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Old 01-25-2010, 02:32 AM   #1
Yuri_Rage
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Default Yuri's first custom printed circuit board (an Arduino shield)

I wanted a compact solution to the breadboarded rat's nest that currently controls my rig (sorry, it was intentionally left out of the pictures in other threads). After seeing that Sparkfun's BatchPCB service was pretty cheap, I thought I'd try my hand at PCB design. I used the freeware version of Eagle and a template from Lady Ada. I ordered two Arduino shields and two accelerometer breakout boards (I got some sample accelerometer chips and want to see how they work). The designs were submitted on New Year's Day, and 3 weeks later, I received four of each board. BatchPCB sends extras if they are forced to run extra panels due to flaws. Sweet!

The good news is that the shields fit perfectly, and they all test good for continuity. The bad news is that my circuit design was slightly flawed. It's nothing that can't be overcome with a few solder bridges (visible on pins 1 and 2 of the SO-8 ICs) and a little creativity. My biggest mistake was isolating some of the ground plane pour from an actual connection to ground. I also wish that I'd provided some headers for PWM output. I've likely violated some design rules since I have no formal training in PCB design. Silly mistakes notwithstanding, I'm very happy with the results. I can read four separate thermocouples using SPI, and I have simple connections for all of the analog pins and a few digital pins.

Here's a pic of the results. I kept a few prototyping features on the board just in case I want to change the configuration later. A MAX6675 chip is missing - one of them tested bad.

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:54 AM   #2
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Pretty sweet Yuri! Way over my head, but nevertheless pretty freakin' sweet.

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:57 AM   #3
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looks great!! Yuri how do you like those max6675's? I just put in an order for four of them.

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:06 AM   #4
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I think I like them a lot! As with any thermocouple system, they are highly susceptible to noise. I'm hoping that this board helps in that regard. They are slightly cheaper and theoretically more accurate than the popular AD595 chips. On Arduino, you will likely need to bit-bang the SPI interface if you want to use more than one MAX6675 on the same SPI bus (or delve into some really low level code that I have yet to get working correctly).

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:06 AM   #5
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Very nice. I'm one of those guys that would probably never give up wirewrapping. I once wirewrapped a FPGA with like 200 pins on it.

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:07 AM   #6
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What did it cost you to get the boards manufactured?

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:15 AM   #7
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The total order cost (two Arduino shields, and two 1.5"x1" breakout boards, shipping included) was $52. Since I lucked out and got twice what I ordered, the cost per board was just over $12. In comparison, if I used a bigger manufacturer, the min order would've been roughly $100 for 10 identical boards. Admittedly, part of the reason I did this was simply curiosity.

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:25 AM   #8
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Sweet. I design circuits for a living and support PCB designers through layout. I love it! I'm glad to see you had some fun and that they work as intended.

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage View Post
Admittedly, part of the reason I did this was simply curiosity.
Yeah, I understand that. The reason I asked the price is that you might have found a source to make these things dirt cheap without buying in bulk. If I could just send a design away and get a board back for ten bucks, I'd probably do it. Instead, I'll likely just wire wrap my boards since they will probably be one-of-a-kind. We did circuit board design and manufacturing in college so I have no curiosity there.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:41 AM   #10
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May be no one here wants to spend the time processing their own circuit boards, but here's a great link to a couple of videos that takes you from laying out the circuits to be laser copied to transferring the image to bare copper boards and then washing away everything but the traces with a home-made solution of hydrogen peroxide and muriatic acid. The coolest thing about the solution he makes is that it is cheap and re-usable.

http://www.getlofi.com/?p=1997

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