New Pages #updates #woodworking #troubleshoot

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the website, I’ve been a little busy but I hope to include more frequent updates from here on out.

Anyways her are two new pages added to the site. The first is a woodworking project where I designed an entertainment center for a couple friends. The other is the start of a new section on how to troubleshoot and it can be found in the tutorials section. Enjoy.

Entertainment Center

Troubleshooting Connectors

Arduino TRE: Two Arduinos in one #Arduino #Opensource

The Arduino TRE is said to be available in Spring 2014. The little development board uses the 1-GHz Sitara AM335x processor along with a fully functional ATmega32u4 based arduino. From my understanding it’s a linux based system that utilizes the Arduino IDE for programming. So plug it into your monitor, hook up a keyboard and mouse and you’re well on your way to programming the unit, through the IDE, for your next project. Talk about competition for the Raspberry Pi and Beagle Bone. The only issue now is, how much will this cool piece of hardware cost. Whatever the price I’m pretty excited about it and will most likely throw down and get one.

Technical Specifications (preliminary)

Microcontroller Atmel ATmega32u4Clock
Speed 16 MHzFlash
Memory 32 KB (ATmega32u4)
SRAM 2.5 KB (ATmega32u4)
EEPROM 1 KB (ATmega32u4)
Digital I/O Pins (5V logic) 14
PWM Channels (5V logic) 7
Analog Input Channels 6 (plus 6 multiplexed on 6 digital pins)
Processor Texas Instrument Sitara AM3359AZCZ100 (ARM Cortex-A8)
Clock Speed 1 GHz
SRAM DDR3L 512 MB RAM
Networking Ethernet 10/100
USB port 1 USB 2.0 device port, 4 USB 2.0 host ports
Video HDMI (1920×1080)
Audio HDMI, stereo analog audio input and output
Digital I/O Pins (3.3V logic) 12
PWM Channels (3.3V logic) 4
MicroSD card
Support LCD expansion connector

Testing Board Designs with OSH Park #OSHPark #PCBfab

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So I created this little project to have a board that disassembled and could be soldered together to create a solid 10-6 pin ISP converter. Knowing this was a probably not going to work, I sent my design to OSHpark to test the limitations. Pictured above is start to finish of what I wanted and what I received.

In doing this I was able to determine a couple things many of which I’m sure are a no brainer to those experienced individuals. Never the less I hope it proves useful to the less experienced.

  • Carefully consider the size of drill tooling when designing your board. You’ll notice I was trying to get small gaps that were too small.
  • Also with tooling size into consideration, you will not be able to get squared off edges notched into your board. Drill bits are round and will make rounded notches on your board.
  • If you want to do something super fancy like soldering pieces of pcb together using pads at the edges of the board. Make sure the pads are big enough to get a good solid connection with both boards. Also consider the minimum distance from the edge of the board, half your pad could be drilled off.
  • Use silk screens to indicate the orientation of your connector. I found it somewhat difficult to determine how my connectors are oriented because I left this feature out. Especially when I tried using the connector another way.

I still think it was a cool idea, but when I began separating the parts and putting it together I realized it may have been an over engineered product. It would’ve been easier to leave it flat and use angled headers to make the connection.

Spark Core’s why Kickstarter projects are always delayed #sparkcore #kickstarter

Creators of Spark Core have also created a guide to help answer backer questions and aid future crowdsource campaign starters. As the title suggests the guide runs through potential curveballs that can cause manufacturing delays. One notable reason is adding features to your project suggested by your backers. While causing a delay you are ultimately delivering a better product to your supporters. There are many more other good bits of advice in their guide and the benefit to readers of this site is gearing the article to electronic hardware manufacturing. Enjoy.

 

Learn from Clyde’s Kickstarter #kickstarter #clyde

Kickstarter and other crowdsourcing sites are a great way to get your project out to other people. However there have been many crowdsourced projects were creators were unprepared or unexperienced, ultimately leading to a much harder exerience than anticipated or failure. Some creators have graciously documented their experience in hopes to lead those new to the process in a successful direction. The creators of Clyde, a customizable lamp, are one such group.

The creators of the Clyde have put together a 5 part guide discussing what they learned about getting your project to Kickstarter, manufactured and sent out to your supporters.

There are more articles like this that can be found under the Kickstarter category. Enjoy.

ZofzPCB Gerber Viewer #ZofzPCB

ZofzPCB Gerber Viewer takes the Gerber file data from your CAD/CAM files along with a little additional information and transforms it into a 3D image with colours used to differentiate nets, customisable stackup dimensions and an Autopilot function that lets you sit back and enjoy the ride through your design.

DesignSpark Mechanical: Free Edition of SpaceClaim 3D Modeller #SpaceClaim #DesignSpark

RS Components release of DesignSpark Mechanical seems like fairly big news if you’re interested in bridging the gap between PCB design and having a real product.   Eventually you’ll need to put your PCB inside something, and you’ll typically need some CAD software to do that if you want more than one instance!

There are a number of 3D design programs out there, both commercial and open source, but DesignSpark Mechanical is based on SpaceClaim, which grabbed my attention since I know one or two people using this and they’ve generally been very happy with the interface and modelling capabilities designing parts for injection molding.

DesignSpark Mechanical exports direct to .stl, so it’s wonderfully friendly for 3D printing, and it’s nice to see mechanical engineering and part design slowly being democratized the same way PCB design has become in the past 5-10 years!