now result in an alarm sound and failsafe shutdown of the heater for safe operations.

    All the features of the modification are optional and the laminator can serve its original purpose or switch to copper clad lamination or 'dry transfer foil to metal' at the touch of a button. The modification is integrated into the OEM controller seamlessly and utilizes the OEM DC power to operate. The modification's schematic details each pin function of the OEM controllers 6 pin cabling system for convenience of debugging. The mounting of the modification requires NO drilling, cutting or alteration of the laminator as it is mounted in an OEM provided fan cutout in the housing.

View project log

  • 1
    Step 1

    Building the Add on PCB is simple, just a few parts. You can test your build by applying 12V+ on pin 4 and a ground on pin 3 of the 6pin inline wire to board pads. The Beeper should emit a 1 second beep. Building the CAT5 (15") 6pin cables to attach the female 6 pin connectors is critical. Don't mix up the pin numbering. Note the pictures showing pin 6 on both the stock Apache Relay Brd and Display Brd. Also the connector orientation for both cables is opposed, see the pic. Color code: Pins 1 thru 6 as : green stripe, green, brown stripe, brown, blue stripe, blue; on both cables. Org and org stripe unused. Note drawn image in files folder.

    Opening the UNPLUGGED laminator is easy using the four bottom corner screws. Remove the two screws to the LED display first, let the display drop inside. Now u can remove the cover easily.

    Use a hot air supply (hair dryer) to loosen the hot glue holding the 6 pin ribbon cable in place between the stock Relay & LED display seen in the PIC. Note the pin6 identifier on both boards in the picture. Install the new 6 pin cat5 connectors. Match the add on display connector to the display board and the relay/main connector to the relay board. Rout the cables away from the rollers. Install the LED Display back into its cutout and mount the add on board in the fan cutout using a pair of 6-32 x 1/2" screws. Ensure the push button protrudes thru a slot and is operable without sticking. Also the trimmer pot should be accessible via a slot. Adjust the trimmer CCW to provide for best toner transfer (slowest forward speed). Leave the grey roller cover off to observe the roller operation when adjusting the roller forward/rev setting. If the rollers appear to stop and not reverse, your rev. cycle time is too low, adjust the speed control.

    Your modification is complete. Just remove the grey flat piece of metal (with semicircles) on the top cover parallel to the rollers, it is attached via two twisted tabs. It can interfere with the PCB movement.

    Note that Tightening the 4 laminator tensioning screws as per PCBFX etc. is NO longer required OR recommended as it can cause the laminator motor to stall and BURN your rollers making lots of smoke. You can laminate super thin FLEX PCB with no tightening now, thicker boards are also accommodated better.

    See the sidebar on the page for links to CAD & code files.

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Discussions

Yankee Farmer wrote 02/07/2019 at 23:25 point

I can't believe it has been 2 years since I built mine. Still gets used often, and works perfectly. I notices a firmware version 2.2. I am using 2.11....what was changed, if I may ask?

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mosaicmerc wrote 02/08/2019 at 01:22 point

just the duration of the cooldown beeps....set at 16 mins now.

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mosaicmerc wrote 02/02/2019 at 14:36 point

The reason the pin 6 seems switched when comparing the 2 boards is the way the header accepted the 6 pin plastic plug., note the  image here showing the opposing wiring color codes  for the plastic header plug.

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mosaicmerc wrote 02/02/2019 at 14:32 point

Les, send me a picture of your display board connected to your motor board.  The instructions here show such a pic, we need to see if yours is different. mosaicmerc@yahoo.com

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Les Barrett wrote 02/02/2019 at 05:43 point

I have spent way too many hours trying to get my laminator mod kit to work.  I think that I could better understand it if I had a Tru Lam or Apache laminator schematic.  The problem is that the instructions both here and the ones that came with the kit are not clear, at least to me.  The discrepancy between what is in the text and what is in the images leaves me not knowing which pin is which on the main board and on the display board.  I understand the schematic for the modification board, and have the 15" wires in place.  I can't be sure how they connect to the laminator boards.  This makes troubleshooting very difficult.  The images from the kit and the ones here are not clear about how the components are wired.  First of all, the six pin connectors on my laminator look like they are from a different production run in that I can't tell which way the wires are hooked up.  On the display board, is pin one on the crystal side of the board, or on the end nearer to the large capacitor?  On the main board, is pin one closer to the capacitor end of the connector, or closer to the transformer end of the board?  I know the image shows pin six on the main board to be near the center of the board and pin six to be near the capacitor end of the board on the display board.  Why would pin six on one end of the cable be pin one on the other end of the cable?  I am guessing that there is something about cable wiring that I don't understand.  Can anyone clear this up without giving me a lot of you know what?  I already realize that I am missing something and don't need a scolding.  Yes, if I had the laminator schematic, I could certainly figure it out for myself.  But I can't find it anywhere.  Thanks for your patience in reading this.  I am about ready to crush the circuit boards in my vise!

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ovi4 wrote 02/05/2019 at 22:45 point

Hi, it would be really nice if someone somewhere has the Apache AL13P to share with us all so by looking @ it one could figure it out how everything should be connected to make it work. I am in a somewhat similar situation. I managed to fetch a second hand laminator that is made in UK and the name is IKON IP-330 and has NO digital screen nor digital controls. All I have on the control panel is a pot. to tune the temperature to a max. 180 Celsius, a Forward or Reverse motor rotation switch + an LED that lights up when the set temp. is reached. So now I would like to try adapting the mod to my situation and perhaps would be nice if i could copy (clone) the original controls from the Apache and fit them to my laminator and then apply the mod afterwards. Any help if much appreciated.

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Les Barrett wrote 02/06/2019 at 02:18 point

I have since the last post figured out part of the problem that I am having.  I looked up the cat 5 cable standard; and it is definitely not the same as what is pictured in the mod.  Also, in the laminator, the six pin connector has pin one on one end, but on the opposite end of the other connector.  I believe that they call this a crossover connector; but cannot be sure.  I removed my six wire connectors and started over, since I think that I did the rest of the mod right.  I will wire it up according to the instructions where the connectors are shown with the wires in color.  What is actually pin six depends on your personal perspective on both the main and on the display board.  A schematic of the laminator would be very helpful for getting this figured out.  Taking apart the boards on the laminator to reverse engineer the whole thing would be a last resort that I don't want to tackle.  It could introduce new problems upon reassembly.  My solution is to wire up the connectors on the 15" ethernet wires as I said, and then use some reversible six pin connectors on the main and display boards, the kind that come with a Pickit kit.  This way, a simple reversal will do the trick, hopefully.  One good thing about the project is that i have been forced to get the Microchip software up and running, at least enough to use the IPE program with the hex file.  I had to buy a Pickit 3 clone because the Pickit 2 was not supported, according to the program.  I have also loaded up the free version of Eagle CAD, and am in the process of learning it.  I taught myself enough AutoCAD about twenty years ago to do some basic drafting, but have never done any electrical circuit work.  I used Visio on my old Windows PC to do drawings; but that was around 2001.  A copy of Visio from Microsoft now costs around $700.  I think that you also have to have Office, which is another significant cost.  I use open source software for that purpose, since I am tired of buying the same MS programs over again every time that I get a new computer.  I'm not complaining, just stating how it is in my case.  

I forgot to say that with several versions of the laminator out there, one cannot really rely on project images and assume that the connectors on the board are wired the same way.  The connectors on my laminator, in the project photos, and on the wire harnesses that I ordered all have pin one marked differently.  They are also very different connectors.  The connectors that came with my kit from Jameson are not the same size as the ones on the laminator; so I have cut the old cable in half and will attach it to the new cat 5 cable assemblies.  Specifically, the female parts are smaller than those in both my Pickit and in the laminator.  I hope that this is helpful for some of you who may be having similar problems.

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mosaicmerc wrote 02/11/2019 at 03:26 point

all the mod really does is run the laminator motor fwd and backward when triggered and offer a beeper alert for a cool down period so the rollers don't develop flat spots. It should not be hard to mod the circuit to work for any laminator once u can identify the dc voltage supply for the circuit and the motor fwd/backwd switch/relay

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mosaicmerc wrote 02/08/2019 at 01:23 point


mosaicmerc
wrote 5 days ago
The reason the pin 6 seems switched when comparing the 2 boards is the way the header accepted the 6 pin plastic plug., note the  image here showing the opposing wiring color codes  for the plastic header plug.

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Bartster70 wrote 01/16/2019 at 20:12 point

Hello, I'm new to this group.   I have make several modifications. First, I located the board to the front next to the main board. (out of the heat)  I added male pin headers to the board and used 8 inch female to female jumpers. I installed a pot on the front panel to replace the one on the board and connected it.   I connected a 91k resister in series with the ground end. This limits the voltage swing from 5v to about 4.4v. I did this by trial and error. Removed the push button on the board and located a new one to the front panel.  Having noticed the heat generated by the motor, I installed a small fan on the top of the case and powered it from 5.1mm socket above the on/off switch at the rear and power it with a 12v power supply I had lying around. I tried to power it from the 12v on the main board. This failed causing the actuated circuit to reset itself (the pic). I replaced  3 capacitors with 22uf. Tested this setup for 2 hours and it works perfectly

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mosaicmerc wrote 01/17/2019 at 02:37 point

Nice work

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Duane wrote 08/28/2017 at 04:05 point

I'm having difficulties getting the kit to work.

Originally got no beep on the bench test. Programmed the Pic and the bench test now passes.

Plugged into the laminator, no beep.  Rollers turn, the temp preset is displayed and the ready light comes on but no heat.

Any suggestions?

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Jon wrote 08/27/2017 at 18:50 point

Hi, are you still offering the kit for sale? I tried to email but received no response. Thank you.

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mosaicmerc wrote 08/27/2017 at 18:55 point

Hi Jon,  I believe you purchased this from my Ebay sale item. The source is the same , as is the delivery times. 'Jon Mettrick' was the buyer.

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Jon wrote 08/27/2017 at 20:41 point

Yeah, I was getting worried about no tracking number so I sent notice and stated an immediate reply was necessary. I understand enabling a positive position for your efforts. Demonstrably,  tracking is a psychological buffer of confidence. It is easy for me to become critical of a 30 day or so delivery time when there is no tracking number and no follow-up communication provided. Purchasing on August 17th and finding upon review,  an outside delivery date of September 27th requires initiating a follow up @ a couple of weeks in the process. After purchasing and without an awareness of hackaday and this discussion, a 30+ day shipment easily compels a legacy initiated by the buyer even if the cost is 35 bucks . . . if one needs the part that is. Thank you for responding here.

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mosaicmerc wrote 08/27/2017 at 20:57 point

USA  postal service isn't bad. Canada can be 6 weeks....they have big rural provinces.

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RFEngineer wrote 06/11/2017 at 18:01 point

Hi, I am new to the forum.  I bought the Jameco kit and I think the
programming of the pic chip is incorrect, but not sure.  How can I
troubleshoot the circuit to make sure?  I tried to run the buzzer test
that is called out in their instructions.  I put 12vdc to dp4 and ground
to mp3. I see 5vdc on pin 1 of pic chip and ground on pin 8.  Pin 4
does go low when I depress on the momentary contact.  Pin should
probably go hi, (I guess)?  But it does not.  Any suggestions?  Thanks

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mosaicmerc wrote 08/17/2017 at 21:29 point

Sorry, I just noticed this comment. Jameco is notorious for shipping blank PIC chips, I can't get them to stop making that mistake, so I sell an upgraded SMT version on EBAY and do direct support.

 The links on this project's sidebar under the images have the hex code for the  PIC. If you don't have a Pickit2 or 3 programmer to flash it, then Jameco has to  ship you a programmed chip.

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Yankee Farmer wrote 02/26/2017 at 04:58 point

I bought Ancel's kit on eBay and an AL13P for $25 also on eBay, put everything together and have been churning out PCBs for a few days. This combo is the cat's meow. Perfect transfers every time! I haven't tried 2-sided PCBs yet, but plan to. I use the clear overhead projector film and a cheap HP laser printer. The clear film seems to need a higher temperature, so I run the Apache at 379 degrees, and run the PCB through twice on the regular setting to preheat, then push the mod button and run it through a complete cycle and drop it into cold water when it comes out. One of my boards has maybe 8 or 10 mil traces that run between the donuts on a 34-pin header and they etch perfectly with peroxide and HCl etchant. Start to finished etch is about 15 minutes, and I run 3 boards at a time (4" x 6"). This really takes the guess-work out of PCB-making and all for way less than $100 US.

Very happy! 

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mosaicmerc wrote 05/04/2017 at 02:58 point

Really pleased to hear about your  progress.  My original mod is running about 2.25 years now....and  I cringe at the chancy iron on transfer process that was my old method. If you set up EBAY search parameters to email notifications when new deals come along you can get really good ones. I got my Trulam for $1.99 auction as 'non working'. Pulled her apart and there were 3  letter size laminations all crunched up between the rollers and the heater so nothing else could pass.  Clearing that restored full function.

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Yankee Farmer wrote 05/04/2017 at 04:18 point

I picked up a couple on eBay, and made my own boards as an exercise. It was my first experience programming a PIC controller. I also modified it a bit for higher temps...a 2k trim pot in the thermistor circuit adds about 30 degrees F to the total. I needed it to get a good, single pass transfer with the clear film. I have since switched to the yellow eBay paper, and no longer need to go higher than 340 degrees. I moved the temp and speed pots and a different push button to the front, and had to add a cap to better debounce the bigger button, but it all works like a charm. I have done dozens of boards at this point....perfect transfer every time. I program arduinos, but the PIC program is beyond me...if you ever get a minute, I'd like to shut off the cool-down beeper. I like the beep on mode change, and it would be nice to have it beep when cool-down is complete (mine takes about 20 minutes to cool down to 140). I tried modifying the program, but effed it all up, LOL. Not a big deal, I just desoldered the beeper for now. Thank you for the design! I couldn't have done it by myself in 1000 years. 

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mosaicmerc wrote 05/04/2017 at 16:38 point

Hi farmer....I added a version 2.11 hex for the PIC. in the files link...that will eliminate the frequent cooldown beeps 

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Yankee Farmer wrote 05/05/2017 at 03:18 point

Hi mosaicmerc....I see v2, v2.1, and v2.2Beta, but no v2.11....am I just looking in the wrong place? Thanks, BTW!

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mosaicmerc wrote 05/05/2017 at 14:19 point

Files are transferred now

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Yankee Farmer wrote 05/07/2017 at 06:02 point

Got it. Everything is working great now! Thank you.

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mosaicmerc wrote 12/07/2016 at 19:41 point

The Trulam TL320B laminator ($99, Amazon) looks remarkably similar to the Apache AL13P....I wonder if anyone has access to one and can share a pic of its controller.

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mosaicmerc wrote 12/13/2016 at 16:34 point

Ok, I have a Trulam on order....I'll evaluate it and provide a mod for it....

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mosaicmerc wrote 01/27/2017 at 17:58 point

With the Trulam being a match for the Apache, all's good and works well....I see an Apache AL18P for  a good price on Amazon now https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0012UKI72/ref=pe_608570_224135860_em_1p_0_ti

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donald_s_58103 wrote 11/25/2016 at 23:21 point

Just tried it again. When first activated by a push of the button switch, after only 1-2 seconds the forward - reverse motion stops after a 1-second beep. If I push the button, the forward - reverse movements start again, and this time it works for maybe 10-12 seconds before the beep and the forward - reverse motion stops. Pushing the button again will get another 10-12  seconds of the expected movements. Any ideas?

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mosaicmerc wrote 11/26/2016 at 11:21 point

The PIC is resetting /rebooting. Verify the rectifiers that snub the relay coils are in good order  and functioning on the mod PCB.  Also verify the 0.1uF Cap across the PIC power rails is also properly installed.

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donald_s_58103 wrote 11/26/2016 at 19:18 point

I opened it up to check. The weird thing is that with the cover off, and the mod PCB resting on the table, everything worked as expected. So I put everything back together, but same problem! It appears to reset after a few seconds. This is driving me nuts!

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mosaicmerc wrote 11/27/2016 at 13:29 point

As I noted below. loosen the 6-32 mounting screws a bit and see if the prob. goes away.  

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donald_s_58103 wrote 11/27/2016 at 22:29 point

I did loosen the 6-32 mounting screws, but no cigar... works with the top removed, but not when the whole thing is buttoned up. Oh well,, since I won't be making PCBs very often, I guess I will just open up the laminator when I want to make PCBs. Thanks for your help!

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mosaicmerc wrote 12/26/2016 at 12:41 point

Donald, replace the 10uF caps with another set or 22uF if u have....I managed to replicate the issue and if the tolerance of the electrolytics are on the low side you can get the prob.

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donald_s_58103 wrote 12/29/2016 at 23:30 point

Will not be able to try this for several days since I am out of town, but will do so when I return. Thanks! 

But why would the problem only occur when the case is closed and not when it is open if it is an out of tolerance cap? Temp related

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donald_s_58103 wrote 02/12/2017 at 23:31 point

Finally got to replace the 10uF caps with good quality (Nichicon) caps of higher temp rating. I used 10 uF because I did not have 22uF caps on hand. However, the problem persists. Within a minute or two, a long beep emits and  the laminator goes back to its default function.

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mosaicmerc wrote 02/12/2017 at 23:50 point

One other possibility...your temp sensor connector is intermittent. Wedge it tight with a bit of PCB or something similar.

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donald_s_58103 wrote 02/13/2017 at 00:56 point

I will try that, but the problem does not occur when I have the cover off, leading me to believe that it has something to do with the temp of the mod board components or mechanical vibration causing the switch to trip. If it was the temp sensor, I would expect the  problem to persist with the cover off, no?

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donald_s_58103 wrote 02/15/2017 at 02:05 point

I think I may have solved this problem (keeping fingers crossed).

I replaced the tactile switch with one that had a longer length for the push button. This allowed me to  use spacers to move the PCB a little farther away from the wall of the cabinet. With the old switch, because of its short throw, I could not use spacers tall enough to move the body of the switch away from the cabinet. I think the vibrations from the cabinet were being transmitted directly to the switch causing it to trip.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 02/15/2017 at 02:35 point

Hmm,  perhaps that tactile had a low contact force.  But I do supply 160gf 13mm brown tactiles with the kit now....easier to feel for with the laminator in a rack. If yours is a shorter black one ...it could have been a 50gf that got supplied rather than 160gf units. I could do a s'ware patch to increase the 'debounce' times if this happens to anyone else.

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donald_s_58103 wrote 02/15/2017 at 12:49 point

Yes, the tactile switch that came with the kit I ordered from Jameco had the short black one. I replaced it with a long (10 mm) black one. I do not know what contact force the switch is rated for. If I start having problems again, I will have to look for the brown switch with the higher contact force. What is your source for the brown switches?

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mosaicmerc wrote 02/15/2017 at 15:33 point

newark.com, search for tactile switches. 6mm square size

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donald_s_58103 wrote 11/25/2016 at 01:50 point

Need some help here..

The mod was working just fine a few days ago. Today, when I turned it on and pressed the button-switch to activate, it starts out fine, with the forward - reverse movements as expected. However, after a few seconds, it emits a beep and the roller no longer reverses direction; just keeps rolling in one direction. Any ideas on how to trouble shoot and fix this?

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mosaicmerc wrote 11/25/2016 at 12:17 point

sounds like its getting reset. Does pressing the button start it back with the forward/back cycling?

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mosaicmerc wrote 11/26/2016 at 22:35 point

It's possible the tactile button isn't exactly aligned in the CASE slot and is producing fake clicks due to vibration in the housing. Slacken the PCB mounting screws a little.

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donald_s_58103 wrote 11/12/2016 at 22:53 point

Jameco sent me a replacement PIC, but unfortunately that did not work too. Either it was not programmed at all, or it had firmware that was corrupt or whatever. Luckily, the PICkit 3 programmer that I ordered just arrived and I programmed the chip with the HEX file on this site  (v 2.1) and everything is working great now. You may want to inform Jameco that they are dropping the ball with the PIC programming.

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donald_s_58103 wrote 11/08/2016 at 12:12 point

OK.. got the kit from Jameco last night and assembled it. On testing, however, I do not get the 1-second beep. The only time I get any sound from the beeper is if I touch the base of transistor 1, and then it is more of a continuous chirp rather than a beep. Not sure how to troubleshoot. I have checked voltages, and the 7805 regulator is putting out 5v (4.96V actually, on my DMM). Do you think I received an unprogrammed PIC from Jameco? Any help troubleshooting and fixing the problem would be greatly appreciated!

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mosaicmerc wrote 11/08/2016 at 12:49 point

It's quite possible. Do u have a Pic programmer handy? I have heard of this 'problem' before....a reprogrammed chip solves it.

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donald_s_58103 wrote 11/08/2016 at 13:23 point

No, I do not have a PIC programmer. If there are any cheap ones available, I would like to buy one. I have never programmed a PIC before, so this will be an opportunity to learn. Is there any way of checking to see if the PIC that Jameco sent me is programmed? (other than the 1-second beep)

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mosaicmerc wrote 11/08/2016 at 15:34 point

No, that is the indicator the firmware is running. Asking Jameco for a replacement PIC that is properly programmed has worked in the past. Ebay item # 311689085628 can program the pics

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donald_s_58103 wrote 10/30/2016 at 21:32 point

I added a comment  a short while ago, but it does not show up. I'll try again.

There appears to be a discrepancy between the photo of the add-on board in the pdf documentation and the picture of the two 6-pin connectors showing the sequence of the color-coded wires. 

The pdf document shows the cat 5 cable connected to the add-on board in the following sequence (from right to left, pin 1 through pin 6): green/white, green, brown/white, brown, blue, blue/white. However the picture of the connectors shows this sequence: green/white, green, brown/white, brown, blue/white, blue. So which is correct? I have the kit on order from Jameco and wanted to clarify this issue before building it.

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mosaicmerc wrote 10/30/2016 at 22:15 point

The image shown here is correct.

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Jim wrote 11/25/2016 at 07:09 point

Hello Ancel.

You recommended item# 311689085628 PicKit3.  That only comes with the icsp cable.  This adapter item# 182330060727  or:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/182330060727?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&var=484877444354&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

is very useful and makes it easier to program a lone pic.  If you do a lot the icsp cable would work but I find these adapters more convenient but that is just my personal preference.

Also this SOIC8 cable item# 112184952077  might be of use with smt parts.  At least with the adapter board it is easier (at least for me) to program Dip pics.

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Mangus Tiranus wrote 10/21/2016 at 19:55 point

Looks likes some ones ripped this how to off and selling it on ebay for a few dollors...

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Jim wrote 10/19/2016 at 15:15 point

I am not finding the dropbox link to your latest Hex file.  Can you give us the link to that? I think your project is great and well done.

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kimvellore wrote 10/16/2016 at 00:08 point

Hi,

  I need some help debugging. I just finished the hack and on power up, nothing happens. Is there a timer that I have to wait before the push button is active?. I tried quick push and long push. The laminator was just working as normal but no heat. Please help.

Thanks

Kim

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mosaicmerc wrote 10/16/2016 at 00:34 point

Did you verify the beep on the bench top when power is applied? Is the PIC chip programmed with V2.1 of the hex? No heat implies the relay driving the heater is not engaging so have a look at the wiring of the  main and display PCB 6 pin headers as per the color coded image shown. There is no timer on boot up. As you power up the laminator the unit should beep once. Verify that all the wire jumpers on the circuit board have been installed.

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kimvellore wrote 10/16/2016 at 01:05 point

Hi,

  Thank you for the quick reply. I dont get the sound from the board on power up. As for the programming I purchased a pre programmed kit from Jameco. I will try to program a new chip and test. The one I got just has a blue sticker with nothing written on it.

I rechecked all connections and jumpers and it looks OK. I could send you a pic of the board and connections.

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kimvellore wrote 10/16/2016 at 01:15 point

Hi, where do I download v2.1 hex file? I see version 2 at Jameco. 

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mosaicmerc wrote 10/16/2016 at 01:21 point

Note the Yellow dropbox link for all design files (incl. hex code) located under the pics at the top of this hackaday page.

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mosaicmerc wrote 10/16/2016 at 01:24 point

Jameco does not supply the wire jumpers on the circuit board...so did you install them using hookup wire?

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kimvellore wrote 10/16/2016 at 21:21 point

It works now perfectly after I put in a pic with the V2.1 program. The PIC from Jameco was not programmed. Thanks for the help and making the Hack available for all of us. 

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mosaicmerc wrote 08/20/2016 at 21:31 point

I see these AL13p laminators on sale EBAY #302046270012 as of August 2016.

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mosaicmerc wrote 07/14/2016 at 16:21 point

I don't know that brand. EDIT...I purchased the item...and it is identical to the Apache....I transferred the mod and it works with no alterations.

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