Recent hardware changes

The Public Radio has moved a little slowly over the past few months. Zach has been busy, and I've got too much on my plate, and scheduling has been tricky. But we *have* made progress, and I'm here to tell you about it.

After the last hardware round, we spent an hour and developed a feature wishlist. It included:

  • No vias under battery clips
  • Larger thru hole pads & holes
  • Reverse polarity protection on the battery line
  • Schematic file is legible
  • Values on all parts are accurate
  • Redraw FM IC package to reflect accurate dimensions
  • Smaller lid ground wire hole
  • Speaker wires don't cross
  • Orient all SMT parts in the same direction
  • Reorient ESD
  • Add serial number & tuning frequency markings
  • BOM shows manufacturer part number only

All of these (plus a few more technical ones - see our GitHub repository for the current designs) have been completed. A few stragglers have yet to be implemented:

  • Boards have white solder mask & black legend
  • Schematic is 100% consistent with BOM

I like the way the new design looks. Eagle is *not* my favorite piece of design software, but board layout is fun - and I'm really proud of our current design.

On Sunday evening, we ordered a batch of 10 of these from Advanced Circuits. Advanced is expensive, but they turn the parts around quickly; ours should ship today. Meanwhile, our custom antennas departed (two or three weeks late, but whatever) Hong Kong yesterday. With any luck, the antennas will show up within a day or two of the boards - giving us time to assemble a few PCBs and then quickly put the radios into service. 

In the meantime, Zach hacked an awesome way to tune the radios using an Arduino. It should save us a lot of time, and will be *key* when we're shipping these things across the country.

So. Movement. Happening. 

Spencer Wright

Spencer Wright is a design engineer, product manager, and strategist living in New York City.