Tuesday, March 10, 2009

From Shenzhen, With Love

Got the boards yesterday. Here's a nice pic of my pcb alongside an original snes cart pcb, competely with educational labels (click to enlarge):

I got 5 boards and I started testing the basic stuff. you can see in the picture that i've populated the board so far with the regulators and the usb port. I am able to power the board over usb and the regulators give off the right voltages (3.3v and 1.2v). So far so good.

I tried to put on the FPGAs though, and that was a nightmare. The thing has so many pins, and they're so close together. my first board try was an absolute disaster. My second try went better, but apparently i shorted the 1.2v supply vcc and ground. From visual inspection of the board it seems like the relevant pins are unconnected, so I'm not sure what's wrong. Maybe I fried the FPGA?

I'm tempted to just try again and potentially torch another board but I don't want to waste the 3 good bords that I have left. I might be able to get access to a hot-air rework station which would be easier to deal with than just a soldering iron, I think. There's also the griddle/toaster oven option. I'm going to e-mail the guy in my building who has the hot-air station and see what he thinks (or see if he even responds to me).