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Creating a Bodacious Bensonfruit Arduino Mega Proto Screwshield PCB

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khubbard0
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check out CopperConnection
khubbard0   1/8/2014 10:16:23 AM
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Max - I suggest you check out CopperConnection from robotroom.com .

Its a PCB drawing tool like ExpressPCB but exports Gerbers and Excellon files straight to OSHPark.

Small 1" 2-layer PCBs can be fabbed for $5, 4-layer for $10. Very inexpensive and easy way to fab simple shield PCBs. No Eagle size limits.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: check out CopperConnection
Max The Magnificent   1/8/2014 10:55:28 AM
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@khubbard0: I suggest you check out CopperConnection from robotroom.com


Cool Beans -- thanks for the suggestion.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: check out CopperConnection
Caleb Kraft   1/8/2014 11:41:03 AM
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I have heard good things about these folks as well.

Duane Benson
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Re: check out CopperConnection
Duane Benson   1/8/2014 2:34:35 PM
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Khubbard

It looks like Copper Connection is just a layout tool. Is that correct? I'll take a look at it for this, but in general, I think I'd need the schematic capture integrated.

khubbard0
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Re: check out CopperConnection
khubbard0   1/8/2014 3:02:32 PM
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Duane - Yes, it is a layout tool ( manual drawing ). Similar to ExpressPCB's drawing tool. Great for simple breakout boards. I recommend the Eagle path for anything beyond that ( which requires schematics and autorouting ).  If you are willing to wait on OSH-Park, its a quick (effort wise ) and inexpensive ( $5-$10 ) path to making small interconnect adapter boards, etc that might otherwise be perf board or flying wires.

-Kevin

Aeroengineer
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Re: check out CopperConnection
Aeroengineer   1/26/2014 12:00:07 PM
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There are a few in the list that I posted a while back about PCB tools that allow for commercial usage of their free/low cost versions.  I can think of at least two that can be had for free or under $50 that are without limitation of layers or pins.  I am currently reviewing one of them, and the other, I will be playing with here soon.

David Ashton
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Screwshield
David Ashton   1/8/2014 3:14:38 PM
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@Max, Duane

Were I doing this, I'd have a jumper next to each header / Screw terminal that you could select (with one of those little black jumpers that fit over pins).  More PCB space, but much easier to use.   I did a PCB graphic but I cannot get it into my post, I'll email it to you Max.

 



 



 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Screwshield
Max The Magnificent   1/8/2014 3:43:54 PM
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@David: I did a PCB graphic but I cannot get it into my post, I'll email it to you Max.

I await your email with dread anticipation, but .... you may have to wait longer than usual for a response, as explained in my blog Shut Down Your Email & Reduce Your Stress

 

Duane Benson
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Re: Screwshield
Duane Benson   1/8/2014 3:55:45 PM
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David - I thought about doing that, but didn't want to add the additional board space. If I were to go that route,  I'd probably end up with a block of jumpers that would all all permutations of connection.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Screwshield
Max The Magnificent   1/8/2014 4:11:44 PM
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@David @Duane: As I recall we did discuss doing something like this -- but the header pin connectors protrude above and below the board (so as to allow for the stacking of shields), which means we need to have access to both the terminal pins AND the screw-block pins INSIDE of the header pin connectors so that we can connect them to the prototyping area...

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/8/2014 4:23:06 PM
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@Max, Duane yeah. it is a tradeoff.  Given that most PCB terminals are 0.2 inch spacing, and the header pins are 0.1 inch, you could maybe put the jumpers between the header and the terminal bolocks, and stagger them so they don't take up too much space, but the board would then be that much wider.   ANd I suppose that once you have wired your jumpers, you're unlikely to want to change them very often.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Screwshield
Max The Magnificent   1/8/2014 4:50:57 PM
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@David: Given that most PCB terminals are 0.2 inch spacing, and the header pins are 0.1 inch...

In fact the screw-terminal blocks we are using have a 0.1 inch pin pitch, so they are one-for-one with the header pins...

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/8/2014 5:10:33 PM
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@Max - "In fact the screw-terminal blocks we are using have a 0.1 inch pin pitch"

Niiiicce....I should have noticed that from the photo.  I have never seen any less than 0.2".   Very handy.....

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Screwshield
Max The Magnificent   1/8/2014 5:12:56 PM
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@David: I have never seen any less than 0.2".   Very handy.....

We don't allow them to be sent to Australia -- we pretend 0.2" is the smallest you can get, then we laugh our socks off as we watch you trying to design using the 0.2" versions LOL

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/8/2014 5:17:11 PM
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@Max..."We don't allow them to be sent to Australia"

Well they wouldn't work here anyway - we'd have to fit them to the underside of the boards because we're in the southern hemisphere :-)

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Screwshield
Max The Magnificent   1/9/2014 11:22:15 AM
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@David: ...we'd have to fit them to the underside of the boards because we're in the southern hemisphere :-)

You could stand on your head whilst soldering them in...

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/9/2014 2:37:47 PM
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@Max...you'd be surprised how often I end up doing that.  @#$%^& American components.... :-)

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Screwshield
Max The Magnificent   1/9/2014 2:59:11 PM
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@David: ...you'd be surprised how often I end up doing that.

So that explains your whimsical hair style (I just knew it couldn't be intentional LOL)

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/9/2014 3:58:50 PM
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@Max - "So that explains your whimsical hair style"   That's nothing.  Once I had to get a replacement Driver's licence in a hurry, so went into a 1 hour photo place.  The guy should have said "Mr Ashton, I think you should comb your hair first" but he didn't. So I got this crazy nerdy looking photo on my licence.   Used to have fun with it at car hire places.... "Mr Ashton, can I see your drivers licence please?"  "Yes, but only if you don't laugh at my photo."  "Of course I won't!"  I'd hand over the licence and the girl would usually dissolve into uncontrollable giggles.  Or try to suppress them, which was even funnier.  

These days licence and passport photos have to be taken without glasses on.  Which is almost as bad, in my case.....

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Screwshield
Max The Magnificent   1/9/2014 4:01:52 PM
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@David: The guy should have said "Mr Ashton, I think you should comb your hair first" but he didn't...

And they say public servants don't have a sense of humor...

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/9/2014 4:46:31 PM
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@Max - he wasn't a public servant - just a one hour photo guy - but I reckon he got plenty of laughs out of it as well...

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/8/2014 8:51:41 PM
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@Max ....on checking the pics a bit more carefully I'd say you're telling porky-pies anyway, they look like they are 0.15 inch spacing, thought the PCB shows them at 0.1 inch.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Screwshield
Max The Magnificent   1/9/2014 11:23:42 AM
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@David: ...on checking the pics a bit more carefully I'd say you're telling porky-pies anyway, they look like they are 0.15 inch spacing, thought the PCB shows them at 0.1 inch.

The ones on the Adafruit Arduino Uno proto screw board look to be 0.15" pitch, but the ones we're using on our board are definately 0.1" pitch -- trust me, have I ever lied to you before?

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/27/2014 11:24:45 PM
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@Max (and Duane) ahve you seen these - 0.1 inch pitch configurable spring terminal blocks from Adafruit.  Very nice, but quite pricey......

http://www.adafruit.com/products/1074

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Screwshield
Max The Magnificent   1/29/2014 10:53:28 AM
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@David: ...have you seen these - 0.1 inch pitch configurable spring terminal blocks from Adafruit?...

Oooh -- these are so tasty -- and so expensive!!!

Just to take my mind off this, dis you see that video of the large, mysterious fish eating an entire duck?

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/29/2014 3:57:57 PM
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I gotta admit, Max, I sometimes wonder about the way your mind works.  (But then people have said that about me as well...  :-)

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Screwshield
Max The Magnificent   1/29/2014 4:01:30 PM
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@David: I gotta admit, Max, I sometimes wonder about the way your mind works.

You'll certainly never look at a duck the same way LOL

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/29/2014 5:09:48 PM
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Actually I would have said it was a lemur (those monkey-like things they have in Madagascar).  But it's very fuzzy so I could be wrong.

antedeluvian
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Re: Screwshield
antedeluvian   1/10/2014 3:05:12 PM
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David, Max

I have never seen any less than 0.2".   Very handy.....



You should check out the Phoenix Contact MPT 0.5 range from 2 to 12 pole 0.1" spacing- for example a 4 way block would be MPT 0.5/4-2.54. Phoenix is definitely in Oz. Actually they cliam some at 2.5mm which would be just that much closer together.

By the way watch for my blog on PCB screw terminals. Should be with Max next week.

 

 

David Ashton
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Re: Screwshield
David Ashton   1/10/2014 5:55:14 PM
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Thanks Aubrey.... I'd not often have a use for such compact ones but it's nice to know they are out there.

blavigne
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Can we get some, too?
blavigne   1/8/2014 4:55:33 PM
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Max,

  My son and I are just getting into Arduino/robot building.  I'd love to get a couple of those Bensonfruit proto boards.  Is there a way to acquire them?

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Can we get some, too?
Max The Magnificent   1/8/2014 5:03:55 PM
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@blavigne: I'd love to get a couple of those Bensonfruit proto boards.  Is there a way to acquire them?

Let, me have a word with Duane -- email me at my personal email max@CliveMaxfield.com (but as per this blog, I might not respond for a couple of hours)

Max The Magnificent
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Woudl you like these boards?
Max The Magnificent   1/10/2014 10:09:36 AM
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I'm receiving a lot of emails from folks woudl are intereded in getting these boards for their own use.

We hadn't really thought about this before, but based on the interest we are seeing we are now planing to make these available for purchase.

Duane has sent the first files over to the board shop -- just three of each board in the first run – he always does this just to make sure that everything is 100% good before going into production. He says we should have these back in 1.5 weeks or so. Once we have them back and check them out, we'll go for a full production run.

When I say "full" – I'm not sure how many yet – that depends on the price breaks – we're not trying to make any money out of this – we'll do them at cost. Our ideal goal is to be able to produce both boards for $5 (and that includes shipping etc.) ... but this may simply not be possible – we'll have to look at the numbers – Duane is talking to board shops as we speak. I will be doing a follow-up blog about this in a couple of weeks telling folks how much the boards will cost and how to get them – in the meantime, do you want me to add you to the list of folks who have expressed an interest so I can email you when we know more? If so, email me at my personal email address of max@CliveMaxfield.com

Max The Magnificent
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A blast from the past
Max The Magnificent   1/15/2014 2:42:20 PM
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I just received an email from Mike Kraynak, who spake as follows (he said I could post his comments here):

Hi Max, this prototype board reminds me of the early days of PCB CAD.
 
We often had to create PCB layouts larger than the capabilities of our CAD system ('Racal-Redac PCB Mini' in my case).

Back then we would create 2 PCB databases as you have shown with a vertical split along which we placed what we referred to as a 'pseudo. We would create the 1st  database with the pseudo part on the right edge. The 2nd database would have the pseudo part on the right edge. Traces that cross the split between the 2 databases  would be routed to a pin on the pseudo part in the 1st layout and to the corresponding pin on the pseudo part on the 2nd  layout. We would then output gerber files for both databases.

When creating the gerber files for the 2nd database  we would shift the "X" position on the film by the distance necessary to align the phantom parts on top of each other. We would then append the 1st gerber for each layer with the
2nd  gerber for that layer in a dumb text editor. This can more easily be done today with a free gerber editor.
 
Thinking back, we created some amazing designs back then with this method. In some cases we split layouts both vertically and horizontally.
 
Regards,
Mike Kraynak

Duane Benson
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Double feature
Duane Benson   1/26/2014 6:11:49 PM
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One added bonus that comes with splitting the board in two is that it can be used with either the Mega or the Uno. Her's the left side assembled and plugged onto my Uno.



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