New PCB Work
The Tindie store has been out of stock for a bit as I work on updating the PCB and making some adjustments to the code to improve performance (more on the code in a later post). I tried a new version of the PCB that moves the contrast potentiometer to the opposite side, where it can be accessed more easily than sticking a screwdriver between the USB ports. I was also trying to do board-to-board soldering with the audio card so that it would be stacked under the LCD instead of pressed against the Pi, but unfortunately the headphone jack is just too tall to fit under there. I had to chop the jack off with flush cutters. I have wrecked an audio card more than once in the past by doing this, so I won’t sell this board as a kit, I’ll just build 2-3 complete boxes and sell them in the store.
In further PCB development news, I finally learned KiCad so I could design a proper SMD board. This means I don’t have to buy the separate audio cards – I can just put the audio codec chip and supporting components directly on the board. I also added an AP63205 switching voltage regulator, which should make it possible to use a 5V or 9V power supply, and provide a more stable and safe 5V to the Pi. The prototypes should arrive this week, and if all goes well I’ll have these as kits and full builds in the store very soon!