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The Raven


Some of the testing that has been done recently has involved the transmitter and receiver. In order to keep the wiring to a minimum, I have run traces from each receiver channel to headers for the camera pan/tilt, headlight switching, steering and drive controllers, mosfets, and auxiliary outputs. Unifying everything onto one board is really nice and serves to avoid the tangles and wire-routing nightmares of which I have dealt with in the past. Of course, as the board becomes more throrough and complex, costs can spiral. In the beginning the entire power supply was less than 2.5 x 4 inches, and now it is 14 x 6.3 with more than 100 components

Below is the bottom copper layer complete with part number, revision number, and my company logo. I have also included the 'RC Skunkworks' logo to make things interesting. I have been told that logo is silly, but it actually fits this type of project (with a nod to Lockheed for posterity). There is also a stamp for visual confirmation of the lack of lead. That is important.

As displayed previously in these pages, I tried to keep traces off the bottom layer for a more uniform look. The layout became complex enough to require traces on both sides as well as the inner planes. Once I made the decision to run signals and power along the bottom layer, the possibilities expanded greatly.

I have always felt that the logos are important. My name should obviously be there, plus copyright information just in case. My company name shows that this has been (at least somewhat) professional and should serve to help business in the future.

The next image is the silkscreen layer. The production service that ExpressPCB provides is really nice. They put solder masks over both sides and that helps to keep the pads neat during and after assembly. The silkscreen is only available on the top which is good for component identification and labeling. The silkscreen layer is yellow in the software but will be white when manufactured. Also on this layer are outlines for all of the auxiliary boards that will be mounted to the main board. These include both motor controllers, the receiver, AHRS board, weather board, mosfet carriers, current detector, GPS carrier, datalogger, toggle switches and the LCD display. The larger boards will be removable. The only difficulty here has been the carrier for the RC receiver. To keep the board size to a minimum, I wanted to employ flathead screws with nuts underneath. That board must be thick enough for the screw heads to be countersunk and still grab enough material for strength. One other possibility is to use the low-head screws (which are now all over the truck) and then just space the receiver above them with foam tape. We shall see which is more feasable.

Of course, the huge Clodmaster Project title is there, along with an American flag, no-lead stamp, and a nod to my previous place of work. Again, the logos might be silly to some, but I am proud of this work and need to display that pride. Plus it may help with promoting the capabilities of RSE.

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

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