I became interested in building this device when my friend was telling me about this device she liked but had some issues with it. She complained that the batteries that she bought for her vaporizing device kept running out of charge pretty quickly. She showed me how much it would cost to buy the company's branded batteries and I was like "wow no freakin way!" I noticed that these special batteries were no more than AA batteries without the wrapping, but cost an obnoxious amount more. I asked my friend if they have any other method to power these devices and she goes "YES check this out" and guess what... it was a battery adapter, awesome. Anyways, one look at the price and here comes the punch line... "pshh... I can do that" and here we are.
First design: FAIL
You can see my first attempt in one of the first pictures.
I measured out the parts and 3D printed a simple rectangular case, not the greatest but it worked.
I thought no big deal simple 1.5 volt battery, probably a couple amps, etc. I built a simple circuit to output 1-2 volts at about 3 amps. This was a terrible idea, I plugged it into my home-built power supply and pop there went the fuse. Several attempts later, a little internet browsing, and a palm to the face, I rushed into the project without doing my research. Little did I know a simple AA battery was a little more capable than I thought. This device needed some serious power (around 10-13 Amps); I should have known since it has a heating element which usually means it needs a lot of power... my bad, lesson learned. I referred to the internet and found some other attempts which put me on the right track to building my own.
Second Design: WORKS
Check it out below... PLEASE READ EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU THINK ABOUT STARTING THIS... please understand where I went wrong and improve upon those steps!
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Step 1: Parts & Tools
Most of the parts I bought came from eBay but you can find them through Digikey, Mouser, Jameco, SparkFun or your spare parts bin. I purchased many of the parts in larger quantities than I needed so I could use them in other projects. You can pick and choose what parts you want to fit your budget. Here is a list of the parts I used and where I found them.
- Gorilla Wood Glue, 8 oz. ($3.62 Amazon NON-EXPANDING)
- Craft Plywood 1/8 x 12 x 24 ($11.34 Amazon)
- Clear Gloss Oil-Based Interior Polyurethane Aerosol ($6.48 HomeDepot; This is just a protective coat of paint, not a stain, which you could also do if you wanted.)
- Blue Painters Tape (Had some laying around ~$3-4)
- 1/2 copper pipe (>$1.00 HomeDepot)
- 1 Brass Screw 1.5-2in length, ~1/4 in width (>$1.00 HomeDepot)
- 2 pin 20 AWG Stranded Wire ($8.59 eBay; I bought about 60ft just because I use this wire for many other projects, but you will need approximately 2ft I highly suggest less, you may find out your wire is too long and causes too much resistance and will not work.)
- Texas Instruments PTV120120LAH DC-DC 1-Out 0.8V to 1.8V 16A 12-Pin SIP Module ($19.99 eBay;It's very important you take note of the L in the model number "PTV120120LAH". There are two versions and you want to make sure you get the one with the L and not W.)
- AC 100-240V TO DC 12V 3A Power Supply Transformer Adapter ($4.50 eBay)
- B10K WH148 20mm Shaft Mixer Variable Resistors Mono Potentiometer #M302-3 ($2.99 eBay)
- 550 Paracord Mil Spec Type III Parachute 7 Strand Cord ($4.49 eBay; Price varies with the length you purchase. You can search around for the best deal.)
- 6X6X8mm Momentary Tactile Push Button Switch Tact Mini/Micro/Small PCB ($1.24 eBay)
- CD4001 4001 NOR Gates IC ($2.50 eBay)
- 50M 1-pin Cable 22AWG Wire UL-1007 Hook-up Strip ($9.99 eBay)
- 560 uF Capacitor 16 volt (~$1.00 eBay; Easily found on eBay)
- 22 uF Capacitor 50 volt (~$1.00 eBay; Easily found on eBay)
- Heat Shrink (~$0.50-2.00 eBay; Easily found on eBay)
- 25*15.5mm aluminum volume control knob for amplifier HIFI,6.00mm shaft hole ($5.02 eBay; You can find many different types of knobs, pick a nice one so you won't regret getting the cheap feeling knob.)
- DC Power Jack supply socket Female (~$0.50-1.00 eBay; Need to match this with the barrel of the power supply!)
- 3 in Zip Ties (~$1.00-3.00 eBay; optional but recommended)
- Soldering Iron Station
- 3D Printer
- Solder Paste
- Kester 245 No-Clean Core Solder 63/37 .031
- Wire Strippers
- Hot Glue Gun
- Super Glue
- Universal Laser System 60 Watt
- SketchUp, CoralDRAW
- Dremel (cutting bits, drill bits, sanding/grinding bits)
- Exacto Knife
Step 2: Building the Case
I initially made the case on a 3D printer, it was nice, but the wood was way nicer and I'm glad I changed materials. I designed my case in SketchUp and then used a free plugin I found online to convert the finished file to .dxf. I saved each piece individually so I could pick and place them in CoralDRAW as I saw fit, but you can also save it as one file. You can search SketchUp to dxf extension and something should pop up. I then opened the dxf in CorelDRAW and made the appropriate adjustments so that it would cut on the laser, in addition, I added the decorative designs during this phase. From there I was able to send it to print which sent it to the laser and the laser worked it's magic.
Now a few things to point out:
1. Please take note you may have to adjust the case dimensions to fit your parts!
2. When cutting, put a layer of blue painters tape down to reduce the burn marks.
3. The blue painter's tape is going to mess up your small picture designs because the laser's raster settings are not set up with this in mind usually. You will either have to carefully remove the tape and line up the laser with your design again or just cut the piece without the tape so the decorative design will come out better.
I used gorilla wood glue (NON-Expanding) and some wood clamps to hold everything together; I let that sit overnight. I used 220 grit sandpaper and sanded the outside before the first coat of protective polyurethane. I let the first coat dry for 4 hours then went back and sanded it again lightly before adding just one more coat.
Step 3: The Capacitor Bundle
The 560uF capacitor and the 22uF capacitor will be soldered in parallel. The positive wire and the negative wire from the barrel jack will be soldered respectively. The capacitors have markings noting the negative sides, please take notice of this. Add a small piece of electrical tape or heat shrink to make sure the two legs do not touch.
Why did I choose such a large capacitor? Through-hole capacitors are cheaper and more widely available compared to their smd counterpart.
DO NOT USE superglue at any point to secure the capacitors or around them! Hot glue only!
Step 4: NOR Gate Wiring
Pin 12 is an active low input which means connecting it to GND will disable the output and when it's connected to a voltage source the output will resume. Why did I decide to go this route... because I could and I had the parts on hand. If you find a better way please share.
You can visit the website below to simulate how logic gates work.
1: Connect to GND
2: Connects to one end of a switch
3: Connects to pin 6
4: Connects to pin 12 on the PTV120120LAH
5: Connect to GND 6: Connects to pin 3
7: Connects to GND
14: Connects to Vin ( I connected it to the Vin on the PTV120120LAH) also connects to the other side of the switch
Step 5: Wiring the Potentiometer
Wiring of the potentiometer is fairly simple. Reference the pictures and follow them exactly. You only need two wires here. One will connect to GND and the other will connect to pin 8 on the PTV120120LAH. I snipped the leads on the potentiometer and directly soldered onto the pads to save space in the case. Picture 3 is of what not to do... I didn't think ahead before adding all three wires and then heat shrinking them. Use different colored wire if you're going to heat shrink over the connection points. The wires should be short to save room in the case.
When I did initial testing I noticed I was only able to get about 0.8-1.28 volts out of the 0.8-1.8 volt range so I moved the GND wire to the opposite side lead and the problem was fixed. Later I noticed that the potentiometer was broken so you shouldn't have this issue. If you are noticing issues with getting the proper voltages, you can use a through hole resistors and reference the chart in the PTV120120LAH data sheet to make sure it is indeed the potentiometer that is not working.
Step 6: Wiring the Whole Circuit
This part isn't so difficult, but you must pay attention and make sure the correct pins are being connected. Please reference the pictures AND the schematic.
Pins 1-2: Used as load GND. You can either connect the load to pin 1 or 2, either works as these two pins need to be soldered together on the PCB. I used pin 1 as my load GND and pin 2 as the GND for my potentiometer.
Pins 3-4: These are your voltage outputs for the load. I used pin 3 for the load voltage output. (Please make sure pins 3 and 4 are soldered together on the PCB)
Pins 5-6: Your voltage input pins. Connect a wire to the positive leg of the capacitor bundle to either pin 5 or 6. (Please make sure pins 5 and 6 are soldered together on the PCB)
Pin 7: Voltage sense, connect to pins 3 or 4. I used pin 4 because my breadboard pre-cut wire was the perfect length.
Pin 8: This pin will be attached to the middle pin of the potentiometer.
Pin 9: Track; this needs to be connected to Vin (pins 5 or 6) if it is not used. I used a small breadboard wire which fit perfectly between pin 5 and pin 9.
Pins 10-11: Connect one of the two pins to the GND leg of the capacitor bundle. (Please make sure pins 10 and 11 are soldered together on the PCB)
Pin 12: In this instance, I will be using the inhibit pin which in conjunction with the NOR gate which will turn the device on and off. ( I will provide more details about this below)
Step 7: The Cable
This process can be difficult but it is important to take your time.
The Power Cable:
Getting the right amount of cable is a trial and error process due to different elements. I initially tried 3ft and found this caused significantly too much resistance. After hours, weeks, and a headbang to the wall, I figured this out. I'm sure you will find your own moments and enjoy them as much as I did. Message me first and I will hopefully be able to help. Anyways, I suggest trying 24in and so on until you find that sweet spot. Mine was close to 12in, this was significantly less than I was hoping for, but at this moment I just wanted it to work. I made up for the short cable with an extended power cord, not my ideal situation. You may like having the two very close together and have a small piece that attaches to the box instead of the wire, something to keep in mind in your own design process.
Accompanying the red and black power cables will be an additional two cables meant for the momentary switch. These wires are simply cut to match the length of the red and black power cables.
The first step to this process will be to measure how much of the paracord you will need to cover the length of your wire. To do this, measure your wire with a measuring tape or for the quick and easy way, match the length of the wire right next to the length of paracord. Now remember you will need a little bit less paracord than actual wire because some of the wire will be going into the tip of the device, but at the same time the paracord will shrink and expand depending on how tight you pull it so keep that in mind when you are measuring. When you begin cutting you will notice the paracord will pull apart at the edge; slightly pull out a little bit of the core and then use a lighter and lightly move over the end so it melts, but make sure you didn't melt the outside to the core.
The second step will be to heat shrink the tip of your cables. Make sure to add a few pieces of the core of the paracord so you can easily pull the cable through. If you're like me and ripped the core out, you're going to have to fish the heat shrink tipped cable through ever so slowly.
The final step will be to push a little bit of the paracord into the case, zip tie it and use a little hot glue to secure it. Reference the picture.
Do not thread the paracord through the 3D printed tip as this will be done in a later step.
Step 8: Finishing With the Tip
The tip is a time-consuming process. Let's begin with the 3D printed part; this part was specially designed to fit certain dimensions so you must take that into consideration if you are building this for your design. Once the parts are printed I began with the momentary push button. I wanted a very tight squeeze so I made the hole for the button smaller than the actual button. To make up for the tight dimensions I removed, with the Dremel, the outer metal tabs on the button. NOTE: These tabs help keep the button together so make sure to place small dabs of super glue on the top and bottom to make sure it does not come apart. I then placed the button into the 3D top part and bent the two legs CAREFULLY so that they would face downwards. I put hot glue on the back of the button and set it aside to work on the main 3D bottom part. I found a long brass screw and sanded down the top and added solder to it. I placed the screw in the main body and then soldered the positive wire to it. I didn't worry about the amount of screw that was hanging out of the end as I would later cut it down to fit and glued it in place. Once this was done I used my Dremel and added an angled hole through the side of the 3D bottom part where the negative wire will thread through and attach to the outer copper pipe. Once that was done I threaded the remaining wires through. I did my best to thread the paracord through as well, but it wasn't working so I glued it to the outside of the 3D part.
For the copper pipe to fit into the vaporizer device, I had to repeatedly test it, repeatedly sanding and grinding down the outside of the pipe. I also rounded the edge of the pipe so it would slide in and out of the vaporizer device. Once I found a dimension that fit, I soldered a small stripped piece of wire to the negative wire in the main body of the 3D bottom part. This wire makes a single wrap around the outside of the part so that the copper pipe will be in contact with it. I wiggled the copper pipe over the wire and was able to get a firm fit onto the part. I made sure to check continuity with a multimeter between the copper and the negative Vout. Once I confirmed it worked, I glued the copper in place with super glue.
To finish it off, I stripped the two black wires remaining. I cut them quite short so there wasn't much wire I would have to stuff back into the 3D part. To make this easier I pushed against the paracord to get a little bit more wire exposed so I could solder the two wires to the button. The polarity does not matter. I hot glued this 3D top part to the 3D bottom part.
Step 9: Final Notes & After Thoughts
You can see my final design, mistakes and all (the top wouldn't close, too much wire). This was an awesome project and learning experience. I wish I would have done several things differently the first time, but mistakes make perfect. Some things I wish I would have done differently if I had the money and time would have been to make a custom PCB to fit everything on and get rid of the bulky wires. I would probably suggest choosing a different chip that can handle higher resistance in the wire or just make your design without the lengthy wires. Instead of 3D printing the tip I would have liked to make it from a solid piece of metal, but I made do with what I had and here it is. I hope you ladies and gents enjoyed it and found it helpful. Please feel free to ask questions. My first instructable and definitely not my last!
I'm willing to part ways with this one and sell it if you're interested.