This will be just a quick status update, I will post more details next week on the new hardware and especially the new software 🙂
First of all I want to thank everyone who pre-ordered for their patience. I had quite a few setbacks in producing the new batch and I made you all wait a long time for your BrewPi goodies. Your early support helped me trough the set backs. You did get the RevC shield for the RevA price, hopefully that makes up for it a bit.
Delay 1: 200 unusable RevB PCBs
The first major cause of delay was a design error on the RevB shield: I replaced the screw terminals with pluggable terminals, but made the holes for the terminals too small. The pins of the new connectors just didn’t fit in the new holes. Stupid and expensive mistake. Drilling the holes bigger was not really an option, because on top of being a lot of work, it would make the board unreliable. I decided to order new PCB’s and do it right instead of patching the old ones. So that is why the new boards are called RevC.
So if anyone knows a cool way to use the 200 dud boards, let me know! I thought about giving them away as coasters, but they do have a lot of holes in them…
To prevent further errors and have some more time for software development, I decided to outsource assembly too. New boards are assembled by an automated pick & and place machine and professionally soldered in a vapor phase reflow oven.
Delay 2: The new BrewPi cases, laser cutter fire and unusable cases
The new case design for the RevC boards had to wait on the boards to be assembled, so we could do some test fits and make sure everything aligned properly. We did 3 test versions before we reached the final design. The new design does look awesome though! It introduces the ability to turn the Raspberry Pi in 90 degrees steps, has a big logo on top of the Pi case and the new pluggable terminals work much better with the case.
Unfortunately, while the laser company was making this batch they had a fire in the laser cutter that destroyed the honeycomb cutting table. They tried to finish the batch with a different cutting table, but it caused to much temperature stress in the material. This caused tiny cracks in the perspex and made the cases ugly and easy to break.
Tiny cracks in the failed batch of cases
When they got the laster cutter back from repairs, they quickly redid the whole batch for me. The result is perfect again 🙂
The new RevC boards
I will introduce the new RevC boards in more detail in an upcoming blog post, so I will just give you a quick rundown here:
- Pluggable terminals. Screwing the tiny terminals for the temperature sensors sucked. Having to screw everything in a tight spot in your case sucks. The new pluggable terminals have one part that you screw to your cable and later you can just plug it into the other part of the connector, which is soldered to the board.
- 4 SSR outputs. The new board has 2 more outputs, so you can have an output for a heater, cooler, fan and a light.
- Just one OneWire bus. Having a separate pin for each sensor was fool-proof for the first board, but actually using the OneWire protocol and assigning sensors based on address opens up new possibilities. Just label your sensors and plug them all into the same bus, the Arduino will remember which is which. The new software adds support for an Ambient sensor too.
To help you connect multiple sensors, the shield will come with a 1 to 6 distribution board for OneWire.
Pre-orders are closed now. When I have processed all pre-orders, the shop will open again with a new guided ordering process.
Software support for the new shields
Because of the hardware changes in the shields, the new RevC shields are only supported by the new dynaconfig branch. If you already received your new RevC shield, please give us one more week to work out the last bugs: we have been very busy.
The AVR part is as good as finished, but the script support and web interface support is still a work in progress. If you can give us a bit more time, your install will be a lot smoother!
I’d like to end with some phone quality pictures of the new case. Better pictures after the weekend!