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Testing Times

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Well, here we are – the next instalment in the development and production process for the LED lighting kit.

The first batch of circuit boards have been delivered!  As I mention in the News section, I’m very pleased with the quality from our manufacturer.  So, the first thing to do was to test them – right?  Well, not quite!  One small stage remained to be completed, and that was the production of a set of cables to interconnect the two boards and to connect to the magnetic sensor and external lighting.

Whereas I have a cable specialist company in deepest, darkest Wales champing at the bit ready to start the production run, I have to remain patient.  Before initiating cable production, I need to know the precise dimensions each cable has to be, and that will be decided after I have trial assembled the circuit boards into the model.  That measurement process took a step nearer today with the news that the first production kit has been delivered!  I have no doubt that there will soon be another News item with photographic evidence of its arrival!

In the meantime however, I am not going to let a small matter like lack of cables deter me – oh no!  There was no way I was going to crimp the tiny little fittings on the ends of the cables and so I bit the bullet (dusted off Mr. Wallet!) and obtained some pre-crimped single wires and cable housings (the bits that fit into the connectors on the boards).  Very shortly, a set of cables emerged from the depths of my workshop. They will prove to be far too long to successfully install in a production kit, but for test purposes they will be perfect.

I very carefully broke out a pair of the boards from their anti-static wrappings and, using the slave cables, connected them together and persuaded the magnetic sensor and a pair of trial white LEDs (for the external lighting) to join the party.  I say trial LEDs because, until I lay my eager little mitts on the first kit, I cannot be 100 percent certain which format of LED I will use.  Ok, all connected up so all that remained was to connect a USB charging lead from a USB charger to the main board and, drum roll…..switch on.

Test Board

Main Adapter Board Under Test

Of course, it all worked perfectly first time didn’t it?  Errr, no actually.  Whereas all the functions were working as expected, I very soon came to realise that I had goofed.  It serves me right for only checking my circuit board designs twice instead of three times!  On the design I had left in place a track that should have been deleted and the result was that one of my dual colour LEDs was showing both red and blue (i.e.: purple) when it should have been only showing blue. D’oh!!

To be honest things could have been a lot worse, so after trying to demolish a brick wall with my head (not to be recommended by the way, if you really want a headache, try whisky – its a lot more fun), I redesigned the LED ring circuit board, which took all of 30 seconds and sent the designs to the pcb manufacturer with a request to re-manufacture them – poor old Mr Wallet!

At least the design flaw didn’t curtail the testing of the boards and so one more box gets ticked on the progress chart.  Not many photos this time, but next time might see a video link to see the testing phase.

Until the next time..

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