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Digital Tachometer for Harley Davidson Sportster (Part 10 - Prototypes evolution)

Part1 / Part2 / Part3 / Part4 / Part5 / Part6 / Part7 / Part8 / Part9 / Part10 / Part11 / Part12 / Part13 / Part14 / Part15

On this section, I will show the different parts of this project and the evolution on each step. As you will see, on every step I used different prototype platforms and I will explain its pros and cons.

Protoboard

All and each one of you have had a protoboard in your hands when you started to built simple electronic circuits. I did the same and the first prototype was built with a protoboard I had on my drawer. So, I started by lighting a LED with a PIC, then multiplexing a LED matrix, creating a data bus, interruptions, etc…
Pros: Immediate availability when trying to test new circuits.
Cons: You can suffer from bad connections (intermitent connections, disconnections, shorts,…) that can lead you astray and kill your desire of building something bigger. You can easily waste hours or days just because a simple cable was having a bad connection. I would not recommend it for complex circuits.

Images

Content: Initial Protoboard. Source: Momex.cat Content: Protoboard with power supply and oscilloscope. Source: Momex.cat Content: wire mess on protoboard. Source: Momex.cat

Stripboard

I did not learn the lesson with protoboards and went for the stripboards. As the circuit was complex, two parts were needed to include all the components. To be honest, this boards are very handy and it is good to have some in your drawer, you will never known when you need one. I think it is important to say that you have to use very thin wire or you will end with a non practical prototype (the perfect cable would be wrap wire for example).
Pros: It allows you to have working prototypes in short time.
Cons: As before, if the circuit is complex, you can have problems with your connections that will make you loose time.

Images

Content: Front view. Source: Momex.cat Content: Rear view. Source: Momex.cat Content: Working. Source: Momex.cat

PCB

This is the last step for all electronics fans that want to have a really good finish for their prototypes. This option, though, will take you some time if it is the first time (like my case) you design a PCB by CAD, but, you will feel really proud once you have it in your hands. If you can wait some time for the manufacturer to make the PCBs, then this is your best option.
Pros: Best quality. Very easy to work with and to test improvements on the software. Perfect layout and small size of the PCB.
Cons: If it is your first time, you will spend some days to design the PCB. Also, you will have to wait additional time to let the manufacturer to make and ship to you the PCB.

Images

Content: PCB before soldering all components. Source: Momex.cat Content: PCB with all components. Source: Momex.cat Content: Rear view of the PCB. Source: Momex.cat Content: Working Tachometer. Source: Momex.cat

Project Index:
Part1 / Part2 / Part3 / Part4 / Part5 / Part6 / Part7 / Part8 / Part9 / Part10 / Part11 / Part12 / Part13 / Part14 / Part15

keywords: HD, harley, davidson, tachometer, tacho, tacòmetre, rpm, J1850, SAE, PCB, design, prototypes, evolution