Carlson's Super Probe

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Introduction: Carlson's Super Probe

About: Hi, i'm electronic technician but it's my hobby too. I like to do and try many projects just for fun :)

Hi everyone, recently i made the "Carlson Super Probe" and i'd like to share with you how to do this!

First of all, listen Paul's video. You will see why you should build this probe, how sensitive that is. Also if you like electronic you should see Mr Carlson patreon page here: https://www.patreon.com/MrCarlsonsLab and maybe support him.

So let's begins!

Step 1: Schematics

Here are the schematics. Those are exactly the same you saw in the Mr Carlson's lab video. If you find something different, just tell me.

Step 2: ​Doing the Probe

For the probe shell, i used copper. Go to hardware store and buy those pieces. The pipe size is 3/4 inches.

Step 3: Electronics Parts

You will need some specific part. This are the digikey part number. All capacitors and resistors are normal 0805 except for C2 and C5. those one are tantalum 1206.

I did a downloadable cart. To using it, go to digikey, cart and upload the csv file.

Probe Parts:

-----------------------------

The little switch:

CKN9559-ND OS102011MA1QN1 x1

-----------------------------

Pot 100k

CT6EX104-ND CT6EX104 x1

----------------------------

capacitor 1206 22uf x 3

‎TAJA226K010RNJ

----------------------------

capacitor 4.7uf 0805 x 2

1276-1065-1-ND

----------------------------

capacitor 360pf 0805 x 1

‎C0805C361J5GACTU

----------------------------

diode x1

1N5711WS-FDICT-ND

----------------------------

Transistor 3904 sot23 x 6

MMBT3904LT3GOSCT-ND

----------------------------

Light bulb (optional) to put on supply vr. See Video 42:00 min

CM683-ND x 1

----------------------------

.01uf 50v 0805 x 3

‎CL21B103KBANNNC

---------------------------

.1uf 50v 0805 x 2

‎CL21B104KBCNNNC

---------------------------

Led LED BLUE 2.9mm x 1 Note: any led can do

‎VAOL-3LSBY2

---------------------------

Resistor 3.3M 0805 x 5

‎ERJ-6GEYJ335V

---------------------------

Resistor 1k 0805 x 4

‎RNCP0805FTD1K00

--------------------------

Resistor 15k 0805 x3

‎CRGCQ0805F15K

--------------------------

Resistor 2.7k 0805 x 1

‎CRGCQ0805F2K7

--------------------------

Resistor 330k 0805 x 1

‎CRGCQ0805F330K

--------------------------

Resistor 10k 0805 x 1

‎CRGCQ0805F

---------------------------

---------------------------

Amplifier Parts:

--------------------------

1uf 0805 x 1

1276-1066-1-ND

---------------------------

capacitor 1206 22uf x 2

‎TAJA226K010RNJ

---------------------------

capacitor .01uf x1

‎CL21B104KBCNNNC

---------------------------

capacitor 4.7uf 0805 x 2
1276-1065-1-ND

----------------------------

Here are pot without switch. It's very cheaper.

Pot 4.7k x1 (i choose 5k)

987-1736-ND

----------------------------

Pot 2k x1

987-1727-ND

------------------------------

resistor 22k x3

311-22.0KCRCT-ND

---------------------------
Resistor 1k 0805 x 1

‎RNCP0805FTD1K00

--------------------------

resistor 68k x1
A126382CT-ND

--------------------------

resistor 100 0805 x1

311-100CRCT-ND

----------------------------

Transistor 3904 sot23 x 1
MMBT3904LT3GOSCT-ND

----------------------------

Amplifier chip x 1
LM4871MX/NOPBCT-ND

----------------------------

toggle switch on/off

EG2350-ND

----------------------------

Step 4: Probe PCB

To do the pcb, just print and etch the carlson probe.pdf. Refer to the component location to solder the part. You do not need to etch a double side pcb. The bottom side is ground, except for swtich, led and one pin of the pot. Refer to the probe bottom picture.

Step 5: Make Encavure

Make an encavure and solder the pcb right in the middle. Try and adjust the size of pcb to fit in the pipe.

Step 6: Install Wire

Here i'm using a mouse cable. You can use a headphone or mic cable if you like. Keep in mind that the probe will move very often. So use an appropriate cable. You will have 3 wire coming out from this Probe. Supply, Gnd and audio.

Step 7: Put the Probe in a Shell

For now i used black tape. But i'l probably put a little machine screw or a bit of solder.

Step 8: Probe Amplifier.

The pcb is single side. You can refer to the picture as per component location. Another picture is also available below in gerber section.

Step 9: Amplifier in a Box Plus Holder

Choose an appropriate box. I took an old power supply box and some paint.

Step 10: Conclusion

This is the whole project at the end. The speaker is where the psu fan was. The probe itself is very sensitive and a must to have it. I hope you will enjoy the project. See you!

Step 11: Gerber File.

In addition, these are gerber file. You can upload those files to a pcb manufacturer. You can see the future result here: Online viewer by uploading the file.

Those picture can be use as component location.

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AnKLPDy3pII_wAXRihO7x7XPzxT9?e...

2 People Made This Project!

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121 Comments

Is there any chance that you can build and sell these? I'd like to purchase one pre-built and assembled and working if possible please.
Thank you,
ernestgwilsonii
@gmail.com

0
Yannick99
Yannick99

Reply 5 weeks ago

I can’t sorry. Don’t have time to do this.

0
labjr
labjr

Question 4 months ago on Step 11

Hello, I'm new here. Great looking project! I'd like to build this probe but I'm wondering if I'm able to work with SMD parts? Has anyone has laid out a PCB for a thru hole version? I'm assuming at this point that all the corrections been made to the PCB and parts list? BTW, Paul claims this is good for IF stage tracing but I don't see a germanium detector? Will this probe demodulate RF? Thanks for any info. Cheers!

0
brucebuck1010
brucebuck1010

6 months ago

Yannick, two questions: 1) do you use a ground connection to the device under test, in addition to the probe? 2) In some of the pictures above I see one lead coming from your probe, and in other pictures, I see two leads coming from the probe. Can you explain? Thanks for what you've done here!!

0
Yannick99
Yannick99

Reply 6 months ago

Yes i use it. On some picture the gnd wire wasn't installed yet. But on the first picture, the black wire is gnd. I took the gnd inside the probe but pretty sure you can use the case itself if the gnd is good.
Yannick

0
brucebuck1010
brucebuck1010

6 months ago

To me the advantage of your probe versus Carlson's is that your
probe has bigger SMDs. This was my first SMD attempt, and those little
402s just make my hand shake thinking about them! :)

0
brucebuck1010
brucebuck1010

6 months ago on Step 2

Yannick, you said the pipe size for the probe was 4/3 - you mean 3/4" right?

1
Yannick99
Yannick99

Reply 6 months ago

lol yeah, just seeing this. Yes it's 3/4" :)

1
brucebuck1010
brucebuck1010

6 months ago

I did this today! Not too bad for my first time with SMD! It looks better in real life :) (click to see full image)

super_probe.jpg
0
Yannick99
Yannick99

Reply 6 months ago

Well done Bruce :)

0
bill91
bill91

Question 9 months ago

I used the Gerber files and ordered the boards and they came very quickly. My boards don't have the back side with the ground material. Is the ground pattern on a layer inside the board? I can see a pattern in the probe board when held to light and none in the amp board. Is that correct? This will be the first project with small components. Thank you for all the effort you put into the parts list and files.

0
Yannick99
Yannick99

Answer 9 months ago

You probably miss to send a file. The file Carlson's probe2.sol is the bottom.
Download the gerber file. Unrar it in a folder and sent it to the pcbway viewer. You will see exactly what you should have.
This is the viewer to upload the gerbers files:
https://www.pcbway.com/project/OnlineGerberViewer....

0
bill91
bill91

Reply 9 months ago

Thank you for your reply. I loaded the files into pcbway.com but couldn't get it to populate. I can see them on JLCPCB.com viewer and they are two-layer boards. What has me confused is that the board in your picture shows an exposed copper bottom side whereas my boards have the bottom layer unexposed and between the green material. I think it will be fine this way because I can ground the probe using the exposed ground that is on the bottom side. Here's are pictures of my boards. Any thoughts before I being soldering?
First picture is light shining from the back of the PCB to illuminate the middle layer.
Second picture is the bottom of the PCBs.
Third is the top of PCBs.

IMG_0546 (1).JPGIMG_0547.JPGIMG_0545 (1).JPG
0
Yannick99
Yannick99

Reply 9 months ago

Ok i know what you mean now. Your boars is just fine. All will be ok. Use a little knife and remove the green soldermask where you need to do solder. It's easy to do. On my side I'll modify my gerber to fix that. Like that:

0
bill91
bill91

Reply 9 months ago

Thank you once again. This is a great project and you have made it enjoyable and simple.
Bill

0
bill91
bill91

Reply 7 months ago

Hello Yannick,
I've resumed building my Super Probe and have a snag in comparing your amp PCB picture to what I built based on the schematic. In my C1 position, I have a non-polarized cap and you have a polarized cap and the schematic shows non-polarized.
The C2 and C6 caps are swapped end to end on my build based upon the schematic the marked end goes to ground at pin 7 on the LM4871 and the C6 goes to ground passing through pin 3 on the Gain pad.
I cannot see where I have made a mistake can you please help me to see if I am wrong.
Thank you,
Bill

Carlson's Amp Board.jpg
0
Yannick99
Yannick99

Reply 7 months ago

Hi Bill, trust the schematic. Your c1 1uf is good. Was an old mistake and it's not fixed on my picture. But for C6 and C7 my picture is good. With tantalum capacitor, Mark is the positive side. Hope this help, let me know.

0
bill91
bill91

Reply 6 months ago

Hello Yannick,

I hope you are having a nice holiday.
I have my boards 90% complete along with the amp box and probe. You have been of great assistance!
I need to remove the R16 resistor from my probe as I missed the purpose in the video and saw it optional on the schematic. I see that you wire filled your through-hole as Mr. Carlson did. On an unpopulated board, I have continuity without the wire being soldered through. Is there an issue with not soldering through the holes in the board? I see you have a wire soldered across 2 of the through-holes just below the switch in the probe? I have continuity between those two holes without a wire. Is that wire necessary?
Lastly, you used a 3-wire probe lead and Mr. Carlson used a 2-lead and the insulation as the ground. Isn't using the insulation as the ground better for noise reduction? Maybe the ground wire from the probe to the chassis being measured accomplishes the same thing?
You have made this project (my first SMD) very enjoyable.
Thank you,
Bill

Carlson's Probe Board.jpg
0
Yannick99
Yannick99

Reply 6 months ago

Hi Bill, when we do a prototype pcb. We need to put wire to do VIA between bottom and top layer. On professional pcb the VIA is already done. In other word, each time you see a hole on a professional pcb. The top have continuity with the bottom.

You aren't suppose to have continuity between the 2 holes near the switch. It's why i have put a jumper. You need to install this wire.

We do not see well on picture but yes I used the shielding too. I think i solder the shield with the gnd. So yes if you can do it, do it.

Hope this help
Yannick

0
bill91
bill91

Reply 6 months ago

Yannick,
All is well, and the Super Probe works super well. With your help, I was able to complete my first SMD PCB build. I appreciate all the preparation you did by supplying us with the Gerber files and the part list.
I used the stainless cigar tube your other follower suggested, and since I have a machine shop drilled both ends in my lathe. This allowed me to install the LED into the back and run the probe connector in from the side. I soldered individual wires onto the LED and then built a custom socket to reach down the tube and tighten the LED holder. By mounting the board in the front half of the tube, it allows me to spin it and change where the switch is in relation to the cord. I thought this might be handy to have easy access to the switch when probing from different positions or using the other hand.
I mounted the speaker facing out the backside, the probe cord in from the side, and used an on/off style potentiometer. I didn't add a light to show when the unit is on but did add the safety light bulb to prevent overload.
I couldn't get the CATV shielding wires at the probe end to solder, so I used a piece of copper desoldering braid and wrapped it around the shielding braid. Then I soldered the copper wire tight and ran it into the probe PCB ground and the tube. I haven't installed a ground wire from the probe with the alligator clip and will do that later.
It's a nice compact unit, and I tested it, and it works great!
Thank you for being there and answering my questions.
Bill
Kirkland, WA USA

Carlson's Probe Project 1.jpegCarlson's Probe Project 2.jpegCarlson's Probe Project 3.jpeg