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TiN 10-21-2010 08:47 PM

[Index] Welcome to dungeon, where electronics have no limits.

When I was little boy, computers was as big as house, these was piles of racks, tapes, perforated paper, and crazy scientists in white suits. Was lucky enough to see and touch that stuff, and thought - wow, that's some cool stuff there, so many wires and strange things with lamps to play with. :cool: Then I grow up a bit, and my childhood passed playing transistors and diodes (i imagine them as my units, just like that strategy games, lol), coz my father was one of that computer engineers. Then study how to solder, how to read schematics. Wow, i still remember, that schematics with more than 10 parts scary me to death. Madness became constant when we got own PC, it was SSSR i8080 clone CPU, at 4.77 MHz (yes, Four point seventy-seven megahertz), 640KB of memory (kilo), single diskette drive 5.25" and B&W CGA monitor. Still remember how I killed that monitor after few month of use, when trying to add colors adjusting VR on the back side, :D.

After some time, I've learned a lot. Everything needed to learn was done alone, without fancy internets or friends, because I spend school years in hometown Askania-Nova, some of you maybe heard about it's steppe biosphere reserve, it's small town, and 1 hour of 9600bps dial-up cost about 100USD, too much for normal people. Tried overclock (didn't even know that word that time) on accident, when saw some strange jumpers, with CPU MHZ label. Wtf that mean - was my thoughts. :\ It was old rig with K6 166 CPU. So, there was numbers near that jumpers, called 133 MHz, 166 MHz, 200 MHz and 233 MHz. I was curious kid, so set jumpers to 233 MHz and powered rig. Black screen, nothing happen. That scare me to death, omfg, i've burned my PC, what to tell my parents? :whistle: After 5 min of panic, set jumpers back - oh, it's still alive and rockin. Most of guys here stop. But not me, no way. So again set jumpers to 200 MHz, and tried again... Yeah, it worked that way, and I was using that K6-166@200MHz few years before PC upgrade. That was my first overclock. About 15 years ago, or so.

Years passed. So no internet until my student years. After few upgrades at time I've enter university in 2001 (if i remember correctly) owned rig with AMD Duron 750, EPoX 8KTA3+ board, 256MB of drams, GeForce2 MX, 40GB HDD and 17" CRT.
Then, got internet, and needed to get nickname for webs :) Was not thinking long, so just used bare first letters of my initials, which are Tsemenko Ilya Nikolayevich. So this way "TiN" appear. :cool: Small i for more coolness maybe, it was modern that time to WrIt8 aS hAKr-sTyLe stuff :D. Soon saw Quadro MXR pro videocard on web, with pricetag near 800USD that time, which looked just same as mine GF2 MX. Already saw same PCB, different locks of pro features already. So my idea "there should be some parts on PCB different in compare between Quadro and GeForce models" confirmed pretty fast, after searching Quadro MXR PCB shots on yahoo (that time nobody know google :rolleyes:). So I've found DeviceID strap resistors and soldered them to another position. And after 10 minutes I had successful conversion of my 225$ GF2 MX into 800$ Quadro MXR card. I think that was start of my intensive engineering experiments since that time, that bring clear idea that power of electronics knowledge is everything today.

Soon things speed up, and I started overclocking and soldering all my free time after university hours, even skipped some classes a lot (bad boy, yes). Soon assembled own watercooling from trash. In 2004 i've wrote own first article of enthusiasts site for some contest. Then started writing more frequently, gathering lots of prizes in different contests. Some of them was valueble enough for student years, like EVGA ACS3 8800GTS 640MB at release date. After using watercooling for few years I wanted more cooling, coz even bottle with ice didnt help me to get decent scores, as people on XS did. So bought some ancient aircon unit, and built my own phase unit, same from trash. I had no refrigerant, so used my propan-butane mix from my torch (oxygen-propane one).Butane clogged capillary, but sometimes unit worked good enough to get me -15C on CPU in idle. That was my first trip to sub-ambient. :up: I was a member of Russia team that times, and got support to make nice phase unit to present it on exhibition event in Saint-Petersburg in 2006. So got parts and built some portable unit. I did know digital electronics basics and firmware programming already that time, so made own controller for it, to show temps on nice 128x32 LCD, and to start PC when evaporator reach -30C. Then Core CPU's came out, and got one of them. Later managed to overclock them beyond 4GHz. That was cool, my PC was fastest in university lol. But not enough for me, so I've calculated price of getting cascade. That was way too much for student, so I've go for LN2. Results impressed me, with pot from Intel BOX copper slug and soldered tube on E6600 I've got 5+ GHz. That was triumph, and pure need of precise and fast (count to seconds!) response during overclock, because temperature swing with such "pot" is high as hell, 30-50°C per second, and CPU had CB at -100°C or so. So after few years of use, I've sold that phase unit to another enthusiasts, and now using only LN2 for overclocking.

In 2008 got my master degree from university in "Computer science and networks" with my two diploma projects finished, "Automated power supply testing unit, up to 1700W" for bachelor degree and "Intelligent PC-aided CNC controller unit with fuzzy logic" for master degree. Since these days, used all time at hardware engineering projects and extreme overclocking as hobby, when got tired with everyday soldering and such. Last year (November 2009) stared up own dedicated server for website to post projects and show some stuff to public. Tried to make some cool name for that, but didn't managed to do anything better that :). So all mine projects after 2008 year usually have marks on PCB as, don't be scary, it's not some third-party, it's all own stuff. Site is in russian language now, translation to english pending. Also I'm currently part of Ukrainian enthusiast team.

My guideline for future - learn more, do more, and never stop. I think here, at, is place where we can safely show some magic, I enjoy community here, and like the idea of the whole project a lot. When I was novice, always wondered how it is to be that people, like Vince, Hipro5, Shammy and many others guys, who are true Legends. Maybe one day I could stand near them as member. :o

Experience from air to water, from water to phase, from phase to LN2 already allowed me to reach the sky of benching, like 8.2G on CPU-Z, 6GHz pifast with Q3QP during GOOC 2010 UA, 416+k Aquamark with 980X and EVGA E760 and many more.

Ok, lets stop boring part and go directly to what useful stuff I have done, and what is still in development.

Some of my projects are outside overclocking specifics, but maybe interesting to know about, so I will include most of my things anyway with few words about each device.

* Neutron - Automated power supply test unit, 2000W (Electronic loads, DAQ, QC, Ripple/EFC tests)
* Proton - Obsolete power supply tester (Electronic loads, DAQ)

One day in past somebody ask me - can I test power supply and make review? I never tested power supply before, but wanted to try. So think about it a bit and replied something like this:

- Why not, yes, I can, but before that we need to create power supply testing equipment.
- Where to buy it, and what is price?
- There are some automated testers, near 50-100K$ for proper testing.
- Oh noes, that's overkill.
- Ok, we can spend some time (futher development took near 1 year of experiments and design) and create own device for testing PSU with some limitations to precision and features and less zeroes in price.
- Cool, go for it.

So this way I did tester device called "Proton". It featured six channels of electronic loads, one pear each +3.3, +5 and +12v1,v2,v3,v4. (using 480W FETs in industrial SOT-227 package) controlled by DAC and ARM7 32-bit MCU, 16 channel of analog inputs (voltages and current measurement), monitoring and control for PSU (PS_ON and PGOOD), and automatic cross loading tests.
Using external AC source and AC power meter possible to measure efficiency too. After design and assembling one unit I started testing PSU's and writing articles for one russian website, and passed about 100 PSU models during next 2 years, from basic 300W cheapo stuff, to hi-end 1500W monsters. Soon I get bored by insane noise from tested (cooled with 6 Delta 120x38 1.6AMP monsta fans :headshake:) and sold tester to that website. It is still used by them, but articles degraded in quality a lot :)

Hmm, it's long story here already. And this summer I got order to make similar ATE unit with maximum possible features here. After negotiation that I will not test PSU on my own, just assemble unit and give it to their reviewers I start my work. First I wanted to just repeat my old project, but with my nature to max out things where possible it end up with total redesign of whole device. This is where "Neutron" born... Twice as more channels for loading (+3.3, +5, eight independent +12v rails, +5Vstanby), now extra high-speed 12-bit ADC (1MSPS) for internal noise measurements, efficiency meter module, much better accuracy, nice Full-tower enclosure to have everything ready for field operation, and full firmware refactoring. That made me to design and assemble my own first four-layer PCB. Soldered 1100 components with 3.3K pads total in 3 days alone with my iron. So if interested go to Neutron thread for details, most interesting part go from 7'th page.

* C3SE - Own universal development board with 32-bit CPU and FPGA chip + some extra stuff.
I often need to try some hardware stuff on development board before going final design and soldering. Sometimes design need FPGA logic usage, and ARM processor for controls, other design need precise analogue measurements, and lots of memory. To fulfill my needs created own development board with 32-bit ARM7 with external memory interfacing, with 65nm ALTERA Cyclone III FPGA chip for custom logic, and lots of peripherals, like precise 16-bit ADC, buttons, leds, two USB ports, SD card slot and GPIO headers.

* SD-modules - Versatile interposers and SMD-to-Thruhole adapters. Must have for prototyping.
Just simple adapters on high-quality boards, to solder small chips on bigger board for easy development.

* M16,A64,AM2 - Versatile mini-modules with different MCU chips and CPLDs. Useful for experiments.
Microcontroller-powered small format boards (little bigger than regular DIP-40 IC package).
M16 features USB bridge, ATMEL 8-bit ATmega uC series chip in TQFP44, IDC6 ISP connector and necessary passives, 2 layer board, 0.2/0.2mm traces
A64 feature native USB i/f, much more powerful ATMEL 32-bit AT91SAM7S or AT91SAM3S in TQFP64, JTAG, analog inputs and 0.185/0.185mm traces
AM2 bit different form-factor, for 144-pin host board and feature CPLD chip from ALTERA MAX II series, JTAG, LEDs, clock generator onboard.

* DB2C8 - FPGA Development board to hook lots of digital I/O's.
I needed board with huge amount of input/output pins to drive LED screen. So created own FPGA ALTERA Cyclone II board, with DDR memory chip, switching-mode DC-DC with Intersil VRM, and pin headers. Each pin have power amplifier to drive high-current LEDs directly.

* ETABLE - My engineering table.
I was tired working and soldering on small table, so designed and made my own king-size , specially to fit engineer stuff with 2 level shelves and 3.5 meter long. Comfortable backlight, flexible design (any shelf section can be fixed at any height), low cost (500 USD for everything from screws to shelves).

* INCOS - 5-axis stepper motor contoller, accepts G-code, for some hobby CNC/Mills or similar.
Want to create small hobby 3D-milling machinery? This device is brains of it, to drive motors from host computer controls.

* PCI maximizer - PCI power board for comfortable hooking of I-RAMs or similar devices to host machine
Was benchmarking PCmark05 when realized, why to use ugly second PC to power iRAMs? So this way after 2 hours of some soldering and milling - i got standalone board with PCI slots and SATA power supply for 5 iRAMs. Fast and useful thing for PCmark freaks. Follow thread to get details.

* SPD Flashers
Need to flash SPD on your DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, etc memory or DDC firmware in monitor, or anything else with I2C EEPROMs ? This is here.

* VARM - Two channel LED voltage-current meter, for two value same time readout + USB logging and extra features.

* SPI Flashers - hardware flashing tool for modern SPI chips with BIOSes etc.

* KPC F1EEM - Light module for KPC F1 series pots (F1EE and Gemini)

Simple and nice project for adding toplight for LN2 container. Quite low-cost and adding unique style for those who like benching with sparks :D

* Phasechange chiller - Chiller for newbies, no brazing needed to get -30°C easily

* Fluke 50 II series thermometer conversion & mods

Fluke 50 II series thermometer tear-down, total mod, and cool features add. Adding second thermocouple channel for 51 and 53 II limited thermometers, definitive guide, exclusive only here.

* DIY Thermocouple probe

Also check out little how to guide to make own thermocouple probe at home.

Here we go with some current development & research projects, which are not yet fully designed. Some of them are almost ready to prototyping, others are just draft ideas. It's not all, most crazy are hidden for future experiments. HC1 - Versatile industrial DIN-rail mount thermal controller NIXIE - Old-school value meter/clock etc. Flexible design with 32-bit MCU inside.
* Golem - Fast DC power meter with remote logging, to measure power consumption of PC parts
Project for precise measurement of power consumption of PC computer parts. CPU current and voltage meter first, then GPU PCI-Express extension module for power metering, then motherboard power meter for each voltage. Internal power real-time calculation and USB outputs of results to draw nice graph logs.

VRM modules - Various DC-DC power modules experiments for gfx/mb power boost.

* KPC Tek-M - Light module for KPC Tek-9 6.66

Future ideas and projects which are not started yet, but put in list in "do-this-later" section. VRM - Some real crazy experiments. Currently on-hold coz have EVGA Untouchable thanks to Peter!.
KPC NB-M - Light module for KPC NB pot
KPC DC-M - Light module for KPC Dominance pot
KPC Robot "AP" - Secret mad project p:p
LVDSnik - FPGA project, videogenerator for LVDS TFT panels, bare digital input, integrated primitives for GUI draw + DVI input interface. Lowcost Cyclone II based to try.

Tools which help me to deal with precise electronics:

Keithley 2001 7.5 digit DMM
Fluke 87V RMS portable industrial-grade DMM
Three Fluke 50 II series thermometer (modified for maximum features and USB logging)
200MHz digital Logic analyzer (16ch) (based on custom FPGA design with Stratix EP1S25)
JTAG debuggers, firmware loaders, few Delta power supplys.
ERSA Solder iron
ALTERA MAX II and Cyclone II Development boards
ATMEL ARM7 + ALTERA Cyclone III Development board

Here we discuss various computer components modifications, tricks and how-to's. Capacitor guides, DC-DC tweaking, feedback hunting - all here.

* Modification request thread to support overclockers
You need some mods? Need help with reading datasheet words to make mod youself? Ask in this thread.
Only subzero guys here, please. :)

External DC-DC VRMs trashed from another gfx cards:

4870X2 card as extra power for GeForce GTX 285 gfx and regular mods. - Volterra VT1165M chipset

Liquid nitrogen temperature electrolytic capacitor basic test

Cross-flashing BIOS to mb from another model

Gigabyte GTX 275 non-reference videocard voltage mods - ISL6327 Vgpu, uP6205A Vmem

* EVGA The Untouchables, my experiments with this masterpiece of VRM design.

* 7800GTX 256MB old-school with external VRM from 4850

P5B DLX/Commando voltage mods, including OVP to bypass 1.9V limit

Reviews, photo-reports, articles

MSI Lightning GTX 480 photo-review
Seasonic X-series PSU torture test
Enermax Revolution85+ 1250W torture test, including 120%-rate 1500W loading

You can use this thread for general talks, but if there are some quiestions related to exact things or project covered here - better to ask in apropriate thread, for better search.

Or if you feel that need some private conversation - go with PM or mail with help of this forum.

Some of project described here have own development repository and managment
This is covered on my work site here:

Any contributions for projects are welcome.

Best regards,
Tsemenko "TiN" Ilya ;)

Revision list:

0.43 - Updated with new Keithley DMM tool :)
0.42 - Updated link to my development zone (redmine powered system) - Enjoy
0.41 - Added DIY thermocouple howto thread.
0.40 - Added modification request thread for support :) Enjoy.
0.35 - First beta-testing of public TRAC project managment system.
0.34 - Added future project - self-made videocard for LVDS displays
0.33 - Added Seasonic PSU's X-series reviews and results of test on Neutron ATE.
0.32 - Added revision list 26/10/10, more preview pics added to C3SE, VARM, Fluke mod, Untouchables projects.
0.30 - Added VARM project thread and info 25/10/10
0.20 - Update with preview pics 24/10/10
0.10 - Added projects list with links to related threads 23/10/10
0.00 - Dungeon creation, initial threads and ideas.

Cyph3r_Smurf 10-21-2010 10:59 PM

Very great overview :) In my country "Computer science and networks" are a almost only software based education. Your looks to focus much on hardware or am i wrong?

nigel 10-22-2010 03:10 AM

Great read Tin!
I am glad you got your own subsection here at Kingpincooling ;)

And I am a novice speaking and there are a few people who I follow. Just because I feel I can learn from them and you are one of them TiN ;)

TiN 10-22-2010 04:37 AM

I educated myself with hardware, coz like this more :) But had to learn software too, even most advanced and crazy hardware today is just piece of useless stuff without software brains inside. You can clearly see that if pull out BIOS from any motherboard :D

So both worlds are important here to design and make any of working digital electronics.

Kal-EL 10-22-2010 05:03 AM

TiN I think you're awesome dude, but you knew this already :)
Keep pushin bro :D

hiwa 10-22-2010 07:48 AM

nice to see your forum man
keep pushing it Tin, hope to see you very soon in some big factory :up:

k|ngp|n 10-22-2010 11:42 AM

Sick new spot TiN :up:

Hondacity 10-22-2010 07:24 PM

Nice dungeon!!!

grats on the spot....

hey you didn't mention the magnum pot....

we need a 40phase universal vrm :D with i2c control...

TiN 10-23-2010 06:17 PM

Magnum pot is not mine development, it's from cyclone :)

Updated topic a bit ;)
I have idea to put small thumbinails of each project hardware here , just small pics for better idea.
How do you think, guys, is it worth doing? :)

nigel 10-24-2010 07:27 AM


Originally Posted by TiN (Post 11552)
Magnum pot is not mine development, it's from cyclone :)

Updated topic a bit ;)
I have idea to put small thumbinails of each project hardware here , just small pics for better idea.
How do you think, guys, is it worth doing? :)

sounds good to me :)
A pic tells a thousand words :) even if its small :D

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