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Test bench equipment

First post here. I'm looking for some insight on must have testing equipment for reverse engineering and fixing smart sensors. Nox sensors, quality sensors, circuit boards in display units. They communicate on a can network. So far I have saleae logic analyzer. Oscilloscope, power supply, fluke dmm and solder iron(but I need a bench style I currently have a solder it pro) My intention is to build a database of working sensors so I can identify faulty sensors and attempt to fix them. This is is the start of a long term project. I've been a heavy equipment mechanic for over 25 years and with the new electronics going into equipment I want to learn how to fix the electronic side of things. It will be a learning process but I'm up for the challenge. I'm looking to spend about 5k what should I focus on first? I like computer base equipment but is that a viable route?
 

MacIntoshCZ

Active Member
Buy what you actually need. Some better scopes have built in logic analyzer, wave generator, and so on.

I would reccommend to buy MSO5074 and hack it. I own 5072 with two additional probes. It was cheaper... =)
But you mentioned you already have scope....
Digital microscope could be handy
 

Diver300

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
If you are faultfinding a CAN network, you need something that can log the CANbus. A 'scope may be able to analyse a frame or two but you will probably need something that will read all the frames for some seconds or even minutes.
 
Saleae logic analyzer I have is a scope and can record for as long as there is space on harddrive. So I have a sensor that puts out a signal but it's not the correct signal its corrupted becease the sensor is damaged. Any recommendations on a Digital microscope that sounds like a good idea.
What are your thoughts on pc based test equipment? What are the best manufactures?
 

picbits

Well-Known Member
Saleae logic analyzer I have is a scope and can record for as long as there is space on harddrive. So I have a sensor that puts out a signal but it's not the correct signal its corrupted becease the sensor is damaged. Any recommendations on a Digital microscope that sounds like a good idea.
What are your thoughts on pc based test equipment? What are the best manufactures?
I use the Picoscope products a lot at work - we're an automotive testing and development facility so have both the automotive and normal Picoscopes. Really good bits of kit (apart from the failed one under my desk) and really good software.
 
I like my css analyzer it's bi directional. I can have it send signals to fool ecu. It can log via pc or save to onboard sd card. The can database is pretty good too. My efforts are to repair these sensors which are micro controllers. I need to find some good sources to start reading up on the basics
 

KeepItSimpleStupid

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I second the microscope recommendation.

I'll also suggest some software that can help with reverse engineering, such as https://server.ibfriedrich.com/wiki/ibfwikien/index.php/Reverse_Engineering which is a PCB Layout software. I own the software, but really haven't used it. it's personalized to you, so you can install it on as many machines as you would like, but you can only use it on one at a time. At the end of the year, they usually offer substantial upgrade discounts.

I tried to reverse engineer a small PCB manually and I had trouble. It was about 2x3cm and had mostly SMT components, but it had a few thru-hole components. A friend finally re-did it for me from photos and a BOM. His version made a lot more sense.

I have some other products that I want to reverse engineer:
a) A microwave control board
b) An antenna rotor control

Why the microwave. It's a large microwave/convection oven with probe. It does need to be fixed, but I want to add a new capability. I want to be able to set the probe temperature to lower than 110 deg. F. I'd like to be able to warm something cold to room temperature and 110F is too high for proofing yeast. So, I want to push a button and the temperature would be say 80 degrees less than the input temperature. When you pull the probe out, it would reset.

Why the antenna rotator. It's NLA and I'd like to add some web options. It looks like it's PIC based. Initially, I'd like to replicate the display on a web page and have a separate device do real-time position indicating. The actual position shown while turning is not correct.
It uses a form of Diseq/C over coax to control the rotor.

There would be decoding of the IR signals and the ability to send an IR signal.

Your going to need some image manipulation software because you will need to photograph both sides of the board at the same magnification and layer them with say 50% transparency. You can use that image in target.

So, you place the components, and draw the traces and it will spit out a schematic.

When laying out a PCB, footprints are difficult. Can't say what the best option is. PADS is a footprint generator.

X-rays are used by professional reverse engineering firms.

The panavise circuit board holder: https://www.panavise.com/index.html?pageID=1&page=full&--eqskudatarq=26 Not sure how compatible it is with a microscope.

You might consider a color printer that can print at least 11" x 17" and probably large monitors.

Circuit specialists has an inexpensive line of soldering stations. I bought he Solderwerks BK5000 which is obsolete now, but similar to other products. I don;t like the de-soldering tool, but there is an upgraded version. I would reccomend getting a self-contained solder sucker. Cost could run <$300.00 USD. You can't use the iron and the desoldering tool at the same time. The desoldering tool would always hang-up in the holder. I had to buy a reamer to fix that. The tips keep slipping out of the soldering iron holder. Friction, with no lock. The soldering iron holder has an air extraction port for tip vapors.

If I had my druthers, METCAL probably has the best soldering irons. It's RF induction heating, so you really can't beat it/

Chip-quick has a removal alloy to help remove parts.

non-magnetic tweezers (titanium or Stainless Steel)

Your going to need specific tools to reverse engineer the CAN bus.
 

vtech

Active Member
If I had my druthers, METCAL probably has the best soldering irons.
Having been using the METCAL for several years, the rather smart use of RF technology definitely gave them the upper hand until an outfit from Spain(JBC) finally beat them hands down. While not cheap, they have a vast selection and can custom make tips.
At work I've been comparing the trusty METCAL against the JBC for some time now and no doubt JBC has a much better product. Not only Heat and recovery time are just as good--if not quicker, the maintenance is much less on the desoldering.
It is made in Spain by the same family who started the company and the build quality is outstanding. (specially since the US made Metcal was sold to OKI international and unfortunately their China built quality has gone way down)

I've also been using their "Nano" rework station which has the tiny 1 mm tip fit for our SMD application.
I am not sure if it's still available, but they were the only one with free 30 day trial on their products.
btw, no personal connection to JBC or METCAL whatsoever.
 

KeepItSimpleStupid

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Wow! A soldering/desoldering system could blow away his budget. I'm impressed. They don't even mention RF anywhere. Myguess, is that RF technology would do a really good job on de-soldering.
 

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