HeaterMeter Noob - Is it hard to build?


 

Charlie Nguyen

TVWBB Member
Hi Yall,

I'm looking for new project this spring and building a cabinet and HeaterMeter setup are on the top of my list. I know i have the carpentry down... but the more i read about the HeaterMeter the less confident I feel about doing it on my own.

I have the Raspberry Pi 2, but i'm hesitant on buying the parts for the HeaterMeter. Is it recommended doing it on my own if this is my first time building a board? or is it safer to just get one from someone on the forum...? or is it a lot easier than it seems...?

It'll be great to hear from all the veterans and all the fellow noobs how they felt the difficulty of the project was.
 

Bob Ivey

TVWBB Emerald Member
The first question would be, what experience have you had at soldering? Welcome to the forum.
 

Darren C.

TVWBB Pro
I built the 4.0. It didn't require any SMC soldering. My soldering experience was very very minimal. I mostly had only soldered larger gauge wire together to install a car stereo or the like. I found it to be easy to assemble. If you plan on using a thermocouple, there may be some SMC soldering involved. That would make soldering much more difficult, I believe. But, I'm somewhat speculating when I say that because I haven't done any. It just looks like it would be more difficult. I'd still tackle that if I decided to build a newer version with a thermocouple, though. The worst I could do is screw it up :) and have to start over or find someone with better soldering skills.
 

Charlie Nguyen

TVWBB Member
I was thinking of going that route as well, but I'm so cheap... I'm trying to convince myself that paying the extra 40-50 bucks is worth it.
 

Charlie Nguyen

TVWBB Member
I built the 4.0. It didn't require any SMC soldering. My soldering experience was very very minimal. I mostly had only soldered larger gauge wire together to install a car stereo or the like. I found it to be easy to assemble. If you plan on using a thermocouple, there may be some SMC soldering involved. That would make soldering much more difficult, I believe. But, I'm somewhat speculating when I say that because I haven't done any. It just looks like it would be more difficult. I'd still tackle that if I decided to build a newer version with a thermocouple, though. The worst I could do is screw it up :) and have to start over or find someone with better soldering skills.

Darren,

Does the 4.0 version not use a thermocouple?
 

Steven Zupan

New member
You mentioned you had a rPi 2. As of the moment, the Pi 2 is not supported by the heatermeter, so you'd have to grab one of the older versions - either a B (not B+), A+.
 

Dan Francis

TVWBB Fan
Well, I'll chime in here as I was a complete novice at electronics and soldering. I have built two 4.0's and a 4.2 with SMC. The hardest part of the Through the hole components is getting them in correct location and correct orientation. The soldering is a breeze after watching a couple youtube videos. No matter how hard I tried and slow I went I mucked up locations or orientation at least once on all three! Don't get me wrong, the directions are great but when you don't know what your doing these things happen very easily! The SMC is more challenging to solder but very doable after watching a few videos. I used the solder wick method to clean up the muti leg components and it works great. You will need a magnifying visor and good set of tweezers for SMC. The sense of accomplishment when you plug it in and see "No Pit Probe" is great! Good luck!
 

Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I'll chime in too! I started this project over 5 years ago with a minor amount of soldering experience. The first HeaterMeter looked like this
Untitled-1.jpg


Since then, it has gotten extremely easy to put together. Everything on the board is designed with the first timer builder in mind. All through-hole, nothing too close together that could cause a problem, great software, and a hundred more features than was ever possible on the first build. I started the project because A) I scoffed at the idea of paying $300 for an ethernet Stoker B) I had always wanted to learn more about how to build electronics. In that spirit I try to keep it much a first timer project as possible to encourage people to try new things themselves. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from having an impressive piece of equipment AND saying "I built it from a pile of parts myself", everyone loves it!
 

Charlie Nguyen

TVWBB Member
I'll chime in too! I started this project over 5 years ago with a minor amount of soldering experience. The first HeaterMeter looked like this
Untitled-1.jpg


Since then, it has gotten extremely easy to put together. Everything on the board is designed with the first timer builder in mind. All through-hole, nothing too close together that could cause a problem, great software, and a hundred more features than was ever possible on the first build. I started the project because A) I scoffed at the idea of paying $300 for an ethernet Stoker B) I had always wanted to learn more about how to build electronics. In that spirit I try to keep it much a first timer project as possible to encourage people to try new things themselves. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from having an impressive piece of equipment AND saying "I built it from a pile of parts myself", everyone loves it!

LOL! you've clearly come a long way. thanks for your chime Bryan! I'm really hoping to finish the project by summer time... I'm from Texas so, sitting out in the sun watching a smoker gets rough... beer helps, but only so much.
 

Charlie Nguyen

TVWBB Member
So after much hesitation... I decided to suck it up and go for it. Bought all the parts, only took a few days to get everything in from Mouser, Digikeys, and Amazon... and after MANY youtube videos on soldering... I think phase 1 turned out pretty well...

2015-04-22.jpg
 

Dan Francis

TVWBB Fan
Looks good but it appears in picture your 28 pin socket is reversed. The notch should be on bottom to match printing on board. No problem, just be sure to install atmega to match board not the socket now.
 

Charlie Nguyen

TVWBB Member
Looks good but it appears in picture your 28 pin socket is reversed. The notch should be on bottom to match printing on board. No problem, just be sure to install atmega to match board not the socket now.

Ugh... I figured I'd screw up something sooner or later. Thanks for the catch Dan. Would I be able to install it while the socket is in reverse?
 

Steve_M

TVWBB Guru
Yep, it will install fine with the socket backwards. Just make sure the chip is installed correctly, with the indent on the chip in the right orientation


vJovmC3.jpg
 

John Bostwick

TVWBB Wizard
Also, if you have not installed the shift register, the other chip thats smaller the the atmega. Make sure you install it with the indent facing the same on the board.
 

Charlie Nguyen

TVWBB Member
Ok, so just to clarify, my socket is soldered incorrectly with the indention on top, but it wont be a problem as long as I insert the chip in the right orientation; with the indention on the bottom.

And with the shift register, I have to get the socket orientation correct, with the indention on the right.
 

 

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