GRBLDuino Uno Shield V1 Assembly Guide

The GRBLDuino Uno Shield is easy to assemble with basic soldering skills. All parts are standard through hole components to make assembly easier and quicker. Assembly should take between 30 minutes to an hour for someone of moderate experience. These are for sale through a few outlets. The best price will be at the Eccentric Workshop store, but they are on Tindie and eBay.

Bill of Materials:

  • 1x GRBLDuino Uno Shield PCB
  • 15x Two position screw terminal blocks
  • 8x 1×8 female pin headers
  • 1x 1×3 male pin headers
  • 4x 1×4 male pin headers
  • 1x 1×6 male pin headers
  • 2x 1×8 male pin headers
  • 1x 1×10 male pin headers
  • 2x 2×4 male pin headers
  • 4x 2×3 male pin headers
  • 1x tactile switch
  • 1x 10k ohm resistor
  • 1x 680 ohm resistor network
  • 4x 150nF ceramic capacitors
  • 4x 100uF electrolytic capacitors (genuine Nichicon)
  • 12x short 2 pin jumper shunts
  • 3x long 2 pin jumper shunts
  • 12x short 2 pin jumper shunts
  • 3x long 2 pin jumper shunts

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Electronics Repair Work and Soldering

Lately there has been much discussion about and visibility of electronics, electronics repair, and soldering/microsoldering. I want to shed some light onto the tools and techniques to answer many of the common questions out there. This won’t be an all-encompassing guide, but will evolve and grow over time.

You’re going to need some tools and many of these tools can be quite expensive. To reduce the costs a bit, don’t run out a buy all of the new tools as you may not like some and may not need others; it is much better to work for a while a see what you need and how you work (I found although I bought an iSlack opening tools, I really don’t like it or use it).

The Basics:
Soldering:
I advocate buying used tools when possible and practical (I opted to buy used soldering and hot air stations and upgrade later rather than buying cheap clones or new name-brand). Obviously, don’t buy used consumable tools (tweezers, driver bits, etc) or equipment without making sure it is a good enough deal to be worth the risk. I also advocate buying good quality tools – buy the best you can afford and buy it once. I bought a used Hakko 936 soldering station after looking at all of new offerings and the clones. I preferred the temperature adjustment knob over the digital interfaces and I didn’t want to get a clone of questionable quality for nearly the same price. Fortunately, most of the parts are available still and replacement tips are plentiful. I also purchased a used Hakko 850 hot air station after considering Quick, Aoyue, Atten, and many other stations including new Weller, Hakko, Metcal, and JBC. I was into a complete Hakko setup for under $200. If you can’t find a used name brand, the Hakko FX-951 and Quick 861DW are good new options. I only upgraded because I found a deal on a Hakko FM-203 and FM-2022 (plus more) for less than the price of the FM-2022. It didn’t hurt that selling the Hakko 850 paid for most of the upgrade.

Along with your soldering and hot air stations, you will also need solder, flux, soldering braid, and maybe solder paste. Skip the paste if you won’t be reballing ball grid array (BGA) devices or doing new surface mount device (SMD/SMT) work. I suggest either a 60/40 or 63/37 leaded solder. Lead free doesn’t flow as well, wet as nice, or melt as easily. Stick to a name brand like Kester and you will be just fine. I have various sizes ranging from .015” through ⅛”. For this type of work, a size between .015” and .062” should work fine.

To remove excess solder and clean pads, solder wick is needed. It is much easier than trying to use a solder sucker and cleans better. You will need this for just about any type of rework you do. Solder wick comes in various sizes but 3.5mm is a good generic width. It works much better if flux is applied as it lets the solder flow up the wick better.

Flux seems to be a personal preference item as there are numerous brands and formulas available. I, and many others, like the Amtech 559. Make sure you buy it from a reputable source as it is often fake on Amazon and Ebay. Extra flux will make your rework and clean up much easier and better as it provides cleaning action and allows the solder to flow. Additional flux usually isn’t needed if you are soldering properly with flux core solder wire.

Screw Drivers and Bits:
Screw drivers and bits is one area where you should spend more for quality and where you shouldn’t buy used unless you can thoroughly check out the tips. The iFixIt kits listed below are good quality and have a lifetime warranty on the bits – if they get damaged, iFixIt will replace them. Other high-quality options include Wiha, Wera, and Moody. You can get by with lower quality bits and drivers but you will feel the difference as they slip more and don’t fit fasteners quite right.

Consumables:
There are a lot of little things in this work. We’ve covered some above: solder, solder paste, solder wick, and flux. Others are tweezers, tip cleaners, adhesives (such as the double sided Tesa 61395), Kapton tape, gloves, wipes, and cotton swabs.

Although tweezers are expensive, they really are a consumable item. Once the tips get mangled, they just don’t work right and will need to be replaced. There are some cheaper options, but you generally get what you pay for. I have this cheap set, and they work but they are much lower quality.

Specialty Tools:
Some of the specialty tools may be required for certain tasks you need to do or may simply make the tasks easier. The iOpener kit from iFixIt is a step up from using hot air to loosen display adhesive. Another step up is the heat pad which holds the device at a constant temperature while work is being done. Sure, you can replace a screen using a hair dryer or heat gun, but it isn’t the right tool for the job and is risky, and takes more time.

 

Tool and Supplies List:

Parachute Bag

Real Parachute Bag and Reproduction

Real Parachute Bag and Reproduction

The parachute bag is based on a product of the same name from the Portable Product company. It is a six compartment bag with drawstring closure. I got turned onto them years ago by Jimmy Diresta and have found a few on eBay but they are getting more expensive and harder to find. The bags are great for storing hardware such as nails and screws or anything else fitting in the pockets. I use one of mine to store an assortment of adhesives, another has various screws, and another holds nails.

The realbag is made of cotton duck canvas heavier than the 9 oz I found. I’d suggest using a #10 or #12 cotton duck canvas. For durability, it may be a good change to incorporate a leather bottom like some canvas bags have.

 

Parts:
3 panels 7″ tall and 11″ long (dividers)
1 panel 7 inches tall and 32 1/2″ long (outside)
1 panel 11″ circle (bottom)
48 1/4″ grommets (4 in every section)
3 pieces parachute cord 36″ long

Directions:
1. Cut all pieces to size.
2. Mark rectangular panels along long dimension on one edge at 1/4″ and 1 1/4″ from the edge for the top hem. Mark 1/2″ on all other sides of rectangular panels and 1/2″ in on circular panel as sewing guides. Mark 5 1/4″ inch increments along inside (opposite hem) of 32 1/2″ length, being sure to start at 1/2″ mark from previous step. These are the sew lines for the interior dividers. Fold the bottom circle in half an then into thirds to make 6 creases where the interior dividers will be sewn.
3. Fold, iron, and sew top hems on all panels. The finished hem should be 1″ wide with 1/4″ folded under.
4. Once all top hems are sewn, align all three small panels and mark middle of 11″ dimension of divider panels as a sewing guide. Sew along this line to join all three small panels together to form the interior dividers.
5. Sew the outside panel ends together with the hem facing out. Sewing 1/2″ in from each end will ensure the ring formed will join to the circular bottom.
6. Working inside out, align sewing alignment marks on the bottom edge of the outside panel and the bottom circular panel. Sew around the full circumference to form a pouch or bucket.
7. Align ends of dividers with the marks on the outside panel. Sew along the alignment lines down sides and across the bottom to the center. Repeat for each divider segment.
8. Each section gets 4 evenly spaced grommets in the top hem to allow for threading the drawstring closure.
9. thread about 1/4 of the parachute cord drawstring from the center out each side through the grommets. There will be loop in the center to form a handle and a knot secures the end after the last grommet. I like to tie an overhand know around all of the lines to keep them together.

Light houses

So far, I have made three sizes of faceted light houses and one size of round light house. The

Small Lighthouse Size Comparison

three faceted ones were lit electronically with an LED  controlled by my lighthouse beacon hardware and the round one was lit with a tea light candle. The smallest one about 5″ tall and the largest is 18″. The mid size stands at 10″ tall.

 

Building a light house starts with a roll of copper flashing from the home improvement store, some hand tools, some reference photos, some calculating, and a bit of determination. I initially though the facets would be easier to construct than trying to smoothly roll two cone shapes and have them fit together nicely. Turns out calculating and rolling the cones was much easier than getting all of the pieces lined up just right and held together for soldering.

I wasn’t quite sure of the shapes and dimensions involved so all of the light houses were built in card board before working in copper. This allowed me to play with the shapes and angles before getting committed to the more expensive and harder to work material.

Once the shapes were figured out, it was a matter of cutting six identical pieces, a top platform, and a roof with tin snips. The pieces needed to be fairly accurate and fit together well or there would be gaps in the seams on the final project.

Of all stages of assembly, bending the hexagonal pyramid to form the roof portion was the most difficult. There isn’t much room to work inside one the bend is started so it just takes a bit of time and some careful plier and hammer work. Because the round model was lit with a candle, the top piece had to have a grid of vent holes drilled to allow heat and smoke to escape. I found it best to drill the holes after bending the piece to shape and soldering it together. Doing it the other way would mangle the point a bit since there was not much support left.

The body itself is bent roughly to shape to check fit. High spots in the seams are trimmed to get a tight joint. Once everything is fitting well, the pieces are taped together to make soldering easier. Some care must be taken to keep the flame and heat off the tape or it will burn. I generally solder a spot at the bottom of each seam to get everything started then work around adjusting the shape. Once the shape is nearly right, I do a small section on each joint at the top, right before it flares out for the top platform. I keep the top flared section until last as it requires the most adjustment to get it fitting well.

I don’t have pictures of construction of the round lighthouse, but it is similar to the faceted ones. It is made of three rolled pieces and one flat: the body cone, the transition cone, and the lid cone. The top platform is marked after the body is assembled by turning it upside down and tracing around onto the copper sheet. This ensures the platform is a good fit to the body.

Once the top platform is soldered in place, the only soldering left to do is for the railing. The railing and posts are made from standard electrical wire. The middle and large size use 12 gauge wire. Each upright is soldered into place then the rail is bent roughly to shape. I adjust it as I work around it soldering to each post.

The lighthouses are finished with a thorough wash to remove all of the flux from soldering as well as the residue from the masking tape. I scrubbed them using top to bottom strokes with a fine scotchbrite pad to give the surfaces a uniform brushed look.

The lense varies based on what is at hand. I have used plastic tubes and various jars. For my first one, I cut the bottom off the jar and glued it down. This didn’t work very well so now I glue the lid to the top platform, screw the jar in (upside down now), then set the top of the light house in place. Once I know how the top and jar need to be aligned, I tack them together with a few drops of hot glue and firmly attach with E-6000 or epoxy.

 

The beacon was designed to use a pulse width modulation (PWM) signal to vary the brightness of the LED. This allowed for an even and gradual fade up, flash, then fade down in order to simulate a light spinning inside the light house. The hardware was the same for each: a 1″ square ProtoBoard from SparkFun with various components. The work is done by the PICAXE microcontroller. A switch is available to determine continuous or flash mode and the flash mode is disabled if the ambient light is too bright. This controller was the same in all three sizes – the battery pack varied to fit within the body. The largest had a 4 AA pack, the middle had a 3 AAA pack, and the smallest could only hold a single AAA cell. These controllers will soon be available through Tindie.