Hello everyone, the gist is that PCBWay.com has run tests and result look good. They also have shipped off a few boards for me to for further testing. So we are getting close!
There is a bad news here though – the surface finish was not done in Purple + Gold Immersion. Instead, it was done in Lead-Free HASL (Purple + silver color combo). So I am talking to them on getting this issue addressed. This is a setback, there is no nice way to put this =(. This is a simple aesthetic issue, but I want to get this done right for you. So even though it will cost me extra, I must own up to it. The components are available and ready over at PCBWay.com. So only the PCBs have to be remade. Normally it takes 4-5 days.
This prolonged delay is quite frustrating, but I sincerely appreciate your patience!
I tried to make the behind-the-scenes action as seamless, and smooth as possible. Unfortunately, the group buy #2 has been delayed. Only now I have submitted the finalized version of design files, after going back and forth with PCBWay.com over the last few weeks.
There are several reasons for this delay:
Initially, I was going to submit the design for manufacturing with only the minimal changes (artwork, stabilizer hole adjustment). As you know, I have added ESD protection chips (1 for USB D+/- (ESD122DMYR) and 1 for VBUS (TPD1E10B06)). I should have given this change in the electrical design much more foresight, as well as time.
The price of $40 ($35 with coupon) does not give me a wiggle room for mistakes. Unlike the first group buy which ran last year, this price is significantly discounted. The logic for the discount was that the design was tried-and-tested. It was supposed to be as easy as clicking the “order” button. Unfortunately, I got ambitious and decided to improve the design as mentioned above. This means I must tread very carefully, as I have a very tight budget.
I have moved to a new place (yet again). Around this time last year, I was also in the middle of moving which caused a delay. Hopefully, this pattern does not hold up in the future ;).
Courage! I checked the changes multiple times. I hope I can say I have overdone it. But, to be frank, every change I make on the board makes me very nervous.
I must thank every participant for the patience. I apologize for infrequent updates. Let me try to be more transparent at least until the board ships this month.
I was expected to receive the prototype of Miuni32 Group Buy 2 more than a week ago. It never materialized in part due to an issue with the location of the stabilizer drill holes. The adjusted location leaves very little space between the bottom of the hole and the edge of the board. This was not a problem with manufacturing. But looking at the sample photos I just lost confidence and I felt like it could become a durability issue very easily. So I decided to extend the hole (as a slot) to eliminate durability issue altogether. This should be the last change for this revision! Fingers crossed!
Hello everyone, originally Miuni32 GB2 was estimated to ship this month, but it is looking less and less likely to be able to ship Miuni32 GB2 orders this month. Actually, at this time it is physically impossible to ship them out this month! The supposed small changes in Miuni32 are taking longer than I had anticipated to get verified. The changes include better ESD protection, some artwork update, and adjustment of the stabilizer mount holes. Albeit small, changes are changes and I can’t skip steps. Otherwise, I will get in trouble :). I am so sorry that it is delayed. The current projected date is next month (November 2018). Please hang tight! Thank you 🙂
ATmega32u4 reference does not delve into the details of ESD protection in the USB circuitry. It merely mentions this:
Although TVS chip is simple to apply, I can’t be too careful since there is more than one type. And since ESD is something I can’t readily test on my own, I must make sure the choices are effective. Searching on StackOverflow led me to a few useful posts. This one discusses how 2 TVS diodes have the exact same SOT-23 IC packaging, but functionally very different (one is unidirectional while the other is bi-directional). To be honest I am still not clear on when to use which. I think the gist is that bidirectional TVS chips are used for data lines (such as USB D+ and D-), and unidirectional ones are used for DC circuit.
As you can see, it is a dead simple part. It is standard 0402 package, bi-directional and can easily be reworked if needed to. The only downside is that I need 2 of these… and that it actually doesn’t support USB 2.0.
The ESD122 is a small bi-directional 2 channel ESD protection diode. The price is right and it is very simple to use. The packaging is 3X2SON, which is difficult to work with hands, but luckily I don’t plan to do that.
The original estimated shipping of Miuni32 quoted in Group Buy #2 was this month. Unfortunately, we are past the first week of October already and I am still a few weeks away from receiving a few samples. I would love to skip this sampling process altogether, but because of the few changes I made, I would like to tread carefully. Things I have to verify include changes I have made (let’s call this Rev.2) to the original Miuni32 PCB design include:
ESD protection on the USB circuit
Improved 2U stabilizer location (Plate still compatible with Rev.1)
Update the logo and other miscellaneous graphics on the board
I should be receiving a few sample boards again in 2 weeks. If all checks out then, I should receive the rest of the order towards the end of the month. Fingers crossed!
Miuni32 – Phew, the 2nd Group Buy has officially ended (although you could still participate through store.bigtuna.io for the next 2 – 3 days). I am already in the talks with PCBWay.com, estimated to ship in October of this year!
Premium Aluminum Case for Miuni32 – Still waiting for the prototype. Unfortunately it did not arrive on time for the Group Buy #2 window. So I will have to figure out how to accommodate the aluminum case GB participants down the road.
It was nervous 3 weeks or so and I am glad things have gone as well as it did!
I have been using PCBWay.com for more than 3 years now. I initially started off with OSH Park because I loved the fact that they were in the USA close to my home, and that they had the iconic purple PCBs. However their cost became out of my budget quickly when the time came to scale to larger quantities. PCBWay.com is the 2nd PCB maker I ever tried personally, produced all my Miuni32 PCBs through them, and I have not had any reason to try any other in the past 3 years.
Top 5 facts about PCB Way.com
Based in China. Will get back to you later on this.
Active on SNS – they actually active in that they take participate on Twitter
1 stop shop that uses quality components (as far as I can tell)
No hidden fees. What you pay is what you see in the invoice.
Quality. Never once was disappoi nted.
Top 5 Likes
Efficiency. PCBWay.com is based in China, and during their business hours, you will get extremely prompt responses via emails and chat. Daphne – I don’t know if she’s real, but she’s the overseer who’s always prompt. I used my email 100% for the communication and exchanged some 70+ emails on a single order. They were always professional and extremely efficient.
Their DHL shipping *literally* takes 2 days to show up at your door in the USA. The shipping cost is calculated based on the weight and volume, and I paid $84 USD for an order of 200 assembled PCBs that are about a size of a large cellphone.
When things go wrong, they are always extremely helpful. Things go wrong. DNP parts could show up soldered. You may have found out an error last minute in your design. Let me tell you, they will literally go talk to engineers on the floor and find things out and send you back videos and photos to let you know what exactly is happening.
They actually tested every single board at no extra cost. Granted, there is no way to tell if they actually did what they said they did, but judging by video and photos, at least they ran the test on some portion of the order. This is a huge relief for a first timer like myself.
Communication (again). Things get lost in translation. I asked to get the scraped parts along with the finished boards, but they forgot. They found and sent it to me promptly at no charge.
Top 5 Dislikes
None… perhaps I am just an extremely optimistic and positive guy. I couldn’t come up with 5 dislikes.. Let alone one…
Top 5 Recommendations
Check your BOM, schematics and special requests one more time.
Break down your process. I asked to get 3 bare PCBs to get sent to me before they went ahead and assembled 200 of them.
Once the bare PCB checked out, I gave them a green light to go ahead and assemble the boards. Again, I asked them to send me 3 finished boards.
Run prototypes. Before I submitted the big order, I ordered bare PCBs which costed a little less than $100 all in all, hand soldered the boards, and tested them.
Check Chinese national holidays. I wasn’t aware their Thanksgiving holidays were like a week long.
I don’t get any compensation for the referral other than that I get a small discount on the next order of PCBs from PCBWay.com. It will help me reduce development cost, but more than anything I wholeheartedly recommend their service.