Enterprise Navigation Lights Update

The Story so far.....

The boards have arrived! And it was done in less than a week! I had some money which I got from some CCTV business in 2004. I need to close the account anyway, since I am not doing business anymore after I got a 9 to 5. Nothing much but it was enough to pay for the PCBs. And so, after paying the cash, they actually rushed my design to the PCB shop in Shah Alam. How I got my board so quickly was that another customer was in a rush and so, Mr. Tan sent his guy over to pick it up rather than wait for the delivery and my boards were actually just finished.

All I can say is, I am quite happy with the service, which is much economical and better than the first one I went to years ago. There is not such thing as a minimal order but more like, they will give you as much boards as possible on a single plate, which is the same size as their standard film. So, depending on your design, for the same amount you might get more or less unless you needed a specific number. So, my design of roughly 1 inch x 2 inch yielded me a lot of boards. Lots more than I know what to do with it besides making them into key-chains.

There are actually a few pieces but I am not going
to tell you how many. Mr. Tan took one piece and
then 'broke' it into half and then again, until there
are four pieces. Yes, each slide yields four fibre-
glass pieces! Not SRBP (Synthetic Resin Bonded
Paper which is fragile to soldering iron heat) but
fibre-glass! Wahoo!

Test fit of some of the components, which everything
is perfect except for the IC and voltage regulator. I
even designed the board to accept smaller resistors.

OK, here it is. The PCB design for the voltage regulator
is out of place and I must have chosen the wrong one
event though on the print out it was OK. So, I had to
bend the legs a little (see red lines)

Another fail is that the board was 1.6m thick and I
made the mistake of not specifying it to be thinner.
But then again, they told me it was 1.6mm since I
asked them last year. I forgot about that. Next, I'm
worried about the overall height after everything is
fitted. It could be as high as one inch and this could
be a problem if I wanted to fit the whole thing into
the sauser area. I could have gone SMT but this is
expensive and some of the parts cannot be bought
locally. I know as I've searched everywhere for it.

Not bad for a DIY SMD pad! I know my eyesight is
getting worse and so, as not to push it, this board
will have only two SMD components. Maybe with
other projects, I might consider going SMT but I
have to see how to overcome my eyesight problem

Another thing I was pleasantly surprised was that
they could etch the lines without any problems. So
this means in my future designs, I can make thinner
tracks. Oh, the solder mask is a standard feature for
them, which is a nice thing. The green mask makes
the board so professional....

So now, I am going to make sure the software for the chip is perfect. Everything is almost complete except for the NCC-1701A Navigation and strobe light timing which is giving me problems as there is limited memory in the microprocessor. Maybe I should try another approach to calculate the timing sequences so that it does not use so much codes.....

The crying

With nothing much else, all of us were preparing for the day's job. And after joking with one of my tech regarding Halal biscuits, I turned around and walked back to my desk. At this time, I heard one of my Tech's mobile phone rang and after a brief conversation, we all heard a very loud moan. As if some captured animal was suffering in pain and losing hope.

Turned out my Tech's Father has passed away. And with the fact that he was unable to reach him in time, he was helpless since his home was quite far. No goodbyes. For the rest of the morning, he locked himself in his room. I am not sure what my Boss will do but then again, the most I can do is to sympathise and go about my business.

Its not the first time I heard a grown man cry. His was very raw and helpless, yet full of regret. It freaked me out a bit.....

This picture has nothing to do with him
but it sort of captures the mood.

Clear shots

Boss: Here, take some pictures of this so I can E-mail the supplier

Me: Its a capacitor.... *snap* *snap*
Boss to clerk: See? He's taking shots and it very clear

Me: Yeah, because I use the kiamsiap stand........
Clerk: hee hee hee

That's the way you do it....
Money for nothing...
And the chicks for free...

(yea, yea, my table's a mess. But not anymore...)

Layman Terms

There was a problem which bugged since yesterday. In fact, this was also a problem which bugged us since December last year. But it was not until the customer 'realised' the problem. And the problem?

Very simple. The Voicemail that we intend to sell to them, has a something which their Boss does not like. We have told them long ago, that this is a hardware not software so, there is a limit to how much customisation that can be done. In fact, this took us more than months because they kept flipping from hardware to software and back again. I was not interested in demo-ing it to them as this is already the second month or so that they have not committed. Anyway, the flow is that the Boss wants the system to tell the caller that they can press a button for more options and another button to leave a message rather than the other way round. So, the only solution, according to the vendor, is to record a so-called personal greeting to override the default announcement.

And therein lies the problem because this would mean either we do the recording for them (which the customer expects us to, since its a demo) or they do it themselves (which is highly unlikely due to consistency problem). I told my Boss that unlike the software solution, there is no way to upload the customised announcement to the system but we have to do it manually for each of the 63 mailboxes. Yea, this would take 2 days to complete. And so, my Boss freaked out.

And so, I modified the 5800's earphone output to
connect to my Digital Keyphone's Mic wiring. All done.

Me: Boss! Boss! I found the solution!
Boss: What is it?
Me: I know how to 'upload' the same voice for all mailboxes!
Boss: You mean the system can do that?
Me: No, we do the recording ourselves.
Boss: I know that but we can't go to every phone....
Me: No. No. Trust me. This works. I just use TTS and output to MP3 on my 5800 and play it back through the phono jack connected to the RJ9 which I then initiate the process view DTMF
Boss: . . . . .

At this point, if you do not understand what I was saying, neither did my Boss. What I meant to say was:

I have written a text script which I then use a Text-To-Speech software to produce the recording and then save it as a MP3 file. I can then upload it to my Nokia 5800 and play it back via the headphone jack which is modified to connect to the Keyphone's RJ9 Handset connection. In other words, the output of the Nokia 5800 is fed into the Keyphone's Microphone. Then, I just call into the Voicemail system and use the Keyphone's keypad to control and record the MP3.

And I have to do this to all 60-odd mailboxes but this would cut down the time from 2 days to a few hours. And best of all, I do not have to go to every phone. I have done this before but in the wrong way, which is to record the person's voice on the 5800 and then upload it to my Notebook and convert it to a .Wav format. And the sound that came out was awful even though it was perfect when heard though the headphones. But because this time, the customised recording cannot be uploaded, I have to use this method.