Tuesday, July 23


Daily News Stuff 23 July 2019

Tuesday Teardown Edition

Tech News

  • Sure, Twitter bans conservatives every chance it gets and never admits to it but the White House website has a condent moderation policy so there.  (TechDirt)

    I see the bad Mike Masnick has the keyboard today, because this article is profoundly stupid.  Either that or deliberately disingenuous, but I'll assume he's an honest idiot.

  • Hackers are exploiting WordPress plugins to hack other computers.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Next step, they'll distributed hacking tools with secret backdoors via hacked WordPress sites so that when other hackers download them they can subvert their payloads to serve their own purposes.

  • Google not only removed Winter Wolves Games' games from the app store, they banned their developer account, because why?  Because Google is run by crazy people and cannot be trusted.  (Says Pixy, typing this in Chrome.  Sigh.)

  • Wired ran a puff piece on the creators of the new Twitter desktop app design which has 95% negative ratings.

  • Someone get this guy a 9845.  I love how excited he is about the HP 85 when in the previous video he complaining about how slow the spectrum analyser in his digital oscilloscope was when displaying a signal that was three times faster than this computer.

    This one is made of custom ASICs and looks to be pretty robust.  And the manual is full of sample BASIC code.

  • On second thought, give him a broken 9845.  It looks like he fixes broken computers  but breaks working ones.

  • 25 8" x 6" 6-layer boards printed, silk-screened, and assembled, with 120 SMT components and 20 through-hole parts (I have no idea if that is accurate, but it's a number) for $1000.  250 boards for $2700.  Adding more SMT parts doesn't increase the price much so long as don't use too many different parts.

    That would be a limitation of the pick-and-place machine.  They basically load it up with your components and let it run.  More boards doesn't increase the setup cost, and placing five of the same component from a reel just takes a few extra seconds for the machine.  

    But if you have too many different components that does increase the setup cost, plus they might have to put you on the big machine or do two passes.  Not sure exactly.  The assembly cost I'm looking at doubles when you go from 90 distinct components to 91, so I'm guessing two passes.  It's slightly cheaper to assemble something with 500 total parts of 90 distinct types than 100 total parts of 91 distinct types.

    I'm hoping I won't have even 100 parts, but those little SMT pull-down resistors and decoupling capacitors breed and multiple given any chance at all.

    Only problem is finding the money for even 25 sets of components, if I want to do the fancy build.  But it's an indicator if this ever gets anywhere.

    If I go for my simplest design - more of a Commodore 256 than an Amiga (though far below the scope that C256 Foenix project), 50 boards would cost around $680 to build and ship to Australia, plus components.  That's basically a $5 microcontroller plus a $2 NOR flash chip and some I/O connectors.  That I could potentially afford.

    Update: Actually, the simple version would be rather cheaper than that - it should be fine on a 4" x 4" double-sided board, which is a lot cheaper than an 8" x 6" six-layer board.  I got one quote for $370 for 50 boards, assembled.

Video of the Day

Sydney's new Metro line at sunset.  A lot of it is underground, but the bits that aren't can be quite nice.

Disclaimer: That's a big if.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:43 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 614 words, total size 5 kb.

1 Through-hole parts will add cost, too—you're away from pure pick-and-place+reflow oven then, and have to do a stint on the selective soldering machine or the wave soldering tank. My little homebrewing fermentation measurement PCB (47 SMT pads, 36 through holes) runs $3 each at 200 units with the through-hole components, and $1.50 each at 200 units without.

Posted by: Jay at Tuesday, July 23 2019 11:16 PM (mrlXS)

2 ... which is to say, if you're building one or two for fun, and you don't mind soldering a bunch of through-hole pins yourself, you could probably step up to the higher-end parts for about the same cost. I'm still placing all my surface-mount by hand with a syringe of solder paste, tweezers, and a little hot air rework tool, though, so I clearly value my time at approximately 0, and may not be the best person to listen to.

Posted by: Jay at Tuesday, July 23 2019 11:53 PM (mrlXS)

3 My brother has offered to help me build a couple of prototypes.  He's done a ton of small-run projects for various clients, where I have done a total of one board, years and years ago, and have no surface-mount experience at all.

Getting ten empty PCBs made for the smaller of my two designs would be dirt cheap, so my plan is to get a developer kit (about forty bucks), try out my code ideas, and if it all looks good go ahead and hand-assemble a couple.

The problem at the moment is that I don't know if the microcontroller will do what I want for video, or if I'll need an FPGA.  Until I work that out I can't design a board.  Also I have to write a whole bunch of code.  The hardware is pretty simple, but without the code it's just another developer board.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, July 24 2019 06:56 AM (PiXy!)

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Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?

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