Sunday, February 27, 2011

Micropendous Is Awesome!

Man, I wish I did this earlier! Actually, I though of doing this before, but had a feeling it was waaay out of my league, and too expensive. In a way, it is true, but given what I know now, it would probably have saved me money and time!

Since I've decided to create my own PCB, I also decided to build the board independently of other development boards. This will reduce cost, and make the whole thing smaller. Besides, it's cool!

Thankfully, I've found this OpenHardware project Micropendous which uses same components as the Teensy. This helps a lot, because I've been developing and based my code on the Teensy, which really just is a breakout board for some cool AVR microcontrollers. However, with Micropendous I'm able to modify the hardware and layout to suit my needs. For instance, I don't have any need for breaking out all those pins on the microcontroller to header pins, because I will use them internally, hooking up the sensor with it. I can also add LEDs and place them where I want them.

This cool thing dropped in my mail the other day:

Micropendous device

I can't thank this guy enough for his useful, fast and great help! Since I'm planing selling this thing, I want to create something of quality, and since this guy really know his stuff, and have helped me developing the new PCB for this project, I know the end product will be even better than if he didn't. Big kudos to him.

I've spend many, many hours now in KiCad, and, I must say that it's a fantastic program! It's also open source and free to use. There is a bit of a learning curve, but if you use Micropendou's already created KiCad projects, you will learn a lot faster than starting from scratch. There is also a bunch of KiCad tutorials on YouTube.

Man, just look at those Micropendous boards, intense and beautiful made:

Example of PCB layout - 1 layer shown.

In 3D view.

Just look at the routing here:Bad ass routing!

You really start to respect people that creates these boards. Just look at motherboards for instance. A lot of effort goes to create them, and they usually use 8 layers! That is trippy! These boards here use 2 layers.

Anyway, I'm currently in the process designing the board where I will most likely let MyRO PCB fabricate and assemble the board! Also, I was planing to use CNC Machine Shop to create an enclosure for it! That's right, create a quality product!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

PCBs - When you want to save time

This is what dropped in my mail the other day. Thanks to the guys at, I now have this board. Yes, been busy creating this layout based on what I've done by hand before. With this, I can just add the components and get this:

And guess what, IT WORKS! Man, does that feel good! The layout made saves me huge amount of time. Because of this, I'm seriously thinking replacing the components with surface mount ones and even let it be assembled where they create the board!

Now I'm wondering, Why didn't I do this earlier! Instead of investing in rotary tools etc...

I was planing doing PCB boards later, when it was more finished, but there exists good services out there that can do this for alright prices... so, why not start doing it already... That way, I will also have a product that I can test and when it is "perfect", sell it for others interested in buying it. That is, actually develop on what I will sell directly, instead of doing it twice...