Even more exciting news from China!! I got a message from my manufacturer that they have finished packaging the soldering iron controllers. After a few months they finally are ready to ship to you. It was quite a bumpy road to get them manufactured, programmed, tested and packaged. It was the first time I got something manufactured in China and it was a nice but steep learning curve. I tried to make the production as smooth as I could, but as always some things are overlooked. Before puting anything into production I have read many sites and watched many hours of video on youtube about getting things ready for manufacturing (DFM or Design For Manufacturing). I also learned a few design tricks on Dangerousprototypes, like adding testroutines to the firmware, adding a bootloader.

Some of the lessons learned during this process:

  1. Add testpoints for the display connection.
  2. Double, tripple check the BOM (Bill of Material).
  3. Document arrangements with manufacturer.

(1) It turned out that using the flat flex cable to test the system was a bit impractical. It is hard to quickly connect the cable during programming and testing. More practical (from a tester perspective) is to use testpoints to make this connection. Key for the manufacturer is to check the soldering of the connectors as this isn’t tested this way. This worries me a bit as I like to have a 100% tested product. Alternatively is to use regular dupoint connectors (not as shiny as flat flex :)).

(2) As it turned out I specified the wrong transistor in the BOM. This is totally my own fault, and a rework of the board was needed. This delayed the process and added more costs to the project.

(3) I had some discussions about some minor details with the manufacturer, which were poorly documented and took a while to sift through lots of emails and chats to make it ‘clear’. When something in unclear the production is halted. Also make solid agreements on delivery dates 🙂

Anyways get one in my shop.