Category Archives: Prototype

Dead Bug! Prototyping SMDs

      Construction, Electronics, Hardware, How To, Infinity, Prototype

Gone are the days of DIP (Dual in-line) ICs. Most modern ICs are no longer offered in easy to use 2.54 mm (0.1 inch) pitch packages. The descendants of DIPs, the SOIC (Small Outline IC) and its friends (e.g. the TSOP (Thin Small Outline Package)) are shrunk down to 1.27 mm (0.05″) and even as low as 0.5mm (0.019″).

So how do we prototype using such tiny critters? We do it using the Dead Bug approach: A free-form construction, point-to-point soldering, often with the ICs flipped upside-down with their pins sticking up into the air like dead insects. The components are constructed, ad-hoc, using a bare copper-clad board serving as common ground. This construction technique drastically reduces electrostatic noise compared to other prototyping techniques using perf-boards or bread-boards.

Soldering a tiny TDFN-14 0.5mm package!

Dead-bug constructions are typically ugly beasts! We use a variation of the technique called the Manhattan Dead-bug Style, using small pads punched out of copper-clad board and glued into the main copper base. The pads serve as islands for soldering circuit nodes.

High efficiency Class-D amplifier

I like modular, reusable building blocks. And so we build small modules and connect them together, all on top of another bigger copper clad board. This construction is very favorable to noise sensitive electronics. The module you see here is a high efficiency Class-D amplifier.

 

 

Nu Update: Meet The Nexus

      Electronics, Manufacturing, Nexus, Nu Series, Prototype

Meet The Nexus. This small, hacker friendly breakout box connects your multichannel guitar to the outside world using a specialized (LEMO compatible) multi-pin connector for up to 12 channels of audio and 7 channels of analog control voltages for by-wire control of volume, tone, patch or effects. Audio may come from standard mono-pickups or from the Nu multichannel pickup. Analog control voltages are converted to MIDI control messages.nexus

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Pre-Production Prototype

      Electronics, Nu Series, Pickups, Prototype, Six-pack

Onward

Hello! We’ve been busy. It’s been a while, but we are inching slowly, but surely, towards production. Let me present the Six Pack production prototype (v1.4). If you have been following this project, you will notice that this is very similar to the Six Pack version 1.1 prototype apart from a few design changes.

Six Pack 1.4

Six Pack 1.4

Features:

  1. Six low impedance coils (1300 turns, 350Ω D.C. Impedance, flat frequency response, 20Hz-20kHz).
  2. Modern, Low power, Low noise OPA2314 differential Op Amps.
  3. Single supply (1.8 V to 5.5 V).
  4. Stainless steel height adjustment screws and springs.
  5. Premium gold-plated, 2 mm pitch header connector.
  6. Precision 1% thin-film, low TCR, low noise, Yageo and Vishay resistors.
  7. Panasonic low noise film capacitors.
  8. Fender Stratocaster Profile (14 mm total height excluding connector).
  9. EMG style pickup enclosure.

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Finally

      Alpha, Prototype

From concept to reality…

Presenting the Carbon Fiber-Bamboo Guitar prototype.

I still have to write more documentation. I am terribly lagging behind. Anyway, for now, here are some high resolution pictures. You should compare these against the original 3D images. I am immensely having fun playing the final prototype. Now I am focusing on production.

If you got here from nowhere, you’ll be missing out if you don’t check out the project in full. Nevertheless, pretty images are always nice to see.

(Click images to zoom)