Thursday, May 5, 2011

Switches, Solenoids and Light Emitting Diodes

Yesterday I finished the switch-board that I'm almost completely satisfied with.

The only downside is the connection type for the switches that I've chosen, a simple 'plug & play' solution would be nice but the current version has screws that hold each cable. Not the biggest concern, since I can easily put better connectors onto the cables themselves.

I've put diagnostics LED's on each connection so that I can clearly see when a switch triggers. Should come in handy during the playfield and ruleset testing! All in all, the switchboard has 32 inputs - not sure if that will be enough for the final version, but it should take me a long way. Although not shown in the picture, the dark side of using experiment boards is evident, since each input had to get the ground, power and control connections wired. It's a mess, really. There's around 352 solder points in this design... I'm really happy I bought that soldering station!

I've also attached diagnostics LED's to the solenoid board as well. It immediately showed that "Solenoid 5" was active all the time. After a little troubleshooting I realized that Arduino's serial2 used the same pin so I had to disable it.

I've also put little rubber feet on all boards so that they are elevated a bit from the surface and also get a little more protected from vibrations and shocks. The ribbon/flat cable design I've chosen showed to be extremely nice when debugging, as the board constantly moves from the cabinet to the workbench! I'll probably do this on the solenoid board as well in the future.

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