LCL Electronics has developed a new PCB for an old photographic timer, leading to cost savings and reduced production times for the customer - Paterson Photographic - which is developing its existing products to combine traditional forms of lighting equipment with new technology. Using LCL as its electronics partner, its 200D enlarger timer, a mains operated digital timer unit, has been re-launched with updated technology to improve safety and efficiency.
The development team, including Richard Oliver of LogicaTronics Ltd. overcame old technology from the 1980’s, plus potential obsolescence issues and uncertainty in the supply for a number of the old through-hole components, by creating new source code for the microcontroller. The team also produced an improved circuit board using surface mount (SMT) components to reduce the risk of obsolescence. Over 80% of the new parts were converted to to surface mount followed by wave soldering, which improved speed and accuracy throughout the production process.
Electrical safety issues were addressed by using fault tolerant components, a neutral referenced “ground plane” and mains voltage warning notices printed directly onto the PCB.
The end result is a final PCB design that is far more robust and efficient. The design uses less power and has fixed operational issues with the original firmware. The manufacturing process has also been simplified through improvements to the interconnection between the various mains input leads and the timer circuit board.
Speed and cost for the PCB has reduced through the new SMT assembly, wave soldering and technology used on the new boards. LCL has achieved further savings on the mains cable so overall there has been a slight cost reduction in the board production for Paterson.