DIY Resistor Substitution Decade Box
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DIY Resistor Substitution Decade Box

by george graves on Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:47 am

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Re: DIY Resistor Substitution Decade Box

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:20 am

Nice project George :D A good excuse to pick up some of those thumbwheel switches.
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Re: DIY Resistor Substitution Decade Box

by george graves on Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:34 am

They're kinda interesting - cause they are both a display, and a user input - and you can interface them to an uC with out much.

Thanks!
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Re: DIY Resistor Substitution Decade Box

by adafruit_support_mike on Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:17 pm

Neat build, and good documentation.

To pick nits [he said, with a hint of sour grapes because he's planning something similar and you published first ;-)], have you tested the output?

The trouble is that the tolerances stack.. a 5% 10k resistor is guaranteed to fall somewhere between 9500 and 10500 ohms, and given production tolerances will most likely be in the 9850 - 10150 range. That's still an error of 150 ohms though, or a full digit on your 100-ohm scale. If you put five of them in series, the errors will cancel statistically but the absolute error tolerance will still increase.. probably around +/-300 ohms for the stack of five, or three digits on your 100-ohm scale.

Getting accuracy beyond three significant digits is a challenge.
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Re: DIY Resistor Substitution Decade Box

by george graves on Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:35 pm

There is a good discussion of the accuracy of boxes like this here: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects-d ... ution-box/

For me for example - If I need 7642 ohms or something, I'll use a trimmer. But often times I don't know if I want a 1k or 100k resistor in a circuit. This covers all your bases. And at the end of the day, chances are you are going to be using a standard resistor value anyways.

And, yes you can always use 1% resistors. I just used what I had on hand(my 5% resistors are never 5% off - they seem to be much closer to 2%) - or you can hand pick them as well. Also, you can always pull the box out of the circuit, and measure the resistance if need be.

One thing to note - that if you have it dialed in at 10k, and you add one ohm, changing the box to 10,001 ohm, it really will change by a one ohm increment.

I guess just like any tool, you really need to know what the limits are - and what it works well with.
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Re: DIY Resistor Substitution Decade Box

by kscharf on Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:03 pm

Another limitation that occurs to me is the current handling ability of these kinds of switches. They are usually constructed as gold plated spring wipers against gold plated PC board contacts. The series resistance of a few of these switches can add up to a good fraction of an ohm or more. With 1/4 watt resistors it is probably the resistors that will set the actual current limit for the device, but these switches can't handle the current that the more common rotary switch based sub boxes use.
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Re: DIY Resistor Substitution Decade Box

by john444 on Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:01 pm

Hi George,

I really like the small size your R-box.
I am considering making one using 4 thumbwheel sections with 1206 surface mount resistors.
Also, I am planning to put it in a small, self-made enclosure with flying leads instead of binding-posts.

You make a really good point -
george graves wrote:just like any tool, you really need to know what the limits are - and what it works well with.

While it may not be suitable for load testing car batteries, it certainly will be useful for LED resistors.

Nice job with the R-box and the tutorial you put up.
Thanks for sharing, John
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