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Zipit Z2 Breakout v2 (mini)

It’s been a year and a half since I came out with the first Z2 Breakout Board. They’ve all found new homes and hopefully some neat projects. I’ve considered making a new board since they all sold out but there isn’t really a Zipit market anymore. I think the buzz may have finally wore off although you can still find Zipits on eBay occasionally and hinv still has some for sale. Finally, I found the time to make a new board that is smaller and a better fit for the Zipit. The new board measures 75.11mm x 16.69mm which makes it sit much closer to the Zipit but extends further from side to side. There is a USB Host port (w/5V boost regulator), MicroUSB device port (charging input), 1.27mm breakout header for all 36 pins and special snap off sub-boards (if desired).

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Posted by on Wed, 17 Aug 2016
tags: zipit, smt, oshpark.

iPhone Battery Charger / Tester Breakout and HDQ Gas Gauge Stats

Troubleshooting iPhone problems can be a daunting task sometimes considering how complicated they are. It’s easy to overlook the simple things and on occasion you may replace parts that don’t need replacing. Batteries are no exception. I have seen technicians often replace batteries when they may not necessarily need to be or ignore the fact that they could be the cause of the issue at hand. To remedy this I designed a basic iPhone battery charging breakout board system. The system can charge a battery, has the option for expansion to support newer/other batteries and breaks out the battery status pins which can be read from a microcontroller or some other means. It consists of 6 battery connector boards (iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5S/C, 6, 6+) and a main charging board.

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Posted by on Mon, 1 Aug 2016
tags: repairs, smt, lipo, battery, iphone, apple.

Zipit Z2 Breakout v1

It’s official, Zipit breakout boards are here. You can order yours in the shop I’ve setup. My previous posts about the design process have some info about the board’s functionality and some issues that needed fixing. This post is intended to bring all the info to one spot and explain how it functions. Any new information will be added to this post.

Update: This board is sold out and I won’t be producing anymore. I have a public project on OSH Park with a part list if you want to build your own. Thanks to all who ordered!

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Posted by on Tue, 20 Jan 2015
tags: zipit, smt.

Z2 Breakout Testing Part 2

After fiddling around with the two breakout boards I’ve assembled, I think I’ve got everything the way I want it. I’ve made some new useful changes as well as fixed the issues I described in my previous post. The remaining parts needed for the Z2 Breakout relay header arrived today and all is working there. I also did some current testing tonight and thought I’d share the numbers.

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Posted by on Mon, 15 Dec 2014
tags: zipit, smt.

Z2 Breakout Testing

The Zipit Z2 breakout boards arrived today and I promply pieced one together for testing. I’ve encountered a few problems already so another revision will be in the works. The one board I partially assembled today is working with a few modifications.

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Posted by on Fri, 12 Dec 2014
tags: zipit, smt.

3.3V to 5V Boost Converter for Low Power Projects

Quite a while ago I built a USB adapter for my Zipit based on the Texas Instruments TPS61240 boost converter IC. It’s a small chip and only needs 3 external components to function. The ouput current is limited to 400-450mA but it runs most low power USB devices just fine (flash drive, mouse, webcam). It also has a wide input voltage range of 2.3V-5.5V. This makes it a great boost converter for low power / battery operated projects so I decided to design a breakout board for it.

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Posted by on Mon, 8 Dec 2014
tags: smt.

Give Thanks for Zipit Breakout Boards

While most Americans were probably eating turkey and watching football today, I was eating sushi and finishing up the layout on a Zipit breakout board. It’s been a long time coming. Hopefully it’ll be here before Christmas.

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Posted by on Thu, 27 Nov 2014
tags: zipit, smt.

DIY Board Holders for SMT Rework

There are lots of tool choices in the SMT Rework field but many are expensive. Over the past few years there has been an increase in the amount of tools available particularly from low cost Chinese manufacturers (Hakko, Aoyue, Tenma, etc). Most of the equipment I use is from these low cost manufacturers since I simply cannot afford to spend $1000+ for a single specialized piece of hardware. The only expensive piece of equipment I have is my JBC Hot Air Pencil that was purchased from a former employer and I couldn’t pass up the deal. One area I see lacking is board holders. There are plenty of systems out there for holding boards but the cheap ones are … cheap. The expensive ones I’ve seen are complicated or just cost too much. The best holders I’ve used are made by Martin SMT. They’re simply a magnet base with a spring loaded clamp that holds the board. But they unfortunately cost $70 each. You really need 3 at a minimum and 4 is good for the bigger boards which will run you $280, ouch. So, I set out to make my own.

Update Aug 2, 2016: Finally, there is a well engineered, moderately priced magnetic board holder available called PCBite in a set of 4 with steel plate. Mine have been doing me well for more than a year, but it might be time for an upgrade.

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Posted by on Sat, 8 Nov 2014
tags: repairs, smt, rework.