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Author Topic: A question for Action Man  (Read 5527 times)

mudway

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A question for Action Man
« on: October 27, 2015, 02:30:31 AM »

Dave,
My trusty siren died today, so I went to my bits box to grab a replacement and discovered a P14 and a P14A. Oddly, the instructions on the Action site are for the one marked P14A not P14.
Rather than risk the dreaded magic grey smoke by guessing the connections, can you tell me which way the module should be connected.
Other than the layout, is there any difference between the two?
Thanks.
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inertia

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2015, 09:03:41 AM »

The old P14 was already obsolete by the time we took over ACTion in 2007 and I never had a circuit diagram for it. If it's the P14A that died then the connections in the photo are correct. If it's the older version then please can you photograph the reverse side of the circuit board? Knowing Craig I suspect he would have had at least a '+' symbol etched into the copper, but you can never be sure.
Dave M
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malcolmfrary

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2015, 09:33:30 AM »

When reverse engineering an unknown circuit, trying to figure which connection is which, I usually look for the large capacitors.  These are usually marked with + and - symbols, the - is usually connected to ground. 
In this case, handily, the circuit uses 555 timers.  The power to them is ground (-ve) to pin 1, Vcc (+ve) to pin 8 counting anticlockwise from the indent looking from above.  Drawing here - http://www.st.com/web/en/resource/technical/document/datasheet/CD00000479.pdf
It should be fairly easy to trace the lines back from these pins to the power connectors.
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inertia

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2015, 09:57:58 AM »

The two screw terminals in the top LH corner of the board will be the speaker; these are in the same position on both boards. The convention which Craig always stuck to was to run the negative rail of the board right out along the edge so, as Malcolm says, this will be connected to battery negative. I would bet my boots on it being the RH one of the two i.e. the one nearest the top RH corner of the board. I'd also bet on there being a + symbol next to the other terminal.
It's most likely that the amplifier chip is the component which failed (marked TDA7052) so my first step would be to swap that for the one in the spare unit. If that doesn't work then swap the 555 and LM358 chips for the spares. Very rarely would it be a passive component. You might also check the solder joints between the screw terminals and the copper. I've seen these fail because of over-tightening of the screws.
The P14 would appear to be the same circuit as the P14A; Craig modified it so that with a couple of changes of components and an additional pair of terminals he could use it also as a siren with a dual-rate facility (P21). Clever old b*gger was A C Talbot!
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mudway

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2015, 10:01:37 AM »

The old P14 was already obsolete by the time we took over ACTion in 2007 and I never had a circuit diagram for it. If it's the P14A that died then the connections in the photo are correct. If it's the older version then please can you photograph the reverse side of the circuit board? Knowing Craig I suspect he would have had at least a '+' symbol etched into the copper, but you can never be sure.
Dave M


The dead one was a 20+ year old Robbe one. The P14A I have hooked up per the instructions and it works well. I'm wary about which connection is which for the P14 where the connectors are in a single block.
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mudway

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2015, 10:07:44 AM »

When reverse engineering an unknown circuit, trying to figure which connection is which, I usually look for the large capacitors.  These are usually marked with + and - symbols, the - is usually connected to ground. 
In this case, handily, the circuit uses 555 timers.  The power to them is ground (-ve) to pin 1, Vcc (+ve) to pin 8 counting anticlockwise from the indent looking from above.  Drawing here - http://www.st.com/web/en/resource/technical/document/datasheet/CD00000479.pdf
It should be fairly easy to trace the lines back from these pins to the power connectors.


Thanks Malcolm but I'm afraid you are talking a foreign language to me. 
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inertia

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2015, 10:16:53 AM »

I would have lost the bet about the +ve symbol. BTW Blue wires are to speaker.
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mudway

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2015, 10:25:59 AM »

Actually I read your reply as the top right hand corner for negative being looking done at the top of the board. So weren't you correct?  :-)

I might as well post these now I have done them. Decided to fire up the scanner to get better detail.

Thanks for the help, it is much appreciated.

And yes, Craig was a clever old C and great to deal with.
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malcolmfrary

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2015, 07:41:43 PM »


Thanks Malcolm but I'm afraid you are talking a foreign language to me.
Sorted now, so it doesn't really matter, but in a situation like this the easy way is to identify a chip that a datasheet can be found for (like the one in my link), and crib off that.  The jedi trick there is knowing which numbers on the box are the numbers that you want to find the sheet in the first place.
Knowing which pins have power to them lets you follow the printed tracks back to their terminals, so you get to see what to connect power to, and which way round.   The capacitors that I mentioned (the black tubular doobries) have a grey stripe down one side which carries a small "-" symbol which serves as a further check.
These things are not quite magic and should not be approached with too much reverence, but Craig did do great designs using very sound principles, like running the -ve track as far as possible around the outer edge of the board.
If doing any adjusting on the pots (the square black jobbies with the white adjuster) remember that it is a delicate finger and thumb job.  Not like some guy that I knew who seemed to think that such things should be tweaked as though they were a bayonet target.  Fortunately they were easy and fairly cheap to replace.
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mudway

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2015, 07:50:43 AM »

Thanks for all your help guys. Unfortunately all I ended up with when I hooked it up was the Sound of Silence.   <:(
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inertia

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2015, 09:02:29 AM »

Thanks for all your help guys. Unfortunately all I ended up with when I hooked it up was the Sound of Silence.   <:(

Try switching the chips around between the two units as I suggested.
DM
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malcolmfrary

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2015, 11:26:14 AM »

Time for a look with a meter to see if volts are actually turning up on the right pins of the chips.  None of the chips are particularly expensive or difficult to come by.  The sound is output from the TDA7052, I would expect at least a bit of a pop from that as it powered up if it was a) working, b) getting volts c) has a connection to a working speaker.
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inertia

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2015, 01:20:08 PM »

c) has a connection to a working speaker.

That's a thought. Are you sure the speaker is still OK?
DM
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mudway

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2015, 09:22:26 PM »

I have put the P14A into the boat and it works OK, when I replace it in the boat with the P14, siience.

This confuses me, Try switching the chips around between the two units as I suggested. Why would I take out the working one from the P14A and put it into the P14? All I end up with is a dead P14A.
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boneash

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2015, 10:50:08 PM »

I'd guess, cos if you changed 1 chip at a time you would find which one was the non worker and then you could buy a new one for very little cash and replace it.
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inertia

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2015, 11:12:08 PM »

I have put the P14A into the boat and it works OK, when I replace it in the boat with the P14, siience.

This confuses me, Try switching the chips around between the two units as I suggested. Why would I take out the working one from the P14A and put it into the P14? All I end up with is a dead P14A.

I've concluded that this is either a colossal misunderstanding or a wind-up.
You have a siren which works and another which doesn't.
I don't believe you need any further advice.
DM
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mudway

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2015, 11:40:05 PM »

Not a wind up.

What I had was an old Robbe one in a frigate which died & 2 new Action ones sitting in my parts box. One marked P14A which matches the layout on the Action website for a P14, the other is marked P14 and has the connection boxes grouped together.

I tried the P14A and it now has replaced the Robbe in my frigate. The P14, after you told me which was positive & negative, was going into another boat but, when hooked up, doesnít seem to work.  To hook it up, I simply replaced the working P14A in the model with the P14. That way, I knew for a fact that both the speaker and switch worked.

With the P14A in the boat, I have sound, replace it with the P14 and I have silence.

I canít solder anything to save my life, so suggesting I replace items is good advice but wonít happen.
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inertia

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2015, 08:58:09 AM »

What I had was an old Robbe one in a frigate which died & 2 new Action ones sitting in my parts box. One marked P14A which matches the layout on the Action website for a P14, the other is marked P14 and has the connection boxes grouped together.
I canít solder anything to save my life, so suggesting I replace items is good advice but wonít happen.

If you had begun this thread with the two sentences quoted above then you might have saved us all a lot of time and embarrassment. This is at the "light blue touchpaper and stand clear" level of rocket science.

If you look closely at the ACTion units you will see that none of the chips are soldered; they are pushed into sockets and can be removed and replaced without a soldering iron.
If you swap the chips which are known to be working one at a time from the P14A with those in the P14 then you will find out either which of the old ones is faulty or that the fault isn't with any of the chips. At that stage you can replace the faulty chips or chuck the P14 away. Note that the TDA7052 amplifier has been obsolete for a long time but one can be obtained from Component Shop or myself. The NE555 and LM358 chips are very cheap and widely available. Make sure you fit any chips the right way round; there is a "notch" in the black casing which should correspond with another in the socket. See the full instructions here on Pages 3-5 http://action-electronics.co.uk/pdfs/P14.pdf

And do learn to solder - that's not difficult either, and you can't really operate electrically-powered models without this simple skill. If there's one video on You Tube about soldering (which the Americans insist on calling "soddering") then there are hundreds.
DM
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RAAArtyGunner

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2015, 11:55:49 AM »

G'day Dave,

I looked and looked but could not see the chips weren't soldered until I realised I was looking under the circuit board instead of above.

Even then I would have not known the "chips" were pushed into sockets mounted on the boards.

You learn something different every day.

Very informative subject.  :-)) :-))
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mudway

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2015, 04:56:33 AM »

Thanks Dave,


I've located a couple of TDA7052s and NE555 at an interstate shop but they only have an LM358P. Will the LM358P work OK?


I'm afraid I've been operating electrically powered models for nearly 40 years now without soldering anything. A surprising number in our club can't solder.
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inertia

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2015, 08:41:41 AM »

I don't know the difference between the P and the N versions without some detailed research into the datasheets. For the price of one you could take the risk. It won't damage anything if it's wrong - it just won't work. Also make sure that the TDA7052 has no suffix letters like A; that would mean it has DC volume control circuitry and therefore would not work. The one you need is a plain TDA7052. If you get desperate I can supply all three types; the postage would be more than twice the price of the chips (cheapest post £3.30GBP). but do the 'substitution' tests first or you may be wasting money.
DM
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mudway

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2015, 03:53:58 AM »

Thanks, our Jaycar lists the LM358 in its catalogue for about 1 pound, so I'll be hitting them in the near future.


While I have your attention, the models power supply is via a P92 and I had thought of switching to Lipos. The instructions mention only Nicad, HIMH and SLA batteries. Is this because they weren't around when the P92 came out or is their something about a Lipo that means they can't be used with a P92?
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inertia

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2015, 08:08:14 AM »

No reason why you shouldn't use LiPo cells. As you say, they weren't common in 2007.
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mudway

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2015, 08:37:35 AM »

Thanks.
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RAAArtyGunner

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Re: A question for Action Man
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2015, 11:15:49 AM »

Mudway,

Alternative supplier could be Altronics, based in WA and have a website.
Jaycars competitor.
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