PCB prototyping is done... Sort of :)

A project log for Radio Feather X

All in One STM32 feather board with Radio capabilities (NRF24 and LORA)

flavioFlavio 04/03/2023 at 08:280 Comments

On my last update, about a month ago, I was in the process of preparing to send my board design for fabrication to the PCB prototyping provider. A lot has happened since then...

My first batch of boards, which still had a preliminary design, was done mostly to validate and de-risk the MCU schematic and routing. From what I learned from that batch a few issues were fixed in the current iteration. For that first iteragion I did contract both PCB prototyping and assembling, but this time because I want to produce a larger amount of boards  I've decided to only contract the PCB prototyping and to buy all the required components to assemble the boards myself.

I did look into a possible PCB manufacturing providers and PCBWay came up on top amongst the options. To my surprise their  Online Services Team saw this project page and reached out to me offering to sponsor the PCB fabrication. Luckily that was  just the perfect timing!

I did take their generous offer and sent my gerber files using their website and was blown away by their turnaround time: my boards were ready and shipped to me in a couple of days. The shipment was delivered a week or so later. My first impressions of the quality of the boards is really positive. I ordered 10 pairs and an SMD stencil. As can be seen on the attached photos they look top notch!

This is the top of the PCB panels:

This is the bottom of the panel:

And finally here is the SMD Stencil:

A couple more of pictures are available on the projects Gallery area.

While waiting for the boards to arrive I was searching for a components supplier and after preparing the BOM I ordered all the components to build all the 20 boards with some parts to spare. I am still awaiting on the delivery of the components so I have not been able to start assembling them yet.

Finally, I am working on adding this board to the Arduino-STM32 repository and Platform STSTM32 list of boards. Although that work was put on hold for a couple of weeks while I was moving houses,  I am finally getting back to it. I suspect I will only be able to conclude the code changes once I have received the components and assembled at least a couple of boards to validate the source code, since the test boards I currently have are slightly different than this final version.

So that is it. In the next couple of weeks I should hopefully have more exciting updates (provided the components are delivered), after the last month hiatus.

Once again many thanks to PCBWay for kindly sponsoring my project's PCB prototyping. I will certainly use them for my future projects and likely put this project on their shared projects page once it is complete.

Talk soon. Cheers!