Thursday, February 22, 2007

[technical stuff] my atmega32 PCB design

Been a very busy day! I plan on using some AVR ATMega32 microcontrollers as a cheap and easy way to add some A/D converters which can do their own averaging / filtering of analog signals. Last night as I was experimenting with the smaller ATMega8 I quickly came to the realization that things would go MUCH more smoothly if I had some PCBs fabed for these (so I don't have wires running everywhere). Since we are leaving Saturday for our cruise I need to get this sent out for manufacturing TODAY!

Now I am far from a hardware expert. I have only designed 1 board before and that was several years ago (and was a much simpler board). Luckily there is some good software for this. Eagle CAD from CadSoft runs on Linux and has a free version which has all the capabilities I need. It took me about 1/2 the day just to learn the software, 1/2 the day to design the board, and 1/2 the day to figure out how to generate the files needed by the manufacturer (yes, that is 3/2, like I said it was a busy day!).

Tomorrow I plan on putting together a digikey order so the last of my components should be here when I get back. The boards have a 10 day lead time (which is why it was critical to get that in now). That will give me a week when we get back for working on the mechanical parts of the bot. So for I _think_ I have things planned out so that I won't waste any time waiting on parts!

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