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Progress, or apparent lack thereof

Posted 11/29/2011 at 12:13 PM by Spaced Cowboy
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So, it may seem that there's been no activity on any front for quite a while now, but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. I'm hard at work, hacking away on two main things:

[U][I]1) Lighting:[/I][/U]

The design is finished, and I've cut the aluminium to size for one test 'pod' to cover about 2' square, drilled the holes for each LED, tapped out the screw threads, and it's ready to assemble/wire. What's put this a bit on the back-burner was a teensy mistake when ordering the PCB for the LED controller - I somehow didn't check the 'add soldermask' button on the website, so the PCB I got back was useless. That meant another two-week cycle waiting for it to turn up again.

Normally I'd roll my own circuit boards for prototyping, but this time there were too many vias (conducting holes between the top and bottom copper layer of the circuit board) for my liking. The only way I can do them at home is to laboriously solder a little copper wire between the top and bottom, and there are placement constraints in addition - because it's not perfectly flat when you've soldered the wire, you can't place the vias underneath any chips, or in fact too close together. One day I'll get an electroplating rig for the garage, but that day has not yet dawned...

[U][I]2) Software[/I][/U]

This is where the lions part of the effort has gone. I've been hard at work rewriting the code I'd already written, because I have a newer, better, design for the controller and sensors. I'm still keeping this one under wraps for the time being, but I really like it

In the mean-time, the tank is happily cycling away - I didn't put much live-rock into it this time around, so it'll take a bit longer, but I'm happy to wait. It's taken about a year to get this far. I can wait another few months
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