Having cheap PCB’s made part 2.

A while ago i made a popular post about having cheap PCB’s made. Some things have changed so it’s time for a new post.

BatchPCB is now OSH Park.

EuroCircuits have broadened their range of services to better cater to prototype runs and hobbyists.

Seeedstudio have a PCB prototype service.

Where there are lots of suppliers and customers shopping for the best price, sooner or later someone is going to set up a price comparison site like : PCBShopper.

The most interesting manufacturer for me is now DirtyPCBs (from the people behind Dangerous Prototypes who made the Bus Pirate), my last 3 batches were ordered there.

The first batch was a new run of the LivingColors Arduino shield.

New batch of LivingColors Arduino shields.
New batch of LivingColors Arduino shields.

The second batch was a breakout board for the NiceRF SX1276 LoRa module. Here i experimented a little with contour routing.

SX1276 module breakout board.
SX1276 module breakout board.

The third batch was an adapter board to use no-name CC2500 modules in boards designed for the Quasar QFM-TRX1-24G. The boards are small (about 20 mm x 25 mm) and the minimal size for dirtypcbs PCB’s is 100 mm x 100 mm. Here I experimented with breakout panels, putting 4 PCB’s in one design.

Adapter boards
Adapter boards

The end result worked out nicely, two things I’d do better now are :

  • Position the “mouse bites” differently so the rough edges won’t protrude, see this post.
  • Copy and fixate the silkscreen text to a new layer before copying and rotating the sub-PCB’s. If you look closely at the PCB’s you’ll see that the text didn’t rotate with the rotated copies of the traces. That’s what you want for a big PCB but not for a breakout PCB. There is a ULP for that and a nice tutorial.

 

 

 

Someone built a Modular Analog Synth

As seen on the stand of the dutch electronics forum Circuitsonline at the VERON Fleamarket : a home built modular synthesizer. IMG_20150321_111929 IMG_20150321_112105 IMG_20150321_112121 IMG_20150321_112143

It’s hard to find more information, all i have found is the  forum post (in dutch : translation here).

The setup is similar to the  Elektor Formant and Compact and the modules from Doepfer. Of course those are all inspired by the Modular Moogs.

The use of PCB as frontpanel is innovative. It’s a clever solution: PCB can be made cheaply and easily, in all sorts of colors and with text. Mikes electric stuff explains  how and why.

I hope to find more information about this machine, a kit like this needs to be heard as much as seen.

New version of the CC2500 module.

Quasar UK have changed their 2.4 GHz module.

The pinout is the same but it is now a SMD device.

CC2500 module from Quasar.
CC2500 module from Quasar.

No need to change the layout. The crystal is thu-hole so there are solder bumps on the back.

V06 shield with new CC2500 module

Notes: 1

The V06 shield with new CC2500 module

Arduino CC2500 shield versions.

The different iterations of the shields..

4 iterations of the CC2500 shield.

Notes: 5

4 iterations of the CC2500 shield.

Clockwise from top left, the V05 shield with socketed module, the original protoype, the V06 shield new with new CC2500 module and the V05 shield with external antenna.