Wednesday, 21 January 2009

The cookies are ready! The cookies are ready!

When I was a little kid, my sister and I would run around outside while my mom baked cookies. (Wow, that sounds cliched and very suburban... oh well, I guess that's what I get for growing up in Connecticut) But I digress ... the point is, at some point, after all our running around, and lots of kickball with the kids who lived across the way, my mom would announce that the cookies were ready, and we'd all run inside, and get comatose and sugar high and then crash (optional: nap). I guess that's kind of what this feels like ... maybe?

After... almost... a... week.... The Illuminato's are done ... every single last, hand-soldering, manually bootloaded, solder-paste aligned, polished, ion-friendly isopropyl cleaned, esd-bagged one of them :-)

I even set up a temporary "shipping center" if that's what you can call it, in the basement. Voila!

Here's a picture of the Illuminato's at the sink, getting ready to get an isopropyl bath - I bought a toothbrush just for the job, to lightly scrub off all the extra solder flux (that's a little trick I learned at one of the informal meetups in Hartford):

Here are all the boards lined up after their bath, getting ready for programming the bootloader:

This is the little connector that I put into the gold holes up at the front to program the bootloader - actually, this is a picture of Mike's hand, because while I washed 'em, he programmed 'em:

And when they're programmed, I put them all into little ESD bags:

So there you have it, now all the extra Illuminato's I had that were bought with "immediate" delivery will go out first thing in tomorrow morning's mail!

That was positively exhausting! But it was also pretty fun, since I really felt a sense of accomplishment building these things with Mike. I wouldn't trade it for the world. There's just something that "clicks" when you see a sketch turn into a circuit, into a pcb layout, into a real board, followed by a functional, working real live thing. In retrospect, I'd almost go as far as to propose a new version of the "man and machine" feeling you get driving sometimes ... maybe a new phrase, like "man and circuit"?



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