Prototype Mark 5 Science Tricorder Boards Arrive

The new prototype Science Tricorder Mark 5 boards came today! I’m very excited! 🙂 With nearly 150 parts, 1000 pins, and 600 traces all in something about the size of a blackberry, these are some of the highest density boards I’ve ever designed. To keep it easy to modify and remix by the community using Eagle CAD Light, as well as inexpensive to make, I’ve kept the boards a 2-layer design with fingers crossed that there won’t be many significant noise issues when the design gets assembled and tested.


The prototype Mark 5 is a designed as a sort of updated squish between the first three iterations of the Open Source Science Tricorders, with updated versions of all of the sensors on the previous models, plus some prototypes of sensing modalities that have been on the wishlist since designing the Mark 1. Radiation sensing, low resolution thermal imaging, gas sensing, a prototype 3D printable visible spectrometer, and a freaking lightning sensor are all on the list of additions. Hopefully a good number of these experiments will work out on this prototype, and make it into the final Mark 5 release.


I’ll be working to assemble the boards over the next few weeks, and starting to write some basic firmware to test their functionality. Stay tuned!

4 thoughts on “Prototype Mark 5 Science Tricorder Boards Arrive

  1. Sounds like a great project!

    I used to use Gold Phoenix as a manufacturer, but for small boards OSH Park is inexpensive and has very good specs. My one complaint is the dark purple solder mask — it’s very difficult to see the traces. On an inkjet controller board I designed a few years ago I accidentally put a capacitor speced for only 4V on a 45V line and blew it up, but I had no idea what had happened because the dark purple solder mask completely obscured the large scorch marks, and the capacitor turned from bright orange to deep black (and looked like an inductor). 🙂

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