Weekly Update – July 8, 2017

I had half of a thing typed out, but that was last night before I got the latest PCBs to test. And then, today, I had a friend’s wedding to go to, so I forgot to write anything in the morning.

However, there is good news! After a bit of bungling and several strokes of luck in a row, I managed to independently test every component of the PCBs. Good news is they work. Bad news is, I would like to fiddle some more, but I don’t have time. Total lead time from order is about four weeks, which means I have to order on Monday. No exceptions. It’s a little bit frightening.¬†As each individual piece works, I’m not worried about the device not working. There are a few quirks that I’d rather not have, but they’re largely unavoidable.

First up is the boost regulator. These things have been the bane of my existence for an age. They’re small, symetrical, and hard to tell which pin is pin 1. So, unsurprisingly, many of them that I soldered on, were backwards. I ended up with two left, and with some spare PCBs I decided I’d put one on one way, and one the other. In the end, I managed to solder them both on the same way. Backwards. I was in the process of starting to attempt to remove one when I saw, lying on my work table, a little six-pin IC. I picked it up, looked at it, and while it could have been one or two other devices I’d used in the past with a similar pin configuration and size, I HAD managed to lose one of the regulators earlier. So, I shrugged, mostly guessed as to which pin was pin one, and soldered it on.

Turns out, it was the regulator, and it was in the correct orientation. Super lucky! The regulator works, but has one significant flaw – When disabled, it allows the battery voltage through. This is annoying because raw battery voltage IS enough to power the ESP module, but I can program the ESP to go into a deep sleep until the ATTiny tells it that it’s supposed to be awake.

I also had issues with the soldering SD slot on one device (Something went wrong with the other and I haven’t been able to get anything to upload to it). As with the boost regulator, I had used up all of my existing components. So, I improvised.

On the left: The designed SD card slot.
On the right: Don’t judge me, it works.

The one on the left has some issues with assembly that I couldn’t figure out, making it so that I was unable to upload code. The one on the right functions except for a missing boost regulator. The SD slot is an extra from the V2s, but it couldn’t lie flat due to the SD card’s decoupling capacitor. Somehow, the pins line up and it works. This will let me build the code for the final version while I wait for them to arrive.

There are a number of minor and insignificant tweaks to the PCB that I need to make, but those are primarily things on the silkscreen. Aside from putting in a trace to tie one of the ATTiny’s GPIOs to the board reset, there are no design changes.

Now, for other news!

I mentioned previously that Matchfire will be undergoing a name change. I’ve finally decided what that name will be. It’s going to take some time to implement – I’m not certain when it’ll go into effect and there’s a bunch of paperwork to do. In all likelihood, it’ll happen after BronyCon but before Nightmare Nights. I also currently don’t have a replacement logo, but I have commissioned one. You’ll see it pretty much as soon as it is done.

Oh, right. You probably want to know the name. Well, here you go!

Phoenixborn Technologies

Why Phoenixborn Technologies? Well, one, I like phoenixes. It also loosely ties into matches and fire, so there’s some connection. I also chose to swap out “Electronics” for “Technologies” both due to shortening (IE, Phoenixborn Tech) and the fact that not everything I deal with will be electronics. I will still primarily deal with electronics (It IS what I do best), but there’s space for plenty of other things under a “Technologies” umbrella.

I look forward to working as Phoenixborn Technologies. There will be warning as to when things change over to the new name – I need to take care of legal paperwork and other information before then. The Discord channel will stay the same, and if you follow the Facebook page or the Twitter feed you won’t have to worry about the name changes. However, for the latter two, the link to them will change.

Until next week!


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