Sunday, December 30, 2007

Led Scrolly

The module without the LED matrix installedThis has more wires than normal due to the hardware bugs in the PCB
I've been playing with electronics stuff again. Just before stopping for the Christmas break, Russ was moaning that I still hadn't finished my big scrolly message board, so I thought I'd have a crack at making a real life board using some some printable solder mask I got a while back. It took me a while to get things right (and I had to go and buy a cheap disposable Iron for it too), and the nerve to break out the chemical solution for the copper board, but once all that was done, I mananed to get a reasonable 1st attempt at a board.

The final single sided PCB, with only 8 wire jumpsIt's taken a little bit of time to get it all working, as I'd made a right hash of some of it, so I had to cut some tracks and solder in wires to bypass mistakes. However, its working now, so in theory, I could now think about sending off to get real boards made!

I still need to work on the master PIC side, along with the PC comms. The idea is I'd use a TCP/IP or UDP interface (perhaps even wireless) and allow simple bitmaps to be sent. The mastr pic would then send this to the correct module.

I do have the basics working just not the PC comms side. The image on the right is the finished (one sided) PCB, and as you can see it still has quite a few jumpre wires. I dont want to make double sided boards at home, way too hard. If I ever get my milling machine, then I might give that a go - in fact I simply expect that to work.

Still, its nice seeing the actual PCB in all its glory, and I may end up making a board that can hold 3 modules just to see what it looks like!

One thing I would say, is that with the software Im using just now, it really doesn't route very well, and I do end up putting a lot in by hand. It could just be because this is a cheap bit of software.... I dont know.

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