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PCB

ELLO 1A is built on a small 2-layer PCB with size 70 x 60mm (2.76” x 2.36”).

I order the prototype boards from JLC: https://jlcpcb.com

Their quality has been great in all boards I have ordered so far, and the prices are unbeatable. When ordering, the default parameters suit just fine for this board.

 

 

The PCB is designed in such way, so the component footprints take either the through-hole or the surface-mount (or a mixture of the two) BOMs, according to what parts are available or preferred by the user. There are a few exceptions, though, such as the VGA/PS2 combo.

For the assembly, I only used my small soldering iron. It takes about an hour to solder all the components without rush.

My recommendation is always to start with the SD card holder in a through-hole assembly, and with the PIC32, followed by the power supply IC and the SD card holder, in a surface-mount assembly.

 

 

Surface-mount components are best soldered when the board is perfectly flat, so ideally, they should be preceding any through-hole components.

Whenever possible, I recommend installing a socket for the PIC32 chip in the through-hole variant. This recommendation has been reflected in the TH BOM as well. The large VGA/PS2 combo connector should be installed last, and the PIC32 chip plugged into the socket only after the entire board has been assembled.