MarkFromSales' Build Log - Learning


Sweet, the boards have arrived and I got them built

Check out how much brighter the 4520 LEDs units are on the goof-up board, wow!

I used a Dremel 7700 with the 240 grit sanding band to clean up the pointy bits on the sides and the corners.

A big thank you to @ChrisGammell and the Shine-on project for getting me my first PCB build! I’m excited to move through this and get some of those projects I’ve had in mind made into reality. Marvel is the right word for sure :smiley:


Congratulations Mark!


Getting to Blinky 4.0 really comes off the rails at “Creating the Layout” – the latest version of KiCad is wildly different in appearance and behavior

I may have to re-install 4.x if I can and start over, or at least figure out how to have it do the translucence :-1:

=== EDIT ===

Issue resolved by virtue of RTFM, they moved this functionality to its own button setup on the left menu bar. This new methology is tons better but I’d like to see one for transparency in addition to the new outline mode


I found in 5, that you can double click the colour icon in against any particular layer and you can change the colour and its opacity.


Oh wow, that’s awesome! If you right-click on the that same block you get layers options as well. This is exactly why I’m here. These programs can be daunting if you’re new to this and learning on your own.

Thank you!


Just completed GTB, afterwards I made a modification to include a few test points and a variable resistor. Boards came in and got one soldered up. It all went well except my SMD skills need some work, especially on that 555’s SOIC-8 footprint!

Here’s a close-up of the first one I did. There’s a bodge wire on pin 1 so that I could probe around a bit with my multimeter. R2 is doing a bit of drifting there, those are style points and totally intentional

Revised board

I actually skipped ahead a bit and watched the reflow video, neat stuff. I got a T-962 off eBay for pretty cheap. I’ve been watching videos on fixing the various issues and will check it out along with the stencil thing for doing a few of these


Rustic can also be fashionable :slight_smile:
Nice work.


Bought a handful of “ATMEGA328 U” chips and “ATMEGA328P PU” chips to test shrinking footprint and cost of a few Arduino-powered projects. I found a few things challenging, but some great resources.

Great post on the overall effort

I didn’t have any 22uF caps but I did have a couple of 20uF and they work fine

Burning a bootloader on the non-PU chips (works great on PC and Mac)

Open avrdude.conf and under the atmega 328 section find " signature = 0x1e 0x95 0x0F; " and change the 0F to 14
Save the file and restart the arduino ide, you should now be able to bootload your atmega328-pu chips

  • Connect Arduino Uno
  • Load the sketch in the Adafruit article
  • Connect the hat
  • Insert bare ATmega, red LED will flash
  • Tools -> Burn Bootloader, green LED will go solid
  • IDE will show “Done burning bootloader.”, green LED will go off
  • Red LED will resume flashing
  • Done!


I haven’t posted in a while because I’m a little stuck. This Teensy plugin for Arduino is a pain! It’s certainly left me with no interest in doing Teensy related development. I may have to skip that section of CE altogether and hope there’s not much more of it.

I want to learn electronics, not troubleshoot poorly written plugins. It’s 2019, using an IDE plugin shouldn’t include “disable your antivirus”

Is there an Arduino library or other alternative to using the Teensyduino add-on?


I hadn’t heard about that kind of problem in the past, but that must be very frustrating!

You’re of course free to skip a section, but if we can help troubleshoot, we’re here to help.


I am sorry that you have hit a wall. An alternative could be PlaformIO. It was featured in episode 274 of Embedded.FM. I have not checked this out to any great extent except for the Adafruit Feather.

What was the specific problem?


I’ll check that out, thanks! It would freeze during the install process and actually corrupt the Arduino IDE install to where it wouldn’t compile and upload properly. I’m running Windows 10 and Arduino 1.8.8

I just bought a cheap laptop (refurb Lenovo Thinkpad T460S) that I’ll throw Ubuntu on when that arrives and see how it compares. Having a machine that’s fully electrically isolated (i.e. using battery power) is probably a good idea anyway as I learn more about the power stuff. I’ve seen Chris use Ubuntu with Kicad in a few videos and have been meaning to check it out.

Moving from AVR to ARM is interesting and something I’ll want to have a look at eventually. The Teensy seems like as good of a place to start as any really. In the meantime, I’ve been dying to learn to do more object-oriented stuff with the ATMega328 as well as learn to manipulate DC voltage without using expensive off-the-shelf converters :slight_smile:

I do have to say that this courseware has taken me from a RadioShack level tinkerer to someone who is quite comfortable designing PCBs in no time!

I’ve designed my own Arduino clone and will post the full files and stuff after the PCBs come in and I can test. It all works on the breadboard, so hopefully I didn’t goof it up in the software!


That is really odd behaviour of freezing and especially corrupting the IDE. The only issue I have had is that the automatic reboot fails and the Aruino UI gives an error. I then only have to press the reset on the Teensy and all is good. That actually happens quite often.

Sounds like there is some odd clash with some other driver or software. Hopefully the new machine will be bettter.


No dice, everything did install and launches properly, however, it now shows a JAVA error in Arduino IDE and another error when trying to upload to the Teensy.

I think I’m just going to build an Arduino Micro version of the CE Header and run through the Teensy stuff and make substitutions as necessary. I really can’t be bothered to troubleshoot someone’s janky plugin


All of that being said, KiCad on Ubuntu is quite good! I do like the Windows variant better for the most part, but I’m still working around it.

I should add that GIT/GitHub integration directly into Kicad would be really fantastic :wink:

The suggestion of running VS Code for Arduino was surprisingly good! It’s not as smooth out of the box as Arduino IDE obviously and I haven’t found library management yet, but the actual IDE portion is much stronger! Uploading to a board is just as smooth and frustration free!

I’ve only tried Code on Windows 10, I may check it out on Ubuntu this weekend :slight_smile:


In other news, I’ve fallen in love with GitKraken and will be sharing the stuff I’ve been playing around with while waiting on CE courseware PCBs and components

GitHub page -


That error is part of the ‘Processing Project’ just for writing your serial port to the UI in the editor, it’s trying to read from preferences your serial port and show it in the status bar, I don’t think it has anything to do with Teensy unless you need to choose your serial port differently for the Teensy.


Interesting to know, I’ll play with this again on a clean install when I get a chance. In the meantime, I’ve removed the Teensy software and Arduino IDE is working well again. :man_shrugging:

I do have quite a bit of other instrumentation software installed that uses serial ports so there could be a conflict there for sure


Awww yea, dig those beautiful arcs – thank you @ChrisGammell for including this best practice in the latest Kicad videos!


Long time no post; I finally got one of my projects done in V1 – upgrading the T962 using the ES Technical kit. It took quite a bit because I wanted to reverse engineer the AC controller side rather than cut the factory board. It’s actually fairly simple but I didn’t have a strong understanding of AC going into it.

Everything is up on Github if you’re interested or have feedback!

I plan to build my own version of the controller kit eventually just for learning. I may force myself to use the Teensy if I can get it working. I bought an old laptop for cheap and will do a clean install of Windows 7 to see if I can get the software loaded and working without issues.

That being said, this project is done for now and I’m back on to the CE Header! I’ve made one for Teensy 3.2, the sensor board, and an Arduino Nano as well :slight_smile: