DIY Element Controller Kit

edited March 2015 in Configuration

Something I've been playing with for a couple of months - the DIY element controller kit that is more securely packaged.

We had custom cardboard individual and master carton boxes made for the bare bones kit to help condense, package and protect them for shipping. The master carton holds 12 DIY kits and condenses the bulky sea freight components into concise and ready to ship units.
The vast majority of the DIY kits so far have been ordered by customers with the one website click for all the bits instead of a customized kit so it seems we nailed what was needed, now we want to get it to you packed in a box that was actually made for it instead of the distributors needing to assemble the kits together and find a box to fit it.

More details to follow as this project develops and the boxes have just now finally arrived after only 5 long weeks of waiting for them.

Going to list and photograph every little bit so we get this right because we'll be assembling several hundred units.

I'd like to include the hook up wire for the potentiometer and maybe even have the terminals soldered on if you guys don't mind paying a few cents more. We'll discuss all that over the next few days or so as we order the parts to fill the boxes.

This is going to be a fun project. Lets keep it simple and low cost OK? The idea is to make it better, not more expensive, and adding too much custom stuff adds to the costs.


DIY begins.JPG
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  • So far, adding the cardboard boxes is a wash because it condenses the shipping.
    Before, all the components were shipped separately and the very light weight plastic boxes meant shipping expensive air. By packaging all of the controller parts inside the plastic boxes, even after accounting for the added labor, it saves a few cents while, at the same time, insuring that all the little parts are included and packaged in a nice shipping carton.

    The task is to insure that you, the SD user, get exactly what you want and the distributor is free from needing to count out rubber feet, mounting screws and finding a box to ship it in.

    SD has vended many hundreds of these lately and this is a major move up because it sets the pattern that future SD customers get in their kits so... for those members here that have constructed their SD DIY please chime in on how we can improve the kit - and PLEASE do so before we assemble, box and seal the next 400 units!!!

  • other than someday having the box and aluminum heatsink be combined or some way to mount the SSR inside with fins outside, I think you have it perfect... the only complaint I ever hear is having holes in the box

    2 pages with sources for ideas:

    Compact Box for 1/16 DIN Controller and Timer

    Wall Mount Box for Two Controllers with Pre-cut

  • A few minor decisions need to be made because I only want to make ONE kind of DIY boxed set.
    The knob is available a little smaller but includes the metal dial for about the same price as the big knob with the SD sticker. The sticker is hard to place without getting wrinkles but it does say StillDragon on it and I kind of like that.
    I think the metal dial is nicer though.

    The pot... I can solder the leads and solder the little forked spades to the ends. I'm tossed about this as well because anyone that can't solder this for themselves probably shouldn't be building a DIY controller.

    I'd like to hear back from you guys before ordering these pieces.


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  • Which guys mate? You've put this on the forum, i'm not sure wether you mean the members or the distributors.

    I'm now offering two kits, one in the small boxes and one in the large.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • I'd like everyone, especially distributors, to chime in.

    These are the only bits that are making me tossed which way to go.
    I'm sure either would be OK, just asking for preferences.

  • I prefer soldered leads and a larger backing plate and knob. The larger knob can give you slightly better control, but probably isn't warranted in the DIY kit?

  • Well, if the metal looks nice, than the box would need a separate SD sticker. About the soldering I don't really have an opinion, because all we can do is offer it as a kit without any pre-assembling, too risky due to the law here in Europe.

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • Looks the goods mate, pre soldered would be nice. One less thing the DIY'r has to organise if they dont have the tools for that job if you know what i mean.

    Metal knob looks good, also any chance of you sourcing some well priced digital volt/amp meters to go with the kits?

  • @jonno said: ...any chance of you sourcing some well priced digital volt/amp meters to go with the kits?

    Nope, not on the DIY kits.
    Perhaps later on the deluxe kit?

  • The fan and transformer for it also cannot be included on the basic DIY kit.
    This could easily get extravagant but this basic kit is meant to be as bare bones and cheap as possible while providing for a robust element controller solution.

    Perhaps we should work towards a more comprehensive element controller solution? I built one with an amp and volt meter and another with a cooling fan. It cost more for the parts but I do enjoy knowing the power being used and/or the SSR being cooled by the fan. But that's another thread as this is bare bones DIY, even if the title didn't state it ;)

  • If your gonna go down that path you might as well just do a olddog control box.

  • @jonno said: ...pre soldered would be nice. One less thing the DIY'r has to organise if they dont have the tools for that job if you know what i mean.

    That was also my thought @jonno because it's the only part that needs to be soldered on the DIY kit. But as @SDeurope reminds me that a kit is a kit and if I solder stuff together there might be legal issues. Why risk it since I was planning to pass it along at cost... someone gets themselves hurt and comes crying and we both whip out lawyers... I'd be wishing I hadn't been soldering those wires for free.
    Only takes a few seconds when setup but times 300 to 400 units it can wear on a fellow. I'd do it in a heartbeat for a friend unless he is prone to self destruction and litigation.

    The die is cast... the DIY kit will continue to need the purchaser to solder the leads to the pot. It keeps the costs lower and stops any litigation against me.

    The sticker/big knob vs. metal plate/smaller knob is still an issue and we need to keep that in mind. For a couple of hundred bucks I can get StillDragon printed on the small metal plates but they don't make the bigger plates and knobs so I'm leaning towards our big knobs with stickers. The small dials are very hard to read.

  • I like the still dragon logo on the dial face. I too would like a meter, but I'll wait till the advanced unit comes out... I ended up going with a large box because by adding a 3 pole sw and a meter it was too cramped in the stock box.

    The holes were easy once I figured out how.

    As far as the soldering goes.. I am in the camp that You should be able to solder yourself. If you've no solder gun, they sell them really cheap (5.00 USD and up) - After you've spent the bucks on the DIY kit, why not a proper solder gun?

    It's a DIY kit- this by definition means there are tools and process required. Like preplanning, a solder gun, a proper hole saw with the correct blade, a drill to cut the pilot holes for the saw work, etc... Half the fun of it for me was coming up with solutions to those tasks when I built mine.

    Hobby Distillers Association Member - Join us today!

    The only sillae question is the one you don't ask folks...

  • no on the soldered wires
    small knob with dial is good for people who redo their box... can you get metal dial with SD on it? that would be pimp..

  • edited May 2014

    I would like to continue to offer two options. One the standard kit at basic price and the second the standard kit in a larger box so people who want to add a fan or volt/ammeter can without having to throw the small box away and source a larger one.

    So if i can still purchase all the parts separately it would suit me fine. Come to packing the small kits will fit inside the large boxes too i reckon for shipping savings.

    I include one of the small StillDragon stickers we had made and a dial sticker with each kit atm. I have no opinion on the dial versus sticker/knob, although if they go on the same pot then surely the adjustment range is the same.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Great input guys, thanks. I'm checking on the cost to get our bigger knob sticker custom made in metal. We'll see, and there is no rush on this project anyway.

    Of course any distributor is free to order any parts separately, as always.

    After reading the comments it seems clear to nix the idea of soldering the leads to the pot. That's better for me anyway :D

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