Weekly Report #22: Testing (Electronic)

Stayin’ Alive feat. SMARD

Welcome back from the electronics team. After some busy weeks we are back too. This story about SMARD’s electronics history of origins begins approx. 8 weeks ago. Remember ERIS and it’s PSIBs? These two printed circuit boards had to be assembled. Due to the extensive use of surface mounted components (SMT) it was required to use a soldering technology called reflow soldering. Within this process fluid solder-paste is dispensed on the PCB, components are placed at their belonging locations and the populated board is baked in a continuous furnace at around 300°C.

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After the backing process the solder-paste has solidified and thus establishing a reliable electrical connection of components to the circuit board.

Although we encountered some minor bugs in the design, start-up and testing were finally successful. The boards did fit exactly into the newly arrived ERIS housing.

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Then it was time to put the whole experiment into the thermal vacuum chamber. Besides the thermal behaviour of our design we were keen on seeing how reliable solder joints were during different thermal cycles.

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True to the slogan “Stayin’ Alive” we closed the chamber and started evacuation pumps. Even after several long lasting thermal cycles no problems could be detected. All systems operated nominally during the whole testing sequence. Even though we have a electrical power dissipation of approximately 8W during the mission no thermally problematic areas could be detected within a 8h lasting test in vacuum. The test results put us in a positive mood for the upcoming launch campaign in March 2015. See you soon.