Automated programming and testing jig built with Raspberry Pi

[Doug Jackson] makes word clocks, and he must be doing quite a bit of business. We say that because he put together a programming and test bed for the clock circuit boards.

This is a great example to follow if you’re doing any kind of volume assembly. The jig lets the populated PCB snap into place, making all the necessary electrical connections. This was made possible by a package of goods he picked up on eBay which included rubber spacers to separate the board from the acrylic mounting plate, pogo pins to make the electrical connections, and a spring-loaded board clamp seen to the left in this image.

The switch in the lower right connects power to the board and pulls a Raspberry Pi GPIO pin high. The Python script running on the RPi polls that pin, executing a bash script which programs the ATmega169 microcontroller using the GPIO version of AVRdude. We looked through his Python script and didn’t see code for testing the boards. But the image above shows a “Passed” message on the screen that isn’t in his script. We would wager he has another version that takes the hardware through a self test routine.

We first saw one of [Doug’s] word clocks back in 2009 and then again a few months later. The look of the clock is fantastic and it’s nice to see the project is still going strong.

5 thoughts on “Automated programming and testing jig built with Raspberry Pi

      1. Doug here – The person who created this clock. While my clocks were inspired by Qlock2, it is not fair to say that the Qlock2 was the first word clock. For many years prior to 2009, there were a few Linux screen savers that displayed the time using words, and there was of course the beautiful art piece made by Sam Buxton in Jan 2007 which showed a beautiful word clock. So I am confident that I have not ripped off their Intellectual Property.

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