PCB Designing

TENTED VIAS IN AUTODESK EAGLE CAD

If you were to choose Eagle’s default DRC (Design Rule Checking) settings, you’ll end up with non-tented vias. In order for the solder mask to be applied over the vias, you’ll need to make a small change in your DRC file. Below you can see that with the default DRC settings, all the vias have a solder mask around them.

Open your DRC file by either clicking on the DRC icon or by choosing it from Tools>DRC. Select the Masks subsection. Here you’ll find the Limit setting. Change this to the drill diameter of your via. I usually set it to 20mils so that all vias with drill holes equal to or less than 20mils will be covered with solder mask. Anything bigger than 20mils will have a solder mask applied to them.

Below you can see that the drill holes with diameter 20 mils and below are tinted and the bigger ones have solder mask applied around them.

How to Build a USBTiny ISP Programmer

Did you think about how to build a USBTiny ISP Programmer on your own?

Doing electronics projects is so exciting and fun for us, makers. But most makers and hardware enthusiasts who are just stepping ahead to the maker culture built their projects with development boards, breadboards, and modules. This way, we can build the rapid prototype version of our project. But it shall be bulk in size and messed with breadboard wirings. Similar case while using a Generic PCB board, it also looks messy and unprofessional!

So, how we can build our projects in a more convenient way?

The best way to use Standalone PCBs for our project!

Designing and manufacturing a PCB for our project is a better and convenient way to express your professionalism and expertise!. We can minimize the size of our project into a compatible size and custom shapes, PCBs are looking neat and sturdy connections are some of the advantages.

So, what matters is, how we build a PCB cost-effective and time-effective?

We can send our design to a PCB manufacturer to manufacture our PCB design, but it should be time taking and blew your pocket. Another method is to do a toner transfer method using a laser printer and photo paper. But its also time taking and test your level of patience and you also need a permanent marker to patch the non-etched parts. I used this method a lot of time and I hate it.

So, what is the best way?

In my case, The best way to use CNC milling machines to build your PCB. PCB milling machines give you good quality PCB and it takes less time, less resource and cheapest way to produce PCB prototypes!

But it just my own view, The way of method will vary person to person and where you live and accessible resources.

So, let’s build a USBtiny ISP programmer by utilizing a CNC milling machine!

Without further due, let’s get started!

Step 1: You Don’t Want to Be Rich!

Really! you don’t want to purchase a PCB milling machine. Most of us don’t have the budget to buy an expensive machine like this. I don’t even have one.

So, how I got access to a machine? Simply, I just go to a fablab, makerspace or a hackerspace in my locality! In my case, I just go to a fablab and use the machine for a cheap price. So, find a place like fablab or a makerspace in your locality. For me, the price is 48¢/hour for using the PCB milling machine. The price may vary in your locality. So, like I said you don’t want to be rich!

Step 2: Bill of Materials

Components list

  • Attiny 45/85 microcontroller (SOIC package)
  • 499 Ohms x 2
  • 49 Ohms x 2
  • 1K x 2
  • 2 x 3.3 Zener diode
  • 0.1mf capacitor
  • Blue led
  • Green led
  • 2×3 Male header pins (SMD)
  • 20cm 6wire Ribbon cable
  • 2 x 2×3 Female Header IDC Ribbon Cable Transition Connector
  • 4cm x 8cm FR4 Copper Clad

Please note: (Resistors, capacitors, diodes and led are used in this projects is 1206 package)

Tools requirements

  • Soldering station or soldering iron (Micro-tip)
  • Soldering Lead wire
  • Tweezer (microtip)
  • Desoldering Wick
  • Third-hand tool
  • Multimeter
  • Wire Stripper
  • Fume Extractor (Optional)

Machines Requirement

  • Modela MDX20 (Any PCB milling machine do the job, but the job control software will change)

Download the resources for this project!

Step 3: What Is a PCB Milling Machine?

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PCB milling machine is a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine that used to fabricate PCB prototypes. PCB milling machines are mill away the copper parts of the copper-clad to make out traces and pads of the PCB. The PCB milling machine comes with a three-axis mechanical movement (X, Y, Z). Each axis is controlled by a stepper motor for precisional movements. These axis movements are controlled by a computer program by giving G-code commands. Gcode is widely using Numerical control programming languages, most of the machines are using g-code to control the axis of the machines. A tool head (usually a milling bit) is connected to these axes that will mill out the PCBs.

:- The machine I am using is a MODELA MDX20 CNC milling machine.

The Modela MDX 20 PCB Milling Machine

The Modela MDX20 is a PCB milling machine. Modela MDX20 is usually used to fabricate PCBs but we can also make moldings, etchings, etc… Modela can mill on different materials like Plywood, Wax, Acrylic, Differents PCB materials like Fr1 Fr4, etc… The modela is lightweight and comes with small in size. We can place it on even a small desktop. The bed (milling surface) is attached to Y-axis and the tool head is attached to X and Z. That means the movement of the bed is controlled by the Y-axis and the movement of the tool head is controlled by X-axis and the tool head is controlled by Z-axis. Modela has its own computer program. But I am using a Linux program called FABModules. FABmodules communicate with Modela to control the cutting and milling process. Fab Modules never set X, Y, Z axis automatically, we need to set them manually.

General Specification

  • Workspace : 203.2 x 152.4 mm
  • Z-axis stroke: 60.5mm
  • Spindle speed: 6500RPM

 Milling Bits To use

  • Milling Bit: 1/64 inch (0.4 mm) bit
  • Cutting Bit: 1/32 inch (0.8 mm) bit

Step 5: What is the ISP (In-System – Programmer)?

In System Programmer (ISP) also known as In-Circuit Serial Programmer (ICSP) is a microcontroller programmer. The ISP will read the instructions and commands from the computer USB and send it to the Microcontroller through the serial peripheral interface (SPI). Simply ISP devices allow us to communicate with the microcontroller using SPI lines. SPI is the way of communication in the microcontroller. Every connected peripherals and interface communicate with microcontrollers through SPI. As an electronics enthusiast, the first thing that comes to my mind when say about ISP is MISO, MOSI SCK. These three pins are the important pins.

Simply, ISP is used to burn programs to the microcontroller and also used to communicate with your microcontroller!

USBTiny ISP

USBTiny ISP is a simple open-source USB AVR programmer and SPI interface. It is a low cost, easy to make, works great with avrdude, is AVRStudio-compatible and tested under Windows, Linux and macOS X. Perfect for students and beginners, or as a backup programmer.

All the components are used in this project’s SMD Components. The brain of the USBTinyISP is an Attiny45 microcontroller.

ATtiny 45 Microcontroller

The microcontroller that is using in USBTinyISP is Attiny 45. Attiny45 is a High performance and low power 8- bit AVR microcontroller running on RISC Architecture by Atmel (microchip acquired Atmel recently). Attiny 45 comes in an 8 pin package. Attiny 45 has 6 I/O pins, Three of them are ADC pins (10 bit ADC) and the other two are Digital pins supporting PWM. It comes with a 4KM flash memory, 256 In-System Programmable EEPROM and 256B SRAM.

Operating voltage around 1.8V to 5.5v 300mA. Attiny 45 support Universal Serial Interface. Both SMD version and THT versions are available in the market. Attiny 85 is a higher version of Attiny 45, They are almost the same. The only difference is in the Flash memory, Attiny 45 have 4KB flash and Attiny 85 have 8KB flash. We can choose either Attiny 45 or Attiny 85, Not a big deal but Attiny 45 is more enough to make FabTinyISP. See the official documentation from here.

  • ATtiny 45 : 4KB FLASH /256 B EEPROM / 256 B SRAM
  • ATtiny 85 : 8KB FLASH / 512B EEPROM / 512 B SRAM

Special Features:-
  • debugWIRE On-chip Debug System
  • In-System Programmable via SPI Port
  • External and Internal Interrupt Sources
  • Low Power Idle, ADC Noise Reduction, and Power-down Modes
  • Enhanced Power-on Reset Circuit
  • Programmable Brown-out Detection Circuit
  • Internal Calibrated Oscillator

Step 7: Setup the Machine

Now let us Build the PCB using the PCB milling machine. I included the Trace layout and Cut layout in the zip file, you can download the zip file from below.

Prerequestment: Please download and install the Fabmodules from this link

Fabmodules only supported in Linux machines, I am using Ubuntu!

Step1: Sacrificial Layer

First of all, the work plate of the PCB milling machine (AKA milling bed) is a metal plate. It is sturdy and well builds. But in some cases, it may damage while cutting in over depth by mistake. So, I place a sacrificial layer on top of the milling bed (a copper-clad placed on top of the milling bed to avoid touching bits in the metal plate).

Step 2: Fix the 1/62 milling bit in the tool head

After placing the sacrificial layer, Now I need to fix the milling bit (usually used a 1/62 milling bit) in the tool head. I already explained the two-stage process of milling PCBs. For milling the traces and pads of the PCB, use a 1/64 milling bit and place it on the tool head using the Allen key. While changing the bits, always give extra care for the bits. The bit’s tip is so thin, It has more chances to break the bit while slip from our hands even it is a small fall. to overcome this situation, I placed a small piece of foam under the tool head to protect from accidental falls.

Step 3: Clean the copper-clad

I am using an FR1 copper clad for this project. The FR-1 is heat resistant and more durable. But copper clads will oxidize quickly. Coppers are fingerprint magnets. So before using a copper-clad even, it is a new one, I recommend you to clean the PCB with a PCB cleaner or acetone before and after milling the PCB. I used a PCB cleaner to clean the PCB.

Step 4: Fix the Copper clad on the milling pad

After cleaning the copper clad, place the copper clad on the top of the milling bed. I placed the copper clad on the milling pad with the help of double-sided sticky tape. The double-sided sticky tapes are so easy to remove and they are available for a cheap price. I stick the double-sided tape on the top of the sacrificial layer. Then placed the copper clad on the top of the sticky tape.

Step 8: Setup Fab Modules and Milling Process

Step 1: Power the machine and Load FabModules

powered on the machine and then open the Fab module software in a Linux system (I’m using Ubuntu) by typing the below command in the Linux terminal.

 fab

Then a new window will pop up. Select image(.png) as input file format and output format as Roland MDX-20 mill(rml). After that, click the Make_png_rml button.

 Step 2: Load the PCB design Image

At the top of the new window select the bit that you are going to use. then load your .png format by clink Load.png button. Then click on Make.path button to generate the path to for mill. Now click the Make.rml to generate the instructions and commands for the machine. A new Send it Button will appear on the top make the Make.rml button. Do not click on the button right now.

Step 3: Set X, Y & Z Axes

We are not done yet. Now press the View button on the Modela MDX20 control panel. make sure the bit is well tight. press once more the view button to get back to the default position. Now set the X, Y positions by entering the measurements (depends on your board position) in desired text boxes. I recommend you to note down the X & Y positions somewhere. If something went wrong and you need to start from first, You should need the exact X&Y positions to continue your milling process else it will mess up.

Bring down the tool head by pressing the Down button. Stop when the Tool head reaches near to the copper clad. Then lose the tool head screw and bring down the bit a little bit down until it touches the copper layer of the copper clad. Then tighten the screw back again and bring back the tool head to the home position by pressing the View button. Now we all set. Close the safety Lid of the Modela and click Send it button. The modela will start the milling process.

It shall take a minimum of 10 to 13 minutes to mill the traces and pads. After finishing the milling I got a good result.

Step 4: Milling Tracesand Pads & Cutting the Outline layout

After finishing the Trace milling, Cut out the PCB outline layout(simply shape of the PCB). The process is almost the same. For cutting the layout, Change the 1/64 bit to 1/32 bit in tool head. Then load the cutting layout .png file to fab modules and select the cutting bit(1/32) in the tools menu. Then continue the same procedures that I did earlier. Take out the completed PCB from the bed.

Step 9: Finished PCB

I successfully milled my FabTisnyISP PCB using Modela MDX20. I carefully removed the copper clad from the sacrificial layer and cleaned the specks of dust in milling bed using a dust buster. Then I cleaned the PCB one again using the PCB cleaner.

Step 10: Soldering the Components on PCB

ow I have a finished PCB. all I need to do is solder the components on the PCB. For me, it is a fun and easy task.

When it comes to soldering, Through-hole components are so easy to solder when comparing with SMD components. SMD components are small in their footprints. it is a little bit difficult to solder for beginners. There are a lot of chances to make mistakes like cold solders misplacements of components and the most common thing or make bridges in between traces and pads. But everyone has their own soldering tips and tricks, that they were learned from their own experiences. this will make this task fun and easy. So take your time to solder the components!

Here How I Do Soldering!

I usually solder Microcontrollers and Other ICs first. Then I solder small components like resistors and capacitors etc…

At last through-hole components, wires and header pins. To solder my USBTinyISP, I follow the same steps. To solder SMDs easily, First, I heat up the soldering iron to a 350°C. Then add some solder flux on pads. Then heat up the pad which I want to solder the components, then I add a little amount of solder to a single pad of the component pad.

Using tweezers, pluck the component and place on the pad and heat up the pad for 2-4 second. After that, solder the remaining pads. If you make bridges between pins and traces or gives a lot of solder to a component, used the solder wick ribbon to remove the unwanted solder. I continue the same steps until the PCB fully soldered without any problem. If something went wrong, first I carefully check all traces and components having breaks or bridges using a magnifier and multimeter. If I found, then I rectify it!

Step 11: Making the ISP Cable

To connect the microcontroller or another ISP programmer to flash the firmware. we need a six-line ribon wire with two 2×3 female wire connector. I used a 4/3 feet 6 channel ribbon wire and carefully connected the female header on both sides. To do nicely I used a G clamp. see the picture.

Step 12: Flashing Firmware

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Now we can flash the firmware to our ISP. To do that we need another ISP programmer. I used another USBTinyISP, But you can use an Arduino as ISP to do this task. Connect both the ISPs using the ISP connector that we previously made. Then connect USBinyISP(The one we are using for programming) to the computer. Make sure the ISP is detected in your system by typing the below command in the Linux terminal.

 lsusb 

Step 1: Install AVR GCC toolchain

First of all, we need to install the toolchain. To do that, open a Linux terminal and type.

sudo apt-get install avrdude gcc-avr avr-libc make

Step 2: Download and unzip the firmware

Now download and unzip the firmware files. You can download it from here. After downloading the zip file, extract into a good location that you can find easily (to avoid unnecessary confusion).

Step 3: Make file

Before burning the firmware. we need to ensure the makefile is configured for the Attiny microcontrollers. To do this open the Makefile in any text editor. then confirm MCU = Attiny45. See the image below.

Step 4: Flash the firmware

Now we can flash the firmware to our ISP. To do that we need another ISP programmer, as I said earlier. I used a FabTinyISP, that I made earlier. But you can use any ISP or use an Arduino as an ISP programmer. Connect both the ISPs using the ISP connector that I previously made. Then connect FabTinyISP (the one I using to program my ISP) to the computer. Make sure the Isp is detected in your system by typing the below command in the Linux terminal.

 lsusb 

Now we are ready to flash. Open the terminal in the folder path of the firmware located and type “make” to make the .hex file. This will generate a .hex file that we need to burn into the Attiny 45.

Type the below command in the Linux terminal to flash the firmware to the microcontroller.

make flash

Step 5: Enabling Fusebit

That’s it we are done flashing the firmware. But we need to activate the fuse. Just type in

 make fuse

the terminal to activate internal fuse.

Now we need to either remove the jumper or disable the reset pin. Removing the jumper connection is not mandatory, we can disable the reset pin. It is up to you. I choose to disable the reset pin.

Please note:- If you disable the reset pin, then the Reset pin will be disconnected internally. Means you can’t program it anymore after disabling the reset pin.

If you want to disable the reset pin, then type make the below command in terminal.

rstdisbl

You will get a success message. After uploading the firmware successfully i need to check the USBTinyISP is working correctly, to do that you need to enter a command in terminal

 sudo avrdude -c usbtiny -b9600 -p t45 -v

After entering the command, you will get the return feedback in the terminal window.

Step 13: We Are Done


PixelPad Indian: Electronic Development Badge

PixelPad is an electronic development badge based on an ATmega32U4 microcontroller and comes with a lot of built-in features. The PCB art is inspired by Indian culture, arts, and drawings. Using PixelPad, you can either use it as a wearable development board like the Adafruit Playground Express or LilyPad, or you can use it as an electronic badge!

The features of PixelPad can be seen below!

I went through many Indian cultural and spiritual arts and paintings to design the PCB art and board outline. After a lot of research and leanings, I designed a PCB art using Adobe Illustrator.

Let me explain the process and the experiences I went through to build my own electronic badge.

The Idea

When I decided to build an electronic badge, I was gone through many ideas. That lead me into confusion regarding which one I need to design, Literally I don’t stick with an idea. instead of I am rapidly changing the ideas. So what I did is, I listed out the features that I wanted in the badge that am designing. So here are the criteria that I listed out in the idea sparking process.

  • Minimalist design
  • Compact in size
  • The design should be Wearable friendly
  • Have enough I/O pinouts
  • Must be battery powered
  • Have good LEDs that can be programmable to something useful
  • Represent a culture or art

After going through the rough list, I started to search which Microcontroller, LEDs that I need to use for the Pixelpad. Finding a good theme for the art is too complicated for me, you know it right?

I don’t have that skill!

The Microcontroller (ATmega32U4)

I decided to use the Atmega32U4 microcontroller for the badge design. It comes with USB support and supports data transfer rates up to 12Mbit/s and 1.5Mbit/s. It can also be used as an HID device. So, I stuck with ATmega32U4 as the MCU. You can definitely check out the datasheet I attached to this project.

The WS21812B 5050 NeoPixel LEDs

I used 12 NeoPixel LEDs because every led can addressable and a single Data pin needed to control the RGB colors. So, I decided to stick with NeoPixels.

Schematics Designing

I used Autodesk Eagle CAD to design all my PCBs. I started to design the circuit Schematics in Eagle. The main components that I used in the schematics are explained below.

  • MIC5219B for a 3.3V 500ma power supply to power the microcontroller
  • MCP73831 for Li-Po / Li-Ion battery management
  • DS1307Z for an I2C RTC
  • WS2812 5050 RGB LEDs
  • 8Mhz Resonator to clock the ATmega32U4 externally
  • 2×3 SMD pin header for ISP connection
  • SMD reset push button

Board Designing

After the schematics designing, I started to design the printed circuit board (PCB). First, I placed all the components in an order that I wanted. Then started to route the air wires manually. I used a minimum trace width of 8mils for the traces. The board design is for a two-layer PCB. the overall dimension is 66 x 66 mm. You can find the design files and Gerber files attached at the end of this project.

Import PCB Art to the Board

I designed the PCB art in Adobe Illustrator. You can use any vector designing software to do this part. You can either use an illustrator or stick with an opensource one like the Inkscape. I tried a lot of design and in the end, I made it to the expected design. After designing the art you can save it as an 8-bit BMP format.

Then in Eagle, you need to import the art to any silkscreen layer. I used the name layer. I don’t want the component layer so I deleted the names and used the layer to place the design. to import the design follow the below steps:

  • On the top, you can find the ULP icon, by clicking the icon you get the popup window to select the ULP. The search for import-BMP then opens the import-Bmp ULP.

Then select the BMP file you needed and the layer you wanted to place and scale measurements etc… and click OK. After that, you need to place the design in the PCB design where you wanted.

NB: Design should be in black and white color

I used Autodesk Fusion 360 to view the 3D model of the PCB, I also used Fusion 360 to design the board outline for the dimension layer. You can definitely use the advantage of Fusion 360 and Eagle integration.

Exporting the Gerber File for Manufacturing

For manufacturing the PCB from any manufacturers around the globe, you need the Gerber file sent to them. Generating the Gerber file in Eagle is super easy. You can follow the steps below.

On the right side of Eagle, you can find Manufacturing tab. Click on the manufacturing tab you can see the rendered image of the PCB for manufacturing. In the same window click on the CAM button.

Save each layer into a folder and compress the folder into a zip format.

PCB Manufacturing

There are a lot of PCB manufacturing services in China for cheap as $5 for 10 PCBs. I personally recommend PCBWAY They deliver good quality PCBs and the customer care support is awesome.

Components Gathering

The PCBs take two weeks to arrive according to the delivery method. Meanwhile, I started to collect the required components for the project. I already have some of the components, so I bought the remaining components from different sources. But I have given all the components link to the store.

Soldering the Components

After arriving both the PCBs and the components. I started soldering the components. using a weller we51 soldering station with a micro tip for soldering. the 0805 SMD package is a little hard for soldering for newcomers but you guys will be used to it after a few components soldered. I also used a hot air rework station but it is not necessary. Be careful while soldering the microcontroller and other ICs do not overheat the ICs.

I also used a PCB cleaning solution to clean the PCB from the excess solder flux.

Programming the Pixelpad Indian Board

I Soldered all the components on the PCB. To program the board using Arduino IDE first we need to burn an appropriate Atmega32u4 bootloader to the board. I used the Sparkfun pro micro board’s bootloader for my board. To Burn the bootloader you needed is ISP programmer or you can use an Arduino board as an ISP programmer. I build a USBTiny ISP programmer myself, visit my USBTinyISP programmer page.

When connecting the Pixelpad Indian, the power LED will light up.

I chose the Sparkfun Pro Micro board from the board manager and select the USBTiny ISP as the programmer from the programmer window. Then click the burn bootloader. It will take a little time to burn. After burning the bootloader, It is ready to program via the micro USB cable.

I made a basic sketch to show an analog clock time using the NeoPixel LEDs and RTC. The red LEDs show the hours and the blue LED shows minutes.

Eg: Lets say 3 : 30 || The 3rd LED will lights RED and 6th LEDs lights BLUE.

You can download all the files and resources to do this board from the end of this project.

Demo Video

Here is the working video of the above-mentioned sketch.

Xpedit – Atmosphere Monitoring Device for Hiking and Trekking

:: This project is paid sponsored by Instructables.com & pcbway.com

When you are planning to do an adventure journey or trekking to the wild, it is essential to have a device in your backpack that helps you to understand the environment.

For my upcoming adventure trip, I planned to build a handheld device that helps me to monitors temperature, humidity, air pressure, and altitude as well as an alarm can be set for any of the parameters that go beyond a user-defined threshold value. The device is powered with 1000maH lipo battery, with a backup of 72 Hours continuous running!

I made this device smaller in size, smarter to use, looks cool in your hands and durable outdoor. I keep the budget within $18!

Step1: Get the Parts and Tools!

Component and Parts :

Tools:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Multimeter
  • Allen key 3mm Screw Drivers
  • Tweezers
  • Files

Supplies:

  • Spray Paint (any color for your choice)
  • Spray paint clear coat
  • Sandpapers, Gloves, Mask, and Googles

Softwares:

Machines:

  • 3D Printer
  • Vinyl Cutter Machine (Not necessary, Just for cutting logo)

Step 2: Designing PCB Using Autodesk Eagle

I use Autodesk Eagle to design all my projects PCBs. It is free and easy to kickstart learning PCB designing.

I used fusion 360 to design the outline of the PCB and the enclosure for 3D printing. It is simpler by syncing the eagle project into the fusion 360 projects. I used the 3D model of the PCB (designed in Eagle) in fusion360 and I modified the outline of the PCB in Fusion360 and export it back to Eagle.

For Designing the Xpedit I used Atmega328p-AU as the microcontroller along with 20mhz resonator. Using BME280 is capable of sensing temperature, humidity, air pressure, and altitude. I Used 128 x 64 OLED to display the information. Xpedit is power by a 3.7V lipo battery, TP4056 is used to charge the battery accordingly. A buzzer and button-sized Vibrator motor are used for notification. A rotary encoder is used for user inputs and for changing into various modes.

You can download the Eagle Project files and Gerber Files from the GitHub

I ordered 10 PCBs of xpedit from Pcbway. I always choose pcbway because of their high-quality PCBs for cheaper price and a great one to one customer support!

If you want to directly manufacture the PCBs. check out PCBWAY

Step 3: Designing Enclosure Using Fusion360

I use Fusion360 for 3D modeling. Like I said we can sync the projects between Autodesk Eagle and Autodesk Fusion 360. It is easy to design an enclosure for the PCB with the help of the sync feature. I designed a minimalistic Enclosure for the Xpedit.

I also used 3mm brass threaded inserts for holding the enclosure parts as much stronger.

Step 4: 3D Printing the Enclosure Parts

Depending on what you need, you could modify the enclosure parts to suit your needs. You could use bigger capacity batteries or more sensors etc…

If you want to stick with the default design, then you can download the files from Github.

I used Ultimaker 2+ for 3D printing the parts. You can use any 3D printer that you have access to!

Step 5: Sanding the 3D Printed Parts

It took me about 8 hours of printing, But it really depends on your 3Dprinter and the slice settings!

After 3D printing the parts, I used Files and sandpaper for smoothening rough edges. It is better to use small files as I used in the above image

  Step 6: Install Threaded Inserts

I am using M3/6mm Threaded Inserts for screwing the lid to the bottom enclosure. If you’re using the same version of mine, You can install them now. These inserts will hold the PCB inside the enclosure and hold the lid strong!

Step 7: Spray Painting and Clear Coating the Enclosure

For a better and neat look, I used spray paint. You could use any color that you like. I used black as my choice. I did two coats of black spray paint. It is better to use a spray clear coat to protect the painting from peeling off!. Before you do spray painting, cover the threaded inserts using small pieces of masking tape. After painting the black color, I cut out an “XPEDIT” vinyl sticker using a vinyl cutter machine and stick it on the lid. Then i spray painted the clear coat to protect the paint and sticker.

Step 8: Soldering Components

Start soldering with the smallest components first. Probably the resistors and capacitors and then move your way to the larger ones. If you are soldering SMD components in your first time, it is a little bit hard to solder. Don’t worry, you will become used to after soldering a few components!

Step 9: Load Firmware in to the Xpedit

Time to upload your code and let the microcontroller do the work for you!

Do not use the Arduino NANO’s or UNO’s board bootloader. We are using 20Mhz Clock. Use the custom Atmega328p board manager from the below Link.

To upload the bootloader use an ISP programmer or use your Arduino as ISP. If you want to build Your USBtiny ISP programmer, check out my instructable to build one yourself from the link below. This is the same ISP that I am using to upload the firmware!

Download and upload the firmware from Github!

Link to the Custom Atmega328p Board manager for Arduino

Link to the Build your own USBtiny ISP programmer

Step 10: Place the Board in Enclosure!

Place the Board in Enclosure!

After uploading the firmware and everything goes good. You can place the board Inside. Before placing the board, First, place the Vibrator motor and apply a little hot glue or place a foam seal on the top of the motor and solder the wires to the pads on the board. Place the Slide Switch into the Lid and apply some hot glue to hold up the switch. Solder the switch Wire to the PWR Header pads on the PCB. At last, insert the battery into the battery slot and guide the wire through the channel. Solder the Redwire to the +(Plus) Header and Black Wire to the -(Minus).

Remove the header pins from the OLED display and place it in the Display Slot on the LID. Make use of a Duct tape or any tape with a strong bond for placing the display in the slot. Use Hot glue if necessary. Use a four-wire ribbon cable to connect the display on to the PCB.

Place the PCB in the enclossure and put the lid on. Use the four M3/15mm Screws to hold the enclosure. Stick the small compass into the slot on the lid using a two-part adhesive!

I used hot glue in a few places on the PCB, like the USB port, Display, and Switch for a strong bond.

Put on the Knob we printed earlier on to the rotary encoder after everything put together!

Step 11: Deploy

Now that’s it!

Don’t forget to take the Xpedit on your next Adventure trip!

All the files will be available in Github
If you want to put some new features on to xpedit Follow the project on Github!

This project is free and open-source. If you like what I do and want to support my projects consider following me on:

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