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Sewage Treatment Plant - Power Control Boards

Skills Chart
Teaming Specifications, Budgets, working with the US Government (the U.S. Army)
Technical Circuit Board Layout and Manufacture, Components, Motor Controls, Safety Considerations
Software Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools (Circuit-board layout)
Hardware Circuit design, component selection, circuit board design, layout, and manufacture

The design goal for this project was to create printed circuit boards (PCBs, aka: Printed Wiring Boards, or "PWBs") from two prototype circuit assemblies which had been constructed by hand.

The photos at the right show one of the hand-built prototypes we received from the U. S. Army, in Ft. Wainwright, Alaska.

The actual circuits implemented on the prototypes were unknown, so our first task was to examine the prototypes and create ("capture") a schematic for each one.

[hand-built prototype circuit assembly]

Capturing the schematics was not as simple as you might suppose. The prototypes were crafted with bare, copper wire, and included non-functional circuit paths. This photo shows the "solder side" of one of the prototypes.

[hand-built prototype circuit assembly]

We captured the schematics, noted possible problem areas, and submitted the schematics to our Client, for review and approval, before we began the circuit board layout.

Several iterations of the review resulted in circuit revisions, which we incorporated into the final schematics and bills of materials (BOMs).

[schematics of the hand-built prototypes]

When the schematics and BOMs were approved, we commissioned the manufacture of a quantity of the circuit boards. This photo shows two "unpopulated" circuit boards, in one "flat".

The boards are used in sets, so each flat includes both boards. A set can be assembled and tested before use.

[unpopulated circuit flat]

The prototypes included an Engine Control Board and a Signal Control Board. Together, they operate a diesel plant which is the emergency back-up power system for a sewage treatment plant in Alaska.

It has been said that an army "runs on its stomach", but other functions are also involved... heh.

The prototypes were known to function in the intended application, but maintenance was compromised because no schematic record of the prototypes existed. As you might suppose, our Client wanted excellent reliability and improved maintainability. They also wanted to incorporate somewhat different components, to alleviate issues of fit & function.

We created the schematics, suggested certain design improvements, created the circuit-board layout, reviewed the artwork before fab, and monitored the first-article production closely.

The finished assemblies are now in use, in Alaska. Our army is content.

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