Ozzloy build log

hello, world!

i’ve been doing software for 20+ years, and dabbling in robotics for about 10 years. i’m looking to make my robot have a rechargeable battery, and charge via solar panel. it would be cool to make a keyboard too.

i really like how this has a focus on kicad. it’s important to me that all my work is done using libre software.

Welcome @ozzloy!

Lots of cool sub-projects to work on in that robot project. Where do you think you’ll start?

i’d like to make a keyboard!

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just finished laying out blinky and ordering parts.

i’m not sure where to start. i’ve looked into those things but never felt confident that i could make progress on any of them. i’m hoping i can find guidance through this forum on how.

the most important thing would be to make the robot run off of a rechargeable battery.

i’ve ordered parts on digikey for blinky! i’m wondering if i could get some feedback on the parts.

you can see what i ordered here:

i didn’t find exactly what was in the blinky 4.0 part ordering video. i’m not sure what the important aspects are of the components. for example, the timer says it’s 2.5MHZ, and i’m hoping that doesn’t mean it blinks so fast, i can’t tell. i’m also not sure what SOIC means.

i also wasn’t sure about the LED. i know different LEDs require different voltages and i’m not sure if the one i got is suitable.

any feedback is much appreciated!

components arrived! still waiting on circuit board.

in the meantime, i’m following “The REAL Ergonomic Keyboard Endgame!” - How To Design & Make A Totally Custom Keyboard - YouTube
i’m drawing connections between parts. when the blinky PCB arrives and i solder it up and it works, i’ll go ahead and order this PCB and parts.

that’s my current plan.

one struggle that i had was when i clicked on a pad in the generated pcb, kicad did not highlight anything it was supposed to be connected to. embarrasingly, i was stuck on this for a couple of days. when i started to write this post, i tried one more time and realized i have to start drawing a wire, and then the things it needs to be connected to will highlight.

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still haven’t gotten PCBs from OSH park.

in the meantime, i have some questions.


  1. is there a way to select the entire wire between two components?
    i would like to delete wires, but i find i have to select every
    little straight segment and click “delete”. is there a better way?
  2. how can i tell if i’ve hooked all GND together i’ve hooked a lot of GND together, but i don’t know if i have islands. it is hard to track all the wires to make sure they all have a path to each other.
    2.1 ANSWER: DRC does this
  3. what order should i route tracks in?
    3.1 should i do GND first or last?
    3.1.1 seems like i should do it first because after all the other stuff is
    routed, it will be a pain to route GND which needs to go everywhere.
    3.1.2 on the other hand, it seems like if i route it first, i might block
    off board sections and be unable to route other things.
  4. should i try to limit the number/density of vias?
  5. why don’t i see 3d models of components?
    5.1 on ubuntu, the 3d models are separate.
    5.1.1 sudo apt install -y kicad-packages3d

i built blinkies! they blink!

i screwed up the first one and had the 555 rotated 180 degrees. it came off after i added a bunch of solder across all the legs on both sides. after that, the pads were easy to clean off by scraping with the iron, same with the chip’s legs. it did not look like it would still function, but it did!

the second one went nicely.

solder paste is amazing! squeezing out just the right amount was too difficult for me, and i ended up just making a huge mess of solder paste. despite the inaccurate placement, the solder drew itself into the right place when i heated it up!

anyone have a good solder paste syringe and/or plunger recommendation?

this is amazing! i can make PCBs!


solder paste is amazing! squeezing out just the right amount was too difficult for me

i am now using this drench gun

i had to take out the one-way valve in the output side.
it also now has the needle from this

it’s been working great. it does not hurt at all to squeeze out more paste, and it can squeeze out a small amount, and stops as soon as i let go of the trigger side.

i looked into other solutions like


but they are more expensive, take longer to ship, and there’s a lot less variety of them.

i am working my way through the CE header videos. i’ve ordered PCBs, and soldered some components. the videos i saw did not go over the values of many (any?) components. i’ve made a lot of guesses. i’m aware that if i don’t get it right, then the result won’t work right. i’m not confident in my troubleshooting skills to handle that situation. i hope it all just works!

i also hope there are just some videos or maybe a thread that i missed that explain what components to get, or at least what values to get.
this thread was helpful in making guesses

it would be cool if there was an official list.

on the other hand, it’s quite the learning experience to try and figure out what information is even required to figure out what values to get for various resistors.

Hi @ozzloy !
I use the JBC DPM-B for manual dispensing. Works great and small enough to stash away easily when not used.

Regarding your kicad questions - I can’t see that you got any replies?

  1. Yes. Select any length along a wire. Click the I button and then hit the U button to select that part of the wire. Press I & U multiple times to expand to the entire wire.
  2. If you draw a GND layer using a filled Zone on the Top of your boards, all your grounds will be connected automatically to this and you never have to draw a GND wire. Do the same for power on the bottom layer and you have saved yourself a lot of manual drawing of wires. And yes - the DRC will tell you if you missed a connection. Here’s how to do it KiCad 6: Ground Plane (Filled Zone) - YouTube
    3.1 Ref #2, you typically don’t need to draw GND tracks if you just use filled zone’s. I would rather draw any fast signals first such as crystals, SPI and I2C. Then the slower signals.
    3.1.1/3.1.2 filled zone with GND solves this.
  3. Nahh… I have yet to see a board house that charges extra for this. Use where needed.
  4. If you see none, you may have selected the smaller download when you installed Kicad? The bigger download contained the 3D models. If not, there may be multiple reasons for this. I’d look at the Kicad forum for answers :slight_smile:

thanks for the answers and confirmation for the questions!

  1. U does what i want! i tried pressing “I” and i did not notice any change. i looked for it in the list of hotkeys and did not see it there either.
  2. that makes a lot of sense and fits in with the shine tutorial. i’ll leave power and GND until the end and use a fill.
  3. yeah, for ubuntu, the kicad package i got did not have 3d models included by default. i could imagine some people never wanting or needing the 3d models, so they wouldn’t want to waste disk space on something they’ll never use. i have 3d models now, i just needed to install the 3d model package with
    sudo apt install -y kicad-packages3d

thanks again for the reply. i had started to wonder if my posts were actually visible or maybe that was something i needed to unlock or something.

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They’re visible, but I think there’s quite a bit of content here :wink:
I only stopped by since I finally got my head over water after returning from a 4 week holiday…