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 protection
2) 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 (
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 ori



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 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.

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! 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!

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.

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 »

9h etch layer2.jpg

After etching

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


9f Foil transfer 2.jpg

After foiling, side 2 of doublesided transfer

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


9g Etch layer1.jpg

After etching

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


9e Foil transfer 1.jpg

After foiling, side1 of doublesided transfer

JPEG Image - 1.89 MB - 12/28/2016 at 14:38


MPEG-4 Video - 30.75 MB - 12/28/2016 at 14:38


View all 12 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


    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.

View all instructions

Enjoy this project?



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?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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! 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

Files are transferred now

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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....

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

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?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.  

  Are you sure? yes | no

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!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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 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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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?

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 02/15/2017 at 15:33 point, search for tactile switches. 6mm square size

  Are you sure? yes | no

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?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

The image shown here is correct.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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:

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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...

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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


  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.



  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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


  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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

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. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

kimvellore wrote 07/14/2016 at 07:09 point

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 07/14/2016 at 16:20 point

That link just provides a hard copy of this info, and helps folks not familiar with hackaday. The laminator is usually sold by Amazon for < $100 but it goes fast.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Mikecay wrote 05/02/2016 at 11:54 point

Thank you for the quick response. I don't have a programmer but I will attempt to program it using a Rpi and this sketch

I have all the part already, and If that does not work I will order a PicKit3.  The whole idea of ordering the kit was to avoid this part.  In any case, with this type of stuff you learn a lot more when there are problems.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 05/02/2016 at 12:08 point

Juts tell Jameco the uC isn't programmed and they'll send out another for u. It's happened before.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 05/02/2016 at 18:59 point

Some EEPROM programmers like the Willem PCB50 can do it as well.

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Mikecay wrote 05/02/2016 at 02:29 point

I also bought the Jameco kit and have the same problem as hwilliams18.  When I do the 12v test on pin 4 and gnd on 3 I get nothing.  I validated everything, my jumpers are in place but no luck.  Any help would be appreciated. 


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mosaicmerc wrote 05/02/2016 at 02:55 point

I am suspicious about Jameco programming. Do u have the ability to program the processor? Also, I think I  shall offer this as a built & tested item, direct. The 3rd party uC kit and then DIY build seems a bit error prone.

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mosaicmerc wrote 02/29/2016 at 05:50 point

Added a new, numbered,  image and video sequence in the 'PICS' dropbox link . Should clarify how it all works to make double sided PCBs in one pass.

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hwilliams18 wrote 02/25/2016 at 09:39 point

We have beeping!!!  Something is clearly still wrong, but the buzzer now sounds when I first power the board, whenever I press the button, and it goes through a beep sequence if I hold down the button for a few seconds.  It turns out my pickit3 did indeed overwrite the OSCAL value when I erased the board.  For whatever reason though when I wrote out the new code you uploaded (Thanks for that) the pickit3 decided to generate and write a new OSCAL.  Hooray for progress!

The good: Pin 4 of the pic goes ground every time I press the button.  The T1 emitter is ground.  

The bad:  The T3 emitter is always around 4V.  While the board is powered the buzzer constantly makes a low dull grumbling sound.  If I turn the pot all the way to the low side the buzzer beeps at full volume nonstop.  Turning it anywhere between the high side and just above the low side seems to have no effect.  Pin 2 and 7 never alternate.  Pin 2 has 4.95V at all times and Pin 7 is always ground.

So all that said...I am lost.  Pins 1-3 are constantly between 3.5 and 5V  and Pin 4 stays around 5V until i press the button.  On the other side of the board I get pretty much the opposite at all times.  Pin 5 stays near ground most of the time ~300mV.  It jumps to about 3V when the buzzer goes off.  During cool down mode it holds steady at .5V then peaks to 3V as the buzzer sounds.  

The weirdest thing to me is the sound of something oscillating constantly. It's impossible for me to replicate the sound via text, but its sounds as if the buzzer is a DC motor that isn't getting quite enough power.  If I hook up my multimeter to just the ground (MP3/DP3) I can watch as the bar graph at the bottom pulses constantly.  I'm having a very hard time describing it, but I'm hoping this information is useful.

I'm eager to hear what you think I should try next.

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mosaicmerc wrote 02/26/2016 at 17:59 point

Ok, this blog makes it tuff to maintain a thread, so email me  at so we can walk thru the probs. Pin 3 is an input that reads the 'voltage' from the speed pot to adjust the fwd/back motion of the rollers.

T3 emitter will be 'floating' until connected to the laminator so that's normal, UNLESS you have connection to the laminator...then there is a connection ffault.. Pin 5 ops looks normal. The best way to debug the thing is disconneted from the laminator. We can setup artificial 'relay' loads with  LEDs etc so everything is easily seen. I can also generate & supply code to  verify the operation of each 'pin' of the PIC, but  that's a last resort.

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