PCB Prototype, Anodized Aluminum Enclosure

September 24, 2009

Within the last week, quite a few things have happened.  As I said, I was going to try a new manufacturer to get the cases done in aluminum and colored black.  We have negotiated pricing and even a free sample, thankfully.  I made changes to my 3d model to make sure everything will fit just like it should.

If you were reading before, I also mentioned that I would order a batch of circuit boards earlier on in the month.  Well, I lied.  Accidentally!  I found a place that got me a prototype done for $25.00 shipped to Canada via UPS.  That’s quite the deal.  Unfortunately, I only get one board, but that should be all I need realistically to determine whether or not the thing will work!

I get really excited to get packages in the mail, and every so often I go on buying sprees so that I’ll get a whole bunch of cool things at once!  UPS is really letting me down though.  They have switched my delivery date about 4 times now between yesterday and today, and currently I’m in an exception:  “POWER OF ATTORNEY DOCUMENTATION IS MISSING AND IS REQUIRED FOR CLEARANCE”.  Upon calling, I need to assign a broker and blah blah.  The charges, as the lady described them to me, are $7 for brokerage, $4.50 for C.O.D. and then $5.50 minimum for taxes.  I explained that there would be no taxes, and by supplying a credit card number I didn’t have to pay the COD.  So I have to pay an extra $7 for this prototype, putting the total to about $35 CAD, which really isn’t all that bad.

Anyway, that should be delivered tomorrow and immediately after I will be sending it to the manufacturer to make sure that it fits in the enclosure because if it doesn’t, he can modify the enclosure on the spot to make it.

I have also put together some basic firmware, just some simple tests to make sure the board is working.  I want to put together a test-bed sort of deal to make sure that each one works before I ship it, but unfortunately that costs quite a bit of money — overhead that customers will not want to have to pay for!  Instead, I’ll write a simple software test to inject signals and make sure that they come out properly.

As of now, the bootloader should be ready.  The initial firmware test is also ready.  All it will do is blink the USB status LED for each stage of the USB enumeration stage.  If that works, then we get USB connectivity, and then I can run the rest of my tests by passing commands through the computer!

Wish me luck!

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