Spectrum Next Blinkenlights – part 5 – More PCB’s

Specnext inserts - 4mm Hole drilled - Bottom Up looking
One idea that I may need to do –  Partially Drilling out the 1.6mm holes to a wider diameter – to allow for easier Inserts PCB manufacture


Specnext inserts - 3.2 mm Hole drilled - Top Down
Potential idea – drilling out the hole from the underside – you can almost double the diameter without touching the case – This could be quite tricky to get right though…



Specnext inserts - 4mm Hole drilled - Top down looking
Another Drilling idea – Nearly tripling the diameter.  in no way will it affect the upper part of the Next case BUT, part drilling a hole can be tricky so i’m really trying to avoid needing to do this



Some good progress has been made over the past few weeks waiting for the slow boat to deliver the prototypes – The tracking number’s finally changed, so 5 weeks after leaving the factory in Shenzen and they’re in Hong Kong.

I’ve been working on the main control PCB for the lights. Much helped by the guys on facebook and having some input from Phil Candy himself! (via Mike Cadwallader) –

I was struggling quite badly to figure out the  distance between the LED inserts! – see the image below

Blinkenlights Spacing Question

Now, to the eye, all of the lines are evenly spaced, and using my Super mega (crappy Aldi) set of calipers, I was measuring different every time I tried…

Firing up some CAD software and doing a mega zoom calibration using the keyboard keys – I measured between 18.835mm and 19.06mm..A variance of 0.225mm. Not a massive amount by any means, BUT, i’m dealing with 0.6mm thick PCB’s here, mating to some type of slot in connector. A 0.2mm innacuracy in measurement would potentially mean a 0.4mm misalignment right from the start!

A quick question to the Spectrum Next Devs facebook group and The reply…

19.05mm Pitch. Yes.

With that little nugget of information, I’ve been able to accurately design the main by designing the hole centres for the inserts at 19.05mm spacing.

In the background, i’ve also been working on the code a little. The 3.3V arduinos have now arrived and i’ll be trialling the first actual spectrum Next connectivity soon!



Specnext Inserts with Battery Terminals 2
One of the Ideas I had for getting the main PCB to interface to the LED’s – That part’s still a work in progress, BUT, I may have solved it 🙂
Edge Connector IDea BAD Specnext
An early first idea for connecting the inserts to the main PCB – standard PCI style edge connector…they’re way too tall
Almost what the final PCB  outline will look like


Blinkenlights - PCB Fitment areas render
A render of what the PCB will look like when fitted. At this point I’d discovered a potential clearance issue
next blinkenlights PCB control render 1
Another view
next blinkenlights PCB control render 3
A view showing the clearance between the insert and the new PCB
Specnext Side View - PCB mounted higher up
A side view showing the new PCB now mounted on the bottom….with the inserts sticking through the PCB a bit – This now accomodates my new, cheap method of hopefully getting a solderless connection / upgrade



Author: Bleugh

Early Fourties, Wife, two kids in primary school. Both of us work full time...5 years now we’ve been Back in Blighty after a decade away...It's a new country for everyone! Still finding time to tinker!

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