The PCBs for the redesigned mobile version 1.2 showed up few days ago. I built it up right away and as it is often the case nothing worked out of the gate. It took some good old troubleshooting and re-checking everything to unearth a minor yet embarrassing design error: while creating schematic element for USB hub I accidentally swapped around two of its pin numbers.
With that fixed and out of the way I’m back on the air using new Digirig and scoring some sweet QSOs.
Another outcome of this design iteration is the reduced bill of materials. There are fewer passive elements and the new choice of USB hub IC has its lines internally protected against surges of up to 4,000 volts so there is no need for a dedicated ESD (electrostatic discharge) protection component.
The next revision 1.3 is routed, panelized (again) and sent to PCB fabrication. With Lunar New Year celebrations in full swing across Asia some of the components will not be available until later in the month. I’m ordering a hundred of early access tester units of Digirig Mobile and expect to ship them out some time in March. As promised, first dibs and potentially pricing incentive go to email subscribers.
As previously discussed, the new reduced size board fits nicely into an off-the-shelve aluminum (aluminium?) extrusion case:
These cases are readily available from online stores, but in order to move Digirig a notch from project to product I’m exploring quotes for pre-drilled and engraved version of these. I’ll post a separate update about how that goes.
Shack version update
I finally received remaining components to complete the prototype of the first revision of Digirig Shack. It is built up and only needs additional cord so I can property test all functions including rig control using isolated DTR/RTS serial lines.
More on that later, though I already set my sights on the next revision featuring computer side (USB) isolation instead of rig side (audio, serial) isolation. There is also an idea for the enclosure, which for certain will determine new board’s dimensions and connectors layout.
This is all for now. Stay tuned for more updates and the tester invite in your inbox.