Wayne McFee, NB6M has created a custom PCB for his variation of the MARC LC Meter, along with providing a kit of parts. I just received my kit yesterday and was very eager to build the thing, since it’s one vital piece of test gear that I don’t yet have.
Stuffing the PCB according to Wayne’s instructions was quick and easy. There were a few minor hitches to watch out for, but nothing big as long as you take the time to read the documentation. It only took me about 45 minutes to get the on-board components installed.
One nice thing about the kit is that the PCB fits the exact dimensions of the white-on-blue LCD display that is provided. The mounting holes line up quite nicely, which allows you to use standoffs to secure the display to the main PCB. A few external switches and connectors are wired to the PCB to finish the electrical construction of the meter.
The smoke test passed successfully and the meter read a capacitor and an inductor pretty close to the nominal values, satifying me that everything was working correctly. I know that the leads from the DPDT switch to the DUT terminals should be shorter to minimise stray inductance, but the accuracy was reasonably good with the setup that I have above. I’ll probably end up switching out those binding posts anyway, since I’m not too fond of them. I’ve got a supply of 5-way binding posts from Jameco that I like to use, so I’ll substitute those with shorter leads.
All that is left to do is mount the meter in an enclosure, which I still have to procure. I’ll probably make a trip down to the local Radio Shack later on to get a project box. (I can’t believe that I’m actually not ashamed to shop at this RS). Kudos to Wayne for an excellent and very useful kit. I know that this one will be getting a good workout on my bench.