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Hardware Assembly 1.8/1.9 Shield

This page is a chapter in 'AeroQuad Shields'

Despite the fact that only pictures of the v1.8 shield are shown, this tutorial is also valid for v1.9 shield. The only difference is that the v1.9 shield has already a built-in battery monitor circuit by soldering the two resistors (included in the package) onto the prespecified locations on the shield.

AeroQuad shield v1.8 soldering procedures

The next step is to solder the sensors to the shield to make a single-piece six degrees of freedom inertial measurement unit (IMU). This requires some precise soldering which needs to be done carefully using the aforementioned 15 watt soldering iron and the 0.032” rosin core solder.

Before soldering, here’s the complete set of components for the IMU version using the v1.8 shield for Arduino Duemilanove/Uno. Included in the picture is the AeroQuad shield v1.8 board, two indicator LEDs, the stackable female headers (Duemilanove/Uno pack), the breakout pins (57 total needed), the ITG-3200 triple axis gyro breakout board, the BMA180 triple axis accelerometer breakout board, and the logic level converter board.

A note on electrostatic discharge (ESD)

It is important to take some care when working with the electronics (sensors and the Arduino) in order to prevent them from being damaged by ESD. Here are some recommendations:
  • Ground yourself before touching the electronics. This can be done by touching a metal appliance which is plugged into an electrical socket.
  • Work in an environment where there is less chance of ESD developing, such as on a concrete floor of a garage. Avoid carpets and plastic tables
  • When not in use, store the electronics in an ESD protective plastic bag.

Breakout pins to the sensor boards

1. Break the pins into three 10-pin pieces, one 8-pin piece, one 7-pin piece, and two 6-pin pieces

2. Insert the breakout pins to the hole slots of their respective sensor boards. Insert them from the bottom of the sensor boards (side with no circuitry) using the short end of the pins, like below.

3. Fix the pins to the sensor board so the pins are vertical to the board or have someone help.

4. Heat the 15 watt iron for at least 5 minutes.

5. Solder the pins to the breakout board. Making sure that the pins and the board do not move, apply heat for about 1 second to both the round metal pad on the sensor board and the pin sticking out of it (simultaneously), and then immediately apply the solder either onto the pad very close to the iron or onto the tip of the iron. Make sure not to touch the adjacent pads as that will short them and render the board useless. Also, after soldering the first pin, double check that the pins are vertical and flush with the board. If not, heat that first pin and carefully attempt to straighten out the pins.

6. Repeat this for all of the pins on the gyro, accelerometer, and the level converter boards.

Stackable female headers (Duemilanove/Uno pack) to the shield

This step involves soldering the stackable headers (the ones bought separately from the shield) to the shield. This will allow the shield to be mated with the Arduino through the pins easily. There are a total of five pieces which need to be soldered, four on top and one from the bottom. Two are 6-pin, two are 8-pin, and one is a special piece having 2 rows of 3 pins.

1. Start with the 6 or 8-pin pieces, soldering them with the same care as the sensor boards. Insert the 6 and 8 pin pieces from the top of the shield so as to have the black plastic headers on top and the pins sticking out from the bottom. They must be inserted into the outermost holes boxed in red (see picture) in order to fit the Arduino properly.

2. Solder the 6 and 8 pin pieces from the bottom, making sure they are all sticking out vertically.

8-pin piece soldered from the bottom8-pin piece soldered from the bottom

3. Insert the 2x3 piece from the bottom so as to have the metal pins coming out from the top side and the black headers being on the bottom side.

4. Solder the 2x3 piece to the shield.

2x3 pin piece soldered from the top2x3 pin piece soldered from the top

LEDs to the shield

These are simple to install and solder. First insert the LEDs, making sure that the polarity is respected. One side of the LEDs is flat and the spot on the shield for the LEDs has a round mark with one side being flat. After correctly inserting the LEDs, solder them from the bottom and trim off the extra wires.

Motor and receiver pins to the shield

Insert the short sides of the three 10-pin pieces to the shield from the top and solder them from the bottom. These breakout pins will allow connections from the motor ESCs and the receiver channels to the shield.

Arduino Duemilanove/Uno PWM motor outputs

Refer to this page for more information about all the available flight configurations!

Sensors to the shield

The final step is to solder the two sensor boards as well as the level converter board (they should already have the breakout pins soldered to them) to the shield. After inserting the sensor boards and soldering one pin from the bottom, assure that the sensor board is horizontal to the shield and not at an angle as that will throw off readings of the sensors.

The completed v1.8 shield


To view these files it's recommended to use Eagle.

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