The Soldering Has Begun

A project log for GPS Clock

My entry to the circuit sculpture contest - A digital Clock which pulls its time from the Global Positioning System

matthew-james-bellafaireMatthew James Bellafaire 08/23/2020 at 21:570 Comments

There's been a lot of wire bending and quite a few learning curves to overcome. First thing worthy of note is that originally I put way too much faith in the strength of the solder pads, they're good for wires but in this kind of project they're far too weak. After soldering the first bit of the project together I found that the pads were becoming loose, eventually even the througholes gave out. I ended up loosing the ground, VIN, and 3.3V pads: 

The result of this is that I needed to replace the ESP32 board with another one, this time i'm using the headers as solder points. I probably should have done this from the start, but I don't think the board looks nearly as good with the headers on it floating in space. 

The first parts soldered up were the ESP32 and the GPS module, since there's only 4 connections going between them:

(You'll also notice I'm using this piece of plywood as a solder mat, there's a good reason for this) 

By far the most difficult component to assemble was the 7-seg. Given it's shear size and mass it's difficult to position correctly to solder. Unfortunately I don't have any in progress images for soldering the display, There are a total of 4 connections to the display, the 5V power for the display is used essentially as a stand for the entire project. 3.3V and the ground connection come off of the power buss connecting the ESP32 and the GPS Module. 

 All said and done it came together pretty well: 

Using the plywood has been great. at the moment that screw in the center is the only thing that holds this project up, without it the display tips the entire project backwards.

Even better it works! 

I still need to put in the buttons and the RGB LEDs so this is by no means complete but the core is there!