Hacked Gadgets Forum

September 17, 2011

LC Meter using a Microchip PIC 16F628A

at 10:10 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


This LC Meter was built using a Microchip PIC 16F628A.  It would make life a bit easier when attempting to identify a few of those components that are always left over on the desk after building a project. Mine are often dumped into a miscellaneous box with other various components which makes it even more difficult to identify later…  I think this meter would make a great addition to my bench. It was built based on the design by Phil Rice which can be found here. The original design was powered by a 9 volt battery but the new design uses a 3.6V battery which required substantial changes to be made in the power section of the project. Have a look at the image below that shows the super tiny component that was used in the design, it must have been quite a feat to get this mounted onto the hand made board!

“I wanted to fit it in this project box that I had laying around for some time and I also wanted it to be battery powered. There was no way that I could fit 9V battery in this project box along side with all the electronics, so I figured I could add a tiny 3.6V Li-Ion battery that I also had… laying around.”


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2 Responses to “LC Meter using a Microchip PIC 16F628A”

  1. Fuming Solder Says:

    I wanted to suggest another use for the meter to which it can probably be adapted without any change in the hardware and only minor changes in the firmware: measuring length of cables. Maybe not just ANY cable but at least those with published and standardized capacitance values – Category cables, such as CAT5, CAT5E, CAT6 and variations thereof.

    Some people probably have better cable management techniques for leftovers but we have spools and spools of cable left after various cabling projects and sometimes the remaining length is known, sometimes it’s not – they forgot to write down how much was used. It would be nice to just walk up to a cable spool, clip the alligators on the brown pair (least twisted, so should read closest to the actual length of the jacket) and read the length based on measured capacitance – it should be within 330pF / 100 meters @ 1kHz. So, if you measured, say 500 pF, you should be approx. 151 meters from the cable’s end. Most of the time you don’t even need more than 5-10 meters accuracy.

    Many other types of cable have spec’ed capacitance values that would let you measure with reasonable accuracy.

    Keep up great work!

  2. Trax Says:

    that is one great idea!

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