Manual technical typos, design suggestions, etc.

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Manual technical typos, design suggestions, etc.

Postby Bill Porter » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:00 pm

Let me start by saying the quality of the kit you guys sent out puts even the 'giants' like Makerbot Industries to shame. I will pay you to send me an updated manual (after all the bugs are flushed out) so I can keep it in my bookshelf. Current manual version 1.3.0, May 2013

That said, I'm on day 3 of the build and here's all the fixes, notes, etc: (I've sent the first two days worth via kickstarter messages, since I haven't gotten a reply from you yet I figured you prefer this info here)

Missing parts: My kit had 3 of the 4n25 Optocouple’s and was missing the 2x UCC3732x Gate driver ICs. I was also missing the fan connector for the motherboard. The bolt and nut included with the 7805 for the Interrupter were not the same size.

PCB: I had 3 holes closed off with tin plating on arrival. Who fabbed your PCBs?

R6 in the manual and on the circuit board is labeled as 470Ohm, but the parts kit has a 560Ohm (by process of elimination). I see it’s for an LED so I see that it's a fine substitution, other people might not.

C4’s pin spacing doesn't match the PCB, trivial but a bit of an annoyance.

Page 25, Step 4: “C2, C3, and C5 through C16. Note that these are ALL electrolytic and polarity matters” Only C5-C7, 15, 16 are polarized caps, the rest are ceramic.

Page 24-27: I don't see steps to solder the tank capacitor to the board nor do i see a step to solder the fan connector. Also, my kit was missing the fan connector.

Page 28: Isolation Xfmer You don't specify whether or not the two wires we mark come from the same bundle (same side of the transformer).

Page 30: Interrupter: You don't have a step to solder in D1, the diode behind the Midi jack. You also don't have a step to solder the LED.

Page 33: "The light should not turn on ... when switch in MIDI position" This was not true for my kit, it's on either way. I scoped the optical transmitter and verified a pulse train when in 'Fixed' mode and no pulse when in MIDI mode and no MIDI source.

Also, my LED in the Interrupter kit was DOA, tested before assembly with LED tester.

Design notes:

Using solid pads instead of thermal pads on your ground plane made soldering those connections fairly brutal. I wouldn't be surprised if you started to see a trend with your customers complaining about intermittent issues because of cold solder joints on those connections. Experienced people will catch it; new ones may not realize how much extra time has to go into making those connections.

Not mechanically securing the IGBT heatsink the the PCB is making me really nervous. I plan to use the coil in my Science 'Road Show' and it will see rough handling and bumpy hour long trips in my trailer on a weekly basis.

That's it so far, I'll update here as I go deeper down the rabbit hole. Hurry up and get us those toroids, I'm in the middle of teaching a summer STEM camp with 20 local teachers, 200 students that would love to see this running.
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Re: Manual technical typos, design suggestions, etc.

Postby Bayley » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:08 pm

Thanks for the tips! We'll be working them into the revised manual tomorrow :)
The lack of thermals is so that the impedance of those pads is as low as possible, since many of them are ground connections, and the Tesla coil environment is very noisy. Yes, it makes those pads a bitch to solder (I've found that out too), but it is doable with a 40W Weller and a little patience, and I didn't want to risk noise-induced failures on the coil.
The reason the heatsink is not soldered to the board is so you can easily remove it to replace the IGBT's should it break We recommend a nice foam-padded travel case for taking the unit on road trips.
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Re: Manual technical typos, design suggestions, etc.

Postby Bill Porter » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:05 pm

More notes:

I forgot to add a note about the funky green LEDs you got. Where the heck did they come from? One was indeed DOA but the other was backwards, literally.

Page 37: "Test for startup pulses." Does this have to be done in MIDI mode, or is this a relic from before the interrupter had fixed mode? I successfully performed all the tests in fixed mode; I didn't want to mess with the MIDI part yet.

Page 38: "Does the waveform match (A)?" "YES: Proceed to step 11". Seeing as this is step 11, Do you mean proceed to step 12?

Page 26: "Insert all ICs" At this point the IC sockets are installed and only the IC labels are visible on the PCB; the part numbers are covered by the socket. So it's hard to tell which UCC3732x gate driver goes where. IC3 or IC4? IT would help to either put a table here to say 'IC3:UCC37321, IC4:UCC37322', etc or drop in the schematic with the right labels. I had to go download the Eagle files just to make sure I was putting the right one in the right socket.

Design notes:

The interrupter casing is a bit nefarious to put together with a glue gun. I ended up having to re-glue the top plate and broke a corner off in the process. I'm not looking forward to having to change the battery. But there looks like there is an easy design change that would remove the need to glue and make disassemble easier. Replace the screws in the PCB with threaded standoffs, which extends the 4 standoffs up to the top plate and use screws to secure the top plate just like the bottom plate. This 'sandwich' of top plate, pcb, bottom plate would hold the casing together without glue and make changing the battery easier.
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Re: Manual technical typos, design suggestions, etc.

Postby Bill Porter » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:51 pm

Page 45: There's no step for gluing the primary end cap to the primary, though the picture in the next step shows it attached.

Page 47: "Peel a few inches of wire off the end" Is a very bad idea. There was already a few inches of wire coming off, so I (incorrectly) assumed I needed to peel off a few more. Your coil winder put dabs of varnish on the ends of the coil, so trying to unwind the wire past that results in broken wire. I had to scrap off the varnish dabs and carefully remove a few turns to fix my mistake. If your sure the coils come with the correct amount of wire coming off, I suggest you remove the 'peel' part. Otherwise put in some wording about how to peel off the wire past the globs of varnish on the coil form.

Page 48: Why not have us solder the 5" of ground wire to the IEC socket back on page 26? Would make more sense and would wouldn't be trying to solder awkwardly around the heatsink and plastic side.

Page 52: sub-step 8: "Proceed to step 18, troubleshooting" Should be step 19.

My kit is done! Hurry up and get us those top-load forms!
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Re: Manual technical typos, design suggestions, etc.

Postby Bayley » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:47 pm

Toploads will hopefully be coming in a timely fashion; we're receiving our first samples on Tuesday (at last! and this time it isn't a "maybe"; the samples have been shipped out already).
All your comments have been worked into a new revision of the manual; expect it to be uploaded soon. I look forward to your advice when we finally get those toroids shipped; I bet you'll have good debugging advice as well :D
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