DeBoers Reliant and Enterprise 1/270 Build...Continued

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jwood314
Posts: 20
Joined: May 5th, 2019, 3:14 pm

May 21st, 2019, 1:36 pm

So, took me a while to figure out what the heck happened to the old boards. I was scratchin my head on why NO ONE had posted in quite a while. I was pleasantly suprised to find the new home full of awesome people. The even better part, is we have more types of model builders here on this forum. I look forward to reading and seeing builds about more than just spaceships, although I doubt I will build anything but spaceships, Spaceships, SPACESHIPS!!!! lol

Update #85

Well, I am getting some model work done over here. Not the painting or glue or building of the model type, but work none the less. Which is kind of cool. A big chunk was soldering wires to a boat load of switches, something like 140 so far, with more to come. See pic 1. The other REALLY cool thing I have figured out how to do cheaply over here is printed circuit board design, or PCB. I am an EE with a decade of design experience, from a few years ago, but PCB design, layout and prototyping was expensive. Not anymore. I found a website called EasyEDA, which has a decent schematic capture program and a pretty good layout tool. I have designed 2 boards so far, but only have purchased 1 of them, my voltage adjuster board, which is needed to have Arduino 5V output driving a 12V LED power. The cool thing though is that the boards are laid out to help in wiring of the base. The first board is dumb, there is no software involved, but I was able to add LEDs on board, some simple ESD protection for the silicone on the board and the Arduino driving it. The intent is to be able to have all of the software and hardware in the base tested and working WITHOUT having the model installed. And when I install the model, all of the wires will use a 0.1 inch connector. The idea would be to ship the model and base NOT attached. We shall see. The graphic that is attached below, hopefully isn’t too big, is of the second board. This board does have an Arduino on it and drives the 13 LEDs for the landing lights in the three different shuttle bays. The board also allows for the lights to go forwards or backwards and with 5 different speeds. There are controls on the base to allow for this. The funny thing between all of the hardware costs, this is like a $50 feature for each shuttle bay. The rotary switches are expensive. The next board I am working on is the main control board for the Arduino MEGA. The nice thing about this is that I will be able to mount all of the little daughter boards to this guy and minimize wiring. The last pic is of my landing bay hardware and software mock up.

Cheers,
James

Update #86

Since I can’t work on the model, I continue to work on the base. I have been putting in a ton of effort on getting all of the controls worked out and what they do. I have a 6 page design document, lol, on how it all works. The bad thing is this has taken some serious time, but the good thing, I have the time to do that over here. That design document helps me go in and design all of the printed circuit boards PCBs that will be in the base. Another interesting item is that a schematic is just a portion of how to design a PCB, how the parts lay down on there is also really important. So to help me out on that side, I have been mocking up the base in Power Point, everything is sized pretty close to what the PCB and where I want them. Doing all this helps me lay out the connectors on the board appropriately and will greatly help in wire management. Those 90ish switches all have at least 2 wires, some upwards of 16, so wire management is a very important concern. I don’t want a rats nest of crap going crazy in the base. You get an idea of the scale of the PCBs and the number, I have a few more to design. I am going to incorporate more into the main control board. I am going to have to go to 4 layers on the main board, so the cost does up too much adding a few more square inches to have more functionality on there. All the boards in this pic are at least 1 revision out, will post an updated base pic at some point. Probably when I do my final check on all of the routing etc.

Also attached some pics of my first test run from the PCB maker, these are really good looking boards.

Cheers,
James

Update #87

Still working on getting all of the PCBs designed and laid out. 4 of the 5 boards are done, going to wait a few days, then go through them one more time with a fine tooth comb. The 4 smaller boards are an Interface Board, RCS Thruster/Shuttle Bay landing lights boards, Attitude Controller Board and a Power Distribution Board. I am still doing some work on the large control board. I have all of the power control circuitry in there, but I am still working on the interrupt stuff, and some other external logic I think I will need. Also going to add some generic foot prints for ICs so I can add additional stuff if I have forgotten something. Even though the cost is not great for these, I don’t want to do more than 1 revision on them. Soldering all the darn parts on will take a day. The picture shown is for the Reliant, the Enterprise is a subset of this, 2 fewer boards is all. I am missing the audio control card, no biggie. I also have the Bill of Materials, BOMs, done for the 4 smaller cards and will order parts when I order the boards. The cost difference in ordering straight from China is amazing, although shipping eats up some of that, still cheaper ordering from there.

Cheers,
James
Reliant PCB Layout.jpg
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Shawn McClure
Posts: 386
Joined: April 3rd, 2019, 12:46 pm

May 21st, 2019, 4:13 pm

Nice to see you found the place James. Glad you are still working on that beast.

Shawn
I would never belong to a club that would have a person like me as a member.
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Dan840
Posts: 145
Joined: April 4th, 2019, 12:27 am

May 21st, 2019, 4:37 pm

Nice to see you made the journey here to the new site James.
Not being an EE, I can't really intelligently comment on anything I read above. Sorry. But it sounds like you have a well thought out plan. Look forward to see it in action.
jwood314
Posts: 20
Joined: May 5th, 2019, 3:14 pm

June 1st, 2019, 5:50 am

As always, HUGE thanks for the kinds words, they are always motivating!

Update #88

Thanks gentlemen for the kind words as always. A quick update, all 7 PCBs are done and are being made and all of the components are purchased. I expect to get the boards and pats into Texas in 10 days or so, then 2 weeks to ship over here, then start assembling them and then write all of the code that will be needed to get them all to work properly. In the meantime, have to do a revision on all of the base acrylic so LaserFire can get the bases done. Matt won't be doing the finish work, I will be doing that myself. I love doing veneer work and found some amazing quilted Kosipo veneer, which is AMAZING. I look forward to getting the veneer down and putting a gloss polished finish on it. The veneer will be on the sides of the bases. I get all of my veneer at veneersupplies.com and I have always been very satisfied with what they have provided. So, while not apparent, the amount of work to get the boards designed and in production has been stupid. Almost all of my free time for the last 6 weeks was devoted to this effort. One very small benefit of not being home.

Cheers,
James
Kosipo.jpg
jwood314
Posts: 20
Joined: May 5th, 2019, 3:14 pm

July 12th, 2019, 2:55 pm

Update #89

I have been spending almost all of my off time hours soldering! Which I guess is a good thing, LOL. I have about half of one of the main control boards left to solder, but the soldering is about down. I will start working on all of the wiring needed to get the boards to all talk and power each other, then off to writing the code. One of the board’s code is written, but still have a bunch to go. Someone asked my about why so many little Arduinos everwhere, hopefully, the stupid amount of LEDs shows why it is easier to slap another Arduino down rather than write more complicated code. I am much faster at the hardware side. Another really COOL thing is that I came up with a solution for my problem on my TOS Bridge build. I couldn’t come up with a way to pack in a ton of little LEDs and have a way to connect each fiber optic line to them, I can now with the layout and board design tools from EasyEDA. When I get home, will take a look at designing those boards and getting them made. This won’t derail the E and R build though. Need to power through and get these two girls done.

So the first pic is of the 1st completed set of boards on a mockup of the base for the models. The base is 2’ x 3’ to give you a sense of scale and perspective. Over the next few days will be doing all of the power wiring and other wiring needed to get everything talking to everything else.

Next pic is of the second set of boards, I still need to finish up the control board. Need a break though!

Next pic is of the main control board. Three of the daughter boards are from Starling Tech. He does great work and can’t recommend him enough for your electronic needs. There are a ton of wires left that are needed to get all of these boards to work together.

Next pic is of the shield control board. This board is for the shields up display that is in each of the bases. A single board does both the Reliant and Enterprise.

Next pic is of the stack up for the congested part of the hardware. Really hard to see, but there is a Mega Arduino tucked underneath the control board that runs the whole shebang.

Last pic is of the attitude control board. Each of these boards needs a little swing arm to detect the limits of the rotation. I design a part that you cut out of the PCB to make it work. There is also another part in the PCB used to connect the acrylic dial face to the motor assembly on the control board. I am really happy this came out as well as it did, was super worried it would all stack up correctly.

Another reason to do the base like this is that I can write and design all of the control stuff in the base and make sure everything works without having the models here. The way it is all designed is that I can also transport the model off of the base, then easily connect the model to the base when I arrive at wherever the model’s home ends up being.

Progress!

Cheers,
James

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Shawn McClure
Posts: 386
Joined: April 3rd, 2019, 12:46 pm

July 12th, 2019, 4:06 pm

Man, those are incredible boards. I'm really looking forward to seeing how all this goes together.

Shawn
I would never belong to a club that would have a person like me as a member.
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Spencer
Posts: 214
Joined: April 3rd, 2019, 1:43 pm
Location: West Virginia, USA
Contact:

July 13th, 2019, 5:35 am

Jealous, jealous, jealous ...

But seriously, amazing work. Maybe you mentioned it earlier, but where did you get the boards fabricated?
And dare I ask how much they set you back? No need to answer that if you don't want too.

Spencer
jwood314
Posts: 20
Joined: May 5th, 2019, 3:14 pm

July 13th, 2019, 11:38 am

Spencer,

It was like $200 for 7 different boards, the two large ones are 4 layer, and I think a total of 75 boards, so AMAZINGLY cheap. I used a web based app from the EasyEDA.com website. I have a lot of experience in board design, but found the program fairly intuitive and not hard to use. It lacks some of the power of previous commercial products I have used in the past, but for the cost of zero, well worth it. I also bought all of the components from their sister company that sells components. WAAAYYY cheaper than buying via Digikey. Shipping though as about 20% of the total cost.

Cheers,
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Spencer
Posts: 214
Joined: April 3rd, 2019, 1:43 pm
Location: West Virginia, USA
Contact:

July 13th, 2019, 2:40 pm

Thanks,

I thought you probably ordered through them, given that you mentioned EasyEDA in the past. I'm moving away from Fritzing (I know ... groan) and starting to use EasyEDA and KiCAD, though I find the latter quite unintuitive. For really small boards, OSHPark is pretty nice, but JLCPCB is definitely the way to go for big boards.

Spencer
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MSgtUSAFRet
Posts: 192
Joined: April 3rd, 2019, 10:13 am
Location: Houston, TX

July 15th, 2019, 12:34 pm

James,

The boards look awesome! The base is gonna be awesome and your build will be beawesome!

You are truly setting the bar extremely high with this build!

Looking forward to more updates!

Steady as she goes!

Steve
Admirals don't fly; do they...where's the fun in that?!
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