I have 30 boards packed and ready to ship just in time for Black Friday! This is for US customers only… I have 50 boards in route to an off-shore distributor to handle international shipping. They will be ready in about 2 weeks. If you really want a kit and you live outside the US, you can still get a kit, but the shipping is pretty crazy – $20-30
Click Here to go to the official page for the boards.
And here is the intro video:
Okay, so most of you know that I have been reflowing my new ultimate programmer board using my home made Arduino Controlled Reflow Oven P1 P2. The oven worked out great! I’ve probably reflowed over 100 boards through it now. So, I just moved into a new place last week, and needed to make a new batch of boards. The Reflow Oven’s control board is powered via a USB cable, so I picked up one of the USB AC adapters I had lying around and started reflowing. I’ve cycled this oven so many times now, that I was confident enough to leave the room and answer a few emails. I started to smell something funny, but this didn’t worry me too much, since the reflow process does generate a little bit of smoke. As I approached my
spare bedroom laboratory, I was hit with a wall of white smoke! What the in world was this? EMERGENCY MODE!! The reflow oven was pouring out white smoke, but I didn’t see any open flames, so I quickly unplugged the reflow oven and threw it outside. I’m pretty sure the first few full breaths I inhaled of this stuff knocked a couple years off my life span… Once the source of the smoke was isolated, I wanted to clear my place out of all the smoke. I turned every fan in the house on and opened all the windows. How did this happen? This is not a complicated regulator. There’s no special PID algorithm in place that could cause the control loop to become unstable. This is simple ON/OFF temperature control.
First, let’s look at the aftermath:
Here we have 3 programmer boards completely toasted. Who knows what the temperature got up to in there… maybe 300C?
Here’s a close up of the stinky board:
Those little red parts are the LEDs! You can see the FT232RL part completely melted over the leads.
The first thing I did after cleaning up was plug the oven back in… Well, not the AC line, but the USB power. Maybe the Solid state switch got stuck? Maybe it overheated and failed in a shorted condition? Let’s see…
This was weird; the LCD display was showing random temperature readings from the MAX6675 K-type thermocouple amplifier? I was seeing sporadic readings of -40 to 0 to 400?? My first thought was maybe the thermocouple got damaged some how. I opened and closed the lid so many times on the thermocouple cable that maybe it the conductors snapped inside the insulation? I replaced the probe, and what did I see? The same goofy readings! Then I started to think… what was different here? Remember the random USB AC adapter I used for the 5V source? That was definitely not the same adapter I used at my last place for the first hundred boards. I swapped it out and bingo! The correct stable temperature was displayed.
Here’s the two adapters:
Can you guess which is the bad one? It’s the one on the right… the one that is not a switch mode power supply, the one that has no agency markings!
Here’s a shot of what the bad one was giving me at room temp: (in C)
And the good supply:
So how did I guess that it could be power supply related? Well, the MAX6675 requires a strong 5V rail for it’s precise analog measurements. I can’t imagine how crappy that voltage must look like on a scope. I imagine there’s a lot of ripple and high frequency content. Maybe I’ll take this a step further and post those plots once I get over the lead poisoning I’m enduring at the moment
Moral of this story is that an over temperature device is always a good idea!! Keep it on a separate circuit completely. I will be adding a mechanical relay in series with the AC line and a simple OT detector. Oh, and I’ll be reflowing boards outside from now on. What happened here can be explained easily. The reflow profile is programmed by hitting temperature set -points throughout the process. It never hit any of the set points… so the arduino asked for more heat. The MAX6675 must have been giving really low readings the whole time. A more robust filter on the 5V to the MAX6675 could have prevented this as well, but there’s not a whole lot you can do when it’s really bad, which I’m sure it is. That’s it for now… I need to go drain a few cans of febreeze into my place.
Wow, the Arduino Controlled Reflow Oven worked out great for reflowing the programmer boards! It took about 10 boards or so to get my technique mastered. I’ll still have those first-run boards available… they’re just a little messy from the rework job. Let me know what you think!
Here’s my version of ICT “In Circuit Test”. I basically just make sure every board generates 3.3V, 5V, and can echo data back to the computer. Of course I also check that the LED’s are working correctly.
Whelp, here it is! Everything you see in the picture is what comes with the Ultimate Arduino Prototype Board. This is a fully functional Arduino Clone with a ton of added features. No, the protoboard does not support shields, but there are work -arounds, which I will discuss in a future video.
Let’s take a closer look. Remember, these are still alpha boards, meaning that everything isn’t perfect. The assembly was a piece of cake, but there were a few minor issues. These will be fixed prior to the next release of the board:
- Accidentally ordered surface mount crystals, this isn’t a big deal since the leads are just flattened. Because this is my screw-up, all alpha boards will ship the crystal soldered to the board. I’m doing this because the leads have to be carefully straightened out. I don’t want you to accidentally over bend the leads and having them break off. I’ve mastered the skill, so I’ll handle it.
- The 10k potentiometer footprint was much larger than I thought. The pot actually collides with other components(R5 and R6). This isn’t a big deal; you just need to make sure R5 and R6 are soldered before the pot. The pot will stand off the board slightly, but it still works perfectly fine.
Everything else turned out great! There is only one more part holding everything up!!
If you really really want one of these hit me up, and I might be able send you an early release.
The first prototype board is done! Here is how you’ll get it from me. Just a little bit longer… I’m still waiting on a few more parts to show up. Don’t forget to send me an email if you’re interested. See the about/contact page for details.
Just finished Reflowing 7 Ultimate Arduino Programmer Boards. They turned out pretty good, except for a few minor issues. I had to change the critical temperature to 180-190C and extend the soak time at the critical temperature. I had to bake these boards twice, so the solder joints look dull. See my Reflow Oven Videos for more information P1 P2 Also, I accidentally placed the LEDs backwards! If you’re one of the lucky people who gets one of the first boards, then I apologize for the messy re-work job. The bottom of these 1206 LEDs have a ‘T’ shape. The top of the T is the anode, and the bottom is the Cathode. It’s like an arrow pointing to the cathode. The other issue I had was having too much solder paste on the fine pitch SSOP pads for the FT232RL. This resulted in solder bridges between leads, which I had to then solder wick away. Overall, I’m really happy with the boards. The only thing that bothers me is the messy flux that’s left behind after the reflow process. Maybe I’ll add a flux-off stage to the process… probably not on these alpha boards though. I’m still waiting on parts!! Hopefully they’ll be in soon, so I can finish the kits.
About half the parts are here for the Ultimate Arduino Prototype and Programmer boards. I can’t believe how great everything is turning out. Should be available soon! Click the about/contact tab to let me know that you’re interested in the alpha 2 build. Sorry if I don’t respond right away to YouTube comments and/or emails. Things are a bit crazy right now! You are going to love these kits!
Just received the PCB’s for the ultimate programmer board! The matte black finish is stunning. I can’t wait to see how the prototype board turns out. Be sure to shoot me an email if you want in on the alpha 2 build. kevin (aaat) kevindarrah.com
Click Here to see the entire photo library!
This project was featured on a TV show called “Right this Minute” on March 18 2013
Click HERE to see the clip on their site!
Get the Eagle Project HERE!
Get the PDF Schematic HERE!The schematic pdf is Huge! Probably easier to just download Eagle to view the files.
Get the PinOut Helper HERE!
rev 7 HERE!
rev 11 HERE!
rev 12 HERE!
Rev 7 – First released code. This is what you see running in the demo video, and all the tutorial videos
Rev 11 – Fixed a bug in the Bit Angle Modulation, See the video How it Really Works for more information
Rev 12 – Fixed the Bitwise Operation to set pins LOW. I was doing it PORTX &= 0<<pinNumber, it should be PORTX &= ~(1<<pinNumber) The wrong way was ANDing every pin in the port with 0, where is the new way ANDs only the pin you want to turn OFF with 0 and the rest with 1.
Parts List to build an Arduino Controlled 8x8x8 RGB LED Cube
x512 RGB LEDs – I bought these from ebay.com from this link
- In case that link is dead, here is a screen shot from the page when I bought them:
The Power Supply – I bought this one; its a 120VAC to 5VDC@10A. I wish I would have went a little bigger. The power supply kind of ‘whines’ as you light all of the LEDs up at once. Probably a 15-20Amp supply would have been better
x10 Proto Boards – On this page I always get the 777, which I think is the best out there!
x200 NPN 2N3904 Transistors – On this page
x401 1kOhm 1/4W resistors – On this page -One extra to pull up the Blank Pin, see the theory video for more info
x328 100Ohm 1/4W resistors – On this page
x8 P-Channel MOSFETs IRF9Z34N – On this page
x25 Shift Registers 74HC595 – On this page
x1 10kOhm Resistor- On this page - For the arduino reset pull up
x30 (at least) 0.01uF capacitors – On this page - Put one of these on VCC to Ground for every IC – keep close to the power pin, also one in series with DTR pin on arduino standalone circuit from DTR to reset, pin-mapping cheat-cheat here
x1 16MHz crystal – On this page - I always get the low profile version
x2 22pF capacitors - On this page - Used on the crystal pins to ground for the arduino standalone
- I would also sprinkle in a few big capacitors on the supply rails near the Sources of the P-Channel MOSFETs. I used a couple 100uF electrolytic caps.
- The wire I used was 22AWG solid insulated wire from RadioShack. If I did it again, I would have searched for bare wire instead to save on all the stripping.
Taking a look back at how I got here…
It’s kind of interesting to see what I said I was going to do versus what I actually built!