Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Building the SWITCHES expander

This is where all future SWITCHES documentation will be posted as well as open-hardware resources.  For now it is just the BOM.  I will probably migrate this to github at some point but I like to be able to explain things in the form of a blog post.

First of all if you are at all unsure about whether or not you have the level of skill required to build this module I highly suggest that you read the build documentation before buying any of the DIY options.  Build documentation is here, the file is about 200 MB so I'm sorry if you have a slow connection.  My phone takes un-necessarily large pictures.


Here is the mouser cart for SWITCHES.  Unlike the VERT, it includes almost everything and there are only a handful of other parts to fetch.


For the jacks go to Erthenvar.  You can only buy them in packs of 50 and you will also need to buy nuts separately.  If you are building both a VERT and SWITCHES expander one pack will be enough for both with a bit extra left over.


The last thing to buy is a set of 4 vactrols.  Vactrols are becoming harder to come by these days, so you have one of two options to acquire them.

1) Buy them for more than they are worth

2) Make them yourself.

I assume that if you are capable of assembling your own kit from a BOM then you can make a vactrol.  I make them myself for the production units of the SWITCHES expander.  Just incase, here is a link to some vactrols from Small Bear.  You only want to get the 2-wire single LDR kind.


Keep in mind that I have never tested the vactrols listed above, but they should work.

This is the only info that I could find on making your own vactrols (most of the other links were dead).  Ill be sure to upload some comprehensive instructions on how to make sturdy vactrols and how to make them ROHS compliant as the other documentation goes up.  In the mean time:


More coming soon.