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Concertina: So what can I do now?
blaisepascal
I've got basically all the electronics, except for about 48 switches and 30 diodes. I've got a breadboard for prototyping, and I've got a working Arduino. I don't have custom PCB boards, speakers, or a way to solder anything together -- and I probably won't have the latter for a week or so. The PCBs have a lead-time which will be a more serious break than I have now.

What can I do in the meantime?

Idea 1) I can work on designing the PCBs I'll need. I can print out the designs and staple them to heavy cardstock again to check layouts, etc. Then, when I'm ready to order the boards, I'll be clear they are right.

Idea 2) I can risk working with unsoldered connections to the MIDI break-out-board, which would allow me to continue to test and design this thing. It would be nice to get it making noise sooner than later. The risk is that a bad connection will end up destroying the $25 board. I might be willing to take that risk, or at least see if it's reasonably possible that it'll work by continuity-testing connections before applying power.

Idea 3) I could pick up a cheap soldering iron from Radio Shack with the view that it's disposable once the temperature-regulated soldering station arrives. I'm reluctant to do this, since it's only a week.

Idea 4) I could work on testing the read-the-button pad parts of the circuitry as much as possible using the breadboard.

In any event, I'm going to head to Radio Shack tonight to get some wire and stuff.

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#1 lay out for PC board art. check it. check it again. check it again tomorrow.

#2 don't risk your midi

#3 don't bother...wait to do it right.

#4 try every test you can thin of while not checking you PCB art.

I've got a more pressing problem: I came home to a blackout!

Ditto what Bill said, and I'd add (5) make a physical mock-up by cutting pieces of corrugated cardboard or some other cheap material. Make sure the physical pieces fit together, and fit in the enclosure you want. It's much better to find any potential problems now, rather than later.

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