Update #3


Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 11.03.42 PM

Turns out open-source software can be a pain to use. The power is all there, but the interface is terrible and there’s been a lot of bugs to sort through. The embedded image is part of the trace layout for the circuit board, as well as a badly-done rendering of LEDs on a green field.


Laid out entirety of circuit for brim. Received last of components, and started tinkering to make sure things work. Spent a considerable amount of time getting KiCad to work properly on my computer, eventually figuring out how to upload part footprints, route traces, make curves (?), and more.


Turns out circuit boards are usually right-angle. Hat brims are not usually so cornered. Getting KiCad to lay it all out properly has been interesting. As you can see in the picture, there aren’t curves, but I’m getting there. Possible issues in the schematic – the way the pins on the LED driver are laid out, it’s not possible for me to connect everything soundly in a planar fashion, meaning some wires have to cross. Normally this is accounted for by vias through the board and multiple layers of copper, but my Pyralux material has only one copper layer. I’m going to have to manually bridge some gaps, which is no big deal, but I need to trick the software into thinking everything is fine as-is.


Hoo boy, time is running low. I’m not worried about putting the pieces together, it’s getting the pieces arranged that’s the hard part. There’s one big piece left to go, and that’s the brim PCB. All my energy this week will be on preparing that one item. Mostly this happens in software, but I will need thirty minutes or so with some ferric chloride and a heat gun.


40%? Maybe? Most of the effort has been in ensuring the foundations are sound, now it’s about time for everything to come together.


Honestly, nothing. Everything is going according to plan, if a little slowly.


Well, there’s still a hat to put together. I’ve spent a lot of time waiting for parts and ensuring modules are individually-ready, so the big hurdles are all just putting the pieces together. Roughly, those are:

  1. A brim (scavenged, with some extra material)
  2. Control circuitry (already done and tested)
  3. Wireless components (needs more testing, but code is in place)
  4. Brim circuitry (in progress, should come together this week)
  5. A hat (got some fabric, got some hardware, just need to finish the total brim first)