It works!!!

Even though I had to work on a Saturday, I did find time to solder a speaker, switch, the microphone, the LED, and a connection for the battery. As it turns out, the board worked the very first time I tried!! Even the pads I hacked together to use the playback button it comes with worked great! YAY!! Working V2 board

Now I need to get it mounted in the easy button and we’re all good!

Board population

It’s been a few days since I got the new boards but I finally got a chance to populate my boards. The solder paste I’m using is supposed to work for 6 months without refrigeration. It’s now been just over a year (ordered Feb. 11th of last year as it turns out), so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping it works:

Easy Board V2 paste

As it turns out, it still works fine! And just because I didn’t document in my previous experiments with the paste, I’ll document it here. The spec for this paste says it melts at 183° C. So, I started the heat gun at 150° C for a couple of minutes to warm the board. Then every 30 seconds, I increased the temp by 10°. Once I hit 190, the solder melted quickly. I did have to go over some areas repeatedly to make sure everything got melted at once, but it all worked fine and the board looks like it worked well!

Board V2 soldered


Unfortunately, now I have to deal with the switches, speaker, mic, and battery before I can test. Looks like it will be a few more days… So far so good though!

New board arrived!!

It took a full two weeks this time, thanks to President’s Day, but the easy board V2 finally arrived!! Unfortunately, I’m quite busy at work and won’t be able to test it right away, but a quick fit test shows that it should work as long as the electronics are okay:

2014-02-23 11.40.27

Board fixed

While looking at the board today, I realized that it wasn’t just some holes that didn’t get drilled, it was ALL of them that weren’t mounting holes. So, none of my vias worked, so I can’t use this board to do testing of the actual circuit. 🙁

But, I did have time to fix all the problems I know about. I fixed the shape to cut off the edges so it should fit in the board. I increased the track size for the power rails because those seemed way too small to me. And I figured out how to combine the PTH and NPTH drill files into a single file so OSH Park can use it properly. Now that I understand better what I’m looking at, this board looks correct to me:


At least I can see all the drill holes now. Fortunately I got it ordered in time for tomorrow’s panel. Hopefully that one will get manufactured according to schedule and I’ll get the fixed board back quickly!

Board has arrived!!!!

It’s been only 9 days since I ordered boards, 4 of which were weekend days and yet I already have them in my hands!

Easy Board V1


But, it turns out there are a few problems with them. The speaker, mic, battery, and switch were all supposed to be through hole and I thought they looked correct on the 3D view of KiCad, but ended up being SMD pads. I can make this work for testing, but it’s certainly not ideal. I’ll have to go back and look to see what went wrong.

The second problem is a little bigger. I took the shortcut of not rounding the edges of the board. Looks like that was a mistake as the board doesn’t quite fit in the button:

Bad Fitting BoardIt isn’t entirely clear from that, but the edge of the board are catching on the button, so I can’t press it all the way down. For reference, here’s what the board that came with the button looks like:

Original Easy BoardWith those corners cut off, the board slides all the way down. Oh well–I can still use these boards to make sure the circuit works. I’ve already checked to make sure that the button that came with mounts properly. I’ll test to make sure that the pads I drew for it works properly. And I can see that the mounting holes are in the correct place:

Mounted Easy V1And now I know that when I order version 2 of the boards, they’ll show up FAST! I’m still just amazed that OSH Park got me these boards as fast as they did for under $15 for the three of them!




Board shipped!

Based on OSH Park’s estimates when I submitted my order, I didn’t expect the board to be back from fab until this coming Thursday. But while I was picking up lunch today, I got email that the panel my board is on is already back and that, within 48 hours, they would cut my board out and get it shipped.

Then, before I even finished eating my lunch, I got another email from them saying my board has already been shipped and gave me a tracking number that says it’ll be here on Monday!!! This is way faster than I expected!! Pretty impressive for as inexpensive as they are!

Board sent to fab!

Just got email from OSH Park that today’s board did get filled and has been sent to fab. The email also mentions that my panel contains 98 different orders for a total of 438 boards! They say my boards should be back from fab on the 6th. I hope shipping is fast after that!

Easy Board Ordered

This morning I was able to get the easy button board all finished and ordered from OSH Park. I got a little lazy and didn’t try rounding the sides of the board. It looks like the rectangular board should work fine. I’ll find out soon whether or not that was a mistake… Three copies of this board for under $15!

Easy PCB

Almost right away, I got an email saying that my board has been assigned to the panel for the 27th. As long as they get enough orders this weekend, my board should be manufactured Monday!

Oh–and also another potential mistake is that I didn’t actually test this circuit before ordering it. I did pretty much just copy the sample from the datasheet, so it should work, but I didn’t actually test it to make sure. Part of it is laziness since the chip comes in an SOIC-16 package only and I didn’t feel like mounting one to a breakout board to breadboard it. I hope this all works…

Sculpteo Shipping FAIL

The package from Sculpteo finally arrived today and now I see what took so long:

Stamp on my package from Sculpteo

Stamp on my package from Sculpteo

That’s right–despite having an office in San Francisco, they printed my piece in France and shipping it from there! Obviously this is not an option for faster shipping than Shapeways. It is cool to see the completed piece just as I designed it though:

Sculpteo Printed Piece

But, it looks like I’m still trying to find a reasonable way to get things printed fast and cheap.