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Pogo Pins and Photographing LCDs

This post is a new product post, a tutorial and a behind the scenes look, all about Pogo Pins.

Pogo pins are small spring loaded pins that are used to make temporary connections to circuit boards. They are typically use for automated circuit testing or for programming Microcontrollers.

Pogo Pins are now available for just $0.75 or $0.60 if you buy more than 100.

Pogo Pins

In the new year we plan to sell some new LCD modules. We want to photograph them powered on to show the different backlight and text colours, but soldering each one in place doesn’t seem like a good solution. Instead we will build a pogo test bed to allow us to reuse the single test bed for all LCD modules.

The first step is to drill some holes in a Large Prototyping Board. This board has existing 0.9mm holes but our pogo pins have a shaft diameter of 1mm. We’ll have 16 holes that the pogo pins will need to fit into, so we need to enlarge them with a 1mm drill bit. At the same time we drill 4, 3mm holes to mount the LCD module.

Next we add some 10mm Hex Spacers to mount our LCD.

Drilling Full Size Pototyping Board
Mounting Hex PCB Spacers

When we build our test bed, we need to ensure that the pogo pins are aligned correctly. We do this by using a small piece of prototyping board that we cut (score and snap) then drill with a 1mm drill bit.

Once this is done we solder 2 pogo pins into place, ensuring that the are perfectly aligned.

Drilling Small Piece of Prototyping Board
After soldering

Now we mount the small strip onto the full size board, ensuring that everything is perfectly aligned. note the height of the pogo pin in relation to the hex spacer. The pogo pin should protrude about 1.5mm higher that the spacer and when compressed, should be about 1mm below the spacer.

Small prototyping board piece soldered into place
Small prototyping board piece soldered into place

Next it is a simple case of soldering the remaining 14 pogo pins into place, ensuring that all pins are correctly aligned.

All Pogo Pins Soldered

When we screw the LCD module into place, the pogo pins will compress and make contact with the pads on the LCD.

LCD Module on Board
Pogo Pins making connection with LCD

Now we wire up the LCD module to our microcontroller. I won’t go into detail because we have an existing tutorial on interfacing to LCD character displays.

Wiring up Prototyping Board
Wiring up 28 pin AVR development board

Here we have the finished test bed.

Finished Test Bed

Because we don’t want the test bed to be visible in the photo, we cover it with a white drop cloth with strategically placed holes. The photo is taken in a light box to help diffuse the light.

White drop sheet
Light Box

And lastly we have the finished photo.

Finished Photo

As always we love your feedback. If you have any products you’d like us to stock or tutorials you’d like us to write, please let us know. If you like this post, please share it.

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