The Easter break from university is now over and the PCB designs that were sent away have arrived! So it's time to take a break from coding and get down to the fun that is soldering all the components onto the PCB. Also I would like to apologise in advance for the quality of the photographs, I neither own a good camera, nor would I know what I was doing if I did have one. So here you can see the PCB that was sent back. There were in fact two PCB's manufactured, both identical just in case some poor judgement or bad soldering incapacitated one of the boards.
The first image is the front of the PCB and the second is the back things will start to make more sense when the components are soldered in and it is mounted on the FRDM-K64FFRDM-K64F microcontroller
Before going straight to soldering on the boards I first practiced some surface mount soldering using cheap dummy IC's and 1k resistors on a PCB specifically designed to be practiced on. After getting confident with soldering surface mount IC's I began soldering up the switching regulator shown below.
In this picture you can see the jumper pins connected between pins 1 and 2. If the switching regulator did not work because of some fault in the soldering or PCB design then a linear regulator could be soldered in and used instead with the jumper pins between 2 and 3. However one of the points on my specification is to have power efficiency since this system will eventually be powered by a 9V PP3 battery and using a linear regulator would not be an efficient conversion of the voltage. Thankfully once the switching regulator had been soldered in I tested it using a power supply (If I had used a battery and there was some short circuit fault then there could be irreversible damage to the board) and the green power LED turned on. I also checked that the output was a consistent 5V supply since the LED could still be lit up by a greater or less voltage but thankfully it had the correct voltage. After verifying the switching regulator worked I worked from the shortest components to the largest ones so that I did not make it more difficult for myself to solder other components later on. The finished PCB is shown below.
The black squares visible on the top are headers used so that the LCD screen can be slotted in and removed easily As you can see from the white outline of where the LCD screen will go most of the components from the switching regulator have been hidden behind it to provide only the components that the user should be interacting with and also to just neaten up the general look of it The pins on the bottom of the PCB will be slotted into the FRDM-K64FFRDM-K64F microcontroller
These images show how the entire system fits together. In the picture on the left you can see the soldered PCB, the microcontroller on the bottom and the Nokia 5110 LCD display to the right. The picture on the right illustrates how these three components will slot together and below is the finished product
Currently I do not own any PP3 batteries but I have ordered some and so soon I will be able to demonstrate the workings of this project perhaps in a video. Until then I also have the final coding post about the physics based jumping game to complete that I have fondly named Plink so there's plenty to look forward to!