[Group Project] Let's design VHS PCB Business Card SMD Kit


So as not to bury the lede:

Time is limited! Let’s all pool our skills! This project requires:

  • A beginner (or intermediate, or advanced) Upverter user for circuit design
  • Vector artists for the PCB art - Maybe someone well-versed in 8-bit art, too?
  • Firmware people to make an ESP8266 poll our servers

For the rest of this thread, please have the official VHS theme song, True Survivor, playing in the background:

I’d like VHS to have a business card, in the same style as the PCB business cards that have been popping up. I don’t think these are practical as proper business cards, but these would have a twist that make them useful:

  • They’d be a good beginner SMD soldering project
  • They could display VHS open times
  • They could be so so pretty

Tell me more, you say?

I’ve casually laid out a PCB here:

I’ve only placed some components that will work for the basic concept. There’s an ESP-03 module, a USB port (for power only), some 74HC595 shift registers, and some LEDs.

Obviously, I have made absolutely no electrical connections yet, and probably won’t be able to put any time into this for a bit, so if anyone wants to dip their toes in, go for it! It’s a public project, I think anyone can make changes.

The PCB is like this, currently:

Again, I’ve only played around a little bit, nothing serious. Roughly laid out is a couple possible 7-segment display options, in the same vein as what @TomKeddie did in the LED donation thread. One of those options are using the donated 3014 LEDs, and the smaller one is made out of 0603 LEDs. I’m leaning towards the latter, I think it looks a little cleaner. All of the ICs and USB port would go on the bottom of the board, so they’re not visible to the casual viewer. On the top are the LEDs and some PCB art.

On that note, I have done some detailed and precise drawings on what a possible front-of-board could look like:

This one would have an 8-bit 80s theme, but I’m not married to it! This is a choose-your-own-adventure, where you, dear reader, are the ones that choose.
I’m also super inspired by the red vanhack.ca text on @xquared’s excellent sticker design:

(Are you still listening to the theme song?)

More inspiration for PCB art can be found in one, two, and three old VHS threads. But these are only a small sampling of what can be done! Think outside of the box, and adapt more traditional woodcut styles, or comic book styles to this medium, or do something completely different! Your colour palette has five values (the red palette is preferred), and anything is possible, as long as it sticks to those five colours.

The art and the circuit design can be done in parallel, immediately.
After finishing, ordering, building, and testing, we can build firmware and detailed instructions to turn this into a proper kit.

It’d be a great project for SMD beginners to build! Bill of materials cost will be less than $10 or so, and then they walk away some new skills and a tiny display that always tells them when VHS is open! Throw your skills in! Design some art in Inkscape, or jump on the Upverter project!

Addressable 7-Seg Displays

if you are lucki, i can still find the vector files for that design.
the font is also open-source