The Beginning
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The Raven

Two programs helped greatly with the design of the circuitry. The first is Express Schematic, which has a vast library of components for assembling anything from the simplest circuit to the most complex multi-layer design. The interface is very easy to learn and use. Once the paths are drawn, the schematic can then be linked with a board within the second program, Express PCB. When the two are linked, they work together to minimize errors. This is very handy. Below is a capture of the most elaborate design, which was the plan for the first board on the previous page. Keep in mind these designs were first created during 2007.

Click for larger image

Note the old "Nitro Crawler" project name in the title block above :-)

The second image displays the connections for the two monitor displays for voltage and current. The readouts themselves are very nice, as they use large LCD digits on a neutral background. They also employ a soft blue backlight, if desired. I love blue, so I went with it.

The reasoning behind my shelving of this setup was the difficulty in working out details for the current monitor. At first I had thought of finding a successful monitor and then simply adapting it to my needs. However, the circuitry involved did not easily fit with the remaining sections of the power supply. Having a readout of the current being drawn from either the solar cells or batteries is not really necessary anyway, and just serves to use more power and complicate the design. So, I tossed it and stuck with the single display for monitoring the various voltages required. I still need to add switching for the monitor.

The last image is the current design. Simple, yes, but everything required is present and unnecessary items have been removed. This should be cheaper to manufacture as well.

Click for larger image

Yes, the second schematic displays yet another name for this project. The name kept changing (I even went through several attempts at humorous acronyms at the request of a coworker), until finally settling upon the 'Clodmaster'. That seems appropriate considering the genesis of this adventure.


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Content Updated: Sunday, September 04, 2016 at 10:25 pdt

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