Sunday, May 17, 2009

After the Flood

Well I've had a little time now to take stock of the situation following the storm last week:
- laptop motherboard: dead
- laptop hardrive : spins, whirs, and clicks, but doesn't mount
- backup hardrive: wasn't even plugged in, won't even spin
- Freeduino board: dead
- Mirror control shield: dead
- SOC Amber webserver motherboard & daughterboard: smoke when power applied!
- USB memory stick code base backup: over month old, missing custom libraries

Truly amazing what can happen in a couple minutes when you walk away from something.

Data recovery costs $200-$800
Misc electronics $200
Backup drive $200
Replacement laptop $300
Total damage: $900-$1600
That's a very conservative estimate, not including lost code, time, and rebuilding effort.

Meanwhile this week the Arduino Mega board that I ordered (the day before the flood of destruction) from NKC Electronics arrived, as did the WaveShield from LadyADA. The waveshield was simple shield to assemble and I especially like the way it was designed so that remapping the pin assignments doesn't require cutting traces. I'm a little worried about being able to use the PWM on 9,10 after looking at the code. I'm hoping to have 3 pwm channels (6,9,10) for an accompaning LED light show to go with what I am calling the Bhajamatic - it plays audio loops of mantras and kirtans, with a discreet light module for small/medium altars. Audio is 16>>4 (i.e. 12) bit 16khz mono, not the best but ok, at least loads of play time from a 1Gb card. It would be nice to add a graphic display and do a slide show to go with it.

I spent the evening and some of this morning working in Eagle and finished a library entry for the SCA3000, and began editing the Arduino Mega specification board layout to include it. A little ambitious for a first project maybe, but the hookups are pretty simple, and I just followed a tutorial for another chip. The tricky part is that it's a surface mount device (SMD), and I'll have to hope the product dimensions shown on the spec sheet indicate the recommended landing pad layout which is somewhat unusual, not to mention tiny at just 7mm square. Add a DS1307 for RTC, and an H-Bridge driver w/connections and we've got a nice board...
... and I just got lost for a couple hours checking out prototype services, pcb no problem, still don't know about parts placement and reflow work. Many questions, but perhaps this is the path meant to be taken.

I've been working this week making "bliss bars" at the factory, a small step towards funding repairs. Srila Gurudev's Houston festival is next week, and things will be different afterwards!

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