April 2014: BenchBuddEE

April 29, 2014

So, since I went through the hard work of doing all that layout and routing I figured I should follow through and have my own board fab’d to work on right along side the official board from Chris. Here they are side by side. There are pretty signficant layout differences, if you look at how the ICs are placed. The silk screen is different over the Arduino too, since I figured it might be helpful in the long run to have the connections labeled. The copper pours for the mosfets are also different, but I tried to make them the same physical area, if differently shaped.

Official board versus custom board

This is a transcript of the build log forum I maintained during the Contextual Electronics Session 1B class. I didn’t log the steps taken during the circuit design and layout portion, but since most of that was rip-up, re-drawing and time spent searching Digi-Key, you’re not missing much, I promise.

Practiced on my board first to see how my new Hakko iron would work (like a freakin’ champ) and then tried soldering down some of the 0Ω resistors to the official board…
Practice soldering surface mount resistors

Soldered the ATX Connector to both boards. It was relatively easy, all things considered, but really seemed like it took a lot of solder. As I was feeding the solder in to the junction behind my magnifier, I could easily see the massive amounts of flux bubbling brown on the iron, post and board as it boiled. A couple of times it popped and hissed and spit onto the back of my hand which wasn’t entirely pleasant.

Here’s a view of the back of the official board. The posts look almost lacquered in what I imagine has to be dried pools of flux. You can also see where I got a little careless with my iron.