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Review of the Open DSKY Kit

(This review is copied with permission from Ken Stauffer's Github)


The specific product I ordered was the DSKY Slim Kit.


Overall I loved it. It requires a lot of detail work for final assembly. However, this is a kit and as one of the creators says in a YouTube video: "A big part of the DIY is the Y. Do it yourself, not do it for me." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPJfywL251g&t=2251s [at 7 minutes 30 seconds]


Final assembly required me to use a dremel grinding tool to carve out plastic from the back in order to ensure the front cover fits snuggly onto the cicruit board.


I didn't like the "sticker" which you use to cover over the beautiful 7-segment LED's, so I customized my device (see the section Green Acrylic Modification).


The electronics and provided circuit board were excellent. All the parts were well labeled. This kit makes for a great platform to play with the Arduino and program different devices: GPS, IMU, MP3 player and Real Time Clock.


Little details included with the Kit were also very nice. There were two stickers that you affix to the case which look like official NASA tracking signage. There was also a tiny little 3d-printed DSKY.


Sticker 1
Sticker 2
Mini-DSKY

The assembly instructions were a little sparse. But this increased my feeling of satisfaction when I successfully built the thing. How to perform final assembly was not well documented. Having said that, the instructables website was pretty good with lots of pictures of each step. The instructions became sparse when the assembly of the case was concerned. The kit offered several logical points to test the device before final soldering of all components. For example you could test the lamps early on. Then the button lights, then the 7-segment LEDs.


Be careful with the buttons. Using wire cutters to cut off the plastic bump on all the buttons can result in inadvertently cutting the wire lead that illuminates the button. Thankfully they provide an extra button if you screw one of them up.


Make sure the GPS unit is flush with the circuit board when you solder it on.


All the components came in indiviual plastic and were labeled. There was a inventory sheet showing all the components. The kit arrived in good packaging. I definately felt the kit was worth the $600.


There are good online schematics. The sample source code is pretty gross, but also pretty easy to reverse engineer. Unfortunately, there lacks a schematic showing how the MP3 player was wired up.


In summary, I am very happy with the kit and feel I got my money's worth. I am an Apollo space nut, so a DSKY was always something I wanted. I am pleased that my Kenny's Open DSKY software will give me a way to experiment with this kit and build cool apps for it. It was fun trying to write software for a such a constrained system (The arduino Nano only has 30KB of program memory and 2KB of RAM; and it is an 8-bit CPU).


Author

Ken Stauffer

New York, NY

2/14/2024



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