emwadmin
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Breadboard Friendly Breakout Board Available

Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:05 am

EMW3165 3D View.png
EMW3165 3D View.png (449.84 KiB) Viewed 25835 times

EMW3165 Schematic.png
EMW3165 Schematic.png (183.14 KiB) Viewed 25835 times

I whipped a quick breadboard-friendly breakout board for this module. This board is entirely passive, meaning there are no additional components on the board other than the module itself. All pins are broken out except for the ANT pin, which isn't necessary for breadboard development anyways. You can go ahead and order a protopack directly from DirtyPCBs here:
http://dirtypcbs.com/view.php?share=9327&accesskey=3d732805093be8c307083c4ba8fb2f6f
Don't be scared by the name, I've received many a boards from these guys and they do a great job, and their support is typically faster and better than non-"dirty" PCB houses.

For anyone who wants to fab their own, I've attached the Gerbers and drill file. Enjoy.

UPDATE:
When soldering the module to this breakout board, the antenna should hang over the edge of the PCB. My apologies for omitting a pin 1 / orientation marker.


UPDATE #2:
If you just want to be up and running ASAP, I highly recommend purchasing the WiFiMCU-compatible development board:
http://www.binhoelectronics.com/product ... ompatible/
Attachments
EMW3165 Module Breakout Fab Files.zip
(11.14 KiB) Downloaded 255 times

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emilfr
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:05 pm
Location: Iceland
Contact: Website

Re: Breadboard Friendly Breakout Board Available

Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:10 pm

Thanks... I ordered a batch for me. You should check out the EMW3162 community on Github and gitter.im.
We'll be updating to support the EMW3165 as well.

https://github.com/EMW3162/WICED_for_EMW3162
https://gitter.im/EMW3162/WICED_for_EMW3162
Maintainer of the EMW3162 and EMW3165 port of Broadcom WICED.
== Github == Gitter.im chatroom == WICED subforum == Getting started with WICED on EMW ==

-- Neither I nor the WICED for EMW project are affiliated with MXCHIP or Broadcom --

thantik
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:27 am

Re: Breadboard Friendly Breakout Board Available

Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:01 am

Do you think it would be a better idea to get those pins in pin-equivalent order like the dev-board on seeedstudio has them?

emwadmin
Site Admin
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:29 am

Re: Breadboard Friendly Breakout Board Available

Sat Jul 25, 2015 7:37 pm

I don't necessarily agree that it would be better, as in it offers no additional functionality that can't already be achieved with the pins in this order. I threw this PCB together real quickly in hopes that it will arrive at approximately the same time as the modules from Seeed. I also did all the routing intentionally on just one layer and with large traces, so that the gerber files can be used by anyone who wants to make their boards with their CNC machine (or DIY etching kit). Using vias and traces on the bottom layer would have put the pins in the same order as the module, but would't be as simple and easy to make as a DIY board.

More than likely, a few days after everyone gets their modules, a variety of different eval boards with LEDs, buttons, USB, etc will probably start popping up rending this board instantly obsolete.

RogerClark
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2015 10:08 pm

Re: Breadboard Friendly Breakout Board Available

Sat Aug 15, 2015 4:47 am

I ordered some about a week ago and I'm waiting for them to turn up in the post.

How did you solder your modules down ?

I'm slightly concerned about using reflow soldering e.g. heat gun, to solder the module down, because I may have already damaged one module in this way.

One of my EMW3165's no longer appears on Wifi. The STM32 core is working fine, as I can flash a LED after upload using STLink, but the Wifi is completely inactive.

Initially the wifi side was visible etc, but after I used hot glue to tack the module on top of a Veroboard breakout I'd made, and then repositioned by melting the hot glue with a reflow air gun set to 100 deg, the wifi no longer works.

Its hard to know if it was the act of heating the board up to about 100 deg, or whether it was some sort of electrostatic discharge etc onto the antenna etc that killed the wifi, but I'm now getting quite cautious about the way I handle my remaining modules.

So I think I may manually solder the module onto the breakout. (when it arrives)

emwadmin
Site Admin
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:29 am

Re: Breadboard Friendly Breakout Board Available

Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:00 am

Unfortunately I still haven't received my breakout boards in the mail yet, so I haven't gone through the process yet. I have read your posts about the damaged WiFi and I will definitely be proceeding with caution. My idea is to put the module down on the board using solder paste and then reflowing it in the oven. I picked up one of those cheap T-962 IR Reflow ovens on Ebay about a year ago and I honestly love it. Since it runs through a basic profile, it certainly avoids the potential damaging thermal shocks that can happen when working with a manual hot air gun which you never really know what kind of temperature profile you are subjecting the board to. However if you don't have the luxury of the reflow oven, I think that if you turn the air pressure on your hot air gun down to the minimum and just take your time and be sure to heat it evenly, you can put the module down with a very high success rate.

I've got two modules and as soon as the breakout boards arrive I'll put them down and follow up with how it went. I may try to do one of them manually just to see how it goes.

Jonny0stars
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:32 pm

Re: Breadboard Friendly Breakout Board Available

Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:39 pm

Hey thanks for the breakout board design! I ordered through dirtypcbs and the board quality is quite good, it was also a surprisingly quick delivery (~2 weeks). I had been dead bugging the module with bond wires which seemed to work but it was a bit of pain.

My only criticism of the design is the pad placement, there's no room for error, having the exact footprint of the module means you cant hand solder to the pads, i think they should extend a tiny bit more either side outside the footprint allowing for drag soldering.
I'll try and update the gerbers and get another batch produced when I get a bit spare time (it'll be a good learning exercise)

I have a hot air gun and solder paste but my first 3 or 4 attempts resulted in solder bridges (which i couldn't see), module alignment was also very difficult. I ended up tinning the pads and the module ever so slightly using the iron, holding the module in place exactly with tweezers while i heated the pcb + module with the heat gun, the solder did pull the module in-line with the pads eventually, as far as i can tell the pins are connected now and I cant find any bridges. Unfortunately being a bit of a noob with the hot air gun i think i've toasted the module in the process despite my liberal use of kapton tape :-(

If anyone has received their breakout board and has successfully soldered it i'd appreciate any tips you have!

Thanks!

emwadmin
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Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:29 am

Re: Breadboard Friendly Breakout Board Available

Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:20 am

Hey Jonny0stars,

My apologies on how tight the pad geometry is on the breakout board. I whipped that thing up real quick so I could send it out to fab the same day I ordered my modules from Seeed in hopes that they'd both arrive at about the same time. In hindsight, I probably should have spent a bit more time refining it a bit. In the end, the joke is now really on me because so many people have already received their boards, and mine have yet to be delivered. :-( I've placed countless orders with DirtyPCBs over the past year without any trouble, but looks like I got unlucky this time. For this reason, I don't have any helpful tips yet since I haven't actually gone through the process of putting my modules on the board.

Without having done it myself, it's hard to give specific advice, but my #1 advice for using the hot air gun is to always keep the airflow set pretty low, almost down to the minimum, when working on sensitive parts. Of course, this makes the process take longer, however it's much more forgiving if you leave the gun accidentally pointed at something it shouldn't be for a while. Also reduces the chances of thermal shocks. Another thing to keep in mind could be that it's not necessarily being damaged by the heat gun, but could be caused by an ESD event during handling. I'd say that's fairly unlikely, but still within the realm of possibility.

Another huge improvement to working with larger ICs and modules is to use either a hot plate, toaster, or cheap-o reflow oven. With larger devices which can heated evenly with a hot air gun, these other methods do a good job of evenly heating, and therefore making alignment less of an issue during reflow, as it will tend to reflow at the same time and self-align.

I've really got my fingers crossed that my boards will show up soon, I'll certainly provide more specific feedback once I get to go through the exercise myself. However now there's already an easier method than soldering the module yourself, just pick up a few of these: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/WiFiMCU- ... 39773.html

Jonny0stars
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:32 pm

Re: Breadboard Friendly Breakout Board Available

Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:45 am

emwadmin wrote:Hey Jonny0stars,

My apologies on how tight the pad geometry is on the breakout board. I whipped that thing up real quick so I could send it out to fab the same day I ordered my modules from Seeed in hopes that they'd both arrive at about the same time. In hindsight, I probably should have spent a bit more time refining it a bit


Its certainly not something i wouldn't of thought about either and its a minor point, especially if you have a solder re-flow oven. As it turns out the module is fine! I found after some poking around with my cheapo multimeter in continuity mode that there wasn't a good VDD connection from the pad to the module, I added a tiny bit solder paste to the side of the module and drag soldered it with the iron, worked great!

So for anyone without a re-flow oven about to start soldering emwadmin's break out board i have these tips -

  1. Flux the pads on the module and the board (I just have a flux pen)
  2. Tin the pads with the iron, a very small amount, they should be shiny but avoid big blobs as it will make it harder to align the module
  3. Stick a crap load of kapton tape on the module + can
  4. Align the module as best you can (take your time), i think thick flux might help here or maybe just a drop of water to provide some kind of friction?
  5. Heat the modules pads evenly with the hot air gun on its lowest fan setting, you know when you've done it right because the module will align itself to an extent
  6. Put your multimeter in continuity mode
  7. Check for bridges using the break out board's pads
  8. Check for a good joint by applying the probe to the corresponding header pin and the modules cutouts (do not touch the boards pads, i made this mistake and thought i had a good join but it hadn't wicked onto the modules pads)
  9. If there's not a connection dab a bit solder paste onto the effected pin, try and use a smallest amount possible. Drag solder the paste/solder between adjacent 2-3 pins until you get a join and the cutouts tin, if you have excess or get a bridge its hard to get the solder wick in so use as little as possible and keep repeating. if you keep getting bridges in the tiny gap between module and the boards pads the module probably isn't aligned exactly, remove the module, remove the excess solder and start again.

emwadmin
Site Admin
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:29 am

Re: Breadboard Friendly Breakout Board Available

Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:08 pm

That's great - happy to hear that you were able to get it working! And thanks so much for posting your tips for the community - great advice.

It looks like my boards were finally delivered today, so I'll be assembling soon!

Update:
Turns out my boards weren't delivered :-( however the package I received was the Particle Photon (https://store.particle.io/?product=particle-photon) I ordered. It's a similar WiFi Module; same Broadcom radio but with an STMicro M3 MCU, and a just a bit more expensive than the EMW3165. However it's pretty smooth and takes just a few minutes to get it up and running. It's great alternative for anyone who just wants to start prototyping IoT devices and doesn't mind spending a few extra bucks. Eventually the EMW3165 will get to this point :-)


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