Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fundamentalz PCB review

PCBs sent to me
//I apologize for the delays in post frequency, school is soaking up quite a bit of my time as I was applying to colleges and preparing for midterms. As I have a lot planned out for this blog and project, a lot of work is going on behind the scenes. Thanks for your understanding! 
Back again with another review! This time around it is a bunch of PCBs from the crew over at Fundamentalz who were gracious enough to send over a bunch for review after the new hardware post caught their attention. These were shipped blazing fast, arriving a mere 3 days after we corresponded.
 Upon arrival, I eagerly tore open the box to find the following: Uno shield, mega shield, mini mint proto, mint proto, pocket strobe and a bonus set of AAA to AA converters. Straight off the bat I noted the silkscreen was very sharp and clean, no bleeding noted even at sharp corners of letters and complex geometry unlike some other PCBs I have seen from the low-end chinese manufacturers. The edge milling is very smooth and reveals the well-layered FR4. The soldermask is a very nice grey that reminds me of the NES plastic. The Uno protoshield is a very different form factor than most, it extends only to the edge of the headers instead of being long enough to rest on top of the USB port shield, leading to an overall smaller prototyping area which might be a downside for some people. It does have an ICSP pass through and 5V/GND busses on the top. The Mega protoshield is full sized and has clearly labeled pin expanders aside from the 40pin header at back of Mega. Unlike some other boards, there is a 3-hole space between the pin breakouts and the prototyping area due to labels which might be an annoyance to some users. I was very interested in the Pocket Strobe board that they had and received one as requested. All the parts for it are ordered and a proper review (might be a video review) will be posted soon. As I was sent these PCBs around christmas, I decided to use them as tree ornaments along with some of the other boards that were around the workshop. The result was the Maker's Christmas tree, decked out in PCBs (I also make some Neopixel lights but they were too short to use for the entire tree),
Plating and soldermask detail (pocket strobe PCB)
Arduino Mega protoshield
Arduino UNO protoshield (Smaller than most other boards)
Pocket strobe PCB 
Full size mint tin protoboard
Minimint and AAA->AA converters
Christmas tree: maker style! 

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