Manufacturing guy-at-large.

Hackweek Day 1

Added on by Spencer Wright.

Zach and I started the week with The Public Radio

When last we visited it, we had assembled - destructively - our first PCB. Today we started fresh, beginning with solder paste application. 

Paste applied. Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

Parts. Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

Parts applied.  Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

We spent a little while trying to find a reflow curve for our solder paste, but gave up after Sparkfun (of course) fell flat on a datasheet (Note to self: get proper solder paste, and get it in a fucking syringe. Enough with the toothpicks.)  So we found one for some Kester paste and shot for that. With my non-contact thermometer and our crappy hot plate, reflowing went damn well.  

Ready for reflow.  Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

Why would you want to look at this more closely? I'm not sure. Still,  click to "embiggen," or whatever.

 Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

Reflowed.  Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

Then, we basically looked at it real close. I've got a line loupe, and recently threw down for an eyeglass style magnifier. Add a multimeter and we were able to figure out where all of our bridges were pretty easily.

Gimme da loupe?  Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

On to fixing. We had a bit of trouble getting our wick + torch to agree with each other, but eventually got all (but possibly one - but it's going *down*) bridge fixed. 

The area, i.e. my kitchen. Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

Fixing.  Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

Fixing.  Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

The net effect: The Public Radio is basically ready to have its bootloader installed. With any luck, we should get it programmed, tested, and bumping HOT97 tomorrow.



Lunch: Franks does the heavy lifting here.  Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

I spent a good part of my afternoon working to get data passed to a Google Spreadsheet. It turns out that the quickest way to do so is to create a form, which by default dumps text inputs to the next row of a spreadsheet.  The standard format puts a timestamp on the first column and then text strings in each subsequent column. I wanted to start by passing data from a command line, mostly because I was pretty sure that implementing cURL was going to be straightforward. There's plenty of info about cURL and the Google Data Services API, but once you get to the complicated stuff, everyone's building PHP scripts - something that was a little much for me to take on for the afternoon. So I reached out on twitter, and within a half hour a friend from college got back to me with the syntax I was looking for

Computers like notebooks. Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

Posting to Google Docs directly from the command line. Click to "embiggen," or whatever.

The next step here (if you believe my pseudo-engineer ass) will be to built a PHP web app that can pass data to the same spreadsheet. Some of this will transfer right from what I did today, but the complexity level - and the potential things I can do with it - will increase pretty quickly. A PHP script will allow me to get and push data, and will also handle some computation as well. From there, I hope to add an additional layer - a basic embedded system that can post data from a wireless connection (likely XBee and/or GSM) directly to a Google Spreadsheet.  I'm planning on getting the web app mostly built tomorrow (it'll be extremely simple, but will be the basis for a lot more) and hope to be getting data from a wireless device later this week.

The net effect: A good amount of progress today, capped off with a (somewhat...) interesting meetup in the evening. Plus, Zach got a little real about his twitter account

Shit's real.