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Found 8 results

  1. Is there a consensus on the best place to order PCB designs for smaller lots when doing BoosterPack prototyping? I've heard of www.seeedstudio.com/propagate , www.BatchPCB.com , and www.Oshpark.com so far. Are there other good ones? Best value between pricing, turnaround time, quality, etc? End goal would be some boards for personal projects and then a batch to sell on designer chosen outlets / leftovers to distribute to the community.
  2. I made a heart rate sensor, and prototyped it with the launchpad. The mcu reads BPM and displays it on an LCD. I now want to create a pcb without the launchpad. I've attached what I have so far. I'm powering everything from a 9V battery, so I have a 3.3V regulator which I will use to power the MSP430G2553. Can I just connect the the output of the regulator to the VCC pin, and connect all the other pins to the circuit as I did with the launchpad, or are there other considerations I need to account for? Also, how do I debug and edit the program while the microcontroller is on my custom pcb?
  3. Here are the files for my PCB Exposer/Printer, it is the complete package including mechanical design files. The printer itself. Example - a power control PCB for Raspberry Pi - 40 x 40 mm. Code includes driver for MCP4725 DAC, buffered serial port driver, stepper motor control and command parsing for the MSP430G2553 used as the main controller. Code and design files: PCB Exposer - controller code for MSP430G2553.zip PCB Exposer - desktop application.zip PCB Exposer - mechanical design files in Vectric format.zip PCB Exposer - schematics and PCBs.zip Desktop application is coded in C#, schematics and PCBs in KiCad format. There is some more information to be found in this tread: http://forum.43oh.com/topic/4990-what-are-you-doing-right-now/page-5 Terje
  4. This is the first PCB that I have designed and sent off to be manufactured. Yesterday I received the boards, soldered them up, and they work! This write-up outlines the process I used in the hope that it will be useful to other hobbyists and builders. There are links at the end which provide additional detail. Selecting a Project The project consists of a small board with a MSP430G2553 microcontroller and an nRF24L01 radio. I started with a radio attached with jumpers to a LaunchPad quite some time back and then built one on a proto-board. The photograph below shows a G2553 with radio powered by a buck-boost converter attached to a super capacitor and solar panel. I used it for a while with my weather station which never was quite completed. Although I could have started with that, I actually chose to start with something simpler. The goal was to focus on the PCB design process and to minimize the issues associated with a new or technically challenging project. The objectives, strategies, and constraints I decided on included the following: Inexpensive
  5. I'm sure many of you keep an eye on the EEVBlog forum and may know already, but it looks like a free version of Altium is coming. http://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/ http://circuitmaker.com/ tldr; The model is that you can rent extra features temporarily. The catch is that your board files are stored online only - no local saving. I've not used Altium but look forward to giving it a try if I have time.
  6. Are there any good autorouting programs out there for a custom PCB? It seems like this would be a relatively easy thing to implement, just a bit of linear algebra or basic calculus or optimization. the eagle software only computes half of the autorouting, and it usually takes longer to find and redo all the mistakes it makes.
  7. I've spent a lot of today experimenting with PCB etching as it's not something I've done before. To be honest the day has been pretty much a waste of time. I've CNC milled PCBs in the past without a problem but etching has been winding me up. I'm using pre-sensitised UV resist board and I've had some success. It turns out that sticking the board on top of my van under some fluorescents works better than UV exposure though. However, it's the etching that killing me. I tried a Ferric Chloride and sponge technique and it hardly etched at all. I tried some Sodium Persulfate that came with a starter kit and very little there. In desperation I heated it up by putting the tray (incl. small PCB) in the microwave. Yeah - I know, but my wife's away for the weekend so she'll won't find out. The etch was very slow and hence mostly dissolved the traces too. I'm going to try a larger tray of Ferric Chloride next. Anyway, I know there are lots of guides out there so I'm not really after any advice (unless you'd like to). I'm just venting my frustration. Does anyone else bother or do you all just get them made properly? Prices aren't great in the UK and I (normally) like doing stuff myself.
  8. So those PCBs I got made? I got antsy, and took a hit. The main chip I wanted on is the LM4970 from Texas Instruments/National, which comes in a LLP (Leadless Leadframe Package), no external legs and not even a small bit of it on the edges. I tried this dead bug style before, but the first time was a disaster, and the second time worked, but the wires for the Mid/Red led flaked off (not a bad thing actually) and the i2c lines as well (Definitely not a good thing). I could try again, with some 34awg wires, but no. Don't have a reflow oven, or toaster over I could hack (or the relays or anything), nor a hot air gun, but I did have a micro portable butane soldering iron. Cheap, at most hardware stores. The soldering iron tip can be removed, turning it into a torch, or a hot air blower. I was worried that it might blow the chips away, but I tested it on a led and a resistor, and nothing. It relies on the pressure of the butane to move the hot air, and that's very little. Of course, I didn't use any flux on the led or resistor, so it didn't work as well, but it reflowed the solder enough that it could be seen. Did brown the led some, and started bubbling the pcb edge, but not the face. Turns out I had the torch at 100%, and since there was no flux to help things along, I was just cooking the board. On to the actual chip (or how to solder with a hot air burner for newbies): I used a soldering iron to tin the board and the lm4970 Used a wick to take the excess solder off Cleaned the cooked flux off (70% alcohol, water, and a toothbrush) And refluxed the chip and board. Put the torch at 75%, and lowered it near the chip. The torch area is bigger than the chip (5mmx2mm) so the heat went around nicely (Scrapped a little of the ground fill for the center pad, since it was not exposed, something to fix on the next revision). Since I couldn't really see the solder reflow except on one 10mil trace, I waited for the flux to boil off and then some. AND IT WORKED. Chip was straight, nice and firm. Cleaned off the flux again (Not all came off, between the board and the chip, hard to reach, but it is no clean flux). Tested for shorts (I had modified the LM4970 footprint for longer traces, which I am glad, made testing easier. Will make them longer again, as well as the ground center pad for this next time). No shorts between pins. Threw on the led, bypass cap and extended header (and fixed the broken trace), plugged it in, and tested it out (With my trusty i2c explorer). Notice, the board isn't browned at all, as long as you don't keep the heat too high. Used normal radioshack 60/40 rosin core solder (not lead free iirc). And the jumper wire to fix the broken ground path. The LM4970's address jumper pad is on the backside, with just enough solder to bridge it to ground (the other pad would bridge it to V+). Lesson Learned as well, once you use Locking header footprints, non-locking is a joke. Trying to keep a header straight and level with a helping hand while soldering it on is a pain. The Adafruit (or Sparkfun) locking header is so much easier. This makes leadless soldering available to anyone with 12 bucks and a hardware store nearby (compared to 15 bucks for the breakout board for this chip) . Sure, it's not efficient for an entire board, considering the burner is about 8mm wide, but for a handful of chips for one off boards, this is simple. Next try will be a wl-csp 3mmx2mm chip, basically bga.
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