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Bluetooth Sleeping Mask Upgrade Success!
Moderators: adafruit_support_bill, adafruit

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

Re: Bluetooth Sleeping Mask Upgrade Success!

by adafruit_support_mike on Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:17 am

DJDevon3 wrote:Yep I'll be placing them individually with tweezers and running diode/continuity checks along the way. Though I don't think I actually have any diodes in the design only caps, led's, and resistors. Like I said I've never done anything like this before. Very little idea what I'm doing. :/

Think of it in terms of building sub-systems. The TPA2012 amp will be a good place to start because it's easy to test its output. You already have other circuits that can send it an audio signal, and you know where to make the signal connectionss. Once that's working, replace the external signal source with the one you want to build into the board. The TPA2012 will already be there so you can test it.

Building back-to-front that way makes it easier to work in small steps and check things out as you go.

Fight the temptation to solder in a bunch of components and then test to see if anything works. A system with two possibly flaky modules is about 4x as hard to debug as a system with one flaky module. Always get the stuff that's assembled working properly before adding another module.

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Re: Bluetooth Sleeping Mask Upgrade Success!

by DJDevon3 on Tue May 21, 2019 3:51 pm

Heard back from Silicon Labs about the WT32i PCB design. Screwed the pooch. Thought I only needed SPI to customize it with iWrap. Turns out that UART/term is required to customize. SPI is for proprietary firmware updates only. I have no pinouts for UART in my blue design. Oops. :P Back to the drawing board. Made some pretty blue paperweights. They gave me a lot of new schematics and procedures to follow. I think they updated their developer PDF's because of my stupidity. :P

Oh this ain't over. I can do this all day.
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Re: Bluetooth Sleeping Mask Upgrade Success!

by adafruit_support_mike on Wed May 22, 2019 3:00 am

That's also a part of the design process.

It's a good idea to test things out with a standalone microcontroller board and breadboards before trying anything more compact. You find out how things actually work with the prototype, whose job is to be easy to inspect and modify, then make a PCB once you're reasonably sure there are no more big surprises.

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Re: Bluetooth Sleeping Mask Upgrade Success!

by DJDevon3 on Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:07 pm

Found out that someone's already created a WT32i breakout board. http://www.betztechnik.ca/store/p3/WT32 ... board.html
I just contacted him. Hope to hear back. My latest designs are very complicated since they include an on-board amp, charger, USB to serial IC, and full GPIO breakout. That's a lot to cram into a board. Even if I get them produced I have no way of knowing if it will go up in a blaze of glory. Starting to get discouraged with my lack of knowledge for correct diode, cap, and resistor selection. :/ It would cost me close to $400 just to have 5 pieces assembled with no way of knowing if they'll fail. I tried using Spice schematics but they're of little help. I hate breadboarding wish there was an electronic gerber validator that would say yes this design will work go ahead and produce them. :(

Since creating my first breakout board I realized that the Arduino, Pi, and other PCB's like it are simply just breakouts for the IC's... like... everything is just a breakout, add on feathers and such and they're just breakouts on top of breakouts lol. Learning a lot but it's just not good enough without an engineering background.

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Re: Bluetooth Sleeping Mask Upgrade Success!

by adafruit_support_mike on Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:20 am

There's no such thing as a simulator that can replace a hardware prototype.

Simulators can only model what you tell them to, and schematics are only limited approximations of real components. In a simulator, all resistors are identical except for their values, have no parasitic inductance or capacitance, aren't subject to thermal drift or crosstalk, etc. It takes an enormous amount of measuring and comparison to tweak a simulator model until produces results that correlate well to an existing prototype.

Simulators are useful for developing intuition about how circuits behave in general, and how sensitive circuits are to changes in component values. But salesmen have been promising that engineers would be able to develop products entirely in software since the 1980s, and the results have been uniformly disappointing.

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Re: Bluetooth Sleeping Mask Upgrade Success!

by DJDevon3 on Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:22 pm

Because the SMD fingers are so tiny and nearly impossible to solder to for testing is it common to make breakout boards for each component? For example the TPA2012 amplifier, LP5907 linear regulator, or MCP charge controller. Would it be a better idea to make breakout PCB's for those components first for easier breadboarding? Is that a common thing to do first?

Thinking I went far too small too fast just hoping that it would work correctly without any physical prototyping. Honestly the thing that is stopping me from purchasing most of the components is because it says the lead time is like 9-10 weeks... I'm like seriously.

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Re: Bluetooth Sleeping Mask Upgrade Success!

by adafruit_support_mike on Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:17 am

The difficulty is relative.. I build almost all of my prototypes using SMT components and copper clad. Granted I've had lots of practice, but 0805 components and SOIC chips are easier to work with than they seem at first glance.

If you want to work on a breadboard, having breakouts for each of the devices or subsystems is a good idea. That way you can build and test sections individually, then put them together once they all work.

That's a fairly common pattern in circuit and PCB design: you have small clusters of parts that need to be together, like an IC and the resistors/capacitors necessary to make it work at all, and then you have connections between those modules. Broadly speaking, getting the modules to work is electronics, and putting them together is mostly wiring.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.