Building with ExpressPCB

Download and install the software from  Express PCB.

Open the file for the board you would like to order,

With the project open on your PC, click on LAYOUT on the top menu bar then on the drop down menu, click on  "order boards via the Internet". Fill in the answers to the questions as they appear. This will be e-mail address, physical address, etc and eventually you get to a choice of  order. I use "miniboard". This is the most economical method, and the CHEAPEST shipping choice is "Second Day Air".

The next choice is filling in credit card info then submitting your order.

The "miniboards" have an option to print the silkscreen layer on the board, which is very nice, but you must have edited the boards with this in mind.
There are three circuits, per board, for the SI4112  order which can be cut apart with a thin saw, or (if you're brave) compound tin snips. The width of the CUT made by the saw should be checked prior to making the cut to the boards.  Tin snips tend to put a slight curl in the edge that is cut, but it can be straightened. I DO NOT recommend this method, but I have done it before. I prefer to use a hacksaw that has the set worn off. You might try hammering the set out of the teeth, so you still have  sharp teeth. The transverter project need not be separated, but the builder has the choice. The mounting holes are on the same centers which allows stacking the two halves.

This means you will get 9 boards of the SI4112 for $61.00.

The synthesizer is not a simple project, but it was built in my shop without any fancy test equipment, so I'd have to say, it could be duplicated by anyone having some patience and basic skills in construction. Two of the parts are very fine pitch, but can be soldered by hand with a very pointy tip. Solder bridges can be removed with "solder wick". My favorite iron is a 12 watt Weller, which is usually the cheapest in the store. I run it as hot as it will go and solder very quickly.

A PIC programmer is useful, but if you cannot program the PIC, or have your own programmer, I might be persuaded to do it, or you can find someone to get it done. If you use the 16F630 or 16F688, the code is already written for most common frequencies. If you decide to use a different part, you will need to write the initialization yourself, but the rest of the code might be usable, or at least, easily adapted.

I have done many frequencies for the SI4112 .  It has become difficult to keep track of which PIC chip and synthesizer the code was written for. With that as background, I have decided to use only the PIC16F688 to keep future projects simple. There is no price penalty. The code can be found here.

I see many folks using the software, but not making use of the linked schematic, BOM and network features. It really bothers me that such a great potential is neglected. I would encourage anyone using the ExpressPCB services to become familiar with the features and to fill in the part numbers. Make custom parts for the PCB and save them.  Read the program help and link the PCB to the schematic. When you have everything  verified it is easy to order all the parts from the BOM that is created with the part numbers from the schematic.  If you do not want to share with others, just keep quiet.

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