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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well guys... I said I was gonna follow up on my quest to make this tool and here it is! IT WORKED!!!
And I took some photos along the way to share with you guys my little project in case some of you are interested in making one also. It's SUPER EASY... if you have the right tools and patience.
Kudos to Jeff at Planetfall for sharing this great stuff. Thanks!
So here it is:

PLEASE NOTE!! If you do attempt this project, PLEASE PLEASE READ all caution labels on anything that you buy (really it's the ferric chloride.) Take it slow and use safety devices (ie... mask, goggles, gloves, etc.) To give you an idea of what skill level it takes to do this, I'll use me as an example. I'm not an Electrical Engineer. I'm a Computer Programmer with an MBA. I feel that if you can read and follow directions (along with some common sense), you should do just fine and be able to complete this project.
Now for the disclaimer:
You will be attempting this project on your own and will accept full liability and responsibility for what ever happens should something go wrong. I take no responsibility for any mishaps that should come up while you work on this project and while you use it to work on your car. Basically, you do this at your own risk.

LEVEL OF PROJECT DIFFICULTY (SCALE OF 1 TO 10 with 10 being the hardest: 4.5
TIME FOR COMPLETING PROJECT: About 1.0 to 2.0 hours (maybe a little longer) depending on skill level
COST OF PROJECT: Less than $8.00 if you already have the tools and supplies
Print out the schematic from Jeff's planetfall.com's website on transparancy. Print out the instructions. All the parts necessary for this project is also at this website.
* Click here for the parts list and schematics
* Click here for the guide written by Jeff.
* Click here for the PDF version of the board layout. Print this on transparancy
Obtain all the parts necessary for this little project (transistors, copper boards, switches, ferric chloride, etc). If you order from digikey.com, you won't find Part#2N3904-ND (NPN SML SIG G.P. AMP&SWITCH TO92 ) but there is an alternative that you can use that will work (which is what I used!): Part#497-2395-ND (TRANSISTOR NPN 60V 200MA TO-92).
- Dremel tool or something similar. I used a cheap $2.99 rotary tool which I got from a long time ago from HarborFreight.com.
- Soldering Iron ($2.99 from Fry's)
- Solder (Get the really thin one)
- Rubber Gloves
- Handy Helper (Look in the pictures below. It's this metal thing with arms on it). Helps to hold your board while you work ($7.99 from Radioshack). I noticed that Harbor Frieght also sells this same tool for half the price of what I paid for!
- Fun Hat
- Digital Multimeter is helpful here to test your leads. Got it for $2.99 from Harborfreight.com
- Nail Polish Remover
- Type Cable 7 (Is what connects from the car to this device). This is the most expensive piece. You can build your own or you can buy one from Multiplex Engineering for I think $20 or so.
- Serial Cable (Is what connects from the device to your computer). This should be relatively cheap, about $5 or so, maybe less depending on where you get it. I got mine from Fry's Electronics.
- VAG-COM (Registered version $99 or shareware version)
Start with a bare copper-clad board. I bought the copper board from Fry's Electronics for like $2.50 or something like that. It's big enough to make three of these boards. Print out the schematic on a transparancy per the instructions and it looks like the following:

I found it easier to fold the transparancy in half and slide the copper clad
in between to prep it for ironing.

Iron the heck out of it for about 5 min - 10 min at about 85% high heat.
Don't let the transparancy melt though!! I'd recommend making several of these boards in case you mess up since it's really cheap (like pennies).

Let it cool in a sink full of cold water for a few minutes.

Slowly and carefully peel back the transparancy and you should have your copper clad board with the toner on it!! Most of the toner should be transferred to the board. If not, and there are exposed copper where there shouldn't be, you can simply use a super fine tip permanent pen by sharpee to fix it. If there's too much toner missing (It happened to me the 1st time), simply use nail polish remover to remove the toner and go iron the print back on again.

Here's a pic of my dog (Roxie) who was with me in the build process.

Get a "ZipLock" plastic container (to be used for this AND NEVER USED FOR FOOD EVER AGAIN!!!), pour about a 1/4 cup of ferric chloride (I got from Fry's Electronics) in it. Mix with about 1/4 cup of hot (but not boiling hot) water. (Reason for heat is to speed up the etching process)

PUT ON A PAIR OF RUBBER GLOVES FOR THIS! Better be safe than sorry. Place your copperboard with the artwork on it into the plastic container. Close the lid and agitate the heck out of it for a good 5 min to 10 min or until all the copper is gone. If in the event your mixture has gotten cold, have no fear. Do this to get the process going again. Fill your sink with steaming hot water. Place the ziploc container with the ferric chloride and copper board in it in the sink. Agitate. The warm/hot water in the sink will get the ferric chloride going again.

Once the last step is done, wash the board thoroughly with cold water to clean it. Keep the cold water facet running for a few minutes when you're done to flush out the ferric chloride. Wash everything well including the gloves, the sink counter, etc.

Use nail polish remover to remove the toner that's covering what's left of the copper. It should look like the picture below after you're done cleaning. All the copper lines should be there (I would compare your result with the schematic to make sure it's all there). If not, you can either use a copper pen or just start all over again.

Here's a comparison of one that has toner on it and one that doesn't.

I dont' have a picture here of it... but you want to get a dremel tool or
something similar with a small bit to start drilling tiny little holes on it
where the components are suppose to be. Don't over do it with the holes. Just make a hole large enough for the leads to fit. If you over do it, you'll drill away the copper plating (which is what the solder sticks to). Without copper plating, the solder won't stick! In the picture below, you can see that I already did the drilling.
This is where the challenging part is.... soldering. Take your sweet time and do it right. Patience is key here.

Here's progress...

More progress... almost done...

Very close...

And ta da!! All done! Now download the shareware version from Ross-Tech.com (if you don't want to pay $99 for the registered version), load it up, hook the baby up with a Cable 7 and serial cable, and you're set to go!!

---- Edited with more info ----
I was able to read all my codes. Plus I was able to recode. First thing I did, recode my transmission to sport mode.
I'll take some additional photos and post it on here tonight or sometime soon. (ie.. setups, hookups, etc).
Keep checking back for updates if you're interested!

Modified by OneGuyInCA at 8:02 PM 1-13-2004

Modified by OneGuyInCA at 8:02 PM 1-13-2004

· Registered
5,843 Posts
Re: Step-By-Step Photo Instructions For Making A.... (OneGuyInCA)

AWESOME. I knew my Electronics Fabrication class would pay off someday heh, nice score bro and good write up.

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240 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Step-By-Step Photo Instructions For Making A.... (Dub Nerd)

Did someone send me an Instant Message? If so.. please resend. My stupid anti-pop up stopper thing closed the instant message window... sorry...

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2,090 Posts
Re: Step-By-Step Photo Instructions For Making A.... (OneGuyInCA)

Incredible!!! http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif This is so cool, I feel I must try it!!
P.S. in a loud booming voice This is [email protected], the forums directory advertiser. Cease and desist immediately, yo!!!

· Registered
8,983 Posts
Re: Step-By-Step Photo Instructions For Making A.... (OneGuyInCA)

Just check your IM history to see who IM'd you.
And sadly I have all those tools (magic hands) and even the ferric chloride he he.... fun stuff to play with, I used one of mom's old glass casserole dishes LOL when I made a board once.
Good right up.....
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