Label your chips.

It turns out the 6mm (1/4″) tape for the brother p-touch PT-1230PC computer controlled label maker is just about perfect for labeling PDIP ICs. I whipped up a small program to generate images from the chip pinouts and control the printer in raw mode to create labels.

Next step is to put a QR code on there that links to the data sheets.

From Misc Projects

74hc595

A link to the very rough code is here, you will probably have to modify it to suit your situation: chip_ptouch.tar.gz

UPDATE

I have updated the tarball above to include printer control code generator to print the pngs in raw mode, more chips, and a README with sample usage.

Comments 9

  1. Marianna wrote:

    Not gonna lie, I understood more about this than I thought I would.
    I’m leaving a comment so you know I was here. Too bad my readers don’t do the same.

    Posted 20 Feb 2013 at 5:31 pm
  2. jazz wrote:

    THANKS A MILLION!

    Posted 15 Mar 2013 at 11:27 pm
  3. Tony wrote:

    This is very nice! The QR code would be great

    Posted 20 Mar 2013 at 2:02 pm
  4. insurgent wrote:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for this. My “bench” is behind me when sitting at the computer so I’m constantly turning around to look at pinouts and then turning around to the bench again. This is quite handy!

    For the Windows users trying to print labels:
    1) Install Perl ;)
    2) Install printer driver, make sure it works, share the printer.
    3) Never could get LPR to work (probably because it’s a USB printer) but feel free to try yourself. If you can’t, open a command prompt and “net use LPT1 \\yourcomputername\printersharename /persistent:YES”
    4) Modify the print_png.prl file by changing the “open PRINT…” line with the LPR in it to be ” open PRINT, “> LPT1:” “
    5) Profit!!!

    Posted 23 Mar 2013 at 6:12 pm
  5. C. W. Robertson wrote:

    What a cool idea! I used to use ID wrap for wire wrapping, but this will print out the label to the top of the chip. Should really help with debugging.

    Posted 24 Mar 2013 at 5:08 pm
  6. Kurt Oestreich wrote:

    I found this to be interesting as well. I’m not really sure how you go about generating the .png’s, but I will pour over the code, and try to figure it out. I have a 2430 arriving Friday just for this purpose.

    It just seems like a real time saver to have all the pins labeled, and save yourself the hassle of digging up the datasheets just for a pinout.

    Posted 27 Mar 2013 at 11:55 pm
  7. Kurt Oestreich wrote:

    I suppose reading the code that generates the .png’s will probably be a good starting point.

    Ha.

    Thanks for this. Great concept.

    Posted 27 Mar 2013 at 11:57 pm
  8. Kurt Oestreich wrote:

    I got this working today with a 2430 Brother Ptouch I bought just for this purpose.

    Thanks a million, and don’t listen to the posers that are trying to impress you with how smart they are by always looking at a datasheet for pinouts, and other such rot.

    I learned quite a bit just from getting this program to run, and adding my own chips into the yaml file.

    I know it is shocking, but I use Linux when it is useful and expedient, and Windows when it gets the job done faster or better.

    Getting this to work was a hybrid affair, with windows only handling the spooling, and linux doing the heavy lifting as far as running perl and having the appropriate libraries at hand.

    I recognise when people are trying to establish their status by putting down techniques by other (like I read on Hackaday regarding this project). I am too busy having fun to worry about status. Status is for silly people with silly letters and silly titles that believe their own silly mind tapes, and that have forgotten what it means to learn and have fun.

    Learning and having fun is the essence of hacking, and in this spirit, I offer my appreciation and respect for you sharing your experience with this.

    Thank you!!!

    Posted 30 Mar 2013 at 8:53 pm
  9. Biomed wrote:

    What I’m seeing is you create a VERY SIMPLE chips.yaml file in text… At this point a perl script is run on it and I don’t understand from where but yaml interprets the file during the perl script. YAML could be as a library or module added to perl. This is my last hurdle to overcome, there is just not enough detail in the writeup, author forgot that not everyone in electronics knows YAML and perl and some critical information is needed that’s probably obvious to any perl/yaml enthusiast. Anyways… the script creates tiny .png graphics files you stash away.

    Next is running a perl script which takes the file in question and prints it for you. This can also be done by hand as a graphic you just paste into place and print but there is some fussing to get it to print the right size, but I got good results! The LPR method suggested has problems in Windows. #1 you have to go into control panel/Windows features/Print and Document Services/ and there turn on LPR Port Monitor so LPR.exe is loaded onto the system. This works fine across a network, but for a local printer we still have problems right here to work out. May have to turn on printer sharing and access your local printer as though it is across the network. Might also have to turn on LPD print Service. Alternately I’m thinking perhaps a batch file can be used to just print to a file, then grab that file and send it to the printer like back in the good ‘ole DOS days. Save those files and you can send them to the printer any time you need more labels.

    Sounds like I’m poking at the author… but this was some really nice work he did! I’m just gonna lose a week of electronics time trying to get it working!

    insurgent … Thank You! Cleared up a lot with just a short explanation!

    Posted 03 Nov 2013 at 6:37 am

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 6

  1. From rndm(mod) » Script makes custom pinout labels for your chips on 15 Mar 2013 at 1:07 pm

    [...] After years of prototyping hobby electronics we’ve learned (several times actually) that when something’s not working it’s a problem with the hardware. Usually the jumper wires aren’t hooked up correctly, or we needed to throw a pull-up resistor in and forgot to. One thing that can really help sort these problems out quickly is a pinout label for each chip like the ones seen above. This is a project which [John Meacham] came up with. It uses a script to generate chip pinouts on a label maker. [...]

  2. From Script makes custom pinout labels for your chips | Daily IT News on IT BlogIT Blog on 15 Mar 2013 at 1:20 pm

    [...] After years of prototyping hobby electronics we’ve learned (several times actually) that when something’s not working it’s a problem with the hardware. Usually the jumper wires aren’t hooked up correctly, or we needed to throw a pull-up resistor in and forgot to. One thing that can really help sort these problems out quickly is a pinout label for each chip like the ones seen above. This is a project which [John Meacham] came up with. It uses a script to generate chip pinouts on a label maker. [...]

  3. From Script makes custom pinout labels for your chips - RaspberryPiBoards on 15 Mar 2013 at 1:20 pm

    [...] After years of prototyping hobby electronics we’ve learned (several times actually) that when something’s not working it’s a problem with the hardware. Usually the jumper wires aren’t hooked up correctly, or we needed to throw a pull-up resistor in and forgot to. One thing that can really help sort these problems out quickly is a pinout label for each chip like the ones seen above. This is a project which [John Meacham] came up with. It uses a script to generate chip pinouts on a label maker. [...]

  4. From Script makes custom pinout labels for your chips | Make, Electronics projects, electronic Circuits, DIY projects, Microcontroller Projects - makeelectronic.com on 16 Mar 2013 at 8:55 am

    [...] After years of prototyping hobby electronics we’ve learned (several times indeed) that whereas something’s hardly busy it’s a dilemma beside the hardware. Typically the jumper messages aren’t bent up properly, or we needed to sling a tow-up resistor in further forgot to. Alone article that can truly lift brand these questions away rapidly is a pinout name for per scrap synonymous the alones seen over. This is a venture which [John Meacham] came up among. It habits a script to develop crack pinouts on a define author. [...]

  5. From Not A Number - Update on labeling your chips on 14 Oct 2013 at 11:13 pm

    […] while ago I started  labeling my chips when breadboarding. Having a bin of properly labeled common jelly bean chips is just an extremely […]

  6. From Never Confuse Chip Pinouts Again! | John R. Leeman on 11 Feb 2014 at 2:52 pm

    […] can find his Perl script over here, but I wanted to elaborate on how to get it working and my experience with it thus far.  I ended […]

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