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SainT

Lynx Multi Cart

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This is the first version of the cartridge case, white with green PCB. The production ones will be black and black. Gives you an idea of the finished unit though.

 

Typically my PicKit programmer has packed up, so just waiting for a new one before I can test the PCB I built up. But in the meantime I got my manual pick and place thing working. It's actually pretty good, so will make placing chips accurately sooooo much easier. Caps and resistors are still going to be quicker with tweezers I think.

 

The biggest issue I have at the moment is getting a decent solder paste deposit. Not sure if its because I'm using a stencil made from acetate and cut with a CNC blade cutting machine rather than laser (so rough edges sticking to the solder paste), or what, but I'm finding the paste lifting with the stencil. More trial and error required.

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post-37728-0-77315200-1449088590_thumb.jpg

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This is the first version of the cartridge case, white with green PCB. The production ones will be black and black. Gives you an idea of the finished unit though.

 

Typically my PicKit programmer has packed up, so just waiting for a new one before I can test the PCB I built up. But in the meantime I got my manual pick and place thing working. It's actually pretty good, so will make placing chips accurately sooooo much easier. Caps and resistors are still going to be quicker with tweezers I think.

 

The biggest issue I have at the moment is getting a decent solder paste deposit. Not sure if its because I'm using a stencil made from acetate and cut with a CNC blade cutting machine rather than laser (so rough edges sticking to the solder paste), or what, but I'm finding the paste lifting with the stencil. More trial and error required.

If you need a laser cut template, let me know! I have access to a laser cutter if you know what you need.

 

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Edited by Rave
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That looks great! I'm still in for one.

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Too bad about this paste problem. I tried to print a 3D plastic stencil. Did not work at all. I also took the risk and ordered a cheap laser cut plastic stencil from the UK for my prototypes. It has not arrived yet so I cannot comment. Perhaps the steel stencils are worth their price.

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Too bad about this paste problem. I tried to print a 3D plastic stencil. Did not work at all. I also took the risk and ordered a cheap laser cut plastic stencil from the UK for my prototypes. It has not arrived yet so I cannot comment. Perhaps the steel stencils are worth their price.

 

Getting things just right is tricky. :) It took me quite a while to understand how to setup 3D prints properly to get the best results, but now its become second nature. I'm hoping the same will be true for paste stenciling -- as you say, the steel stencils may be the right way to go. I'm going to try a laser cut mylar one (I'll be messaging you, Rave!) for comparison, but will probably get a steel one done when I get the production boards made up panelised. It's $50 from the place I get my PCB's done to get a framed steel stencil, which if you're doing a hundred or so units is probably going to be worth the cost.

 

The other variable is the solder paste itself as well, and the stuff I was using is a bit old now -- had to add a bit of liquid flux to get the consistency right, which may have stopped it adhering well to the PCB. So a new pot of that is in order too... :)

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I have no good experience with paste or flux really. It is messy and requires cleaning.

 

A better technique could be to apply solder on all pads and use a hot plate. No residue to clean up afterwards :)

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I've had some reasonable success with mine. My main issues are the crispness of the paste deposits -- ie. it comes out quite smeared / joined together, rather than separate islands. Ideally you want nice little islands of paste and then you're guaranteed no solder bridges when you reflow.

 

So far I've been hand reflowing with a hot air station. Once I'm happy with the results I'm getting (ie. very little rework required) I'll be switching to a toaster oven based DIY reflow oven.

 

It's definitely the way to go. Just have to get the knack of it. :)

 

And the manual pick and place thing completely solves accurately placing chips on the paste. That was another issue I had -- if the paste was placed nicely I'd mess it all up when I placed the chip down.

 

I like the look of the liteplacer as well... maybe one day.

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I checked out the liteplacer but it is too manual for my taste. I will probably go for NeoDen TM245P. 10000 components per hour and can handle tape rolls and tubes automatically. Now I just need the 8000 € to buy one. Then I could pick and place my two chips on the Lynx cart in a fraction of a second ;)

 

Another thing I would like to have is the stencil block from https://www.tindie.com/products/arachnidlabs/pcb-tooling-block-full-grid/

Unfortunately it is out-of-stock all the time.

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Epic! I am so down for one of these!! Hopefully an announcement is made when they are available, I can't keep up with all the threads here on AA!

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The first proper cased prototype inserted in the Lynx 2 (sorry for the terrible photo). This case wont fit in the Lynx 1, so I think I'll just have to offer uncased versions for the Lynx 1. Uncased will work just fine in a Lynx 2 of course, they just wont look as cool. :)

 

In the end I just had one solder bridge to fix I hadn't spotted when reflowing the board in the first place, so I'm extremely pleased it all worked ok. A bit more practice with the solder paste application and I think it'll become relatively "easy" to get these made up.

post-37728-0-62619600-1449267123_thumb.jpg

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This is the source code for the simple menu I've written for game selection and ROM programming. Karri, if you'd like to add it to the Lynx source repository somewhere appropriate. You did give me access, but I'm buggered if I can find the message again now.

 

The LynxSD.h / LynxSD.c are basically a little library for using the microcontroller on the cartridge if anyone wanted to access files from the memory card from the Lynx.

GameMenu.rar

Edited by SainT
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The first proper cased prototype inserted in the Lynx 2 (sorry for the terrible photo). This case wont fit in the Lynx 1, so I think I'll just have to offer uncased versions for the Lynx 1. Uncased will work just fine in a Lynx 2 of course, they just wont look as cool. :)

 

In the end I just had one solder bridge to fix I hadn't spotted when reflowing the board in the first place, so I'm extremely pleased it all worked ok. A bit more practice with the solder paste application and I think it'll become relatively "easy" to get these made up.

 

 

Looks great! Might I suggest printing a small ridge on the back of the case to make it easier to remove?

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Yes, I'm going to have a play around with an indent. The problem is when printing something like this, if you add an indent it gets printed with support material underneath which has to be removed, and the resulting finish is fairly crap. If its a series of small ridged indents or something that might work ok without support material.... will be interesting to have a play. I'm enjoying the whole product design aspect. ;)

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The first proper cased prototype inserted in the Lynx 2 (sorry for the terrible photo). This case wont fit in the Lynx 1, so I think I'll just have to offer uncased versions for the Lynx 1. Uncased will work just fine in a Lynx 2 of course, they just wont look as cool. :)

 

In the end I just had one solder bridge to fix I hadn't spotted when reflowing the board in the first place, so I'm extremely pleased it all worked ok. A bit more practice with the solder paste application and I think it'll become relatively "easy" to get these made up.

i know this may sound stupid but couldn't you do some kind of half shell for the lynx 1 just enough cover at the top of the cart to prevent people using the compoments as ridges to aid removal, i know its a massive pain to get out on my current lynx flashcart without using the caps as a grip.

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