and Operating Instructions for HiViz.com Kits
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The following list of instructions is intended to supplement
the video tutorial provided here.
Tools needed: Saw (mitre box recommended), small
round file, drill motor (drill press recommended), 13/64"
and 1/4" bits or metric equivalents, rubber mallet, hot glue gun
Materials needed: 2- to 4-ft of 1/2-in PVC pipe (depending on the size frame you wish to make), 4 1/2-in PVC elbows, 12-15"
length of 3/16" wood or steel dowel rod
Skip to Assembling the Frame if you have a frame kit.
First decide what size frame you'll need based on the
size of the subjects that you'll be photographing. For
example, a 6-in frame would be sufficient for many insects.
For small birds, 10 inches works well. The largest frame
size that we've successfully tested is 12 inches. Note
that the larger the frame, the more delicate the sensitivity
- Cut 4 sections of 1/2-in PVC pipe to the length that
you decided on in step 1.
- Mark the center of each section of cut pipe. Then drill
a 13/64-in hole completely through each section at the
midpoint. See the figure below.
- In each section of pipe, use a 1/4-in drill
bit to widen the hole on one side only
of the pipe.
- File the holes and ends of the pipe sections
as needed to remove shavings.
Tools needed: Rubber mallet or equivalent
Lay the four sections of pipe and four 1/2-in PVC elbows
on a table as shown below. Make sure
that the larger of the two holes in each section of
pipe is on the outer side of the square.
- Push the sections into the elbows but not
too tightly. You'll need to adjust alignment of the holes
before tightening the assembly. Using about a foot length
(the actual length depends on the size of your frame)
of 3/16-in wood or steel dowel rod, slip the dowel through
the holes on one side and out the other as shown below.
Adjust the sections as needed. Repeat for the second set
- Using a rubber mallet or similar instrument, pound the
elbows and pipe sections together snugly. When finished,
check the alignment once more as in step 2. If the alignment
is off slightly, you should be able to twist the sections
enough to restore alignment.
Tools needed: Hot glue gun and glue
Slip the emitters (LED) and detectors (PT) into the
holes in the pipes as shown below. Push them from the
outside of the frame in. The smaller diameter hole on
the inside of the frame will prevent the components
from going all the way through. Note the orientation
of the legs in the figure below. One leg is longer than
the other for each component. Use hot glue around each
component on the inside of the frame to hold the component
in place. Try to keep the glue away from the dome of
the component, but if you get some stray glue on the
dome, peel it off after it dries.
If you have the CBP-F kit, two 1-in sections
of 1/4" cylinders painted black are provided. The
purpose of these shields is to cut down on the amount
of ambient light reaching the detectors. If you don't
have these, they're easy to make. Just paint a soda
straw with black spray paint. After the paint dries,
cut two 1-inch sections. Place one of the sections over
one of the detectors and hot glue it liberally around
the base. Repeat for the other detector. See the figure
Tools needed: 15-30 W soldering iron, solder,
wet sponge, wire stripper, needle-nose pliers, heat sink,
Note: We recommend waiting to solder until you've
tested the operation of the assembled crossed-beam photogate.
Use the figure below as a guide to connecting the wires
to the legs of the emitters and detectors. Take particular
note of which wires are connected to the long and short
legs. Starting with the red wire, strip it back about
half an inch, and wrap the wire tightly around the longer
leg of the bottom LED. Work your way counterclockwise
around the frame, connecting the wires. Some legs will
have two wires connected to them.
After you've wrapped the legs, go to this
page and follow the instructions through Step 7
to build and test the breadboard circuit. Then return
- Assuming your crossed-beam photogate works correctly,
go ahead and solder the connections to the components
on the frame. See the tips below if you haven't done much
Solder in a well-lit, well-ventilated, open
area. Avoid contact with all metal surfaces
on the iron.
Keep the tip of the soldering iron clean
by wiping it against a wet sponge or towel
before and after each use. A clean tip should
look shiny and silvery; any yellow or black
material on the tip will get into the solder
and may weaken your solder joint.
Once the tip of your soldering iron is clean,
touch a bit of solder to the tip just before
use. This is called tinning, and helps the
solder run more evenly.
Heat the connection to be soldered by holding
the soldering iron to it, until solder applied
at the junction between the two melts and
flows freely. This ensures the connection
and the solder are both hot enough to yield
a good solder joint. This should take no more
than 10-15 seconds. After the connection is
heated, try to get solder along the entire
length of the connection by briskly moving
the solder and iron along.
Avoid touching only the solder to the connection,
and then the soldering iron to the solder
to melt it onto the connection. The connection
will be cooler than the melted solder and
won’t form a good solder joint.
- Let new solder joints cool for several seconds
before examining them. There should be solder
all the way around the connection, forming a
rigid joint. When done, unplug your soldering
iron and let it cool.
- Use electrical tape to hold the legs of the components
securely to the pipe. Make sure the two legs of each component
are spread apart and not touching inside the PVC pipe.
After securing the legs, wrap tape around the wires running
around the outside of the frame to prevent something from
accidentally snagging a wire and pulling it loose.
Return to Step 8 on this
page to connect a camera.