Updates

3D printed enclosure!

May 15th 2018

Nic just finished 3D printing the first batch of the enclosures for the new PCB! These are designed to print with no support material and be easy to not only 3D print but also injection mold. They use a rubber gasket to seal against the PCB and the back of the PCB is then connected to the solar panel.

Pirate Nic demonstrating his enclosure prototype

While the current mounting system uses a simple hose clamp, Nic has also been working on an attachment system that will allow for a variety of attachment options such as screw-mounting or suction cup mounting for the inside of windows.

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New boards have arrived!

April 24th 2018

We're currently working on two disaster.radio boards:

The small board is intended to make development cheap and easy, using a detachable WeMos D1 Mini ESP8266 board with integrated microusb and on-board wifi antenna connected to the RFM95 LoRa chip with a small detachable antenna. We're expecting that we'll be able to offer a few of these boards to early developers soon at ~$25 per kit.

The soldering assembly line.

The small dev board is actually the third iteration, with the first two having a few design bugs, and early testing indiciates that they're working as intended. We ordered these with capacitors and voltage regulator pre-soldered, and this is our first time ordering boards with components so we're pretty excited to test them out.

Dev board as it arrived from Seeed Studio (front)

Dev board as it arrived from Seeed Studio (back)

We have 50 of these small boards, which all need the following components hand-soldered:

We made the decision not to have Seeed studio solder these components becaue they were not in stock at Seeed and would have introduced additional delays and cost. For the relatively low quantities we're working with during early development it just didn't make sense.

Dev-board with RFM95 and 915 MHz antenna

WeMos D1 on top of ESP8266

The WeMos and dev board attached

Behind Fitz in the video you can see nanomonkey and anonymous busy soldering all of these boards.

The large boards is the first iteration of the full circuit with everything but the semi-directional wifi antenna integrated.

Fitz soldering the new full-circuit boards

As Fitz points out it includes a solar Li-Ion MPPT charge circuit and a socket for a Li-Ion 18650 cell. The board is sized to fit a ~4 W solar panel on one side, with four screw holes for mounting the outdoor plastic case over the electronics on the opposite side.

Fitz soldering the new full-circuit boards

The next few weeks will revolve around debugging and testing to ensure that we iron out as many glitches as possible in the next version of the large fully-integrated board.

Front of the large full-circuit board

Back of the large full-circuit board

We've used seeed studio's Fusion PCB and PCBA service, with the cost for the small boards coming in at ~$5 per board for 50 units with components and shipping.

Comparing the physical product to the virtual KiCad design

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