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My RC1a Work in Progress! Pictures, tips, and more.
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My RC1a Work in Progress! Pictures, tips, and more.

by evilroot on Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:29 am

Since a few other people are posting pictures of their works in progress, I suppose I might as well jump on the bandwagon . . . . .


For starters (and since I'm sure I would get comments about it if I didn't explain myself), you might notice that the labels on the PCBs have been removed. This is for two reasons. One, I put in the PCB order under my company account and don't want my PCB sales rep googling and seeing that they're not exactly for legit business purposes. Two, I have a surplus metallic ink printer that I use to make decals for Gundam models (one of my other hobbies, heh), and I'm planning to print the labels on decals in reflective gold and silver ink and attach them to the boards after all the soldering is finished. Ought to look GREAT. Credit will definitely be given where it is due, thanks to Ladyada for this awesome design!


Step One: the PCBs

I edited and retiled the gerber files for RC1a myself, and had them made up with silkscreen and soldermask on BOTH sides, on .062" board. For some reason the silkscreen ended up funky (wrong component numbers), but that's no biggie (it still looks good, heh).

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Aren't they pretty?? I ordered 10 boards, since I have quite a few friends and co-workers begging me to build them one too after hearing me rant about the project.


Step Two: Battery Board

I depanelized the boards using a hacksaw . . . . not the most elegant method, but definitely the cheapest! Then I started on the battery board. Here's the result:

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You might notice I ordered the through-hole version of the diode instead of the SMD one by mistake . . . . but nothing a wire cutter and a bit of creative soldering can't fix!


Step Three: Power Supply

I don't know why people are posting about having trouble with this part . . . . its tedious, but if you can do the battery board this shouldn't give you much trouble. I built the whole PSU section in one go, and all the voltages checked out afterwards. I'd highly recommend this method rather than building each section one by one, its a lot easier and faster than squinting at the pictures and figuring out which components to place for each supply. If your voltages don't end up right you can always trace backwards.

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Again, since I ordered the wrong diodes I did some creative soldering to make it work. :wink:



That's as much as I can finish for now, since the Atmel CPU samples haven't come in yet. As soon as they do (hopefully within a few days), I'll try to finish the build and post the remainder of my work (and hopefully a Youtube vid of my cellphone looking for signal when I turn it on, heh)!
Last edited by evilroot on Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by adafruit on Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:33 am

wow beautiful!

(although in general i do prefer if the attributions are left on the PCB...the attributions are part of the license :(

edit: but as long as you put them back on later its OK :) )

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by evilroot on Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:41 am

Like I said, I'm going to put the credits on with reflective metallic ink (the finished look is similar to the holographic ink used on licenses/etc). The decals will go on at the finishing stage, since soldering heat would warp them.

The credits will be MORE visible than etched! Shiner, too. :D


Edit: haha, you beat me to it!
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by adafruit on Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:43 am

w00t

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by Lanmasterd on Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:13 am

Wow evilroot
Nice work the solder mask really make it good and look pro work,, when i build my second batch for my mates ill do them the same way.. oh and about the idodes.. i have had to do the same with risistors . mistaking ordering is a pain. but aww well.
nice work very impressed.
Thanks for posting the pics too very clear and large..
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by Eno on Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:31 pm

Great work, I'm glad there are several people doing this WB at the same time, to get help from others.
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by evilroot on Fri Apr 27, 2007 1:17 am

Well I'm now halfway into the PLL circuitry, and found out that the link to the 10mhz crystal in the make section is for the wrong thing (goes to the same wrong part for both Digikey AND Mouser).

The crystal that's linked has a very similar part number, but a COMPLETELY different footprint. No amount of creative soldering will make it work.

Looks like I have to wait until next week to finish by build.
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crystal still works

by none_such on Fri Apr 27, 2007 11:38 am

just put it on its side; it works
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by adafruit on Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

evilroot wrote:Well I'm now halfway into the PLL circuitry, and found out that the link to the 10mhz crystal in the make section is for the wrong thing (goes to the same wrong part for both Digikey AND Mouser).

The crystal that's linked has a very similar part number, but a COMPLETELY different footprint. No amount of creative soldering will make it work.


hmm first time anyone's mentioned it (the part # is correct, so im assuming thats why)

its fixed now.

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by evilroot on Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:16 pm

none_such was right, if you take off the plastic guard and mount it sideways you can make it work!



Anyways, I kind of skipped posting my work for an in-between step. Since there seem to be a lot of people having trouble with the Atmel AVR programming, I'll try to give a detailed description of how I went about it . . . .

Step One: The Programmer

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GHETTO is the word of the day! I didn't feel like dropping yet more cash for an AVR programmer, so I hacked together an el-cheapo unbuffered parallel port programmer. The schematic I used is here. Cost me $3 for a few resistors and some perfboard from Radio Shack, and chopping up an old printer cable.

Note: Using an unbuffered programmer can damage your comp! Build the buffered one if you're at all unsure of what you're doing!


2: The software

This part seems to generate a lot of confusion. I think part of the problem is people are making things overly complicated by using more/different software than they need to!

You need (for Win XP/etc):

-WinAVR. This has pretty much EVERYTHING YOU NEED, and is probably what's used for the examples on the Make pages. Download it and install it and pretty much everything will "just work"!
Get it here: http://winavr.sourceforge.net/

-The wavebubble firmware(duh)

-For my ghetto programmer, I also needed the GiveIO system file, to let avrdude use the parallel port directly. Not needed on all systems, or if you're using a "real" programmer. Get it here: http://tigertass.net/~rolemodel/lsdjawki/awki.cgi/GiveIO


3: Programming!


Edit the "Makefile" that came in the firmware download. You'll need to tell it what programmer and port you're using. My ghetto programmer (or the buffered version) are "pony-stk500", on port lpt1 in my case. Therefore, I changed the following lines:

AVRDUDE_PROGRAMMER = pony-stk200
AVRDUDE_PORT = lpt1


Next, start a command shell window (Start: Run: cmd), and change over to the directory where you put the firmware. Plug up the AVR programmer to the header on the Wavebubble. TURN ON the Wavebubble (it needs to be hooked up to a power source and turned on for programming, unless you're using a programmer that supplies VCC!). Then simply run the following command:

make burn-fuse

The output should look like what's shown on the Make pages. Error messages are bad, and mean you screwed up (duh). After that's done, you just need to edit "main.c" to run whatever tests you want, and run "make program" to download the code to the AVR. Main.c is the ONLY firmware file you need to edit, leave the other ones alone unless you know what you're doing!

I think part of the reason people are having so much trouble is because they're overcomplicating things. You DON'T need AVR Studio, etc or complicated programming software . . . the Makefile ladyada has included does everything for you!
Last edited by evilroot on Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by Eno on Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:21 pm

Thanks for taking the time to post evilroot. I was able to program my WB the way none-such described, but don't feel very confident it is correct. So I've started to already populate the rest of my boards. I wonder if I can go back and program it using your method with the rest of the board populated with components?
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by evilroot on Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:25 am

Sure, you can reprogram it whenever as long as the power supply, CPU, and header are installed right. Doesn't matter what other components are there.

Don't know about other methods, but with this one you can simply run a "make verify" and the programmer will read the contents of the CPU's memory and make sure they're the same as the hex file.
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by evilroot on Sun Apr 29, 2007 9:21 pm

Its moving along nicely!


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VCOs installed and tested, and everything so far is working great. :D

Soldering the VCO's ground plane was a bit of a pain, but other than that it went nice and smoothly. Next up is the PLL section:


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Note the ghetto-mounted crystal, soldered in sideways as none_such suggested. I've ordered the right part, hopefully it will get here about the same time as the lipoly battery.

Programmed with the PLL test code to check my work, and it worked fine for both VCOs. The completion of the project is in sight! Now the only major obstacle that remains is the gain stage . . . . . .
Last edited by evilroot on Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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windows XP how to use "make"

by trentontech on Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:19 am

I download and install WinAVR

but when I type the 'make burn-fues' in the command line, I got the following message

make is unknown command or internal command

What else do I need to install
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Re: My RC1a Work in Progress! Pictures, tips, and more.

by AmigoMaxwell on Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:35 am

Pics are down... It would have been nice to see them ! :roll:

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