Since our March update the T400 has moved steadily forward. The most challenging aspects of the T400 project appear to be behind us and the T400 schedule is now almost exclusively dictated by factory lead times. If everything goes smoothly, you should have your T400 some time in August, probably earlier.
Creating the custom thermocouple connector has been the single biggest issue we have faced. We did a tremendous amount of testing on the handful of seemly suitable connectors out there only to find nothing would meet our needs. In the end we spent a lot of time and a lot of money making what is the world’s first fully open source connector.
We believe this will be useful to other hackers, so you will be able to purchase the Pax Instruments surface mount thermocouple contacts in our store as soon as they become available. The precision metal stamping factory has our money and our designs. We should have samples for approval before June 15th.
The design is complete. SLA and CNC machined prototypes are approved. We are just waiting on the connectors, so we can confirm everything lines up before cutting a mold. The top panel that interfaces with the thermocouple connectors is dependent on the custom thermocouple connector and cannot be approved until we approve the connector. We talked to the factory about cutting all the part cavities except the top panel and cutting the top later. They said it would be more expensive and only save us a few days.
Because the enclosure design is so complete we decided to start production on the silicone keypads. You can take a look at the button specifications to get a sense of how they will look. We are shooting for black icons on a white smudge-resistant background.
The schematic design is complete and the latest version of the board works as expected. We are making one more revision to swap out the prototype Keystone connector with our custom connector. This is a trivial change of the connector footprint.
To ensure the PCBAs and enclosure match properly the factory will fully assemble the T400s with enclosures. This will allow us to fix any unforeseen PCB mistakes should they arise. We will begin PCBA production as soon as we have the injection molded enclosures.
The firmware is expected to be complete in time for MakerFaire Shenzhen June 19th. You can track the current milestone on Gihub.
We took a few days while waiting for prototypes to refine some of the tools we made while developing the T400 and released a few new products.
If you are interested in our LCD, but were not sure how to interface with it, we now offer the Pax Instruments Graphic LCD 132×64 Arduino Shield. The LCD shield incorporates the same pin swapping technology as the Arduino Configuration Shield.
We also stock a high quality, low cost K-Type thermocouple with winding handle. The connector is from Omega and sports a standard PTFE-coated K-type thermocouple.
We came across a few hundred ATmega1280-16AU chips for next to nothing and put them in the store. We’re thinking about making a small run of some fun project for them. If you have an idea you’d like to share, please join us in the forum.