Reflow Soldering in Unmodified Toaster Oven? Why not?!

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I’ve been designing a 4-layer PCB for a product for a few months now and I finally got to the stage of assembling the prototype after the PCB and components arrived. Most of the passive components I used were 0603 surface mount parts so reflow soldering was the only viable option (if I wanted to maintain my sanity).

Since I don’t have a proper reflow oven, I decided to use the next best thing I own: No not my hot air rework station, a toaster oven!

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Designing an Advanced Autonomous Robot: Goose

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Update: This article was featured on Hackaday.com on 8/8/2019.

Goose is a mobile autonomous robot I designed and built over 6 months in my spare time for a robotics competition. This was a fully custom and challenging build that tested my competence in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, control systems, and computer science.

Instead of focusing heavily on the competition, the goal of this article is to briefly go through the system design process. I’ll touch on my various design choices and discuss how I chose to address some of the common issues in designing an autonomous robot. This is not a tutorial (those will be coming later) but more of a case study.

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4-Layer PCB Design in KiCad 5: Quick Thoughts

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I recently had to design a 4-layer PCB and I finally decided to give KiCad another try (after hearing great things about version 5). I’ve known about KiCad for years and even tried it once a few years back but it never felt quite “there” yet. After spending a few months designing a 4-layer board I have to say it has certainly won me over.

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Wood Clock Gears with Motor Drive – Part 3 of 3

Reading Time: 4 minutesPicking up from Part 2, the third and final part of the wood click gears with motor drive build covers the stepper motor drive. The gears ended up driving this really beautiful clock. Note that I did not build the clock, just the gears driving the hands.

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Wood Clock Gears with Motor Drive – Part 2 of 3

Reading Time: 2 minutesPicking up from Part 1 of the wood clock gears project where I designed the gears, Part 2 will cover the physical assembly of the gear build. This was the simplest part of the build since it only involved cutting the gears using a laser cutter and gluing everything together.

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Wood Clock Gears with Motor Drive – Part 1 of 3

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I was asked to design and build the gear and drive mechanism for a 6 foot clock. The clock had an hour and a minute hand and needed to move in both the clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. This was not a “realtime clock” and needed to move visibly fast.

I decided to use wood clock gears with a motor drive for the sake of simplicity. This build was definitely more out of my comfort zone than usual but proved to be a fun and educational experience. Part 1  goes over the design of the gears. Part 2 will cover the physical build and Part 3 the electrical design and final build.

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DIY Housing for 100W Audio Amplifier Module

Reading Time: 3 minutesThis was a fun build around the Sure 2×100 Watt Amplifier Module. I spent most of the time on this project designing the chassis in SolidWorks and chasing around the cause of a fairly high noise floor. The final chassis which was very beautifully built by my friend Rodney.


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Desktop Audio Amplifier Chassis

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Project Summary

This was a quick build of a 50W desktop audio amplifier based around the SainSmart 12V 50Wx2+100W TPA3116D2 board. The amplifier performed well into a 6 Ohm load and was able to hit “uncomfortable” levels (at a 4 foot listening distance) without distortion.

Parts List


  • SainSmart 12V 50W x 2+100W TPA3116D2 2.1 Amplifier Board
  • Self-Stick 1/2″ Noise-Dampening Bumpers
  • Kmise Z2807H3 14 x 17 mm Mini Aluminum Knob
  • Black and Red Plastic Shell Speaker Terminal Binding Posts
  • BOX3-1455N-BK Black Aluminum Box (6.30 x 4.06 x 2.10 in)
  • 2.1mm Metal Panel Mount DC Power Jack
  • 3.5mm Stereo Panel Mount Input Jack

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Ultra-fast, Autonomous, Reconfigurable UAV Disaster Communication System

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Abstract

The recent years have witnessed an increase in natural disasters in which the destruction of essential communication infrastructure has significantly affected the number of casualties. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina in the United States resulted in over 1,900 deaths, three million land-line phones disconnections, and more than 2000 cell sites going out of service. This incident highlighted an urgent need for a quick-deployment, efficient communication network for emergency relief purposes. In this research, a fully autonomous system to deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as the first phase disaster recovery communication network for wide-area relief is presented. As part of this system, an automation algorithm has been developed to control the deployment and positioning of the UAVs based on a traditional cell network structure utilizing 7-cell clusters in a hexagonal pattern. In addition to the software algorithm, a fully functional control interface was developed which allowed for full control of the system both locally and over an internet connection. This system represents a novel approach for handling a large-scale autonomous deployment of a UAV communications networks.

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