Brad Fernandez Build Log


Hello good people,
I have been working hard on my Power Swap project. I have finished my layout and I ordered my stencils and PCB. I have received all the parts for my Current Sink. The pile of parts laid out on my desk just makes me smile! Only need the PCB and I’ll be able to assemble that. Now I’m finishing the assembly videos for Power swap buck-boost. I just need to order my parts for the power swap buck-boost. I had to do a few changes due to the parts being obsolete, so I had to choose a different one which actually had a standard footprint. Which obviously simplified things for me. Then on top of that the new version on Kicad had all the footprints already so I didn’t need to make those footprints. I did make the custom footprints for the via stitching though. The updated data sheets for the TPS63030 were much improved compared to the ones in the video. Also, my wonderful wife got me a new book I’ve been mentioning but didn’t want to spring the dough on! She’s the best! Pics below.



The book is a good read. Happy soldering!


I found that there is a new “Via” tool on the 5.0 pallet. That, with the array function simplifies the via stitching a bit. It is still good practice to do it by hand, to be able to know how to manually assign a net to a pad.


Alright I got some work in today! Here is my final layout for the PowerSwapV2 board. I have not watched the actual videos for the PowerSwapV2 so its possible I’m way off but going by the web bench and data sheets this is what I came up with. I am going to open it up for criticism and I will watch those videos next. If I’m not to off target I will order the parts and stencil tomorrow.


Ok I finished up the videos for PowerSwap V2. Here is my Board after some changes I made due to the videos. Everything is ordered. Now we wait. I’ll let you guys know how testing goes.


Ok update time. I have been working on a project to automate the outdoor blinds on my front porch. It’s a little silly but a simple enough proposition that I felt confident I could complete. My Idea is to use an r/c car type brushless motor, a Particle Photon, a custom motor controller board that I could surface mount the Photon to, some magnetic switches for the upper and lower most positions, a momentary on-off-on button,all to automate the lowering and raising on the blinds. I’ve since even thought of raising and lowering based off a light sensor. Photon also gives me the added benefit of being able to control it all from my phone if I want. Here is the initial board design.

I quickly realized I made an obvious but simple mistake. Photon is 5v and I thought the motor control board was 5v as well to keep everything simple, but apparently I messed up and the part I have is actually 7v-20v. I think I may have got some of the many motor controller chips I was looking at for this project mixed up. I also forgot my sensor connections and forgot my 3 way switch connection and I didn’t include any mounting holes. So back to the proverbial drawing board. So here is my latest iteration of the board. I have added a boost circuit to boost the 5v 3A incoming power to 12V 2A to power the motor controller. This I believe this should be enough for the Photon and the Motor controller.

This board has mounting holes. test points I can easily clip the AD2 probes to. Labeling is much better. It was a little larger but I trimmed the fat a little. I think there should still be plenty of mass to bleed the heat away but I guess we’ll see. Let me know what you guys think. I appreciate any comments or ides. And please point out any glaring mistakes I have missed. Thanks!


That looks great! You’re planning to solder the photon directly to those large pads on the backside? Any reason you chose not to use throughhole? Perhaps the board is going into a tight enclosure?

Nice via stitching too! Did you do that on KiCad 4 or KiCad 5?


Annnnd I just answered my own question, wasn’t looking at all of the components on the front side. Still wondering if this is going in a tight area though or if just doing it for the challenge.

Also curious what you have your soldermask clearance set to, the OSHpark proto seems to be showing a bit of gap between purple and gold :slight_smile:


Very nice looking boards!

I saw this in KiCAD 4 and I still see this issue in KiCAD 5 - The default Pads Mask Clearance is 0.2mm (0.00787402 inches). Where as OSH Park recommend 0.002 inches (0.0508 mm). This was also discussed in “PCB Manufacture Troubleshooting”. I need to double check this each time on a new project.


Yeah, my default these days is to set it to zero.


This is KiCad 5. I did that to keep the front free of through holes and also to keep it as low profile as I can. This board and the motor are going in the same enclosure so I want to keep it as small as I can. I had not changed the soldermask clearance so it was defaulted to 0.2mm I changes it to 0.002mm. better now. Good eye. Thanks guys.