It’s been a long project. I think this is due to a combination of factors – a large number of manufactured parts, fiddly soldering and software troubles. Certainly at times I have struggled to find time to work on it, worsened by spending the year studying in America rather than the UK. Getting back into the project after waiting two weeks for a board to arrive was a challenge I faced more than once.
Nonetheless, Remoteli is now complete! (At just 39x18x4mm ignoring nuts and bolts)
The device is fully functioning, after a last minute bug fix. I’ve found that it can control most things from about 4m away.
Operation is relatively simple. Power is toggled using the switch on the top. If one of the 11 buttons is held for 1 second immediately after power on, then the device will wait for a new Infrared code to be shone at it. Remoteli will then learn this new code and assign it to the button that was held at power on. If a button is pressed at any other time then Remoteli will broadcast the command that it has assigned to that button in memory.
I’ve definitely learnt a lot too. I’ve soldered a serious number of surface mount components for the first time – from 0603 capacitors down to a 4x4mm 20-QFN chip. I learnt a new schematic capture package – Circuit Maker by Altium. I’ve had to delve deeper into some of the intricacies of microprocessors, including self-programming memory and the watchdog timer. Patience and perseverance have definitely been tested by this project – whether or not I’ve improved these skills is unclear.
I am very pleased with the result – it’s probably one of the most professional looking things I’ve ever made.
Nonetheless, there are a few things I would change if I were to do it again (a future revision is definitely possible).
The first thing is that I would like to replace both boards with 0.5mm boards. Unfortunately, my PCB fab doesn’t make boards this thin, but this would shave 1.4mm off of the thickness of the device. it would also make the buttons a little easier to press as they would protrude further from the top.
I would also find a neater way to hold it together, rather than having nuts on the bottom of the device. My original plan was to glue the plastic insert to the top board and use self tapping screws to screw the bottom board on, however it became apparent that this was not feasible due to my lack of access to a high quality 3D printer.