How-to: IPod Super Dock

ipod super dock

I usually don’t post Engadget material since they get more traffic than us, but with all the E3 coverage going on I wanted to make sure Will’s iPod dock project got the attention it deserves. Will had originally planned on doing this all in one post, but there ended up being so much material we had to do it in four. The idea was to breakout all of pins in the dock connector into usable connections: everything from line-out to USB to serial. Even if you don’t have (or even like) an iPod you might find this project interesting because it’s really a tutorial on board design in disguise. Part 1 covers how to create a new component in EAGLE. Part 2 has how to create the schematic. Part 3 shows how to generate and tweak the board layout. Finally in Part 4 he goes through the process of actually etching the boards. What’s next? Well a decent case would be nice; which seems like perfectly good excuse for Will to build vacuum table. Look for that in the future.

12 thoughts on “How-to: IPod Super Dock

  1. Wow this is an awesome hack!

    I don’t own an ipod but the whole process of creating the circuit board is great, and will be a big help for a project I’m working on right now. I’ve wanted a good primer on eagle for a while and I’ve had an etching kit collecting dust for quite some time (hope the chemicals haven’t gone bad). Even still there are companies that will professionally print PCBs from eagle files for a reasonable price.

    I can’t remember who now but there was one place that charged $2.50 a square in with no setup fee and no minimum quantity… good cheap PCBs.

  2. yeah, Twistedsymphony, I have to agree, good tips on burning your own board. now I know the best paper to use. I wonder if the officemax papers I have will work. I also wonder if their HCL/H2O2 solution burns more crisply than the ferric chloride. It’s important to agitate or mix your solution, as well. You can see it’s etched less at the center of the board.

  3. I would recommend using ammonium persulfate, as it is in crystalline form until you need it–no storing gallons of highly corrosive stuff around… You just microwave you pan of (tap) water, head outside, add the persulfate, and watch they copper etch away :D

    I have only made on board so far, but it had a 1mm pitch connector on it that came out perfect, and I could route traces between the pins of a 2mm connector with no problems. The traces seemed perfect in every way, no signs of undercutting or pitting.

    I use Press-N-Peel (PNP) blue… It is like $2 for a full sheet, from allelectronics. Sure the photo paper is cheaper, but for a board using like 10in^2 of it the $.75 is worth it if your traces come out perfect on the first try… Heck it is worth that to me just to not have to wait for the paper to dissolve in the water.

    But if you want a GOOD board sparkfun has double sided, solder masked, and silkscreened boards for $5/in^2, minimum order 1in^2

  4. Meh… I haven’t used the press-n-stick method he used, and judging from the results, I don’t want to. His results are a bit cruddy to be honest, although his tip on getting cheap etchant from a hardware store is a good one. I use photosensensitive pcbs, and I’ve had good results every single time. in this method what you do is print on to a transparency, expose it, then do the chemical fun. Its probably a bit more expensive, but using a standard laser printer I’ve managed to make circuit boards that have tracks 2/10th mm thick, and 2/10th apart, without having to tough them up or anything

  5. “But if you want a GOOD board sparkfun has double sided, solder masked, and silkscreened boards for $5/in^2, minimum order 1in^2”

    This is totally untrue. Sparkfun now has a separate business called batchpcb, and the charge is $10 setup, $2.50 a square inch.


  6. from what you guys are saying, im guessing the uv light and transperency method is much better then the photo paper method, ive never used neither but one of the reasons i can say for will is that he didnt use high gloss or ultra high gloss photo paper so the toner doest come off the photo paper as well as it should if it was glossier, being that the photo paper method is much cheaper i will probably stick with that for a while but i have been itching to create a uv light box with a timer digital timer which i found in a old box in my closet…its so perfect for that kind of thing and i actually have some plywood sheets in my basement and my saw is down there too… i should really do it…guess ill be posting results soon, wait for them

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