Making My Own Dev Board
Last week I started using KiCad and I really enjoyed it. I thought that it might be fun to try to make my own Dev Board. With the help of Roman I selected the STM32F103C8. It is a fast and extremely low cost microcontroller that JLCPCB keeps on reserve. Roman also pointed me in the direction of a very good tutorial made by Phil’s Lab. In this tutorial he makes an STM32 based microcontroller, but the chip is slightly different, so I get the joy of figuring out how to adapt everything.
I have gotten to a complete schematic, but I still need to select some components. The datasheet for the STM32F103xx does not have a suggested resonator, so I resorted to reading the AN2868 Oscillator Design Guide Application note in full. Although it was probably way more in depth then I needed to ever know I think it was well worth the read. Oscillators are fascinating and all of the components around them effect them deeply.
Although you can just select an oscillator and it will probably work; having a perfectly paired oscillator can extend the lifetime of the board dramatically.
The experience of designing my own Dev Board has been very fun so far, and I hope to finish the project in the near future. I have done some research into assembly services and it seems they are well worth the money with the amount of time they save you.
Working on the Float
This week was a little bit slow for the float, but we are almost finished. I found a correct DRC for the Bantam Tools desktop mill that we use in the shop. It turned out that my whole board used traces that are too thin, and it was wired in a way that would not work with wider traces.
I started rerouting it late this week and made some significant progress, but probably need one more day to finish it. Ben has been working on getting a seal on the antenna. The tests with the plastic bottle were a success. Now we just need to make the geometry of the cap right to allow that rubber seal.
If all goes well we will be able to begin testing on Wednesday. I think we really did a good job making sure that all the numbers make sense, so I am hopeful that it will just work.
Unconventional Gripper Update
On Wednesday we tested the idea I had for the gripper based stopper and it was a complete success. I think we can avoid having a mechanical gripper altogether this year, but hte robotics team still needs to look through the tasks one last time.