Project Highlights

Assembling Surface-Mount PCBs In-House

Until recently, outsourcing the assembly of small quantities of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) which use surface mount components was costly. But with the purchase of new Surface-Mount Technology (SMT) equipment, multiple Engineering and Development project test boards can be prototyped in-house, including runs of 50 or even 100.

Though not fabricating the PCBs themselves, a vacuum pen allows placement of tiny SMT components onto the boards where they are held in place using a special paste. The board and components are then placed into a special oven and heated until the paste melts and permanently attaches the components to the PCB.

What used to take six hours now takes 45 minutes, and saves approximately $150 per hour. In addition, the flexibility of prototyping in-house PCBs provides a very practical tool.

Both Equipment Power Protection (EPP) and Water Monitoring have already taken advantage of the new equipment, but any project can benefit, such as the SonSet® radio. Over time, this equipment will more than pay for itself not just in time and funds but in helping to make equipment more efficient in reaching souls for God’s kingdom.

Spring Break 2017 Impact

Have you ever tried to use two dimensions to determine distances in three? This was one of the challenges facing four of 23 college students who came to SonSet Solutions for their spring break last month. The Equipment Power Protection (EPP) device was created by SonSet Solutions to record erratic power fluctuations and protect equipment from these anomalies that occur in many parts of the world. Previously drawn in two dimensions, the students created a three-dimensional model of an assembled EPP to analyze the spacing of components. This helped the team discover problem areas and implement design changes. The improved unit is now better equipped to handle a variety of dangerous power fluctuations.

“Our program introduces college students to opportunities to use their growing skill set and gifting in ministry,” explains Scott McConnell our College Liaison and organizer of our spring break programs. Seven of the spring break students applied for summer internships. Their lives have been impacted by the spring break experience… and so have ours.

The “Secret” is Out!

We often hear people say SonSet Solutions is “the best kept secret in Elkhart, Indiana.” While we are flattered with the compliment, we don’t want to be hidden. So, we are creating new opportunities to spread the word about the ministry.

Last year we began hosting informational desserts – a series of intimate gatherings with our friends and their invited guests. These times are for sharing stories about the ministry, making new friends and inspiring them to partner with SonSet Solutions.

In February, we invited some local pastors and their spouses to join us for lunch. We shared how God is using technology to advance the gospel worldwide, and how their churches can join with us through prayer.

Then in February, President/CEO David Russell embarked on a representation tour around the state of Florida. He had 19 opportunities to share about the ministry in just 10 days. Many of his contacts heard about SonSet Solutions for the first time.

We need your help to spread the news about the work God is doing through the ministry of SonSet Solutions. Please tell your friends and churches about us and come in for a tour. Together, let’s get the “secret” out!

Donation Receipting

The term “administration” can sometimes conjure up rather monotonous mental imagery of desks, paperwork, and slow-moving clocks. But when it comes to the Great Commission, there’s a notably different side not often seen.

With a team of four, our Donation Management Team processes all donations and receipts. January is an especially busy month. “This time of year is all go because we print and mail annual statements to all of our donors,” says Receipting Assistant Monique Peacock. “But it’s also very exciting because we’re reminded how many people partner with SonSet Solutions through faithful donations. God has really blessed the ministry!”

In 2016, over 6,900 financial gifts were given to SonSet Solutions for ministry and missionary support. The Lord’s provision through your generosity is amazing – not only allowing SonSet Solutions to operate, but enabling us to bless others. Our desire is to act as a pipeline between you and those whose hearts and lives are forever changed by the gospel of Christ. It’s a great blessing to see first-hand the generous hearts of those who give, eager to see God’s Kingdom grow and expand around the world.

Satellite-based Monitoring

SonSet Solutions provides satellite-based monitoring of clean water systems, but as improvements to the current monitor continue, new applications are being requested. Development is underway to adapt the monitor for an India Mark II style pump, the most widely used hand pump in the developing world.  ELWA Ministries also approached us about a seven-fold increase, up to 36, in the number of sensors that can be used simultaneously for their hospital water supply system in Liberia.

Some partners are looking beyond clean water. Renew is interested in monitoring data from their Wifi enabled LightStream® media distribution system so that they can determine the number of times audio Bibles, Jesus film clips, Christian videos, or other content has been downloaded to devices like mobile cell phones. I-TEC would like to monitor their solar energy systems, used for medical ministry. Our radio partners are also asking about monitoring their transmitters, which are often located on remote mountaintops.

As the need for remote monitoring increases, our team is committed to finding solutions to these challenging problems.

Our monitors will soon be tracking the flow of gospel media (Living Water) as well as clean water (H2O) for those who are spiritually and physically thirsty.

Machine Shop Supports Ministries

jimiceinshop

The machine shop is filled with a wide variety of shop equipment. Complex machinery such as a CNC mill and lathe facilitates production of equipment, helping us meet increased demand from partner ministries. Operated and maintained by only a handful of personnel, these machines free up time for other tasks while simultaneously boosting precision, reliability and minimizing production costs.

The machine shop enables production of specialized FM antennas, mechanical parts for in-house low-power shortwave transmitter production, and parts assembly for clean water projects. In addition, it allows us to design, create and test different versions of water pumps to produce the most cost-effective model for our clean water ministry partners. The shop even allows SonSet Solutions to fulfill unique requests such as building a high-power Radio Frequency (RF) switch for shortwave gospel broadcasting in Guam.

Manufacturing Manager Stephen Peacock notes that his greatest joy is seeing FM antennas go out to numerous ministry partners, equipping them with the tools they need to reach their people with the gospel.

Equipment Power Protection – Next Phase

Equipment Power Protection Development

Lightning strikes and unstable power can damage and destroy expensive equipment. Though commercial devices are available, their cost and ongoing maintenance makes them prohibitive, and they often lack the ability to shut down fast enough to protect even sensitive medical equipment. Whether it’s a radio station, school, or hospital, ministries need something cost effective, easy to use, and reliable for the most rudimentary conditions.

The Equipment Power Protection (EPP) device, now in the prototype stage, has been designed to fill that need. Begun in 2008, EPP development has combined electrical, mechanical and computer programming from both seasoned engineers and summer interns alike. Housed in a simple weather-proof metal box, the device can be easily mounted on a wall. Its user-friendly front panel enables simple operation and feedback, enabling operation by most anyone. Shutting down within three-hundredths of a second of erratic electrical power, its design ensures that all connected equipment is safeguarded from damage.

Now ready for field-testing in real-world conditions, three units are planned for this next phase to ensure it operates as smoothly and efficiently as its design calls for.

The Power of the Sun

Solar Trainer

Ministries are using technology to increase their effectiveness all over the world. However, technology needs power and power can be unreliable or non-existent in many developing countries. SonSet Solutions has solved this problem for our solar-powered SonSet® radio receivers, but what if we could also power a remote transmitter site or a mission hospital using energy from the sun?

SonSet Solutions is developing a training unit that will help our engineers learn about these larger-scale solar power systems. This unit will support hands-on experimentation, give practical instruction on the basics of solar energy components, and prepare our staff for making effective decisions in the selection, design and installation of alternative energy sources for our partners. The test station will be about the size of an office desk, and will include not only a solar panel and batteries, but options for testing the power output of the system using devices like a fan or a computer.

Coupled with a properly-sized battery bank, a well-designed solar power system provides predictably available, economical, and reliable electrical power, with little variation in voltage, current or frequency. A properly-installed solar power system requires very little maintenance and can last for decades, enabling our partners to focus on other aspects of ministry.

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