Saturday, 20 December 2014

PCBs arrived from China

It's taken a few weeks for them to finally get here, and it's been a nerve-wracking couple of weeks, since the factory were unable to validate that they were sending the correct serial data out of the "data" pin, but today a large box arrived via DHL.

With over £600-worth of circuit boards, still untested fully (the factory confirmed that the hall sensors were going from high-to-low but hadn't been able to demonstrate them working with the test software I emailed over) it was with some trepidation we peeked inside.
Until the boards were actually hooked up and failed, there was still the chance that we hadn't just exchanged a load of cash for a boxful of expensive book covers!

"Sophia" from the factory remained supremely confident, and emailed to say she'd stuck a little something into the box...

We're still not exactly sure how a free bluetooth headset should instill more confidence. But it was a nice touch anyway. A visual inspection of the boards was pretty encouraging - everything looked to be in order, each pair of boards were packed individually in their own anti-static bags, and well supported in the carton with plenty of polystyrene.

All that remained was to actually test the boards!
Since alignment of the connectors is absolutely critical, these have been left off- we'll solder our three-pin connectors on them here (we're not actually decided on the final design, so far it's looking like 0.1" pitch pin header type square sockets) using a jig to ensure that every connector is in exactly the right place (even a millimetre or two of deviation would cause board sections to go out of alignment and we just couldn't have that!)

So on with the testing.....
We used exactly the same test rig as for our hand-soldered and homebrew made boards.

100% success rate! Phew. That was a real relief.
We've now got enough boards to make up either 10 individual football pitches.... or one enormous, massive skirmish battlefield!