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Aug 31, 2012, 07:24 PM
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Soldering iron death

After many years & many attempts to keep it going, the Weller finally died. Its heating element seems to have burned out like a lightbulb after 15 years. It started years ago as intermittent failure to heat, which could be defeated by pressing the cable in. Eventually, pressing on the cable stopped working.

A new heating element would be $133, while a Hakko is $80. It still has a working 5:1 50W transformer, potentiometer, & switch. It could be an easy power supply for something else or a source of magnet wire.

In other news, the great task with vision is repurposing the same circuit board for both ground cameras & the aircraft. The same circuit board is used in all 3, with minor firmware changes. There are ways to do it in runtime, by grounding some pins or bridging some pins. There are ways to do it at compile time.

Compile time is a lot more labor intensive, requiring 3 different images to be flashed, 3 different objects being compiled from the same source, either simultaneously or based on a makefile argument. Historically, multiple objects from the same sources have been a lot more challenging than bridging pins.

The PIC autopilots had different enough boards & source code for the ground, aircraft, & human interface that different source code wasn't a burden. Those autopilots would probably move to identical boards & firmware, too, with the same pin shorting to determine firmware behavior.
Last edited by Jack Crossfire; Aug 31, 2012 at 07:35 PM.
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Aug 31, 2012, 11:33 PM
I think I'm inverted. Maybe.
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R.I.P. Soldering Iron

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