I live in my own little world. But its ok, they know me there.

PCB Design

Whilst at Piercy and Company I wanted to develop a printed circuit board for the models that could be used for future models as well. I wanted to try to limit the errors from faulty cables in wrong ports and in general the chaos. So I went about designing a board first in Fritzing, then in Kicad. Kicad is actually really good because you get a 3d representation of the board as well as the 2d with some of the components. The process was quite satisfying. I had some issues with the board once fabricated, I noticed the power resistors for the large LEDs were heating up, and drawing too much current, I ended up bypassing the circuit for these with an LDD-700LW 700ma led driver by mean well. I also realised my stupidity when I set the signal pins for 4 of the 6 leds to be outside of the range of 2-13 which meant I could only fade up and down 2 of them. So i had to redirect the wires to an unused appropriate pin with a jumper cable.

The board is capable of running 6 large cabinet led lights, 3 smoke humidifiers, 1 x60 neopixel RGBW strip, 5 servos, a direct connection to two slave boards, in this case i used one slave connection to a Touchboard by BareConductive for the sound output. The board also has 4 limit switches which I did not end up using but they could be used with the linear gear rack servos.

I did not know much about this process when I started and Stefan Dzisiewski-Smith, Mike Harrison and Dominik Zisch helped me out whenever I had problems and helped sanity check my work when I was worried about spending £900 on 5 assembled boards. It was a very rewarding process simplifying all the wires and it also made debugging a lot easier.

If you would like to see more about the software I wrote to control all the models on the main Experiments page please visit my github and see my instagram for more up to date experiments.

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