Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bus Pirate v4 Assembly

     I got lucky enough to get a free PCB from Dangerous Prototypes a little over a month ago. I finally finished assembling it last night. It was my first time soldering SMD components, but it was worth it. I also got to use my homemade hotplate for the first time with no problems. I used this solder paste. I really only used the hotplate for the TQFP (Thin Quad Flat Pack) PIC chip and it worked out very nicely. The rest of the components I hand soldered with a bunch of time, patience, and flux.

     I ordered all my parts from I ran into a problem with their website that really cost me a great deal of time. I ordered (what I thought was) a 10K resistor array. The website stated that it was a 10K array so I put it in my order. When I finally got the part, I was testing it with my multimeter when I realized it certainly wasn't 10K. Turns out they sent me a 100K resister array. I called their customer service number and told them that I received the wrong part and that I am ordering a few more components and I'd like them to check and make sure the parts weren't mislabeled. When I recieved my order a few days later, I got a few more 100K resistor networks. I checked the website and found the problem -- although it was under the title 10Kohm resisitor network, the part number was "CR0603-JW-104ELF". 104, clearly a 100K part. After calling them again they corrected the problem and sent me more 10K resistor networks than I'd ever need. Although customer service was very nice each time I called, make sure to really check what you think you're ordering before you place your order.

     The biggest problem is that, due to my excitement of finally getting a PCB coupon code, I ordered the Bus Pirate v4 -- a new prototype version meant for developers. Because nothing for this project is set in stone, I'm having a hard time finding information about it. I have a programmer, but I don't even know which bootloader I am supposed to use. If anybody has any information about programming this chip, let me know. Also, if a developer happens to want this board, I can sell it at cost of the components -- learning to solder it was worth it in itself.

     I know I'll be getting a user-friendly Bus Pirate v3 with my next PCB code.

Finished and powered on