Cheap Signal tracing for troubleshooting radios

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Cheap Signal tracing for troubleshooting radios

Post by Resistance is Futile on Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:32 pm

Don't have a signal tracer?
You can make one!

If you have a pair (or single) high impedance headphone set, you could use it, with a small signal diode and a capacitor for safety as a signal tracer.
You will need to do some measurments in order for the assembly to fit inside the New pen probe.
You can use the barrel of a BIC ink pen or other brand that has no metal. Its all plastic, which would insulate you from shock. If you have an old RS232 plug, there are a number of pins that you could salvage for the tip of your probe. Remove and solder a very short piece of wire to the pin. Add to that wire a small cap and then a diode in series, and then add a long wire. Solder all.

Remove the ink barrel and insert the new pin assembly into the empty pen. with the metal pin slid into the pen down to the tip, expose the pin so it will act as the probe tip in the same area as original ball point. use RTV or other glue or epoxy to hold the pin in place. Your diode and cap should fit inside the pen barrel. Use RTV or Epoxy to the secure the wire coming out of the pen. (I personally would use covered test lead wire, as it is the most flexible.)

Take this long wire and connect it to one of the earphone connectors. Take a similar wire and add a alligator clip to it on one end. This will be used to clip to common ground or chassis. On the other end of this wire, connect it to the remaining connector of the Earphone.

For trouble shooting Start at the radio speaker and Trace the audio signal back that way.
Keep one hand in your pocket to prevent shock.You can use a probe Or your finger tip to see if the volume control is working by Touching the center tab and see if it causes a hum in the speaker, if not the audio section is suspect.

If you get a sound then use your new probe to do probe the previous stage for an audio signal. If you lose the audio signal then investigate for faults in (components, wires, traces,solder connections, mis-wiring etc.) in that stage. If you get a signal then go to the next previous signal.

Happy signal hunting
It will help you fast to isolate troubles. cheers

Resistance is Futile

Number of posts : 1049
Age : 72
Registration date : 2008-03-12

Back to top Go down

Re: Cheap Signal tracing for troubleshooting radios

Post by nytuberadio on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:18 pm

Cliff Hanger
Nice Idea on the home made signal tracer.
But is there any chance you could do a picture, diagram or scketch. Its a little hard for me to visualize the end result from the description. Also i am the proud owner of an audio generator ElCO i think. Could i use that to do the same thing?
Joe from Holy Toledo Very Happy


Number of posts : 19
Registration date : 2010-07-26

Back to top Go down

Re: Cheap Signal tracing for troubleshooting radios

Post by torskdoc on Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:49 pm

I took an old test lead from a junk DVM, soldered a .01uf 1000V cap to it, then a RCA plug on the other end. Plug into AUX input on an amp/receiver and adjust the volume as needed. I carry it in my walkabout box.


New Member
New Member

Number of posts : 3
Registration date : 2013-02-23

Back to top Go down

Re: Cheap Signal tracing for troubleshooting radios

Post by Ragwire on Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:38 am

How did I miss this old post? This is great information!
These cheap "hacks" really work and can save a lot of time and money.
I guess it's true what they say, someone skilled can do more with a multimeter than someone unskilled can with a room full of expensive test equipment.


Number of posts : 531
Registration date : 2013-05-20

Back to top Go down

Re: Cheap Signal tracing for troubleshooting radios

Post by Sponsored content

Sponsored content

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum