version 4.5 has been submitted for a limited test run. Here are the improvements:
0. using eagle cad pro, so that means I now have schematics!
1. highly rectilinear PCB component placement. Obey the grid.
2. surface mount headers for critical pins on the arduino mega. assuming I can get them soldered easily, this will solve the major assembly problem I was embarrassed by on previous versions. (H/T: Kevin… thanks for bringing these to my attention)
3. improved hackable mini protoboard area.
4. improved hackable pins on arduino mega headers.
5. holes for support legs on faders.
6. improved spacing of ledtacts and associated resistors.. should make assembly a little easier.
7. moved the arduino mega’s USB port closer to the edge of the board.
8. WAY improved beatseqr branding on the board.
9. silkscreen on both sides!
10. improved extra pin access to faders and potentiometers.
11. squeezed a piece of art onto the board. It is contained inside the LCD cutout area, so as long as I don’t plow right into it, it should be a really cool limited edition. (5 pieces)
12. included holes to mechanically affix the arduino mega to the board. The units I’ve shipped so far have had problems staying plugged in, and this should solve that problem.
Otherwise, this version, pin-out-wise, is the same as version 4. I’ll be working on changing some things from here, but this version was designed to get me back up to speed on my new tool set.
No jokin’ around. I barely have a clue what’s going on with Cadsoft Eagle. I had never used it for anything before this version of beatseqr, so I have no idea what the results are going to be. I’ll have to retool just about every other aspect of production as a result of making the switch from Advanced Circuits’ PCB Artist on windows to Eagle CAD on the Mac, but I think this is going to pay off in the long run. I want to start making mutations of this board, and I just couldn’t see the way forward any more with PCB Artist. Ironically, Advanced Circuits still had the best price for the PCB fabrication needs I have at this time, so not a total loss for them.
So, now I wait for my submission to clear DFM checks and head into production. Then I wait for my boards to show up. Then I need to build one out and verify everything works. If it does, then I have to redesign the CNC tooling for the PCB cutouts and the case completely, then redesign the silicone button mold and produce it in machinable wax. I have no idea what the state of my silicone parts are in, so could be ugly on that front.
There are a couple few other things I need to figure out too. I probably need to reorder some parts. I haven’t found LRF support that I like. Nothing seems to stick to this PCB case, so I’ll have to source some I can mechanically fasten to the case or, much worse, fabricate a solution myself.
Anyway, three of these units will be probably be available for USD$349 plus shipping and export duties where applicable. It’s going to take me a while to dial all the fabrication steps in, but hopefully by the end of april 2011, there will be some units available.