[ARDF] Montreal fox controllers

Jennifer Harker harkerjen at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 15 12:08:32 PST 2006

For Valentine's Day, I promised my sweetie I'd build a set
of Montreal Fox controllers.  I had ordered boards from FAR
circuits, ordered parts from Mouser, and everything arrived
earlier this week.

Well, the circuit boards are labelled version 1 rev 4,
dated 2/27/98.  The parts list, schematic, etc. at 
are Version 3, dated May 00.  Based on a quick look-over,
the schematics for the two versions are not the same.

Luckily, I noticed this while soldering the resistors on,
before I got to the more expensive components...

So, I have several options:

1) Try to rework the circuit board for version 1.4 to fit
the schematic (and parts) for version 3.  There's a few
traces that I'd have to cut, and several caps (including a
variable cap) that'd have to be wired in somehow.

2) Find someone to manufacture 7-10 circuit boards based on
the version 3 board layout (which also has the advantage of
being smaller, so it might actually fit in an altoids tin).
 I don't want to do board etching, myself.

3) Try to build version 3 on a radio shack prototype board
and hope that it can still function at 4 MHz, and fit with
everything else in the ammo case.

4) Ask around for a copy of the version 1.4 parts list and
schematic, and build an "obsolete" version.  I don't know
if the current programmed PIC is compatible with the old
hardware, but reprogramming it shouldn't be a problem.  On
the other hand, I don't know the reasons why the design was

5) Give up and use the PicCons we'd been using (though
we're still having problems getting them as stable as we'd
need for a championship-level meet).

I know that several of you are using the Montreal fox
controllers.  I'm curious what version of the hardware
you're using, whether you needed to make any changes to get
them up to IARU championship-level standards, and if you
ran into the same problem I did, what you did about it.

I'm leaning towards having someone etch some circuit boards
for me.  A few of these low-quantity quick-turnaround shops
have popped up online over the past few years; does anyone
have any experience with these (besides FAR circuits)?


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