Update: Third Rev Prototype


In my last post I discussed some of the minor woes sometimes faced by designers and makers when maturing their prototypes.  As I had mentioned previously, the third rev of our PCB’s were ordered over a week ago from EasyEDA and arrived 8 days later, which is amazingly fast by the way, given there was no ‘rush’ service applied to the order and these aren’t your typical small-ish 2-layer PCB’s.  It’s actually 4-layers and measures about 5-1/2 inches square.

The bare PCB’s arrived last week on Monday, and since we aren’t yet to the point of paying prime money on hiring a CM (contract manufacturer) to populate PCB assemblies, we have opted to only populate onesy/twosy boards at a time for testing and proving out the design (and maybe working out a few bugs too :)).  While we teamed together to do this on our own for the first proto, we decided our time was much better spent forging ahead with design improvements, writing the software, etc.  So, on the second and now the third prototype we have contracted this service to an individual who is quite good at hand-stuffing PCB assemblies.  This does result in a lower overall cost and faster turn compared to hiring a CM for prototyping in quantities of less than 10. However, quality is slightly lower due to hand vs machine component placement.  Reflow is still done in one shot using a benchtop style reflow oven with programmable reflow profiles.

As of this Monday our two prototype assemblies of Rev 3 are completed and ready to begin more software testing.  We anticipate some real life application demos will be forthcoming in the near future.  Like always, stay tuned for more updates…

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