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ComClone - Has anyone got it working reliably?


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Hi All,


I am a UK Secondary school stage manager/technical manager and I have a £250ish end of FY money left and am considering trying to construct the ComClone intercom system. I have got some valuable information from Boatman on the subject but would like opinions from the wider BR on the subject if possible..

I'm looking to use PC type headphone/microphone head sets as opposed to Beyer DT108s or similar (as I just don't have the budget..) Compatibility with Tecpro is not a must have but would be nice. Standard 3-pin XLR cabling for interconnection of stations.


Regarding my electronics skills: I have done a bit in the past fixing analog audio, dimmers, etc and am starting to get back into component based electronics, but am in no way an expert..


So my questions are:


1. Has anyone got ComClone to work correctly/reliably, for any length of time? (I'm thinking about AmDram, Church's, Performing Arts or other Schools, etc)

2. I notice that the ComClone site (www.rcrowley.com/ComClone/default.htm) has not been updated since 2004 and wondered if there were better alternative designs (ones that could utilise the headsets I'd like to use)

3. How would I, without the facilities to make PCB's, go about getting 6-8 PCB's made from his design - or could it practically be transferred to Vero board (and has anyone done this and made it work reliably?)


Many thanks for all your thoughts on this.




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I've built a psu for less than £10 all in (using boatman's audio termination), using a £5 Chinese 2a 24v psu and a £3 enclosure, supplemented with bits from the workshop for the audio termination and salvaged connectors.


Beltpacks come up on ebay for less than the component costs (I've not paid more than £40 each one), so I've purchased mine rather than built them. Headsets are from an aviation company (£20 each) with the condenser mics swapped for dynamic mics (£5 each)

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Thanks James,


I have to admit I haven't looked on eBay but will now... The aviation company cans sound interesting.. Who is the company?


I have to share this:..


In my research of comms systems I came across the the German company, Axxent who produce, I'm sure some great kit... Especially there 19" base station which include a car type cigarette lighter on the front panel ... Take a look....



I can see the logic of the 12V output, but I love the way they've included the lighter too..


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The aviation company was a flight school at Shoreham airport, a friend did his PPL there and they got in all new headsets, he knew I was after some, so we made an offer on the old ones. An element of right place right time, but an avenue worth exploring. They are better than the Canford language lab style ones, in terms of both clarity and comfort.
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I have made a comclone system and it works fine, but I have PCB making facilities at work. I had to reduce the gain of the power amp (headphone amp) part of the circuit.

Companies like www.pcbtrain.com will make you a small number of PCBs for £40 a time which may or may not be economically viable.

I just used cheap PC headsets from CPC. The aviation headsets usually have a very high impedance on the headphones and might be very quiet with the comclone circuit.

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Hi All,

I've just had a quote back from a Chinese company to make 10 ComClone PCB's... For 10x it's $24.90 USD (for the ten in total, I've checked..) + $8.98 Airmail.


At today's Google rates this works out at £2.20 each...


The company is: http://imall.iteadstudio.com/


It's worth a punt. ..


I'm now pricing up the components....


I think he most expensive single item in each pack will be the box.....


Will report back

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the comcolone circuit has a couple of faults on the drawing, but it will does work after you have done the mods


pcbs are ready made- link on his website where to buy


dont under estimate the amount of time it will take to build, and also most components come in packs of 10 along with the pcbs I think


main issue and cost is getting unit into a nice box.

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Hi All,


I've hit a problem: The Chinese PCB manufacturer tells me that he cannot open and use the ComClone Gerber files and at this point I can't move forward. I've contacted other fabricators to get quotes, but am still waiting..


The last email message reads as follows:


I confirm all is OK except the gerber file .the gerber file is indispensable for fabrication .or you can send us the source file .The format of the gerber file should be Rs-274x .I am not sure which source file you use ,the eagle or the Altium ?


I have tried emailing the Richard Crowley asking for a source file or a later revision of the Gerber file and await a response...


In the mean time can any one help me in opening the Gerber files that can be found here: http://www.rcrowley.com/comclone/BoardLayout.htm And saving them a Rs-274x format...


Could a new Gerber file be made from the image.gif from the above page -or is it not that simple...


Any advise here would be most welcome..


Best regards..



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The PCB package I use when producing Gerbers also produces a ".inf" file, which describes what the settings are on the photoplotter. The start of one of your files goes:




The first line of that sample is "how" to expose the film, ie the shape and size of plot thingy. There will be several of those in the file. In an inf file, I have something like


Photoplotter Setup
Format: ASCII, 2.3, imperial, absolute, eob=*, LZO
Notes:  All sizes in thou. D=Diam, S=Side, W=Width, H=Height

D10	DIL	W=60	H=100	FLASH
D12	SMT	W=400	H=60	FLASH



Without the inf file, the other files are useless, as although they say where to expose, they don't say what with.


Also missing is the drill file, which explains where the holes to be drilled in the pads are. Again, the drill file says "use tool number 3" and where to drill holes, but the size of "tool number 3" is specified in the .inf file.


As an aside, when one home-produces PCBs, one has a laser-printed film that has holes in the centre of pads. When manually drilling PCBs, one needs this hole to start the drill, or the drill wanders all over the copper. When the factories do it, the Gerbers dont have a hole, the super automatic drilling machine places the drill exactly where it is told to.


Thus I think the short version is that you are out of luck.

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As Brian says, there is missing information - the gerbers don't appear to contain apertures so you just get lines of constant thickness. However they are RS274-x files (that is just the Gerber format)

They might be able to do it off the GIF if you can provide scaling information.

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Easy-PC (full version) here.


It doesn't actually take long to tidy it up...




...as an idea of what needs doing. But I don't have the time to fully do it at the moment.

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