Ever since Panic announced Playdate I've been dying to get my hands on it.
As a game developer the tiny form factor and quirky crank fills my head with ideas that I would love to try out. The only thing overriding those thoughts is how cool it would be to actually build something like Playdate. I've always been into electronics projects, I built an entire arcade cabinet from scratch while at university and loved every second of it.
With this project I want to explore, whether software or hardware, all the tools, techniques and processes that you have to go through to get a product like Playdate into someones hands. CheapDate will be as similar to Playdates confirmed specs as possible.
This project is 100% unofficial and in no way associated with Panic, Playdate or Teenage Engineering.
It lives, it breathes! This is Cheapdate booting for the first time running a simple blink LED programme. I don't want to understate the multitude of things that have come together for this to power on and run code. Very happy right now!
Overall I'd say EZ Bake (my reflow oven project) came through in a big way. Some manual corrections to make, primarily solder 'bridging' on the CPU. AFAIK manual corrections are common even for commercial SMD solder bakes.
The ribbon cable connector (top left) is a bit sketchy too (confirmed by some multimeter prodding). I'll get this cleaned up tomorrow, will need to source some isopropyl alcohol from somewhere (??), then attempt to get this thing booting!
Surface mount solder stencil for Cheapdate arrived today. This mask was produced from the same CAD drawing that was sent to the PCB manufacturer. It will allow me to scrape liquid solder across it, leaving solder on only the parts that need it.