Last week I ordered and received another dozen of those nice Ai-Thinker LED RGBW bulbs. The thought of soldering wires to those tiny PCB contacts made me kind of cringe. Time to use my CAD design skills and my home-built laser cutter (Yes, I like to make tools myself :) ) to make a jig!
The major challenge with this was how to figure out the exact positions of all those PCB contacts. Of course, there isn't any technical drawing readily available. Measuring the distances with a caliper was too difficult and imprecise as I did not have much of a steady hand...
An easier way was to take a high resolution photo of the PCB and measure the distances with photo editing software (In my case I used GIMP. This turned out later to be a very good solution; I had to re-adjust the measurements only a few times.
In Autodesk Fusion 360 I designed a 3D model for a component that needed to fit tightly in the Ai-Thinker LED RGBW aluminium body. For making connections to the PCB contacts, pogo pins are used and placed at the positions measured earlier. The first prototypes I made were from cardboard and later cut out of plywood with my home-built laser cutter. The pogo pins are wired and connected to an USB to UART adapter (CP210x Chipset).
Very pleased with the outcome and the precision of my home-brew laser cutter. It is minimalistic and very effective design. This could easily be 3D printed as well, but I just stuck with this edition :)
Update 2017/07/17 !!
At this moment, I am unfortunately not considering any build/purchase requests for an AiLight Jig. Making an AiLight Jig was/is fun, however also time consuming. There are some other projects (one of them being the AiLight firmware), that currently require some more love and attention.
If you still like to have an AiLight Jig, you can build one yourself by following the instructions here: Make an AiLight Jig. This Wiki page also contains links to all the 3D design files.
I would like to thank all the people that have purchased the AiLight Jig and really appreciated your support! If time permits, I might restart making them again :)
Some people have already requested an AiLight Jig and if you don't feel like soldering either, I am happy to make one for you as well. I only ask for a small fee that covers my time and expenses. There are two options you can choose from: - Option A: Fully Assembled AiLight Jig Price: USD 10 / EUR 9 (excluding shipping fee) - Option B. Base Jig with 5 pogo pins (without USB to UART Adapter) Price: USD 4.50 / EUR 4 (excluding shipping fee) If you like one, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please feel free to leave comments or feedback here. Happy to hear what you think!