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Week 5 - Circuit Design

This week, I learned how to design a printed circuit board. I added spaces for components such as a processing unit, resistors, and a buttton to a schematic using Eagle. Then, I milled it out using the skills I learned two weeks ago, and soldered the components on.

Things I learned

The Process + Pics

I attended a tutorial on Thursday to learn how to use Eagle, a software by Autodesk that makes PCB design easy (or at least easier). The TA was super helpful in showing us the steps to make a basic circuit and in answering our questions. I then finished the circuit diagram in my own time later.

First, I had to download a library of components that I could use in the circuit; these were the items available to us in the inventory. Then, using the "add" button, I placed a few of the components on the board, and using "net", made connections between all the features. Adding the LED and the button was a little tricky, because I had to make sure each of them had a resistor to act as a "pull-up." Originally, this is what my schematic looked like. I decided that although this was functional, I wanted a clean circuit (even though this isn't what the PCB would look like), so I cleaned up the connections. So then, it was like this: Then, I made my actual schematic. This part was tricky, but much easier with the reference diagram we had. Without it, it would have been an actual puzzle! To convert the picture, I selected only the layer I wanted, set it to monochromatic, and 1000dpi. Once my traces were a png image, and I had an outline, I sent it over to the milling machine. Once it was done there, I soldered on the components and programmed it!. Here are what the png files look like. And here's what it looked like in the end!

Difficulties

  • routing the board with enough spaces between the lines
  • designing the base - originally it was double outline
  • programming it - the serial still doesn't work