4 January 2020

Happy New Year!

Our objectives for today were to finalise the Bill of Materials (BOM) for the electronics and to start soldering the parts we have already received.

Reviewing the BOM was harder than we thought. We went through our electronics design and queried every aspect to ensure we were happy with it. This highlighted some unease about our choice of connectors. Terminal blocks are good but can be fiddly in tight spaces and would need cable stress relief that wasn’t easy to add. Furthermore, they would not be very good for quick connections/disconnections. So we looked at alternative connectors and decided to use RJ45 plugs and sockets. RJ45 plugs are easy to insert / remove, provide a positive connection and RJ45 sockets are simple to solder onto small breakout boards to align with the 2.54mm pitch of our PTH boards.

We had already planned on using Cat5e or Cat6 cabling to bring signals back to the rear of the glider so this seemed like a practical, logical choice. The cat5e/cat6 cables have the advantages of being AWG26, twisted pairs enclosed in PVC sheating, therefore providing clean cable runs that are easy to tie to the tubular frame of the glider. This choice meant we had to review all our connections and assign functions to the wires in the cat5e/cat6 cables.

We also revisited our choice of connectors for the front and rear control panels (to connect the switches, LED strips and LCD displays to the panel PTH boards. We decided to use JST XH 2.54mm connectors as they are compatible with the pitch of our PTH boards, keyed (so they cannot be inserted incorrectly) and fairly robust.

High level mock-up of the simulator controller
Schematics of the simulator controler
High level mock up of the lighting controller

We finished our day by soldering RJ45 sockets onto breakout boards and soldering the pins of the ardunio micro pros and of the component breakout boards.

4 January 2020