Project Box version 2

Having used version 1.5 for 9 months, I'd found some of the downsides, some of the unnecessary  things, some things I needed etc.

The one thing which had really worked well was the project board idea. I'd made a few extra boards as time went by and as parallel projects grew, so did the number of boards. However, storing these and carrying them about was an issue, the original design only held one, so increasing storage was important. The new version 2 storage holds up to three spare boards and one in-place.

The project box was originally conceived as a single unit that opened out along a hinge with project in one half and storage and power in the other. That did take up a lot of space on a desk when using it, so teh next version would use hinges that could separate the two.

Having from the first used a mains power source, with 12V battery as a secondary source, I had big ambitions but nothing I've done uses anything like the 10A I'd provisioned. Not only that, but providing the plug in power has been a pain, always having to carry around extra leads and depleting storage space. Additionally, it's rare that I've needed dual rail 12V power, even though that is a major feature, but I have needed 3.3V which I didn't provide. So, the version 2 does away with an inbuilt big mains power supply and all that goes with it, such as sockets, cutting holes in the box, joining the two sides together etc. 

The power supply is now external, either as a USB battery pack, a mains brick (when I must), or power by PC USB connections. Three sources of power will be provided, 5V, 3.3V and USB passthrough from a PC or via another source.

The version 1 had lots of sockets on the console which was awkward to reach across the breadboard, and for me, difficult to see. To remediate this, all console sockets have been moved to in front of the project board to make them easier to use. 

The screen on the console was ok, but for version 2 it is being replaced by a 4" touch screen at a higher angle. It is also being moved higher, the rear of the box being extended by 20mm to accommodate this.

In keeping with the increased console height and front connections, the project board space is being raised by 15mm and moved further back, which provides space to put more of the electronics under the project board. I'll have to see how this works out with 'safe' but potentially exposed electronics in view.

The electronics are changing, the power supplies are now monitored with hard current limits, the resistance checker is being replaced by a general purpose component checker and PIC's are being brought into use to provide cheap one-off features.