Successful Kit Build + Questions

by boerner on Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:35 am

Hello all,

After receiving a ybox2 kit (from Thinkgeek) from my wife as a present, I have successfully completed the build:

http://flickr.com/photos/robert_boerner/sets/72157610494597051/

Thanks to Limor and Robert for the ybox2 and to Uncommon Projects for the original ybox.

I hadn't touched anything electrical or a soldering iron since elementary school, so I was afraid I would mess it up totally. I was totally surprised when it actually worked. I now have the confidence to try a few more projects and hopefully have a new hobby. Who knows, maybe I will get out of my boring IT job and do something fun like you guys :-)

I do have a few questions/comments (in no particular order):

1. The links on your site to soldering tutorials are good, but I would love to see you do a video demonstration proper procedure not only for soldering, but for desoldering and iron maintenance.

2. From the parts inventory page, there were a few instances where the picture on the resistors did not match what was in the kit. This was easy enough to figure by process of elimination, but made me a little nervous. Of course, I did not write down exactly which item didn't match otherwise I would be more specific.

3. What mechanism do you/should I use when soldering a chip socket to a PCB? I had a hard time having them stay in place with the PCB upside down.

4. I am glad that you starting offering tool kits on your site. I purchased a starter kit from Make Magazine which is okay, but yours looks a little nicer.

5. Although my ybox2 worked well, I of course wanted to keep going. I uploaded the Twitter widget and the clock widget. However, I can't seem to get the original Info Widget to load back on the device. It seems to upload fine, but when I reboot and try to run stage2, it just displays what looks like the actual code from the program, not run the program itself. The Info Widget did work properly when I first booted the device.

6. At one point while trying to reboot, the device seemed to stop getting an IP address. I switched over to a 100mb switch instead of my gigabit switch and problem remained. It was after digging through the forum I found deepdarc's instructions for resetting the device. Maybe add this to the Use It section of the page?

Again, these all are nit-picky items, please don't take any of them as criticism. Thanks again for all your work, and any info you could provide to get the Info Widget running again would be most appreciated.

BTW, I have version 1.0 of the kit and am using Mac OS X Leopard as the OS to talk to the device.
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by mauvehead on Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:45 am

Here is a video I have book marked.. I know I have a ton of others but I forget where

http://www.curiousinventor.com/guides/How_To_Solder
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by boerner on Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:00 am

Thanks mauvehead, I did see that one. It seemed to be the best of all the ones I found. One thing it seemed to impress was the time component. That is to say, if it was taking longer than about a second to heat the pad and component and have the solder melt, something isn't going right.

I know I had that problem a bunch of times, which I attribute to both inexperience and the iron. I think I may upgrade to the entry level Weller unit. Only going for about $40 on Amazon now.

Thanks again for the link.
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by adafruit on Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:39 am

1. all new video tutorials including desoldering & wick will be coming very soon
2. yeek! it would be useful to know which ones :(
3. tape, or a spare finger
4. i helped design the make one as well, but then i wanted one for my own site. they're a little different
5. change the ip address, see this forum for details
6. what instructions were these?
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by boerner on Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:57 am

That was a quick response on a Sunday night :-)

1. Great to hear about the tutorials. If you need a "beta" tester, let me know.
2. I know...I will go back through the finished kit and compare to the parts list and see if I can get the details nailed down.
3. Tape? Any concerns with using plain old scotch type tape, or do I need something special?
4. The changes you made it your kit (the addition of the needle nose pliers, bread board) I think really do improve it. I just wish I had waiting only a week or so longer to buy :-(
5. Change IP address, huh? I will check the forum and report back...
6. Here is a link to the forum post (darco's advice is almost at the bottom) that showed how to reset. I was about to try the same thing anyway but again was a little unsure as I feared I would change the output from NTSC to PAL.

http://forums.ladyada.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=6519

Again, thanks for the great kit and site, and the help.
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by darco on Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:16 pm

You'll need to upload the new bootloader (v1.1a) to set a static IP address, but it looks like you don't need to do that at the moment.

I would only recommend updating the bootloader right now if you have a prop-plug (or equivalent), just in case something goes wrong.
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by boerner on Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:34 pm

Hi darco,

Thanks for the info. I am at work so I haven't had a chance to look around for details as to what ladyada was proposing, but I was just going to set a static reservation in DHCP to effectively change the IP address of the device.

I do not have a prop-plug, I will have to investigate that item...

I actually want to write my own widget (it would track packages like FedEx and UPS and update the status every so often) so I will have to explore what items I might need in case I brick the thing. I guess I will have to load Windows in a VM on my MacBook Pro.

Have you seen the behavior I am talking about? I can keep loading other widgets till the cows come home, and the device behaves as I expect. As soon as I try to reload the Info Widget, I get that strange behavior that seems like it is showing the raw code itself on the TV instead of running the app. I re-downloaded the app thinking I may have inadvertently touched the file and altered its file type, but again same results.

I can take a photo or allow remote access to the device if you are at all interested...

Thanks again for the your work on the kit.
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by boerner on Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:34 pm

Replying to myself :-)

Haven't had a chance to go through the parts on the ybox2 to find the discrepancy I originally reported. Am going to try and get it done tonight...

I have wasted about three Altoids tins trying to make one suitable for my ybox2. Any one have any tips for ensuring straight, clean holes? Maybe I am just using the wrong bits?

I did think of making a case out of acrylic, or rather, just two pieces that cover the bottom and the top of the board, kind of like is used on the Meggy Jr. kit --> http://evilmadscience.com/tinykitlist/100-meggyjr

Any thoughts?
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by bnm on Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:25 pm

darco has a guide; have you tried it?

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=7795
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by boerner on Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:43 pm

Hi bnm,

I did see the guide, and I tried it as he described.

The first problem I had is that stupid Adobe Reader resized the template slightly and the first tin I drilled had the mounting holes in the wrong places. Grr...

Figured that one out and then tried drilling free hand. Had a hard time keeping the template in place and the bits I were using seemed to not be able to get a good bite in the tin.

I then regrouped...I had been using my Dremel tool freehand, so I used this as an excuse to get the drill press (aka Workstation attachment) for the Dremel. Bought some fresh bits from Dremel as well. Same problems as before, couldn't keep template straight, bits still having trouble biting.

Tried to make starter 'indents' in the tin by pressing through the template with sharp point from my Swiss Army knife. It helped, but still had problems.

I can only assume I am A. using the wrong type of bits, and B. should be using a regular drill. However, I tried doing some of this with my DeWalt drill and then had a really hard time controlling it.

I don't know where I came across this, but I found these bits (Irwin Unibits) that looked interesting, but pricey:

http://www.amazon.com/Irwin-10228-UniBit-Piece-Assortment/dp/B0000EI9AK/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1228948847&sr=8-1

Any one have any experience with them?
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by darco on Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:29 pm

If you have the drill guide taped on well enough then you won't have to worry about it moving. It should stay put.

The only problems I've had are 1) securing the tin, and 2) making sure your drill doesn't drift.

I've made several of these tins with just the random bits I had in my toolbox and an ordinary power drill. As far as technique... I just, lined up the center of the bit with the marks and pushed down really hard before pulling the trigger. This makes a dent which helps to make sure the drill won't drift. After I'm sure it has made an indent in the right spot I reduce the pressure and go ahead and drill. I keep the drill going *fast*, and apply moderate pressure. This helps make for a clean cut when it finally breaks thru.

I hope that helps.

LEGAL BTW: I disclaim all liability for any injury you may receive while attempting to drill tins.
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by boerner on Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:01 pm

Thanks for the tips darco. I will re-attempt shortly, and no I won't sue if I drill my fingers off. I will have bigger things to worry about as that would mean I got blood all over the dining room table and the wife won't like that ;-)

I just wish I could find a way to buy empty tins locally. I hate Altoids mints and it seems a shame to throw them away.

I did find this company:

http://www.specialtybottle.com/

But shipping is cost prohibitive to Alaska for just a few tins.
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by boerner on Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:54 pm

again replying to myself...

Busy weekend getting ready for the holidays, but I did pick up one of the Unibits I mentioned in my earlier post. It works extremely well drilling through the Altoids tins. Very easy to control, doesn't wander, and makes such a clean hole that when I made one large enough to put my pinky finger through, it did not seem sharp at all.

http://www.irwin.com/irwin/consumer/jhtml/unibit/unibit.jhtml

I haven't re-attempted drilling the guide (I practiced on my other failed tins), but I just thought I would pass my experience along.

Thanks again for everyone for their help and input.
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by aerohoff on Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:32 am

in response to #3: I always bend two corner pins over after inserting a chip in a board to keep it in place. I just bend them enough so that they hold the chip in, not all the way over. I do this with resistors and caps and everything else to. Works for me.
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Re: Successful Kit Build + Questions

by halley on Fri Dec 26, 2008 2:12 pm

I use my finger to hold one end of the socket just long enough to get the FARTHEST corner pin soldered. (Otherwise you can burn your finger.) Then I let it cool as I hold it. Then I use my finger to hold the soldered corner, to ensure it's all nice and flat, and solder the opposite corner. Then it stays put nice and neat for the rest of the pins.

Don't blow on solder to make it solidify faster. It should be heated an extra second or two after it has joined, so it flows into all the areas of the joint, and then allowed to cool naturally.

For header pins and other mostly-plastic parts, don't rely on the header's own plastic stuff to hold the pins straight and even. The plastic will melt quickly, and you'll just push the pins right out of its own plastic holder. Put a female header onto the whole row of pins, and/or use a hands-free clip or metal pliers to absorb excess heat from the metal. Give the plastic a few extra seconds to cool again before you put any push/pull stress on it, like removing the header's mate or pliers.
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