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View Full Version : Propeller Board of Educations being assembled on the Pick-n-Place



Ken Gracey
02-29-2012, 04:21 AM
Caught the first part of a 500-unit Propeller BOE production run this afternoon. Didn't get to photograph all of the steps, but here's a snapshot. The crew is working two shifts to get these boards finished.

1. Boards are panelized 6-up. First step is on the screenprinter where solder paste is applied to the pads.

2. Next stop is the Pick-and-Place. Note that feeders are loaded on both sides of the machine - lots of parts on this board.

90144


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drvXCVzh9s8&feature=youtu.be

3. Visual inspection before the reflow oven.

90145

4. Boards eject from reflow oven.

90146

5. Stuffed with through-hole parts and loaded into the selective solder. Special fixtures hold the panels to keep them flat.

90142

5. Sent through pizza cutter to separate into singles.

6. Breadboard attached.

7. Test, packaging, shipping.

90143

Tymkrs
02-29-2012, 04:37 AM
Woohoo! Congrats to Parallax for another awesome product well done!!

mindrobots
02-29-2012, 04:37 AM
Cool! I think I saw mine on the line there!

Ken Gracey
02-29-2012, 04:49 AM
@Tymkrs - Thank you very much - I will be sure to pass this on to the manufacturing team. Between the engineers, education program and manufacturing I must say there's a tremendous effort in this product. To know that customers appreciate our work is an incentive to deliver more in the future.

@mindrobots - Maybe so! We'll repeat this process for about 100 more times to make over 500 units in the next couple of days. We'll probably finish all of these before we ship a single unit. I really need a couple of these too since I'm working with various prototypes that seem to be missing key components. Since you're a writer and I'm a business person I'll make sure you get one before me. Same for Tymkrs, too.

We're carefully spending your money to give you the finest quality product with a lifetime guarantee, made in the USA. If anybody's thinking about buying one of these you should know that you have no risk whatsoever - we want our customers to be happy with this board and the educational program.

Ken Gracey

Roy Eltham
02-29-2012, 05:02 AM
I'm already really happy with my Prototype PropBOE. It's really right up there as one of the top boards your team has made. I'm finding that it's seeing more use than even my PPDB lately for just experimenting with stuff.

Roy

Aristides Alvarez
02-29-2012, 05:10 AM
Hey, don't forget about Education staff. We need some too! ;-)

We have about 75 pages of content developed on a prototype PropBOE that need to be updated with the actual production units so we can continue releasing a ton of material. We already released some here:
http://learn.parallax.com/PropellerBOE

But after we have the boards we will be back on track updating more content as explained here:
http://learn.parallax.com/node/168

Tony B.
02-29-2012, 01:27 PM
This is great news! I have three robots in need of an update from the discontinued Propeller Robot Controller Boards.

Ken & Aristides, with a lifetime guarantee, made in the USA and awesome educational material I can't see why any educational program wouldn't invest in these boards from Parallax.

Glad to be a Parallax customer,
Tony

Mike Green
02-29-2012, 06:07 PM
This is a very exciting event as the Propeller "generation" begins effectively to supplant the Basic Stamp "generation", building directly on the long history and mass of material for the Basic Stamp BOE. It's also interesting to me that the "bar" has been raised. With the release of the Raspberry Pi board for educational use in the UK and elsewhere, the expectations for programming education for the general population has clearly been raised as well.

4x5n
02-29-2012, 11:25 PM
Thanks for the reminder. For some unknown reason I've been putting off pre-ordering one but just did after seeing this thread! Can't wait to get it!

davejames
02-29-2012, 11:33 PM
@Mr. Gracey,

In the video of the pick-&-place activity, there's a moment when the "head" passes over a part of the machine and a "flash" occurs.

What's that about?

Ken Gracey
03-01-2012, 01:33 AM
@Mr. Gracey,

In the video of the pick-&-place activity, there's a moment when the "head" passes over a part of the machine and a "flash" occurs.

What's that about?

That's the camera and a flash, providing part positioning prior to placing on the board.

Ken Gracey

Ron Czapala
03-01-2012, 02:30 AM
Thanks for the reminder. For some unknown reason I've been putting off pre-ordering one but just did after seeing this thread! Can't wait to get it!

Same here - I just ordered one.

Didn't get an order confirmation Email though ??? - maybe because it is a pre-order...

I couldn't find a board schematic anyplace - is it available?

hover1
03-01-2012, 02:17 PM
Same here - I just ordered one.

Didn't get an order confirmation Email though ??? - maybe because it is a pre-order...

I couldn't find a board schematic anyplace - is it available?

Here ya go Ron, post #68

http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?137235-Propeller-Board-of-Education-Quick-Look-and-Pre-order/page4&highlight=Propeller+BOE


(http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?137235-Propeller-Board-of-Education-Quick-Look-and-Pre-order/page4&highlight=Propeller+BOE)

Ron Czapala
03-01-2012, 02:33 PM
Here ya go Ron, post #68

http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?137235-Propeller-Board-of-Education-Quick-Look-and-Pre-order/page4&highlight=Propeller+BOE


(http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?137235-Propeller-Board-of-Education-Quick-Look-and-Pre-order/page4&highlight=Propeller+BOE)

@hover1,
Thanks! That post says "preliminary" but certainly helps!

davejames
03-01-2012, 04:29 PM
That's the camera and a flash, providing part positioning prior to placing on the board.

...okey dokey - thanks!

Mark_T
03-01-2012, 05:01 PM
...okey dokey - thanks!
I assume it both makes up for the random variation in positioning caused by the extra room in the tape/reel packaging as well as checking it actually did pick up a component! (Or is that done via pneumatics?) Mmmmm, lovely machine!

rogersyd
03-03-2012, 01:24 AM
OMG Ship the things already! Too much waiting!!!

localroger
03-03-2012, 01:40 AM
I just have to say, remembering being in that room for the UPEW tour last year, that Parallax has about 40,000 sqft worth of plant stuffed into 20,000 sqft worth of building. It would drive me nuts. I work in a 20,000 sqft building too, started out as warehouse rather than light manufacturing form factor and my boss divided it up into a few big rooms. I share the building with about 10 employees and a 400 sqft office with one salesman and some file cabinets. Parallax has about as many people in that one building as we do in 10 offices including 2 of 20,000 sqft and many of whom spend much of their day out doing field service. Ken, have you guys given any thought to future expansion?

Kye
03-03-2012, 05:46 AM
Its actually pretty spacious in some places in Parallax.

Ken Gracey
03-03-2012, 06:01 AM
@localroger - I'm not sure if real estate is any less expensive in New Orleans than California. California is notoriously, artifically, and significiantly overpriced. Rocklin is still about half the price of the San Francisco Bay Area but twice that of neighboring states like Nevada, Utah, or Oregon.

To answer your question, Parallax owns the building so relocation is a bit complex (sell this, buy another one). If we grow the Propeller business to higher levels of success then we'll look carefully at a 40-50K SF building in the next couple of years. I can certainly see this being part of our plan in the next five years. We need double the space in manufacturing, double the warehouse, and probably about 20% increase in office area. Hopefully we will grow before the recession is over so we can take advantage of the many vacant buildings in our Tech Center. Several large office/light manufacturing spaces were in progress around 2006 and never occupied, and are now owned by banks.

Ken Gracey

GordonMcComb
03-03-2012, 08:12 PM
Depending on the employee, working in a satellite facility can be fun or dreadful. I've always preferred it, but I like the uninterrupted time. Others don't like the solitude, and have a hard time self-starting. Lots of local churches (and even some charter schools) around here are snapping up the vacant business park space, signing limited two or three year leases, and getting a pretty good deal on the square footage. I see light industrial outfits come and go on a regular basis as they temporarily add space. They don't change the interiors much, as it's mostly just open manufacturing or warehouse space.

When I was up at Parallax last May it didn't seem over-crowded, so whatever the space it must be pretty efficiently used. Even MattG's office, with that big beam-thingie machine, looked like a pretty nice playground area.

-- Gordon

localroger
03-04-2012, 02:10 AM
Ken, real estate and everything else is freaking cheap in Louisiana which is why I am still here, even after Katrina. I was telling people on the web that's why I am here in 1998 and they were laughing at me until the dotcom bubble popped. I seriously considered relocating after Katrina but it just didn't make any sense. I posted publicly that I was done with the place and gonna leave, but in practice I just couldn't make it work. Stuff is happening here. Elsewhere, not so much.

It's not just Louisiana. The whole South is putting on its friendly to business face. You should do some looking around down here. California is being kind of crazy lately. We aren't taking apart our public infrastructure to pay obeisance to some weird political philosophy. We have state parks and libraries that aren't scheduled to close soon.

Oh, and our 20,000 sqft place in the suburbs of Memphis is mostly empty. Long story there. Might be an opportunity. It's small manufacturing form factor, and the people who own it aren't quite sure why there's a wall with no doors separating the backmost bay from the rest of the building. I've told them that's the dirty area, but haven't ever actually operated an operation where that distinction is important.

GordonMcComb
03-04-2012, 04:02 AM
Companies that do a heavy amount of importing from Asia for the consumer market ideally need to be near a Western sea port. You can save all sorts of money by moving to the interior of the country, then pay it all back again -- and then some -- in inbound freight. LTL shipping is expensive enough, and waiting for the whole container to fill up before you truck leaves just gives your more nimble competitors an extra edge.

Parallax could slash their housing costs by moving to City of Industry, or even Vernon (both are near LA, heavily industrialized, and cheap -- they're favorites of the Chinese importers because there are no business licenses or business tax levied), but why would would they want to? There's more than just cost per square foot.

I can get a pretty decent office space/warehouse in C-of-I -- remember zip taxes -- for 50 cents a square foot. Half a mile from the freeway. About 20 miles to LA, an hour's commute if you don't go at the right time of day. See what I mean?! :lol:

-- Gordon

Lev
03-12-2012, 01:10 AM
Any word on when the pre-ordered PropBOE will be shipped to the masses?

Ken Gracey
03-12-2012, 01:30 AM
Hey Lev,

Short answer: either this Friday the 16th or Monday the 19th. If everything goes according to the [new] plan, even Thursday is a possibility.

Here's what happened, for those who are interested. Parallax is a system-driven place - all of the materials and supplies are automatically procured according to an ERP-MRP system with about 50 parameters per part number. All of the fantastic calculations done by the system don't seem to work if we feed it garbage, or don't feed it at all. Somehow the engineer left the little breadboard off of the Bill of Materials and even a double-checked system failed. Early last week we realized we were totally out of these breadboards and that those we had were securely mounted on other boards. An action plan was quickly put in place and we have a few thousand breadboards shipping from Taipei this morning (our Sunday evening is their Monday morning). Our Purchasing Manager and myself are both in constant communication with the supplier, who's going out of their way to solve our problem.

The Propeller BOE boards are built and tested. The production process went very smoothly. They just need breadboards.

Ken Gracey

Ron Czapala
03-12-2012, 01:37 AM
...
The Propeller BOE boards are built and tested. The production process went very smoothly. They just need breadboards.

Ken Gracey

Well at least is was minor problem and not a design or production issue!

Is a final schematic going to be available, I believe some changes were made.

Thanks,
Ron

mindrobots
03-12-2012, 01:38 AM
Darn Engineers!!! :lol:

Ken Gracey
03-12-2012, 02:06 AM
@Rick, yeah, you guys. . . necessary ingredients I guess.

@Ron, thankfully! Jessica really kept the troops coordinated on this project. You can thank her, Andy and David for the fact that we sent a complete product to manufacturing. This product had many prior revisions, both by hand and on the SMT manufacturing line. This experience really reduced the potential for production problems, though errors still do occur from time to time which might not be easy to anticipate. For example, new feeders on the P&P machine might pose some handling issues or some components may not take the reflow heat as well as others.

Ken Gracey

Lev
03-12-2012, 07:08 PM
That is great news Ken. Thank you for the update. 'll watch my mailbox! That is interesting how the breadboard appeared unexpectedly on the critical path, and a reminder of the many times similar things have happened in my work.

David Carrier
03-13-2012, 02:46 AM
Ron,
The final schematic will be posted at http://www.parallax.com/tabid/514/ProductID/805/Default.aspx when we ship the PropBOEs. There won't be any technical differences from the schematic at http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?137235#post1073589.

— David Carrier
Parallax Inc.

HShanko
03-17-2012, 08:16 PM
Somehow I missed this thread. Probably was nearly 'out of it' with 8 days in hospital with pneumonia. Withdrawal symptoms without my computer.

Goody, last I note 18 March was the approx. shipping date. Is that still accurate?

Fascinating to see the board assembly. Pick and place sure is faster than a human could ever do it for a few seconds.

Things shown so fast "I didn't see mine being assembled", but that is OK with me. Gonna be a long week waiting. Thanks for the photos and video.

HShanko
03-17-2012, 08:23 PM
Somehow I missed this thread. Probably while spending 8 days in hospital for pneumonia.

Hope 19 March is still the shipping date.

Fascinating to see the pic and place machine activity. So much faster than humans.

I don't think I "saw my board being assembled" but that is fine. Gonna be a long week for the Prop BOE to be delivered.

Thanks for the photos and video.

Ken Gracey
03-17-2012, 09:03 PM
Hey Harley - sorry to hear that you were sick with pneumonia and in the hospital. Physicians take it really seriously and for good reason, and thankfully it sounds like you're better now.

The first PropBOEs were ready to ship yesterday, Friday, so they'll be going out on Monday. The little snafu with the breadboards and lack of planning costs us a whole week.

We'll make it up to our customers, somehow.

Ken Gracey

Edit: Since you're probably being told to rest, rest, and rest, I'll ask Jim to find your PropBOE order and ship it UPS RED so you can spend your recovery time in a productive way.

Publison
03-17-2012, 09:15 PM
Somehow I missed this thread. Probably while spending 8 days in hospital for pneumonia.

Hope 19 March is still the shipping date.

Fascinating to see the pic and place machine activity. So much faster than humans.

I don't think I "saw my board being assembled" but that is fine. Gonna be a long week for the Prop BOE to be delivered.

Thanks for the photos and video.

Prayers on this end for getting better.

Jim

HShanko
03-18-2012, 12:12 AM
Thank all for the well wishes. Life is great being back home.

@ Ken, I don't need any special treatment, please. Impatience is hard to 'recover' from, that was all my bitching was about.

HShanko
03-18-2012, 01:46 AM
@ Ken,

1. Pizza cutter, really? I'd imagined a bandsaw setup.

2. Last photo, what does the "HELL" machine do?

3. Is the work done within Parallax plant or outside?

Great to see these photos of production. Thanks for any answers.

SRLM
03-18-2012, 01:49 AM
@ Ken,

1. Pizza cutter, really? I'd imagined a bandsaw setup.

2. Last photo, what does the "HELL" machine do?

3. Is the work done within Parallax plant or outside?

Great to see these photos of production. Thanks for any answers.

2. IIRC that is the oven for baking the parts.
3. That is at the Parallax Rocklin office.

ps: try to refrain from profanity...

4x5n
03-18-2012, 03:35 AM
Will the first batch cover all of the pre-orders? If not any idea of how long it'll be until they're all shipped? I ordered late and am looking forward to getting one.

Ron Czapala
03-18-2012, 05:12 AM
Ron,
The final schematic will be posted at http://www.parallax.com/tabid/514/ProductID/805/Default.aspx when we ship the PropBOEs. There won't be any technical differences from the schematic at http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?137235#post1073589.

— David Carrier
Parallax Inc.

David,
Maybe I'm not looking at the schematic right, but in the video at 1min 49secs -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyR3f_bnKZg#t=1m49s
Ken says pins 16 thru 21 are available on the header above the breadboard but page 21 of the schematic seems to show only 3,3v and 5v connections on J3.

Is J3 the female header above the breadboard (in the video)?

http://forums.parallax.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=90776


90776

HShanko
03-20-2012, 12:05 AM
Well, did any Propeller Board of Education get shipped today, 19 Mar.2012?

I'd not seen any reference to such happening. Hope UPS/FedEx is busy with them.

Ron Czapala
03-20-2012, 12:52 AM
Well, did any Propeller Board of Education get shipped today, 19 Mar.2012?

I'd not seen any reference to such happening. Hope UPS/FedEx is busy with them.

I got an email from UPS Quantum View - must be shipping!!

The Parallax Store shows 26 In Stock

4x5n
03-20-2012, 04:05 AM
I got an email earlier today letting me know my propboe has shipped! Unfortunately orders from Parallax take a long time for me to get!! They get shipped out nice and quick but UPS takes it's sweet time getting the orders to me because of how they route them. :-( Making matters worse UPS is scheduled to deliver it on friday which means I have to wait until monday to get it!!! Oh well, this is one of the few times I've been in a hurry to get something so it's never been an issue before.

HShanko
03-20-2012, 05:57 PM
What a surprise this morning. About 9:30 a.m. UPS drove up and SURPRISE!, I could see the box was marked Parallax.

Nice looking Prop BOE board. Unfortunately a doctor's appointment messes up my 'playing' with it much today. And that Veho speaker sure is smaller than I'd guessed it would be. Don't you ust love the smallness of some electronics? Well, except when, like keypads are too small for male hands.

Thank you Parallax for the Prop BOE. And thanks Ken for the speedy delivery of it..

Publison
03-20-2012, 06:09 PM
What a surprise this morning. About 9:30 a.m. UPS drove up and SURPRISE!, I could see the box was marked Parallax.

Nice looking Prop BOE board. Unfortunately a doctor's appointment messes up my 'playing' with it much today. And that Veho speaker sure is smaller than I'd guessed it would be. Don't you ust love the smallness of some electronics? Well, except when, like keypads are too small for male hands.

Thank you Parallax.

Great news!

I'm sure Ken had your name on the first one out. :)

Get well soon!

Jim

HShanko
03-20-2012, 06:20 PM
Thanks Jim.

Yes,, I'd asked Ken for no special attention for my Prop BOE, but that was out of my control.

Health-wise I'm doing quite well now. So other nagging matters to attend to though. LIFE!

Al Booth
03-20-2012, 07:32 PM
My Prop BOE arrived this morning. No special attention, just close to Parallax.

Looks great. Only have time now to flash some LED's for now, but that worked.

(The older I get, the smaller the chips get. I would never try to hand solder this.)

Looks like the microphone moved from the board used in Ken's video, plus a few other minor changes.

Congratulations to the design team. There are lots of features for such a small board.

Al

rogersyd
03-20-2012, 10:13 PM
AAGGGGHHHH shipping takes FOREVER to reach Connecticut. NOT FAIR!

rokicki
03-21-2012, 07:00 PM
Got mine, looks great!

I'm wondering if there's a schematic online; I haven't been able to find one in a little bit of browsing.

So many possibilities with this board, right on the board!

-tom

Duane Degn
03-21-2012, 07:05 PM
Mine should arrive today. If I'd only known about the pneumonia trick. . .

(I am glad you're feeling better Harley.)

mindrobots
03-21-2012, 07:56 PM
I have no word on mine - hopefully a pleasant surprise is in store!

Glad you're on the mend, Harley!

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
03-21-2012, 08:30 PM
I'm wondering if there's a schematic online; I haven't been able to find one in a little bit of browsing.


The schematic will be posted on the Propeller Board of Education product page on Wednesday, February 15th.
I forgot to look on the 15th. Maybe it came down again on the 16th? :)

"Preliminary schematic" posted by David Carrier on 10 February:


http://forums.parallax.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=89488&d=1328926809



We have lots more draft material in the queue. It needs adjustment to schematics, drawings and code due to some late breaking changes in the board design, and an editing pass too.

That's all I've been able to find, so far.
____________________

'Got my board today. It really looks nice! Congrats to Parallax and everyone who was involved in the project!

-Phil

HShanko
03-21-2012, 08:52 PM
Mine should arrive today. If I'd only known about the pneumonia trick. . .

(I am glad you're feeling better Harley.)

Thanks, Duane. Yep, but a costly way to do it (Haven't yet seen the ambulance, hospital and taxi (to get back home) bills yet. Plus, follow-up doctor expenses. Nope, don't try this at home!

Anyone, on the Prop BOE solder side, what are the bare copper 'pads' for (testpoints?)?

I like all the Parallax 'notations' on the back. In case of trouble, just contact the web site, email, or phone (Parallax) home.

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
03-21-2012, 08:55 PM
Anyone, on the Prop BOE solder side, what are the bare copper 'pads' for (testpoints?)?
Surface-mount pads for user-added components.

-Phil

Duane Degn
03-21-2012, 09:09 PM
Thanks, Duane. Yep, but a costly way to do it (Haven't yet seen the ambulance, hospital and taxi (to get back home) bills yet. Plus, follow-up doctor expenses. Nope, don't try this at home!

Anyone, on the Prop BOE solder side, what are the bare copper 'pads' for (testpoints?)?

I like all the Parallax 'notations' on the back. In case of trouble, just contact the web site, email, or phone (Parallax) home.

I just received my board. I should have taken a picture of the back. I see it says "Surface Mount Playground".

Here's the front.

http://forums.parallax.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=90863&d=1332360429

Oh cool, they have a forum! That should be fun.

Ken Gracey
03-21-2012, 10:01 PM
There's a lot of components and action on that board, Duane. I don't even have one of these yet - I have only an assortment of prototypes with various issues and missing parts.

After the dust clears I'll wander back to the warehouse and retrieve one or two from inventory. Gotta watch our weight working in the candy factory, however. The fact that many people are building ELEV-8s at Parallax is proof of strong temptation!

I think we better put some of these in the UPEW/PEXPO raffle prize box.

The PropBOE will be my new standard platform for quick projects.

Ken Gracey

Al Booth
03-21-2012, 10:14 PM
Andy Lindsay gave an excellent overview of the PropBOE at the October Propeller Meetup. He also discussed the "surface mount playground" on page 9.

Ken Gracey
03-21-2012, 10:30 PM
And I came across the following today. Although it's in our documentation it's certainly worth presenting on the forums as a consolidated view:

90867

Duane Degn
03-21-2012, 10:37 PM
I'm starting to wonder if P20 and P21 are connected to anything?

Here's the back of the board. The missing pads are where P20 and P21 would have been.

Poor pins 20 and 21. They don't get to have any fun.:frown: Edit: As Gordon pointed out in post #61, P20 and P21 are used with the mic.

http://forums.parallax.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=90868&d=1332365798

HShanko
03-21-2012, 10:48 PM
Thanks Ken,

That provides good detail for this board. Takes some of the mystery out of this 'busy' board.

tdlivings
03-21-2012, 10:51 PM
Got mine in Michigan at 4:30pm today, USPS Priority .
It left Parallax on Mon 19th
Very quick by USPS in getting it here that fast.
I have a SparkFun order also shipped on Mon 19th but UPS ground will
not bring that untile end of day Friday.

Tom

GordonMcComb
03-21-2012, 11:17 PM
I'm starting to wonder if P20 and P21 are connected to anything?

Here's the back of the board. The missing pads are where P20 and P21 would have been.

Poor pins 20 and 21. They don't get to have any fun.

They're for the mic circuit.

The boards Ken and I have don't have this circuit. So WE'RE the ones you don't get to have any fun. (Actually, I shouldn't speak for Ken. He might have a later model than I have. Still, the board is 98% functional even several prototypes ago. That's pretty good for beta hardware.)

The fact that pads for P20/P21 are lacking even on the back might have to do with things like stray capacitance. On the protos I have the SMT pads for 20 and 21 are there on the back. The labels are also in the latest schematic, but hidden. Dan Brown should write a book about this mystery...

-- Gordon

Duane Degn
03-21-2012, 11:25 PM
They're for the mic circuit.
<snip>
The fact that pads for P20/P21 are lacking even on the back might have to do with things like stray capacitance.

Yes, the mic with P20 and P21 printed next to it. This makes me feel much better. I hated to think a couple of pins had been excluded.