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February 1, 2008
PC: C, C#, Visual Basic
uC: PicBasic Pro, PIC C
about 5 years ago
I had luck using a drill bit to get a pilot hole and then using a nibbler to make some rather nice square holes. The nibbler can ‘whiten’ scar the immediate area around it if you get it to close to the edge of the plastic, but otherwise works great! Just make sure your nibbler has enough clearance for its cutter as compared to the thickness of this plastic.
about 5 years ago
First off, I’d like to say this board is awesome. I will definitely buy more for my next projects. How can they build these so cheap??
However, I do have a few cons, which if fixed, would make this item over the top:
1. The one I got is not like the picture shows. Most of the installed parts near the edge of the board are shifted around. Don’t plan on putting your own connector on the same side of the board as the power and serial port if you get a board like I did.
2. The holes in the side rows of the PCB are Vcc and GND. It is hard to catch this with the eye, so don’t plan on using those holes for anything other than their intended purpose (it got me!), unless of course you want to drill a hole or cut etch.
3. TX and RX on the board white print are labeled wrong (in my opinion). Just remember that you need to hook up the white RX on the dev board to TX on the PIC, and the white TX on the dev board to RX on the PIC. Another user previously noted this.
4. The regulator is a LM317, which allows you to use on an on-board jumper to change from default 5V to 3.3V rail for Vcc (how cool is this??). The product description says 78L05 part, but it’s not. Even the schematic shows this. Also, if you buy a Sparkfun Project Case for this, the regulator is soldered on the board and sits so high that you won’t be able to close the lid. I bent mine (too much work to desolder/resolder for me) at an angle and barely got it to fit just right, just looks crummy now in clear case. :( Also, keep in mind the arrangement of parts on the board I got has the back of the regulator up against some electrolytic capacitors, so no room for a heat sink.
5. J3, as shown in schematic, is not a header jumper. There are 3 surface pads located under the PIC on the bottom of the board and you must solder alter this jumper to change it.
Sparkfun, looks like you need to overhaul this project description and update to the latest picture. The new arrangement of parts threw me for a quick redesign of my project, and luckily I had other options to handle not getting the board in the picture. A quick rewrite of the description and picture update would alert potential buyers to the above main cons I have.
Even with the above issues, this board is awesome and I will be buying again, and again.
No public wish lists :(
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