09/29/2020 : Our first pcb order from JLCPCB
Recently, we received our first pcb order from our partners JLCPCB. The board comes in the form of an Arduino Uno style shield that is connected on top of a NUCLEO64-STM32F446RE development board. The shield can be connected to up to 10 VL53L0X time of flight sensors from STMicroelectronics. These sensors serve us an input for the obstacle avoidance system of our robots.
In order to communicate with all of the sensors with a single bus I²C, we need to change their addresses. We achieve that by using the XSHUT pins on the sensor modules that let us power them one by one during startup, which permits us to change their address.
The goal of the shield was making sure that the connections were reliable and secure, which we achieved by using JST connectors for all of the connections. The board also served as a great platform for learning pcb design and SMD soldering.
We found the fit and finish of the boards to be great and the ordering process couldn’t be more straightforward.
We’re looking forward to designing even more boards and certainly a few more complex ones. A board with a D-SUB15 connector for interfacing with our MCP230A is already in the works and we have also planned to order a more complex 4-layer board using an STM32 F4 microcontroller. That board could eventually replace the NUCLEO board and the shield while adding a CAN interface that could be used to connect all of our microcontrollers together.