2017-01-23 (M) Tough Pi-ano

The first board made for the PiAno was messy since resistors were installed only after it was obvious they were needed. Four boards would be needed so creating one neatly would be important since it would be copied. The first board works well but it may be replaced if the copies are easy to produce.

While creating a neat board a few mistakes were made including some scorched vias where the soldering iron was too hot, misplaced wires, missing resistors, an off-center header socket,  and inadvertently filled vias. This board was abandoned. Ultimately, it was another case of starting the procedure without a good plan and getting distracted during the process.

Board with incorrectly placed wires and resistors

Another board was started with a clear plan; install the double-row header sockets, install all resistors, install a ground trace on each side of the board and install the wires last. This will leave less room for the thumbwheel switch but that doesn’t need to be installed close since it was also provided with pull-down resistors.

Neat board with resistors and header

Wiring was completed for the board by taking the wires from the error-ridden board and transposing them to the neat board. The most effective method for linking the header pin to the wire lead to the resistor was to solder them independently then lay a short piece of scrap wire between all three leads and heat it until the solder flowed between all three pads.

 Top of neat board

Troubleshooting was messy and unpredictable. Some of the problems that occurred in the first version, when there were no pull-down resistors, came back. Some of the notes would trigger randomly, the octave selecting thumbwheel was ineffective, and applying a voltage to a wire wouldn’t play a note. This was frustrating because the addition of the resistor was supposed to negate all these problems. A quick check with a mult-meter revealed that the resistors weren’t properly grounded. Once the grounding traces were added the problems disappeared and every connection tested well.

Underside of neat board


The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2.
Completed projects from year 3.

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2017-01-09 (M)