Monthly Archives: November 2016

Geexpo Badge (or how we designed/made and built a 100 pcb’s in 10 days)

After the success of the Fakugesi PCB festival Pass, we were contacted by North West University to design an interactive badge for their GeeXpo event. We started playing with a few ideas, but as usual time caught up to us and we realized that we had 10 days left before the festival and no plan in action.

After a quick chat to our main PCB guy at Bosco (Hi Winston!), we figured out that we could probably still pull this off. A design was made and after a quick prayer to the PCB Gods we sent off the Gerber files for manufacturing.

layout

Luckily we designed it around components that we either already had or could get in qty locally. While we waited for the PCB’s we sourced the outstanding components.

The design basically consists of my favorite STM32 micro-controller, an IR Receiver, some passives and led’s. The general concept was that there are various challenges at the GeeXpo. Complete a challenge and with an IR transmitter it would send a code to the user’s badge. This would turn on an LED on the badge to indicate that the person has completed the challenge.

It seems pretty simple, but it was very well received and everybody loved having a PCB badge that had blinky leds. Since the challenges were held at various exhibitions/stallsĀ around GeeXpo the attendants really got involved in each exhibit.

Anyways, I digress. We had the 100 PCB’s and the components by Wednesday evening. I built a few up to test the main hardware and that we had a few prototypes so that Sebastian can start writing the firmware. Luckily no issues with the PCB’s … phew, thats half the battle won.

At our weekly thursday meetup, I lured everyone with beer and promise of new knowledge. It was a mere half-hour later and I had everyone working in a production line that would put a sweatshop to shame … šŸ˜‰

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Not sure if everyone had fun, but they all worked hard. (Thank You!)

Wolff monitored the re-flow ovens (and the beer …)

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Sebastian/Romeo and Tom also spent the Friday fixing, soldering, building and flashing firmware.

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The final badge works very good and it looked awesome!

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Romeo and Sebastian put together some pretty cool base stations that transmits the challenge completed code when … you completed a challenge. Chris made some awesome laser-cut enclosures for the base station.

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Saturday was GeeXpo and boy did we have fun. We had lots of interactive exhibitions for a change and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

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The challenge at our table was a robot arm that was controlled by a game-pad. You had to use the game-pad to pick up a trinket and drop it into a bowl.

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We met a lot of new people and as usual the people enjoyed our projects.

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Thanks to everyone that helped out with this badge project, its much appreciated and see everyone at the next GeeXpo!