Building The Small Wonder Labs SW40+

The SW40+ kit got here a couple of days ago, but I haven’t had much time to work on it yet. This is about 2 hours worth of work. The board is laid out very well, and easy to work on.

About 2 hours worth of kit building. A lot of time is spent double and triple checking the parts!

Better late than never:

I found that using a yellow highlighter on the parts placement diagram really helped me stay on track. As soon as I installed each part, I colored it in on the diagram. Before I started doing this, I spent way too much time looking for where I was on the board.

Note: It took me about a half-hour to figure this out. A little while later, I was looking through Chuck Adam’s very fine and comprehensive manual; “Building The Small Wonder Lab’s SW-40+” for a look at the toroids, and there on page 65 was this tip: “I highlight each part as I install it…” The only difference is, Chuck highlights the schematic, and I highlighted the parts diagram. (You can find this excellent manual on Chuck’s web page – it is a 20mb pdf file: )

Lesson learned: If you are going to build a kit, read through everything you can find about it first – there’s no sense in re-inventing the wheel!

Not quite "paint by number" but very helpful to color in the completed areas.

It has been quite a while since I built anything, and the parts are a lot smaller than they used to be. I’ve picked stuff out of my teeth bigger than some of these capacitors! I also found holding the soldering iron steady to be more of a challenge than it used to be. The soldering job is not pretty – but so far no bridges and no cold solder joints.

About the half-way point

This is after another couple of hours. I am taking a little extra time with this, trying to go by the “measure twice, cut once” principle. Plus, it’s fun!

After another 4 hours of work, the board is done! Next will be the wiring and testing.

The board is finished!

Before cleaning.

I finally got all the parts colored in on the parts diagram. I never could stay in the lines!

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