Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday Throttle Mod

Well, I've finally converted the 3rd - and last - of my throttles from whippy antenna to internal antenna/wire. For a detailed step-by-step of how I did this on my NCE ProCab (heh - my first attempt. #nervy), click here. I generally followed those same steps to modify my utility throttles (NCE Cab04pr), but I found these conversions a bit more difficult a) because everything's so much more cramped, and 2) I've actually gotten worse at desoldering (I had a devil of a time removing that last antenna boss).

LOVE workbench photos - they're so motivating. Especially when they're of YOUR workbench! The shot above is how things generally look during one of these mods: Cab opened up, soldering stuff at the ready, assorted parts standing by. . .

In case you haven't yet clicked on the detailed instructions, here's - briefly - what I did:

  1. Remove the batteries & open the case
  2. Unplug the main PCB from the radio PCB (the one with the antenna boss on it)
  3. Remove the radio PCB (carefully - it's affixed with double-sided foam tape)
  4. Desolder & remove the antenna boss (I found this to be the most difficult step since there are 3 separate solder points that have to be desoldered at the same time, and you have to carefully pull the boss from the PCB without damaging the solder/wire traces on the PCB. Ask me how I know this is a concern....)
  5. Solder a wire to the center antenna trace. 20 gauge wire fits better than 18 gauge in these small throttles. I forgot to measure the length, but you need it to be at least long enough to turn to the outer edge of the case and go down the side. Widen the slots on the tabs on the side so you can tuck the wire down into them.
  6. If you want to be able to turn off the throttle (and prevent battery drain), you'll need to install a switch as well. I used the smallest SPST toggle I could find - Radio Shack #275-0645. Drill a hole for it in the top of the case, being very careful not to damage anything. On the Cab04pr, I mounted the switch between the internal screw boss and the LED bulb, and turned it so that flipping the toggle toward the LED would turn the throttle "on." That would place the 2 pins on the toggle to the right (the screw boss side and away from the LED)
  7. Cut the red battery wire and solder the toggle in line on the red wire (i.e. solder the ends of the red wire to the pins on the bottom of the toggle.
  8. Ok, that was not so "briefly" - but now you're done! Put everything back together.

You can barely make out where the eyelet for the lanyard screws in - at the bottom of the case, just inside the screw boss (top right corner of the photo)
The above pic shows everything done. Click on it for a larger image. Note:

  • the antenna wire stripped/tinned/soldered to the center antenna trace and routed around the screw boss, down the side through the tabs and curved back up
  • The toggle located between the screw boss and the LED, with the pins toward the screw boss.
  • The toggle wired on the red wire to break the circuit (and cut out/turn off the batteries)

Final step: add a piece of black electrical tape to cover the hole where your whippy/eye-poking antenna used to be :^)

Pro Tip: add an eyelet and lanyard to the bottom as above so your operators can operate hands free!
And here's what it looks like when it's all done. MUCH nicer without that long, unwieldy antenna, dontcha think?

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