PCB arrived, first tests

A project log for 1976 BMW 2002: Digital Gauges

Modernizing the mechanical gauges in a calssic car

Jonathan Perry-HoutsJonathan Perry-Houts 03/12/2015 at 04:160 Comments

My PCBs arrived yesterday from seeedstudio. First PCB I've ever designed, and it looks pretty good, I think. Soldering SMD components for the first time was a bit weird. The solder joints don't look super uniform, but they're not as awful as I sort of expected they'd be.

The board seems to work (the same as the breadboard setup I had, so I would hope it works). And it looks good doing it! A nice advantage of having a physical prototype that's in the final formfactor is that I can see what the whole thing looks like assembled. It's cool to finally see what the little displays look like behind the gauge faceplate. The pictures don't do it justice, it looks cool.

One thing I realized recently is that I'm probably going to want to drive the stepper motor with a smoother PWM sine wave signal, which means I need to switch some stuff in the circuit. So this first iteration is already outdated. I'm going to play with this design as-is for a while and see what I can do, then think about my next iteration once I have a much more solid idea of what works and what doesn't.