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Alexa enabled, 6 USB charging ports, music playing, smart alarm clock. Meet the Sandman Doppler, the best alarm clock you've ever seen! Preorder now!
Alexa enabled, 6 USB charging ports, music playing, smart alarm clock. Meet the Sandman Doppler, the best alarm clock you've ever seen! Preorder now!
1,218 backers pledged $151,796 to help bring this project to life.

Update 19: New boards are here!

Posted by Palo Alto Innovation (Creator)
17 likes

Loyal Backers,  

We have new circuit boards! Check them out below!

These are two separate panels of boards and in total there are actually 5 boards in the panel. The display board, button board, carrier board, USB A, and USB C boards.

The main panel
The main panel
The back of the main panel
The back of the main panel
The USB panel
The USB panel

 In order to make these boards function we need to put components on them. We have a BOM (bill of materials) which is a list of all the parts that go onto the circuit board to make it work. Basically, every gold pad will have a component or wire attached to it in order to make these boards work. The Doppler bill of materials contains 55 different types of parts ranging from Ambient light sensors to USB ports (not quite A-Z). In total there are 438 total parts on the Doppler’s boards. Holy cow! Some of these parts are very small making a penny look big. 

This is a 0402 part. Meaning it's .4mm x .2mm
This is a 0402 part. Meaning it's .4mm x .2mm

These panels are then taken to a board assembly house along with the parts and they are installed on the boards using solder paste and reflow ovens. This consists of taking a laser cut metal stencil and using it to expose just the gold pads. Then you take a liquid metal material called solder paste and carefully dispense a tiny bit on each of the exposed pads of the circuit board. After that, each of the 438 individual components must be manually placed in the proper orientation on the pads filled with solder paste (during large-scale production this is done by a machine). Lastly, you place the boards into a very special oven called a reflow oven which melts the solder paste attaching the parts to the boards and creating a good electrical connection. This process is basically how all circuit boards are made! It’s pretty fascinating!

Here are what the boards look like once they come back from the board assembly house:

Main panel - front
Main panel - front
Main panel - back
Main panel - back

 The biggest difference with these boards is the inclusion of the PicoSOM and the removal of the Chip Pro. But, there are a lot of other changes and additions as well. See if you can spot some of the differences. Here is the update where we broke down parts of the boards, see if you can see any of the big differences!

Comparing the boards, both in panel
Comparing the boards, both in panel

 Once we got the boards back from the assembly house, we attached wires to the inputs of the boards and attached the flex cables to connect the boards together. When powering up a new board design for the first time you always have to be very careful since there are so many different places things can go wrong.

A closeup of the flex cable connecting the button and display boards
A closeup of the flex cable connecting the button and display boards

We are happy to report that the boards powered on fine and everything looked to be in order. We flashed the latest firmware onto the microcontroller and turned on the lights!

Success!

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

     
Then we have to test fit the boards into the plastic parts. Check out some pictures of the boards inside the plastic:

All 5 boards are pictured here
All 5 boards are pictured here
A closeup of the carrier board
A closeup of the carrier board
The boards that were in the main panel
The boards that were in the main panel
Looking good!
Looking good!

 So? What’s the next step?  

Next, we have to continue working on getting our software onto the PicoSOM and work on getting our boards to talk to each other. We hope to share some great news in the next update regarding this progress.

While we have been doing all of this we have also been working on the smartphone app, the Doppler software, and the mechanical tooling changes discussed in the last update. We plan on sharing the progress we have made in upcoming updates!

A quick note, a fair number of you have asked: How can I change my address? Is it too late?

No, it’s not too late and you can change your address in Backerkit by following this link and finding your pledge using your email address. From there you can change your address. We will let you know when we will be “locking down” addresses. But, for now, assume it will be in October.

We are working as hard as we can to get you the Doppler as fast as possible. Thanks for your patience.

Cheers, 

The PAI team

Mike Heck, OSCAR D TALEON, and 15 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Palo Alto Innovation 3-time creator on

      @Damian, Thanks so much! Good luck with the pedals!

      @Jeff, Oh no! We have a sale on the original Sandman clock going right now. It auto dims and could be a good stop gap. It's available on our site and Amazon if you're interested.

    2. Jeff Getrum on

      Well, my now 7 year old alarm clock decided last night that back lights aren't supposed to dim and that it wanted to light up my room. So I'm looking forward more than ever to the thing that's supposed to take it's place. XD

    3. Damian Vila on

      Whoooo! This is awesome!

      For us, solderheads (I build guitar pedals as a hobby), this update is so cool!
      I use through-hole components, but hope to do some SMD designs in the future, and know that the really small components are just something for machines... 😆
      Nice to see everything coming together slowly, and I know there’s still a lot of things to do, but it’s getting to the point where it’s starting to take shape and it’s so exciting!

      You guys are awesome. 😁

    4. Palo Alto Innovation 3-time creator on

      @Ned Thanks!

      @Jan We are still working on the USB C specs and doing some testing, that's one of the things we are doing with these boards. We can't support USB-PD for a couple reasons. But it will be a fast charge! Regardless the main use case is going to be charging overnight so super fast charging wasn't a priority for us.

    5. Jan van der Lugt on

      What are the specs for the USB-C ports? Will they support 5V/3A, or maybe even full PD with higher voltages?

    6. Missing avatar

      Ned on

      Great update. Very interesting and informative. Thanks.