Author Topic: (Ended) PCBITE 2.0 PCB holder and pogo pin test probes discounted from Elektor  (Read 4055 times)

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Online Fraser

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PCBITE 2.0

ELEKTOR are the UK agent (and likely Europe as well) for this product and just sent me a discount offer that reduced the cost to 114.95 Euros (inc VAT) for the following.....

Large base plate
Small base plate
4 PCB holders
4 probe arms
4 probe heads with pogo pins
4 sets of Dupont test cables for the heads.

I have been intending to DIY just such a unit so this has saved me a lot of time. The Elektor shop discount ends at midnight on 29 July.

https://www.elektor.com/pcbite-kit-incl-4-pcbite-probes-and-test-wires


This old thread provides some more detail of this useful product....

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/crowd-funded-projects/pcbite-2-0-a-new-kickstarter-for-an-upgraded-version/

The grand total charged to me, including VAT and postage to the UK was £109.90. Not exactly cheap, but if it is as useful as I think it will be, it is worth every penny. This appears to be a European designed product so pricing reflects this and the design looks very well thought through. Kudos to the manufacturer. I think they are members of this forum ?

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 10:35:59 pm by Fraser »
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Offline Black Phoenix

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Nice, didn't know this manufacture and the solution. Really ingenious...

I would only do one more thing, paint the baseplate with black matte Plastidip.

 First I don't like the silver when everything is black and second for protection regarding scratches and rust. I know that it's stainless steel, but stainless steel also rusts, it takes time but it does.
 

Online Fraser

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I believe the base plate is double sided. One side is opaque (black ?) and the other is mirror finish to enable monitoring of LED’s or displays on the bottom side of the PCB under test. Quite ingenious  :)

The use of pogo pins ensures a steady pressure on the contact point and the heads may be removed so that owners custom heads may be screwed on.... such as a DSO probe ?

I must say I like this whole idea  :-+
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Online Fraser

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Sensepeek website.... they make the unit.

https://sensepeek.com/

I was wrong, the small plate is ESD mat coated on one side, and mirrored on the other but the larger (A4) plate is just Matt brushed metal on one side and mirrored on the other.

I would probably apply some of the nice Matt black car wrapping plastic sheet on the Matt side as that is easily replaced when damaged  :)

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 28, 2019, 03:50:44 pm by Fraser »
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Offline Black Phoenix

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That's one more tool to add to my list of TO BUY...
 

Online Fraser

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The company have (had?) a presence on the forum when the original PCB holder design was released as part of a crowd funded project.......

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/crowd-funded-projects/pcbite-the-professional-and-affordable-pcb-holder/

Fraser
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Online Fraser

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A correction. The set only comes with the large A4 plate. I mistook the ESD cleaning cloth for the smaller plate in the picture  :palm: Sorry !

I will correct my previous posts.

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 03:22:55 pm by Fraser »
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Online Fraser

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I just searched Thingiverse for 3D printable oscilloscope probe holders..... there are a few to choose from  :)

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1755103

This one looks like a good basis on which to create such a probe holder for the PCBITE arms. I just bought a box of assorted brass inserts, with the required M4 thread, that are designed for insertion into plastic. EBay has loads of different brass inserts so you just pick one style that suits your project. Brass is nice as opit is easily soldered to a custom probing head if desired. I can see people making all manner of multiple pogo pin type custom heads for the PCBITE. In circuit programming, JTAG, bus monitoring on IC’s without those awful grabbers that either short pins together of fly off during tests. I have lots of pogo test pins as they are so cheap from China. Hours of fun to be had here with 3D printed heads and custom probes me thinks  :D

Fraser
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Online Fraser

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Online Fraser

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This is the brass insert assortment that I purchased as I needed a variety of sizes for 3D printing projects. Only the M4 size is actually needed for any custom probe heads for the PCBITE. They can be inserted into 3D printed head assemblies or soldered to custom probe PCB heads like the ones supplied in the PCBITE 2.0 kit.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/70-x-M3-M4-M5-M6-THREADED-PRESS-FIT-SOLID-BRASS-INSERTS-FOR-PLASTIC-ASSORTED-KIT/202338196933?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 28, 2019, 08:13:19 pm by Fraser »
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Offline cowana

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Thanks for the heads-up Fraser, just ordered that set of PCBites while the offer is on.

I'm planning on making some multiway probe heads (eg 4x pogo pins on a 0.1" pitch) for connecting to headers - it will be good to share ideas and designs on this forum!
 

Offline Fred27

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I'm not sure I really needed one, but got one too. Thanks for the heads up.
 

Online Fraser

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I work on miniature thermal imaging cores that are a nightmare to probe. You need two pairs of hands to work on some of them ! I attach some pictures of the TAU core that I repaired some time ago. I had to solder fine insulated wire to the points I wanted to probe. The PCBITE would have been very useful to me with that diagnostic probing work. For dimension reference. The PCB in the pictures measures 44.5 x 44.5 mm.

This is one of those products that can be worth its weight in gold when you need to probe a PCB reliably whilst keeping your hands free to change inputs or adjust settings on the DUT from a PC etc.

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 01:50:02 am by Fraser »
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Online Fraser

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The cores PCB.....
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Online Fraser

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The PCB side that contained the fault amongst the DC-DC converters. It was very challenging probing the PCB and a slip could cause havoc if a supply became shorted or applied where it should not be !

Fraser
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Offline cowana

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That's a cute PCB! Are those decoupling caps 0402s or 0201s?

I'm a big fan of the PCB Stickvice for soldering - it is super low profile (~15mm), so you can rest your arms/hands on the bench as you solder. Will be interesting to see how soldering with the PCBite compares with it's 55mm...

Testing is really where the PCBite should excel though - the Stickvice isn't great if you have components or traces near the edge of the board as it's conductive - and there's not the gooseneck probing solution.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2019, 10:02:41 pm by cowana »
 

Online Fraser

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Cowana,

From memory they are 0402. I intend to do mostly diagnostic work with the PCBITE as I use a preheater and hot air or IR for a lot of my SMT rework.

Fraser
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Offline ivaylo

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Completely forgot about this product. These people seem to be selling it for EUR 109 plus shipping- https://sensepeek.com
 

Online Fraser

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Ivaylo,

They are the manufacturer. 18% VAT must be added to that price for us Europeans and shipping is a bit more expensive.

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 08:47:04 am by Fraser »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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I bought one fo these a while ago - something I found was that the hole in the middle of the male thread for the probe tips is exacty the right size for one of these 2mm plug adapters to push-fit into, which might be a useful option for making up other probe holders, as a push-fit is more convenient than a screw thread for attaching & detaching probes

https://uk.farnell.com/staubli/22-1100/plug-multi-lam-2mm-thread/dp/1085562?st=2mm%20plug%20m2

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Online Fraser

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Thanks Mike.

I think this PCBITE is going to be the basis of many custom probe heads in my lab. A few years ago I purchased some very neat, and normally very expensive, brand new active oscilloscope probes that are not unlike the PCBITE Probe heads. I can easily add the required attachment system so they fit the PCBITE :)

I am not sure that my idea to attach conventional oscilloscope probes to the PCBITE probe arms will work. I think the ‘gooseneck’ arms are possibly too flexible so the probe would fall over. Maybe very small and light oscilloscope probes, like some from HP would work OK. I have one somewhere and it’s truly tiny !

I attach pictures of the Tektronix P6501 miniature active probes that I have. Mine do not have the bulky plastic casing so are smaller  :)  Inam quite surprised to see how expensive they are ! One or two might need to be rehomed  :)

https://www.torontosurplus.com/test-equipment/probes-sensors-rf-sources-noise/tektronix-p6501-opt-1-fixture-mountable-active-microprobe.html

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 11:07:23 am by Fraser »
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Online Fraser

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« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 11:26:56 am by Fraser »
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Offline ralphrmartin

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The board holder part of this seems a bit pricey. I got one of these magnetic board holders for about £13 which works well:
https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=593313647668
They are also available on aliexpress for a little more.

As for the probes - I don't understand - what holds them precisely in place? Even if the wire is fairly stiff, I dont see how you can bend it and get it to stay in place with sub mm accuracy. What am I missing?

 
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Online Fraser

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Ralphrmartin,

Yes the unit is not a cheap purchase. Then again it is a European design and company. As such prices tend to be higher than Chinese products. The quality control of the PCBITE is excellent however.

A lot of thought appears to have gone into the PCBITE design. Feedback from purchasers has been taken on board and included in the version 2.0 release.

How do the probes work ?

A fair question and I studied the design before buying. It is actually very clever. Some designers would have made the ‘gooseneck’ quite stiff, like those found on cheap LED gooseneck lights. That approach would use the tension in the flexible arm to apply pressure at the probe tip. Whilst that is the approach that I was also considering, it is not as clever as that used in the PCBITE. The use of pogo stick probes is essential, no matter what approach is taken as the spring loaded probe tips will remain fixed to a pin, test point or connector contact even if small vertical movement occurs in the supporting arm. Now the PCBITE takes a different approach. Whilst it uses lightly sprung pogo test pins , it does not use tension in the flexible ‘gooseneck’ arm to compress the test point spring. It uses gravity  :) The pogo pin head PCB is attached to a relatively large and beautifully crafted lump of aluminium. This mounting head is deliberately heavy so that the probe pin may be located where you want it on a DUT and once your hand releases it, gravity acts on the weight of the aluminium probe mount to compress the pogo test pin. The compression of the spring in the pogo pin is enough to keep the point attached to the target location. The very flexible gooseneck arm is merely helping to maintain probe position and is not applying downward force on the probe tip, except in terms of gravity acting upon its length. Very clever and IMHO, a very good test probe locating system. Yes I suspect the probe tip may move if the unit is knocked hard enough, but I am careful when probing PCB’s so tend not to jolt anything. This PCBITE probing system may also aid those who have developed shaking in the hands. Once accurately placed and ‘dropped’ the probe will stay put, unlike if held by a shaking hand.

Regarding cheaper magnetic PCB holders..... I agree, China offers many types. I bought the PCBITE but also purchased a Chinese unit afterwards to increase my options and to get a very neat looking magnetic board that can also be used with the PCBITE parts. I like the way the Chinese design offers the brass spike supports that may be removed and replaced with the knurled finger nuts that are stored on the corner feet screws  :) Details below and pictures provided. It cost less than £18 delivered to the UK. The advantages of cheap labour and subsidised postage eh  ;)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PCB-Holder-Printed-Circuit-Board-Vise-Fixture-Jig-Soldering-Stand-Clamp-Pillars/352650898918?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 10:50:16 pm by Fraser »
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Offline thm_w

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The board holder part of this seems a bit pricey. I got one of these magnetic board holders for about £13 which works well:
https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=593313647668
They are also available on aliexpress for a little more.

The difference is pcbite one is spring loaded, so its grabbing the board. The linked style might not work as well on thicker/thinner boards, or would just require more setup parts.

If think you would have a heart attack if you saw the price for a few of the Hakko board holders  >:D
https://www.amazon.com/Hakko-C1390C-Omnivise-PCB-Holder/dp/B00IX2H050
 


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