The key with this particular project was to maintain the exacting performance of the controller whilst simultaneously reducing the weight of the controller from 13g down to 7g. There were some obvious changes that could be made to the design to assist with this such as removing connectors and similar components. By replacing these with simple solder pads it was possible to remove all connectors.
On top of this additional steps were taken to reduce the mass of the controller. These include;
Removing the onboard potentiometer.
Radiusing the edges of the board to further reduce board mass.
Developing a range of programmes to provide the customer with the flexibility to make changes as required.
The end result of this particular project was to reduce the total weight of the controller down by just under 50%. From 13g to 7g. In applications where every gram counts such as aerospace or automotive this represents a significant achievement and one that the customer was especially pleased with.
Whilst on the one hand producing a controller such as this can be seen as a relatively simple project, it is important to remember that simple changes can have a major impact on the performance of a controller. In this case the removal of the onboard potentiometer was seen as something of a hurdle by the end user. However, in this case we were able to remove this issue by working with the customer to develop the range of programmes they need in order to attain the required functionality.
This project is a good illustration of how rapid hardware modification can save time and cost for customers. The whole project took less than 1 month from project brief through to delivery of the production batch. This illustrates the major benefits that can be gained from using hardware modification as a starting point rather than the broader custom design options. The project also illustrates the wide variety of issues that can be solved with this type of service. In many cases the hardware modification option is used to increase functionality (adding communications options for example). However, in this case the brief was to significantly reduce the overall mass of the controller to meet a stringent F1 requirement.