Designed as a DIY project
Ever since designing the first QuinLED-OG module I’ve had the mentality that I need to have fun building it. Because, if I can do it and have fun while doing so, so can other people! Over the years my skills have improved and I could have gone with a fully SMD module or other techniques but I’ve purposely chosen to stick with mainly through-hole components, combined with some SMD components in places where I find them easier to use then through-hole or because of size/dimension constraints (QuinLED-Quad mosfets) there was no way around it.
The reason? This is a DIY project and I want everyone who is looking for something similar to be able to make it! From novice to expert, it should should be possible for everyone and with simple, inexpensive tools. I think these new boards still follow those guidelines and I will be making written and video tutorials of assembling the board, soldering it all together, setting up the software side right to the point you have a working light in your favorite Domotica system.
Using premade modules
A lot of components in the design I buy from Chinese manufacturers such as voltage converters or the MH-ET-Live ESP32 Development boards. Although I could design all these components on the PCB themselves I believe that would only complicate the building process and might actually make things more expensive than using headers and pins to connect the pre-made boards!
For instance, the components on the ESP32 Development board include a 5v -> 3.3v regulator circuit, including caps and everything. A serial chip, USB port and not to mention the ESP32 chip itself with can only be acquired as an SMD component and can be tricky to solder.
So to keep making the boards friendly for DIY purposes and as cheap as possible, premade modules actually work out really well. I’ve actually been able to integrate more pin headers and such because using I’m using sockets for components which gave me a bit of height to put components underneath!
All the boards are made in such a way that although they can have a lot of functionality, you don’t have to use it all. For instance the QuinLED-Deca can be built with the full 10 channels, or for instance with just 3 or 5 if you just want to control an RGB or an RGB+WW+CW (warm white + cold white) strip. That way you can save on terminals, MOSFETs, etc.. Although, if you only need 3 or 4 channels, the QuinLED-Quad might be a better fit, unless you need a higher voltage then 28v or are connecting a very big load.
The same goes for the Dallas DS18B20 temperature sensor I put on all the boards. The spot is there, you can use it, but you don’t have to if it’s useless for you.
Kits and Pre-made
Designed for efficiency and cost effectiveness
Everything about QuinLED is designed to be as cost effective as possible. For instance, I’ve kept the dimensions of the QuinLED-Deca such that you get two boards out of a 10x10cm PCB. For the QuinLED-Quad and QuinLED-Dig-Duo you even get 4 to 6 boards out of 1 10x10cm PCB! That means one order would result in 60 to 70 boards! I realize probably no one is going to need those amounts, but hey, if you screw up while soldering, you have some in reserve. 😉
I’m not sure yet if I’m going to put links up to a 5x5mm version and a 10x10mm version. The 10x10mm version is by far more efficient if you look at the cost per board price but overall it’s still more expensive and 99% won’t need the amount it gives you extra.
One of the questions I often get asked about the QuinLED-OG is if I can send some boards, some components or maybe make some kits available. As mentioned above, most people don’t need 10 or more boards and I understand that (well, no, not really, Domotica all the things!!). So once all the boards design have reached a state I believe them to be working correctly and suitable for people to use, I’m going to look into making kits available through something like Tindie.com. That will raise the cost a bit above purchasing everything (in bulk) yourself but in total it should still be a lot less then having to buy components for 5 to 10 boards minimum.
I will start this process after all the boards and most DIY guides have been released. Currently not available yet!
In the same spirit as above. Over the last few years I’ve had numerous requests for pre-soldered boards. People who wanted to use the functionality but either didn’t have the skill (it’s not that hard if you sit down for it…) or the time to make the modules themselves. And in some way I can understand that. So, once the whole DIY part (like these articles and videos) is done, I’m going to look at putting up some pre-made boards on Tindie.com. Again, these are going to be even more expensive than the kit version, but if you just want the functionality, it might still be a good choice for you!
It is as of yet unknown when these boards will become available. Currently not available yet!