• The Making of an Ambient Sensor

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    #####11/5/2013— [Jia Huang](/blog/"http://www.dragoninnovation.com/projects/22-tessel" target="_blank">here). We put it together this past week and thought you guys might be interested in the process.

    We first draw out the schematic and PCB layout in DipTrace.


    Then, we get a small number (usually 2) PCBs made for the prototype run of a module. The parts are sourced from Digi-Key. 


    Our modules use surface-mount components, which means that they are soldered onto the top of the board, with no wires poking through. Because of this, we use solder paste, place components with tweezers, and then heat the whole board to attach all the components at once.

    We apply solder paste to the pads on the board using a syringe. Then, we use dental picks to scrape off excess paste. (Basically, all of our tools are repurposed medical equipment; if it’s good enough for humans, it’s good enough for our PCBs.)


    Next, we place the components. This squishes down the solder paste and makes the board a little messier. But despite it looking like it’ll fuse into one metal blob, the solder paste always ends up working somehow…


    In order to make the components bond to the board, we heat everything up until the solder flows. This summer, we used a $20 electric skillet and literally fried our boards. Lately we’ve been able to use a reflow oven at Olin College, which has helped tremendously.


    After baking the board, we set it out to cool before putting on the headers by hand. Remember how the solder paste looked really terrible three images up? Since solder paste is made out of unicorn blood tiny balls of solder and a liquid cleaning compound called flux, it pretties itself up magically in the oven.


    All of the module header pins you’ve seen in other photos have been through-hole mounted (the pins go through holes in the board). The headers on this batch of modules are surface mounted instead; we’re experimenting with how different header types feel when attaching and detaching modules.

    And there it is, ready to go! You can read more about the ambient module here: http://tessel.io/modules#module-ambient.

    Now we just have to test it and make sure it actually works.


    #tessel #technical machine #jialiya huang #ambient module #electrical engineering #hardware #jia huang

August 2018

January 2018

July 2017

February 2017

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

November 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013