Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ARG - DIP vs SMT...

It has been quiet here on the blog for the past couple of weeks.  That is largely due to two reasons:

  1. Sun is coming out and our Solar Panels have been keeping up with power demands - as such I have not been running the generator, and do not have much opportunity to find Faults.
  2. I have been working on a Alternator Only design.

The Alternator Only design will be based on the core of this controller, but without any of the engine control features.  Just manage the Alternator.  Am still targeting support for 12v to 48v batteries, as well as P and N type alternators.  But adding a couple of new ideas:
  • Ability to intelligently connect two together, for use in twin engine deployments where they are charging the same battery.
  • Perhaps a simpler UI, using DIP switches to select a defined set of profiles (or a custom one), even looking into using one of the arduino to PC communication tools for a more GUI interface (as opposed to the current debug text stream).
Have finished the hardware design (1st pass), and one of the issues I keep running across is the quick disappearance of DIP components.  Everything has moved to SMT, and it makes selecting easy-to-solder DIP parts tuff.  Either the part is not available (ala the INA-220's), or not stocked (which I just found out on the P82B96 buffers from Mouser), or are 2x the cost...

Arg. . . .

Perhaps will just need to bite the bullet and accept that some of these components will always be SMT.  It is the way of the future!

Update 6/14/2013:  And it just keeps getting worst.  It seems the P82B96 I2C buffers I am using have been dropped in DIP package from one supplier... They are available from TI, at TWICE the costs!   Arg.  Have modified the PCB layout to accept BOTH an easy-to-solder DIP, and not as easy SO-8 package.   If I need to move to SMT, at least I can stay away from those really small packages....

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