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3e Audio Amp Construction

Here's the parts list and some helpful hints for building the TPA3250-based class-D audio amplifier

4 min read

In the November 2018 issue of IEEE Spectrum, Executive Editor Glenn Zorpette returns to the world of high-performance DIY audio in our Hands On column. In this appendix, he goes into greater detail about the construction and provides a complete parts lists with links to suppliers.

Construction Tips

Chassis: Cut the rectangular hole for the power-inlet module using a nibbler tool. Cut the hole slightly smaller than you need and file it out for a smooth finish. For the large round holes for the XLR audio connectors, use a hole saw, with teeth designed to cut metal, or use a knockout punch, such as a Greenlee. The power transformer is heavy, so support it with four rubber bumpers mounted directly below it on the underside of the chassis and put two more bumpers on the two far corners of the chassis, for a total of six bumpers supporting the chassis.

The deluxe chassis comes from Landfall Systems. It is sturdily made of 0.125"-thick sheet aluminum, and it is 16.5" wide by 9" deep by 3.25" high (normally we use S.I. units in Spectrum, but as Landfall Systems is a U.S. supplier, I'm quoting the imperial measurements I used to order). For an extra $25, Landfall will laser-cut the holes in the front and rear panels to your specifications (it's best to measure and drill the holes in the bottom plate—for the PCB standoffs and the rubber bumpers—yourself). I can provide a sketch for anyone pursuing this option; write to g.zorpette@ieee.org.

• Power transformer: The power transformer, AnTek AS-2222 or AS-3222, has two primary and two secondary coils. It is capable of 230- or 115-volt input, so for U.S. mains, wire the two primaries in parallel. Connect the transformer's two red lead wires to the mains-load side of the on-off switch, and the two black leads to the neutral side. Similarly, connect the transformer's secondary leads in parallel. Connect the two blue leads to one of the two input terminals on the power-supply board, and connect the two green leads to the other terminal.

The quick-disconnect connectors that fit on the power-supply-board terminals have dimensions as follows: 5.21 mm (0.205") wide by 0.81 mm (0.032") thick by 7.75 mm (0.305") long. Yes, it's a slightly odd size.

• Indicator light: Power the LED indicator light with the + 29-V DC from the power-supply output and limit the current with a 10k-ohm, ½-watt resistor.

• Power-supply board: The kit for the power-supply board comes with four Nichicon UVY1J682MRD electrolytic capacitors. They're 6800 µF, 63 V, and they're plenty good. But a reasonable upgrade option is to use Nichicon UKW1J682MRD capacitors. A set of four from Mouser costs $24.64.

• Amplifier board: The amplifier board comes with premade cables and terminals for the signal-input and power connections. For the signal-input cables, the wire gauge is so fine that you should protect and support them with a short segment of heat-shrink tubing where they connect to the panel-mount XLR solder cups. Or, better yet, make a couple of new input cables yourself, using thicker-gauge input wires. To do that you need the plastic, 3-socket, female half of a JST connector, with a pitch of 2.54 mm. They are readily available on e-Bay.

Bill of Materials

Part or serviceManufacturer or provider,
part number
Source, part numberAlternate source,
part number
QuantityCost, Low-cost versionDeluxe version: source, part number Deluxe version cost
Class-D amplifier board 3e Audio TPA3250-2CH-50W 3e-Audio.com, EAUMT-0050-2-A 1 US $49.00 (Same) $49.00
Power-supply board Xkitz Electronics
XAPS-500W
Xkitz.com, XAPS-500W 1 $29.95 (Same) $29.95
Power-supply capacitors (Included with Xkitz kit) 4 $0 (included with kit) Digi-Key, 493-10689-ND $24.88
Power transformer AnTek, AS-2222 AnTek.com, AS-2222 1 $32.00 AnTek.com, AS-3222 $41.00
Chassis, cover plate Hammond, 1444-28;
1434-26
Mouser, 546-1444-28;
546-1434-26
Digi-Key, HM270-ND; HM284-ND 1 $31.66
$11.36
Landfall Systems (custom order) $154.01
Powder coating of chassis Absolute Powder Coating, St. Mary's, Penn. $37.50 (Same) $37.50
XLR connectors Switchcraft, PD3FSC3 Adorama, SWPD3FSC3 Mouser, 502-PD3FSC3 2 $5.20 Mouser, 568-NC3FDM3-H $11.68
Binding posts Cal Test Electronics, CT2232-2 (Red);
CT2232-0 (Black)
Digi-Key,
BKCT2232-2-ND;
BKCT2232-0-ND
Mouser, 510-CT2232-2; 510-CT2232-0 4
(2 Red; 2 Black)
$16.40 Audio Note Speaker Terminals: Parts Connexion, ANCNCTR-82156
(quantity 2); ANCNCTR-82157
(quantity 2)
$34.44
Power inlet module TE Connectivity, 6EGG1-1 Mouser, 592-6EGG1-1 Digi-Key, CCM1620-ND $14.86 (Same) $14.86
Power cord Inventus Power, 67400-185-EB Digi-Key, EPS614-ND 1 $3.91 (Same) $3.91
On-off switch E-Switch, RR3405A Digi-Key, EG1895-ND Mouser, 612-RR3405A 1 $3.19 (Same) $3.19
Fuses, 5 mm x 20 mm, 5 A, Slow-blow Littelfuse, 0215005.MXP Mouser, 576-0215005.MXP Digi-Key, F4611-ND 1 $1.48 (Same) $1.48
On-off indicator light: 5-mm LED (blue) Visual Communications Co., LTH5MM12VFR4600 Mouser, 593-LTH5MM12VFR4600 Digi-Key, LTH5MM12VFR4600-ND 1 $0.80 Digi-Key, PML50BFVW-ND $11.91
Indicator-light cable assembly Visual Communications Co., CNX_440_X02_4_1_12 Mouser, 593-CNX440X24112 Digi-Key, CNX_440_X02_4_1_12-ND 1 $3.36 (Not needed) $0
Lens for cable assembly Visual Communications Co., CMS_442_CTP Mouser, 593-CMS442CTP Digi-Key, CMS_442_CTP-ND 1 $2.09 (Not needed) $0
Current-limiting resistor for indicator light (10 kΩ) Vishay Dale, CMF5510K000FKEK Mouser, 71-CMF5510K000FKEK Digi-Key, CMF10.0KHFCT-ND 1 $0.15 (Not needed) $0
Quick-disconnect terminals (for power-supply board) TE Connectivity, 640915-1 Digi-Key, A0908-ND Mouser, 571-6409151 6 $2.16 (Same) $2.16
Female threaded standoffs, aluminum, 5/8 inch (for power-supply board) McMaster-Carr, 91780A165 McMaster-Carr, 91780A165 4 $1.36 (Same) $1.36
Female threaded standoffs, 4-40 steel, ¾ inch (for amplifier board) McMaster-Carr, 91125A437 McMaster-Carr, 91125A437 4 $9.40 (Same) $9.40
Rubber bumpers Keystone Electronics, 724 Mouser, 534-724 Digi-Key, 36-724-ND 6 $3.18 McMaster-Carr, 9540K737 $6.48
Additional items needed: solder; hookup wire; #6 and #4, or M3 and M2.5, pan-head and flat-head screws; nuts and lock washers, heat-shrink tubing.
Total cost:$259.01 $437.21
The Conversation (0)

Economics Drives Ray-Gun Resurgence

Laser weapons, cheaper by the shot, should work well against drones and cruise missiles

4 min read
In an artist’s rendering, a truck is shown with five sets of wheels—two sets for the cab, the rest for the trailer—and a box on the top of the trailer, from which a red ray is projected on an angle, upward, ending in the silhouette of an airplane, which is being destroyed

Lockheed Martin's laser packs up to 300 kilowatts—enough to fry a drone or a plane.

Lockheed Martin

The technical challenge of missile defense has been compared with that of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Then there is the still tougher economic challenge of using an expensive interceptor to kill a cheaper target—like hitting a lead bullet with a golden one.

Maybe trouble and money could be saved by shooting down such targets with a laser. Once the system was designed, built, and paid for, the cost per shot would be low. Such considerations led planners at the Pentagon to seek a solution from Lockheed Martin, which has just delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the U.S. Army. The new weapon combines the output of a large bundle of fiber lasers of varying frequencies to form a single beam of white light. This laser has been undergoing tests in the lab, and it should see its first field trials sometime in 2023. General Atomics, a military contractor in San Diego, is also developing a laser of this power for the Army based on what’s known as the distributed-gain design, which has a single aperture.

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