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  1. #1
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    Opencockpit PCB's

    Considering the number of cards I need for my sim, I'm thinking about ordering a mess of just the PCB's, buy the components from Mouser, and get out the solder iron. Considering international shipping and the exchange rate, this would save me roughly $400. Has anyone done this before? OC doesn't give very detailed component BOM's...mfg part # would be ideal. Also I've never programmed IC's before, so don't know if I'd be getting in over my head. Many of the programs are available to download from their website, but I don't know if these are simple self installing or require some tweaking.
    Just wondering if anyone's done this and if the extra complexity would be worth the cost savings.

  2. #2
    25+ Posting Member crashdog's Avatar
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    Re: Opencockpit PCB's

    I would rather go for the complete sets. Soldering it together your self will be painfull enough. If you don't have a pic burner and no experiance with it, it will take quite some time to learn and you will surely make mistakes. That costs usually more money then buying the complete cards.

    But if you intend to learn how to do that anyway then why not try it out. There is a really good (sorry german only) site about PIC programming here : http://www.sprut.de

    Gery

  3. #3
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    Re: Opencockpit PCB's

    Marsh, have no fear soldering Opencockpit's kits, I've done it sucessfully by myself, but mind proper PIC programming settings.
    Here:
    http://opencockpits.com/modules.php?...c=3500&forum=1
    you can find my way of doing it.
    I did not programmed it by myself (a mate of mine did), but the settings are crucial.

  4. #4
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    Re: Opencockpit PCB's

    So far my inability to find a detailed (mfg part #) bill of material for these IO cards is making the PCB/do it myself route a less favorable option. So far my inquiries to the guys at OC have gone unanswered. I'm sure this isn't the first time they had this question considering they do sell just the raw PCB's. The prices on the kits don't seen to offer much savings over the fully assembled/tested cards. I think I'll keep digging for another week before I pony up the fully assembled cards.

  5. #5
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    Re: Opencockpit PCB's

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsh View Post
    The prices on the kits don't seen to offer much savings over the fully assembled/tested cards.
    Speaking of cards like 'USB Axes card' - you're right.
    You save only 4 euros.
    But soldering yourself a Master card can save you a bunch of 30 euros.
    For one pre-assembled Master you get TWO Master kits.

    My advice are:
    1. Buy fully assembled small cards (Displays, USBKeys), because trading 4 euros for time needed to solder them is not a good idea.
    2. Buy KITS of large cards (Master, USB Expansion) where the savings are huge (if you're not afraid of soldering).
    I did that. I'm happy

  6. #6
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    Re: Opencockpit PCB's

    mefiu - Considering you said you had a mate of yours program the PIC for you, I guess the PIC's that come in the kits aren't pre-programmed. I pulled a mfg part number off the PIC on my servo card (PIC16C745-I/SP). Looks like that chip is a one-time-programmable. Considering it's a $3.70USD chip and you only get one shot at programming it, it's probably best I just go with the completed cards, except for the maybe the Master. Unless I'm just not seeing the documentation correctly the master doesn't seem to have a programmable chip. Which may be why I can't find a HEX file for it.

  7. #7
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    Re: Opencockpit PCB's

    Hi Marsh,

    I agree with mefiu - It is a worthwhile saving to go the kit route if your soldering is ok and you have a decent iron.

    In my view the prices for their kits are reasonable - The main problem I have with them is the shipping cost, which I think is too high - So you want to make sure you buy all you need in one hit.

    I think that the input/output connection boards are perhaps also a little on the pricey side - But they do save a lot of messing about.

    I've built a couple of USBExpansion/Masters/USBKeys with no problem.

    The kit comes with a pre-programmed PIC so you don't need to worry about that.

    You can buy some of the pre-programmed PICs from OC as separate items - So there is another option.

    As far as I remember, the materials list for the boards can also be found from the website.

    I did just buy the PCB and program the PIC for the USBKeys though.

    I messed up a couple of PICS until I got the method right - basically, you just load the .hex and write it straight to the chip - Don't mess about with it or try to verify.

    You are correct, there is no programmable device on the master - It is just multiplexing/de-multiplexing

    Cheers,

    Rob

  8. #8
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    Re: Opencockpit PCB's

    Just an update on this. Because it might be a while before I finish my sim, I decided to go the more independent route. Im using the OC cards as a template and making all the cards from scratch. This actually then allows me to customize the boards to fit my needs. I just completed 4 servo cards. I laid out the traces manually on AutoCAD using the schematic. OC supplies Gerber files, but I made it a standard size, single-sided board. I eliminated some connections I dont need and reconfigured the servo connections to work directly with my Hitec brand servos. I used the toner transfer method to make the PCBs. I scored a free bottle of etchant, but had to spend $18 for photo paper. I got an Olimex PIC programmer for $23. The settings are in the supplied HEX code, so all you have to do is make sure everything is connected, select the PIC from a drop-down menu, open the HEX program and hit write. I also had to invest $8.99 on a set of tiny PCB drill bits. I have about $50 in tools/equipment/supplies and each servo card has $10 worth of components. Im already money ahead consider one servo card shipped to the US with the exchange rate runs $50. Kind of time consuming laying out the pads and traces, but the DIY satisfaction is worth it. My next task is laying out a combination master/usb expansion card. DSC_0182.jpg

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  10. #9
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    Re: Opencockpit PCB's

    Great job, Robert!!!

    Nice to see another one scratch building OC cards...

    It's not that difficult and I fully agree with your statement
    about satisfaction added to all the other benefits like:

    Build what you need at the right time and $
    Regards,
    Per-Erik
    www.hoddo.net

  11. #10
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    Re: Opencockpit PCB's

    Hi There

    I am the same building my own boards. I need help with the Gerber files for the opencockpit USB Axes IO Card. Could you maybe send me the files and the HEX file if you have it please I need this urgently.

    my email is: seanatp1@gmail.com

    thx
    Sean

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