Making an electronics board is the main job of the electronics subteam. It is important to make a board that is small since it has to fit inside the robot. Additionally, it must be neat, labeled, and organized, so that is it easy to fix it and replace items on it during competition. Boards can be made out of many materials, such as wood, polycarbonate, ABS plastic, and more. Each material has its own strengths and advantages, and a proper material is chosen based on the location of the board on the robot and the job of the robot.
Neat Electronics Board Messy Electronics Board
When making a board, the first step is to choose a material and cut it out to be the right size. Double and triple check with the CAD before cutting out a board, as it may not fit later on. Once that is done, place the components on it and mark all the spots that need to be drilled. Take the parts off and drill the board in the indicated areas. Once this is done, place the components on the board again and mount them down with zip ties. When placing the components onto the board, refer to the diagram below and place all the items in a way such that everything being wired together is relatively close.
After placing all the components, wires should be made to connect all the pieces together. This part usually takes the most time, and can take days to complete. When all the wires are made, make sure to label them all! Although the various paths may seem simple now, they will inevitably become more complicated later, and in the heat of competition, it's easier to read labels than track down the paths of wires.
After labeling the wires, make the board more organized by using sticky pads to group the bunches of wires together. Zip tie the wires together and attach them to the sticky pads.
The board is never complete. There are always components to replace and connections to fix. For this reason, it is important to always test the board after each change and make sure everything works.