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Good Quality Boards from PCBWay

Recently I received boards for a sensor array from PCBWay. This boards were made in a very good quality considering the low price level. I really like the green solder mask they use, it creates a nice optical effect shifting the green colour towards yellow somehow. The solder mask produces a very nice contrast between […]

PCBite Kit 2.0 from Sensepeek Arrived

Last week the new PCBite Kit 2.0 from Sensepeek arrived. The new kit comes with the great PCBite holder from the previous version, which are very useful to fasten a PCB for soldering, rework or analysis. New to this kit are the handy probes, which also can be magnetically attached to the mirror board.

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The mirror finish of the board let you keep the bottom side of the board in sight while you are working on the top side. It is a very useful feature, like in the example shown in my photos where I analyse the communication of the snow flake board and can see the LEDs on the bottom side.

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The probes have a nice weight and come with a very precise gold needle tip. You can easily place them on even the finest pin or trace. The tip contains a spring like a pogo pin, therefore it keeps an equal amount of pressure on the board and does not move if there are vibrations or if you carefully move the board around.

With each probe, there is also a different needle with a crown tip. This alternative tip is more like a really tiny fork to be placed on small wires and pins. Continue Reading

Open Position for Step-Up Converter

For a current project I need a step-up converter to get 5 volts from 2.5V-5.5V input. The output of this converter is used to power sensors which drive motors and small heat elements from this source. The average consumed current is 160mA with a peek at 320mA.

In the photo you can see the latest Boldport project with a test setup for the XC9142B50DMR-G from Torex Semiconductor. I made the mistake and just relied on the specifications stated on the website from Mouser:

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This looks really good: 500mA output current… So I did a quick test. Obviously the magic smoke in the photo is a composition, but this is what actually happened somewhere at a constant ~250mA load with 5V input. Continue Reading

Adafruit PCB Coaster Arrived

Today I got the PCB coaster from Adafruit. They look so much better in real than on the photos in the shop. The coasters are made from 2.4mm FR4 PCB material. There is a transparent solder mask on the top to protect the copper and gold elements. The frame around the image is black silkscreen. I […]

Snow Flake Assembly Video

Here a quick video of the snow flake assembly. It shows the assembly of the LED side of the panel using hot air. The assembly went without big problems, except there was a little bit excess solder on the pads. Therefore the LEDs do not lay perfectly flat on the board.

Perfect Snow Flake Panels from Eurocircuits

Eurocircuits delivered some perfect panels for the snow flake board. Each panel has five snow flake boards on it. This was an impressive good job from from Eurocircuits. There are a quite number of challenges to produce panels in this outstanding quality: The width of the small decorative lines on the front is just 0.15mm. […]

Plant Watering Sensor Files

There was a long delay with no update about my projects. The reason for this is, I focused on other non electronic related projects. I promised to publish all files and information about the plant watering sensor project in August, and here are all the files.

First some Important Notes

Even with these files, it is a very advanced project to do. To produce the PCB, you need a board house which is used to precise and high quality PCBs, like Eurocircuits. Also all pads are prepared to reflow soldering, and not hand soldering. It may be possible to solder the resistors in place using a regular solder iron, but it will be hard to do.

Continue Reading

Plastic Cup Meltdown – Working with Epoxy

Currently I am working on the coating for the foot part of the plant watering sensor. Here I already tried a wide range of techniques and materials. At the moment, epoxy seems the perfect material choice – so I am trying different resins and hardeners to get the best results. Some hardeners are very reactive […]

Eurocircuits Delivered Astonishing Perfect Panels

I ordered a single panel as a test for the production version of the plant watering sensor and I got astonishing perfect panels from Eurocircuits. Even I only ordered just one, I got three perfect panels in gold. Thank you very much Eurocircuits! As you can see from the photos, the quality of the panels […]

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