DIY dimmer for modern skillful hands

    Do you want to assemble a DIY dimmer, but there is no desire / ability to mess with self-etching printed circuit boards? Having granted a cat, you will learn how to “make” the same beautiful boards. A ready-made ZIP archive for ordering in Chinese industries is waiting for you inside.

    For newcomers - the previous series of our "series": first , second , third , fourth . This is the fifth.

    The goal of our “iron quest” is slowly transforming into the creation of a hardware platform that is maximally accessible for repetition. The first difficulty in this repetition is the manufacture of a printed circuit board. In today's world, this difficulty is easily overcome. In China, it is very inexpensive to order the production of printed circuit boards in prototype volumes. That is, in an amount of ten pieces. At the same time, prices (for a size of 5x5 cm and a circulation of 10 pcs.) Start at just $ 10 + shipping.

    Supplier Selection

    At least two manufacturers of such boards with a good reputation have long been known. This is SeeedStudio and ITEAD STUDIO. To the requirements of one of them, an archive with gerberas was made , which is offered to your attention today.

    We ordered prototypes from two suppliers - from the well-known ITEAD STUDIO and just from a search found by a certain HQEW . The total price tag including delivery to Russia from the first supplier was $ 13.80, from the second - $ 15.77. When ordering a similar batch from SeeedStudio, the price tag would be $ 18.70.

    The second supplier was chosen simply to compare the result and this choice has already begun to give a profit. Somehow, it was strange by chance that I started to communicate on Skype with a pretty representative of this company. In the course of communication, they agreed to photograph the boards before sending them to us. So we did not have to wait a month (or even more) for our valiant mail to work out to see the correctness of the production of boards according to our documentation.

    We intentionally (and free of charge) indicated direct links to the board ordering pages in these offices. Even the most unprepared reader will be able to repeat a few simple steps and after a while receive a dozen wonderful boards by mail, to which a hand with an already hot soldering iron reaches.

    By the way, when ordering on ITEAD STUDIO, we can say that the open source board and get as a result not ten, but twelve copies for the same price. For some cosmic reasons, we forgot to specify this option. Do not repeat our mistakes.

    Order process

    The order is different for different suppliers. Of the two personally tested, we liked the order process from HQEW more.

    We enter the order parameters (we use all options by default, enter only the board size: 4 x 4.5 cm, quantity 10 pcs), click “Calculate”, we see the price of $ 10.62 for production and $ 47.45 for delivery via DHL. A little expensive Click on the down arrow next to DHL, select Russian Federation from the list and switch the delivery to Sweden Post for $ 5.15. In the next step, enter the delivery address, download the zip file with gerberas and ...

    ... And we receive a notification that our order went to the audit department, to check the suitability of our files for production. You will have to pay later, after a successful audit. This is great fun. The world is full of stories of how Russian enterprises sent boards to production without checking the source, drilled holes in the wrong places, mirrored the sides of the boards, and so on.

    Both audit and subsequent production are quick enough, here is a temporary log of the beginning of our order:
    2013-10-30 18:12:51 Order has been submitted successfully, waiting for customer Service's auditing.
    2013-10-31 01:54:21 Audit passed, please arrange payment within 72 hrs, or the order will be canceled automatically.
    2013-10-31 02:43:18 Payment done and factory prepare to produce.
    2013-10-31 08:56:59 Goods are under proceeding.
    2013-11-04 04:10:34 Goods have been finished and sent to internatinal Logistics zone for shipping.

    The ordering process at ITEAD STUDIO is more hardcore. We place an order, we pay before sending them gerberas. As a result, after payment we have an order number. We write a letter, indicating this number in the heading and attaching our treasured file with the attachment. And silently waiting for the result.

    Our order was placed on 10/30/2013, today on 11/05/2013 we received a notification that everything was done and sent. The track number indicates that the package will leave Hong Kong. This is pleasing, since with departures from this country, unexpected occasions have sometimes occurred lately. It happens that the packages from there reach the recipients in Russia in just a couple of weeks instead of the usual one and a half months.

    What's next?

    The project is slowly developing, overgrowing, albeit a small, but an army of supporters. We created a (so far empty) VKontakte group to measure interest in our project. Do not let her remain empty if we were able to offend you for something with your soul.

    When there is a board, you need to solder something on it. Wait for a post about the specifications of this something, with the appearance of the elements and possible replacement options.

    You won’t be fed up with one board. In the near future at least one version of the housing for the dimmer will be available. As a model for printing on a 3D printer. We will be able to test printing now at least on two different printers and we will surely tell you about our experience.

    The development of the USB module for our system is approaching the final. This will be a board with two types of sockets, under two possible form factors of radio modules. The FT232-based module will be used to control the home radio network from a computer + to program new “empty” radio modules. Its schematic and archive with gerberas will be presented in one of our next “series”.

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