Terminal strips, custom PCB, version, and mismatched pin distances

Hi,
I have recently begun constructing a FlyPi, and have ordered many of my parts and the custom PCBs. Now I have 90% of the parts I need and the custom PCBs in hand, but I am having a few issues.

The first main issue is that the socket terminal strips - both 2-pin and 3-pin - don't fit on the PCB! I ordered both sets of strips with 3.5 mm spacing just like is on the repository, but on my PCB created also from the files on the repository the distance appears to be 2.5 mm spacing. Did I do something wrong in either ordering the PCB or the parts? Or is there an error in either the PCB I received or the repository list?

The second question I have is more about the user and assembly manual than anything else. I am using the only manual I can find on the github site, however that I all centered around outdated designs which have now been updated for botht he 3D printing as well as the PCB. I think we can intuit most of the differences to assemble, but is there a better guide for the newer versions? I have little prior electronics hardware experience and am a bit nervous about guessing my way through constructing the FlyPi when the PCB and the 3D printed parts don't match to the manual. If there isn't a newer guide, are there any important points I need to know about assembling the newer version?

Thank you,
Jeremy

Comments

  • Hi Jeremy,

    We are really sorry that you are having troubles with the PCB, the parts you ordered and the manual. Indeed it is a fail on our side to be updating things and not following up with an up to date documentation.

    Let's tackle this by parts:

    • From your description seems that you got parts as they were described in the publication describing the FlyPi, which is not the most up to date version on the github repository. The new version lives here and specifically a list of parts can be found here

    Could you please post a photo of the board and the connectors you got?

  • Hi amchagas,
    Apologies for taking so long to respond. I am getting closer but I have

    Thank you for the info, I had no idea the publication was outdated. I now have all the parts I need and have populated much of the PCB board (I have v0.6, just like in the latest guide you sent). But I now have some questions about the new guide I guess now that I am partway through. I have the correct connectors and board now.

    1. On the PCB board diagram, I have completed modules A, B, C, D and F (I am not using the peltier element, UV light, servo motor or fan right now). I need to power the LED ring module, and for not not much else. I am presuming I should use the 3 pin connection header (E) to connect to the LED ring? What are P5 and P6 for?

    2. On the LED ring module connection - I am really unsure which wire needs to connect where. The labels on the PCB (Ring, +, and s) don't match what is on the actual LED ring module. It has "GND", "power", "in", and "out". I was thinking it was ring to GND, + to power and S to in, but on the original instruction manual the colors of those wire do not match up that way. Which way do I need to connect them?

    Thank you again for your help. I might have some more questions once I get all my 3D parts in and actually have power to the device.

  • Hi @jsd2

    Glad to hear that things are progressing!

    • P6 and P5 are connectors that we originally designed to use for "high powered" LEDs. but in essence they are just power lines that can be controlled by a digital signal coming from the Arduino. So in principle you can connected things that can be powered by 5V and would benefit from being switched on/off via the Arduino (and graphical user interface)
      • Sorry, that is something we never noticed could be a source of confusion, but I see how relabelling things can help. Here is what you need to wire:
        board --> Ring
        "-" --> GND
        "+" --> power
        "S" --> in

    "S" on the board stands for signal, "in" in the ring stands for "data in" - So commands leave the board and go into the ring. these rings can chained together, this is why they have an "out" pin as well.

    Let us know how it is going, and if there is anything else we can help with!

  • Hi amchagas,
    Thanks again for this, it was very helpful.

    I have yet a new issue (sorry about this) where I have successfully powered both the PCB and the RaspPi, but I had a capacitor pop/explode! I replaced said capacitor with an identical capacitor and it again popped. It is the C1 capacitor. Important to note that the RPi, arduino, and pixel ring are all still receiving power, but I haven't run a test of the camera or software yet.

    Can you think of a reason this might have occurred? Also, what problems would I encounter if I was unable to replace this capacitor short-term?

    I used parts either identical or equivalent to the ones on the bom list. The only thing I can think of is that I am in the states, and so we have AC current coming through the walls. Would this be a potential issue?

    Thanks again.

  • Hi @jsd2,
    it is very nice to get your updates and know that things are moving forward.

    About the capacitor, the only time we had a similar issue is when we placed the capacitor inverted. It seems unlikely that you would have placed it inverted twice, but maybe take a look at that? If you take a a look at the capacitor, there should be a band along the capacitor, with "-" signs on it. That should go to the white part of the capacitor drawing on the PCB. Also, those capacitors should have a long and a short leg, indicating positive and negative lead respectively.

    That capacitor serves to filter the power going into the IC component next to it, so I think you would be able to get away with not replacing it right away, but I wouldn't recommend it, as I don't know what the unfiltered power will do to your components/board in the long run.

    About the differences in power between US and Europe, considering what comes out of the wall socket, is the frequency of the power (50Hz in Europe and 60Hz in the US) as well as the voltage 240V in Europe and 120V in the US (some more details here). In any country, this is AC.

    All of those differences disappear when you use the power supply in the system (power brick), as it converts "whatever" is coming out of the wall socket to 12V in the specific case of the FlyPi power supply.

    Let us know if you have more questions!

  • Hi amchagas,
    Sorry it has been a bit. My biggest issue right now is that due to the other work I am doing, I can only allocate so much time to working on this, and further slowed down by waiting for new parts, etc.

    So, a few things: I think I definitely had the capacitor in the wrong way and thats why it blew. I also noticed that this was the case for 2 other capacitors that hadn't blown but were in the improper orientation. This was good to recognize and I ordered some new capacitors to see if I could remedy. Then, a few things occurred.

    First is that while I was waiting on the parts I went ahead and tried to see if I could get the OS and software working on the SD card. I could power the RPi with my board with the one blown capacitor and incorrect orientation capacitors, surprisingly, but when I finally got it connected - I ended up with just a Rainbow screen on the monitor and nothing else.

    I am aware that this screen could mean LOTS of things, but I was getting the same issue with 2 separate SD cards and when I plugged the RPi just into the wall I could get the OS to boot. So, I figured it was something on the board and I waited patiently for my parts to arrive.

    When they finally arrived I had a challenging task - unsoldering all the wrong capacitors and resoldering new ones back on. I am a novice, and during the process the board was getting a little burned around the through-holes while trying to remove the solder. I managed to unsolder the old ones and replace the new ones, and it does not appear that I have a short or anything like that.

    But when I tried hooking up to the RPi and turning it on, the Arduino light turns on and so does my LED ring, but the RPi wont. I checked 2 different connecting cables and no dice. The RPi still works using that cable when plugging into the wall.

    Did I mess up my board?? Do I have a short? Do I need to populate a new board?

    Apologies for the long post, I just was very sad to come so close and not know what my issue was.

  • Hi @jsd2,

    Sorry to hear you are still finding problems with your board.

    First is that while I was waiting on the parts I went ahead and tried to see if I could get the OS and software working on the SD card. I could power the RPi with my board with the one blown capacitor and incorrect orientation capacitors, surprisingly, but when I finally got it connected - I ended up with just a Rainbow screen on the monitor and nothing else.

    Now this is already done, but for future reference, do not use a board that you know has inverted components attached to it! you ran a big risk of damaging more parts/components down the road.

    You probably only went so far to see the "rainbow screen" because the Pi was not receiving enough juice to completely boot up.

    When they finally arrived I had a challenging task - unsoldering all the wrong capacitors and resoldering new ones back on. I am a novice, and during the process the board was getting a little burned around the through-holes while trying to remove the solder. I managed to unsolder the old ones and replace the new ones, and it does not appear that I have a short or anything like that.

    If you can, try to post photos of the things you are trying to describe, it will make it much easier to get a hint and give suggestions!

    But when I tried hooking up to the RPi and turning it on, the Arduino light turns on and so does my LED ring, but the RPi wont. I checked 2 different connecting cables and no dice. The RPi still works using that cable when plugging into the wall.

    The RPi has a dedicated power conversion unit on the board, from 12V to 5V. If powering the pi from the board is not working, I would suggest one of those components are damaged. Which could happen with to much heat was applied in any of the components, maybe the process of desoldering and resoldering has heated up the surrounding components too much. I'm really sorry to say this, but the most practical solution would be to desolder all the components related to this power conversion unit and solder new ones....

    I hope this helps!

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