Kiwi Food Computer Build Diary


Day 11 (Sunday): It’s been a while since we did anything on this. First as per the last post, we lost power in the garage. That took a lot longer than it should have done to resolve because it turns out there was another fuse board in a second garage that only the landlord had access to. And then I went on holiday and blah blah blah, long story short, we’re back at it again!

First, “learning opportunities”:

  1. We’ve managed to screw up two protoboards now. The first one we melted half the headers accidentally while soldering the one in the middle of the board. The second we accidentally melted just one of the headers and in trying to remove it and replace it we messed up half the connectors on the board. So, what we’ve learnt is that soldering is not our strong suit. We’ve also learnt to accept help where it’s offered so we’ve now placed an order for the helper PCB that Plant Cubed put together specifically for this problem! Thanks @rckco for mentioning this on the forum. I couldn’t find the link to the site on the forum though so in case anyone else is searching for it, you can buy it here.

  2. We blew up our heater. We bought the heater on the BOM because it’s tiny and fits really well on the motherboard. We knew at the time that there was a risk that it would be 110V (US domestic voltage) only, rather than 240V that the rest of the world uses, so we checked and definitely found it written somewhere that it was built to work with either. Sadly this doesn’t actually appear to be the case. Having drilled the holes in the climatic control box and through the motherboard we thought we’d test the heater before mounting it so we plugged it in. One huge BANG later, we decided that luck really wasn’t with us on this build at the moment. My second thought was that we could just get another heater and get a step-down transformer so we had a 110V relay. Sadly it seems step-down transformers are not as cheap as I thought they’d be. $240 from Jaycar for the 250W one. Given the heater is 200W and we’re plugging the air pump and other things into this as well, I haven’t checked but I’m a little nervous that 250W isn’t enough anyway. The next one up is $500. So, we need a new plan. One that probably involved finding a different pump. I’ll post an update once we work out what we’re going to do!

  1. We drilled the hole for the vent fan in the motherboard. The packet says 4" so I bought a 4" hole cutter. Turns out 4" is the size of the hole, NOT the size of the connecting tube on the louvre. I’m hoping I can just remove the mounting tube, otherwise we’re going to have to file out 2mm all the way round! Grrr.

Second, successes :slight_smile::

  1. We’ve drilled some of the bigger holes in the motherboard - yes minor set back on the fan hole but still progress!

  1. Our custom mains relay is finished, has been tested and works! :smile:

I’ll get more regular in the posting again now so check back for updates soon! Thanks for reading :slight_smile: