DE0 Digital I/O Wing Expansion REV0 Complete


Design ended up having only 10 LVDS signals broken out as that required less unique parts. The connectors are expensive (1-282834-0) running ~$5.70 in singles. I will be looking into alternatives to see if I can get the cost down. I found some on AliExpress but I will need to order them and test them to see if they are any good.


I also included a 4 position auxiliary power connector to power up external circuits. No power safety though (fuses/TVS) so use at your own risk!

DE0 Digital I/O Wing Expansion


Started work on a expansion board for the DE0 FPGA development board. Planning on having 4 8-bit bi-directional level shifters giving 32 I/O and breaking out 12 LVDS signals to screw terminals. Basically a simple digital acquisition add on. Using the expansion template I made for the DE0 a couple days ago.

LVDS will be buffered to protect the FPGA. Have not picked the buffer chip yet. The bi-directional level shifter is the SN74LVC8T245PWR by Ti. Handles 1.65V to 5.5V on both sides and has basic ESD protection. I am debating putting over voltage protection on the I/O of the level shifters. A 50ohm resistor in series with the I/O plus a 5.6V TVS Diode should do the trick and not add to much cost to the board.


GitHub Repository Link!

Keg Cooler built from 49″ Milk Cooler

Been working on this Keg Cooler the past couple weekends. I picked up a 49″ Milk Cooler on craigslist. It is all stainless construction and has a commercial grade compressor. Very robust.

Five taps on the front. Four for regular CO2 delivery and one nitro tap. Each of the taps have individual control over the serving pressure.

The kegs are accessible from the back. There is enough space for double the amount of kegs but I wanted room for coldcrashing my brews.

This is how the doors open up. I will be adding chain to the lower doors so they cant swing all the way down and damage the taps.

Prop Dev Stick REV4 Update


Some changes from REV 3 to REV 4.

  • Micro SD Card Slot changed. Old one was Molex MFG# 502570-0893. New part is 4UCON MFG# 15882.
  • Tact Switch changed to more low profile switch.
  • ADC switched from AD7999YRJZ-1500RL7 to MAX11613EUA+. Slower ADC but increase from 8bit to 12bit resolution.
  • Changed Voltage Regulator from TS2937CW33 to NCP1117LPST33T3G.
  • Added 10uF Electrolytic Cap to 3.3V rail.
  • Crystal changed to low profile ABMM-6.000MHZ-B2-T.
  • Added voltage divider to switch to USB power if external power falls near cutoff for regulator.

    Render of the PCB from OSHPark.

    Top stencil pattern. The through hole pads on the micro USB connector are going to be soldered with the “Paste In Hole” method. I have not tried this yet but if it works I will be able to cut out an entire operation during production of the boards.

  • Propeller Development Stick REDUX REV3

    Finished the next revision of the Propeller Development Stick REDUX. The power switching has been changed to fix the flakiness of the past revision. I switched the TPS2115 to a TPS2113. This seems to have fixed the weird power switching issues. The layout has change completely. SD card slot is on the top side of the board and the power circuity and ADC are on the bottom now.

    Part tray video, Screen Printer Demo, TQ-100 Pinheck Board

    Part tray holding FCC connectors and PSOCs
    Part tray holding FCC connectors and PSOCs

    I had a couple spare PSOCs to test the part tray with and train the pick and place. The PSOCs fit very well with little wiggle. Will be training the machine on the placement of the parts on Friday.

    Here is a short little video of the pick and place positioning the FCC connectors onto the PCB panel. I am using double sided stick tape to replicate the holding force of solder paste. The pick and place is running at 10% speed to prevent the connector from sliding off the nozzle.

    This is the screen printer we are currently using at MacroFab. It is an old semi-automatic printer but it works well for its age. It has a vacuum table to hold down the pcb and suck the screen to the pcb. Put some coated stainless blades on it for smooth paste squeegee action.

    PIC-32 in TQ-100 package
    PIC-32 in TQ-100 package

    The Pic-32 on the Pinheck Pinball System is a TQ-100 package which is .4mm pitch. We used a solder stencil and placed the part via the pick and place. Stencil was .1mm in thickness. Ran 25 boards and had no solder bridges.

    3D printed part tray for a pick and place.

    At MacroFab, I have been working with a DP2006-2 Madell pick and place for the past 6 months doing low scale pcb manufacturing while we test our software on it. Some parts (like big MCUs and connectors) come on what is called a tray where the parts are laid out in a X-Y matrix. The pick and place machine knows the amount of parts and the offsets so it can pick up the parts in the tray.

    Picture of a Part Tray
    Picture of a Part Tray

    For one of the jobs we are doing I needed two trays, one for the PSOC4 and another for the FFC connector for the LCD. The DP2006-2 is pretty limited in pick and place area so I decided to make a part tray that would hold both parts. First I measured out the metal tray area on the DP2006-2 and looked at the datasheets of the parts for the physical dimensions. Then used SketchUp to draw out the tray. I gave each part .15mm clearance around the maximium size of the part. This takes care of any tolerance issues. If the tolerance is to big then the part can become crooked in the tray and the machine might have difficulties in picking up the part.

    SketchUp Model of the Part Tray
    SketchUp model of the Part Tray

    The Sketchup file can be downloaded here and the STL output for a 3D printer can be found here. I sent the files over to my friend Chris Kraft who printed the model with his MakerGear M2.

    3D printed part tray with test squares
    3D printed Part Tray with test squares

    Chris sent me the model along with some test squares so I can test the ESD spray paint adherent to the PLA material the part tray was made out of. It adhered just fine to the bare PLA material so I went ahead and sprayed the part tray.

    Part Tray in the DP2006-2
    Part Tray in the DP2006-2

    So far I have tested it with the FFC Connector and it has worked great! The PSOC4 fit but I have not trained the machine on it yet. I will post a picture when I load them into the machine.

    Robotics, Pinball, Hacking, Portables