It’s a kit

by Chuck April 22, 2013

WP_20130420_003One of the guys on the COSMAC ELF mailing list, Bill Rowe, asked the people on the list if they would be interested in purchasing a run of boards for my serial port adapter. Right after I read that on the mailing list, I saw a message from Bill in my inbox asking me if I’d be interested in working with him to make a printed circuit board for the project and sell it to people who are interested.

I was OK with the idea, but with everything that’s going on with Dana I haven’t had a lot of time for other projects. Or at least I didn’t think that I did. I sent the schematic and board files to Bill so that he could make a first pass on them – once he sent them back I started playing with the board files until I had something that I could send off to Osh Park to have fabbed. Waiting the two weeks that it takes to get the boards back isn’t fun, but it beats waiting months – or not making the project at all because you don’t have a board.

Anyway, the boards came back from Osh Park, the parts that I ordered online came in (along with a whole bunch of other stuff that I didn’t really need but I thought, what the heck, I’m ordering) and I started finding all of the little things that I managed to do wrong. The DB-25 connector needs to be on the solder side of the board, not the component side. Somehow I missed where I crossed two traces. After I corrected those two faults (one with a knife and a bit of wire, the other by putting the LEDs on the solder side)  it actually worked the first time when I got the prototype built.

I’m pretty proud of the whole thing. Something that I designed and outsourced work on and built myself all works like I intended it to.

I’ve already sent out the Rev. B of the board. It will have the DB-25 connector on the other side, and with that change I was able to add a couple of other jumpers to make it easier to put the LED enable and oscillator enable lines under control of the Picaxe. But the first one will always have a special place, ‘cause it was my first.



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