Thursday, March 01, 2007


Universal Controller Modifications

After building some of the universal controller boards I ran into a few problems with the design. Nothing was a major showstopper, but they were things that make it hard to achieve success on the first try. The problems were:

1. having to solder some components to the component side.
2. some traces were too close together and occasionally bled together.
3. the 'islands' on the component side where the component legs go through can sometimes cause problems (especially if your board gets mis-aligned.)

#1. was easy to solve. for example, with the power connectors where one leg needs to be connected to the copper side and the other needs to be on the component side, you simply solder them both to copper, run a small trace and use a via to bring the component one back up to the right side. most of these have been fixed in this way.

#2. is also pretty easy... i'm just going to make the board bigger. the supplier i use for my boards has a 5"x6" board which works well... except that on the current version of the board there is a decent amount of space not filled. i plan on enlarging this board to fix the dimensions better.

#3. there are islands created where its just a circle of copper. these are where your component legs are supposed to go through, but if there is nothing that needs to be soldered there, its just sitting there doing nothing. sometimes this could potentially cause trouble if you're mis-aligned and the island causes two pins of something to become connected. this can be solved by either finding some flag in kicad to turn it off, or a little bit of post-processing in the gimp / photoshop to remove them. they're very easy to spot.

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Zach do you know when you should have a new board layout I was going to etch my boards next weekend.
i just finished them and am running them past the more experienced team members... they should be ready to print later this week. =)
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