Week 3
Electronics Production

Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Milling

It seemed like a straighforward, 10-minute job: Taping the board, screwing in the end mills, and calculating the origin coordinates. NOT SO. Three circuit boards and 1.5 hours later, I finally had a product on which to solder the electrical components.

Lessons learned:

Soldering Board Components

After creating the PCB, I soldered the electrical components. I felt like a first-grader trying to control an outpour of Elmer's glue. It was challenging to get the right amount of solder onto the trace and component without frying the board and/or creating all those hershey kisses - mounds of solder that would need to be removed or flattened with a soldering braid.

Lessons Learned:

Programming the PCB

With the components soldered, I proceeded to program the PCB, which would result in a device that can program other devices. However, I encountered an error when entering the "Make Fuse" command: "Double check connections". So, I re-examined my board, finding that I failed to solder some of the components to the traces. I realized that even if the component was securely fastened to the board, with one or two ends, all of the pins on a component needed to be connected to the traces with solder in order to create an electrical connection. I re-soldered the components that I had missed, but kept generating the same error. So, I'm trouble-shooting again.