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Mounting a BGA on a PCB Quickly and Cheaply.

Posted by: Dave Vandenbout in Blog Post 5 years, 3 months ago

Well, the XuLA2 PCBs arrived last week and now they are moving through assembly. But before I could start that, I had to build up one of the boards to make sure it worked. (I wouldn't want to assemble a batch of boards at $60 a pop and then find out the PCB was wacked.)

The XuLA2 board has a 256-ball BGA on it. In the past, I've sent a single board and BGA to my assembler and had it mounted. Then I would assemble the rest of the board and test it. The problem with doing this is the delay: <<more...>>

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YAMSLBP

Posted by: Dave Vandenbout in Blog Post 5 years, 3 months ago

You've probably read quite a bit of commentary about Curiosity's landing on Mars last night. Well, here's "Yet Another Mars Science Lab Blog Post".

First off, great job! NASA and JPL made an incredibly complicated job look easy. It took millions of man-hours of mind-numbing effort to get to that point. Now I'm excited to see what Curiosity digs up. It's a great achievement.

OK, that's out of the way. Now I want to respond to some of the dumbass comments I saw on Twitter and the NASA Ustream last night. <<more...>>

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One from the Junkbox...

Posted by: Dave Vandenbout in Blog Post 5 years, 3 months ago

When I demoed a few projects at the recent Maker Faire NC, I also brought along a loose box of projects for people to paw through. (The little kids loved 'em. Nothing puts out an eye like an 0.1" header.) Most of the stuff was old XuLAs and StickIt! motherboards and modules. But the one most people asked about was just an unpopulated PCB I'd designed back in 2011 and had never gotten around to doing anything with. (That's one of the unexpected consequences brought on by companies like Itead: you can make a PCB for a project and, because it's so cheap, you don't care if you never finish it.) <<more...>>

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It's the Same Size, Only Bigger!

Posted by: Dave Vandenbout in Blog Post 5 years, 3 months ago

Well, I finally finished testing the XuLA2 prototype a few days ago and released the PCB to manufacturing. When I layed-out the prototype, I butted the microSD socket right up against the FPGA in order to keep the board at 2" x 1". I knew that wasn't going to fly for final production, but I wanted to get it done quick so I could find the other gotchas that typically occur when I move to using a different chip (in this case, the Spartan-6 FPGA).

It turns out there was a gotcha involving the strength of the Spartan-6 pullup resistors, but that was easily resolved once it was finally found. So the only change needed on the board was to find a way to fit the socket on there. <<more...>>

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My First FPGARelated.com Blog!

Posted by: Dave Vandenbout in Blog Post 5 years, 4 months ago

I wrote my first blog post for FPGARelated.com yesterday. It's about augmenting Notepad++ to speed-up VHDL coding. So go on over and check it out. I get paid a dime for every unique pageview, and I could really use some of those dimes right now! <<more...>>

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