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Project update 8 of 10
We took delivery of 120 AquaPing printed circuit boards that have been manufactured by PCBWay. The PCBs are laid out in a 2 x 2 arrangement on 30 panels for pick-and-place assembly. Note the ENIG (Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold) surface plating on the copper pads. PCBWay also supplied a stencil that will be used for reflow soldering. The electronic parts inventory is being sourced entirely from Mouser with contract manufacturing taking place at nearby Cyber City Circuits.
The production sensor boards are slightly larger than the prototypes shown on the main project page. This is because we replaced the 48-pin QFN MSP430 microcontroller with a 64-pin QFP version of the same design. The substitution was made in response to the global chip shortage — the smaller chips are not expected to be available until sometime in 2023. There is no change in functionality or cost, although none of the additional I/O pins are being used. A noise alert digital line has also been added to make an 8-pin header as described in the previous update.
We expect to make on-time order fulfillments and will keep backers and project subscribers updated througout the production process. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please let us know!