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#001e: Complete project with PCBWay: “Staccato Controller” – Complete Guide

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The purpose of this article is to provide a fast and practical guide to the use of PCBWay for the realization of printed circuits, with only a few clicks. Personally, I found myself very well with PCBWay, for the professionalism, the high quality of printed circuits and especially the excellent quality at very low cost. A few years ago, it was not possible to produce printed circuits in these conditions. The project that I have chosen as a pilot to test the characteristics PCBWay https://www.pcbway.com/is the “Detached Controller”, i.e. a timer circuit which allows the generation of clock pulses, with the possibility to vary the repetition frequency and the duty cycle. This circuit can be found many practical applications. In my case, I use it as a driver for a Tesla coil type VTTC (Vacuum Tube Tesla Coil), but can be used for activating the voltage also to power loads such as electric motor, because in its interior contains an SCR. There is also the possibility to connect an external switch. The card has been realized following the mechanical standard Arduino UNO, so that it can be easily integrated into projects in the field Arduino.


The “STACCATO CONTROLLER” circuit implements a timer that allows you to adjust the periods of turning on and off of VTTC coil via an SCR diode, which functions as the anode current switch. The timer is synchronized with the mains voltage to trigger SCR precisely when the peak of the mains voltage is at its maximum and hence also the voltage present at the anode is at a maximum. The repetition frequency of the discharges is adjustable via potentiometer R13, which allows to obtain different sound effects at different frequencies, such as those produced from a helicopter or from a cannon. In fact, the coil and download compresses the air, just like it would make a sound case.

The circuit is powered by a 230V from the mains voltage of 12V alternating at 50Hz derivatives via a step-down transformer. The two voltage regulators IC3 and IC4 ensure create two continuous stabilized voltages of 12V and 5V. The timing of the SCR firing is regulated by two timers 555. The first timer IC1 is set as monostable multivibrator and has as a trigger to trigger the rectified mains voltage half-wave, as it is taken as a reference branch of the alternating voltage 12V from B1 bridge. IC1 then creates a SCR T1 ignition pulse at a frequency equal to half the mains voltage and that is at 25Hz. The second timer IC2 always configured as monostable multivibrator rule instead of the inhibition of the generation of the first timer pulses acting on the RESET pin of the first timer.

The scheme has been designed with a pin-out compatible with the Arduino standards, as Staccato controller can be mounted in the future on a motherboard, which can either be mounted Staccato controller or an Arduino true that it can act as the interrupt controller or modulator audio to produce music using the discharge of the coil.

Figure 1: Wiring Diagram of Staccato Controller

HOW Create printed circuit boards with PCBWay in a few simple steps

Figure 2: Logon screen of PCBWay

  • Enter the information on the size of the printed circuit, the amounts of PCBs that you want to manufacture, the number of layers and the thickness and click on the “Quote Now”. In my case the printed measurement 68×52.07mm has two layers and chose 1.6mm thick and 10 prototypes.
  • Then it is necessary to finalize the information on the technical parameters of the PCB, such as distances between the tracks, a minimum of hole size, the color of solder mask, the color of the silkscreen, the gold fingers, the finishing treatment and specifications on the copper of the slopes. There is also a text box in which you can insert some additional information on the PCB, such as notes on milling for example, or special characteristics of the printed matter, controlled impedance, etc.

Figure 3: Selection of parameters PCBWay Screenshot

Figure 4: Selection of parameters PCBWay Screenshot

  • At this point, if you push the “Calculate” button is prepared the budget, such as illustrated in the following figure:

Figure 5: Calculation Screen printed circuits PCBWay

  • After pushing the “Add to Cart” button a window, from which you can upload the gerber files.

Figure 6: Upload the gerber files

  • Now you must push the button “Submit Order Now” and the order is shown in the order list, as shown in the following figure

Figure 7: Shipping order

  • At this point the project is under review and within a few minutes, it will be ready the response by PCBWay, which will confirm the order or not.
  • Now suppose you’ve made a mistake in the PCB design. PCBWay’s Engineers implement a very deep check of the PCBs and identify errors or potential issues. For example in my case I made a gerber file for the old holes that had a series of wrong holes. PCBBway notifies this inconsistency by explaining why technically and attach an image to the error references. In the following figure you can see the errors in the drill file, marked with red arrows,

Figure 8: Review of the project by PCBWay

  • This anomaly is always signaled by email via a notice of “failed review”, as shown in the image.

Figure 9: Notification of the review of the project by PCBWay

  • At this point I corrected the error and returned the file via upload in PCBWay site and I immediately notified of the correct receipt of the updated files, as shown in the image.

Figure 10: Notification of the possibility of producing

  • Now it is necessary to on-line payment and confirming the transaction will receive an email with the update, as shown in the image.

Figure 11: Notification of prior payment and order tracking

  • After about one day get the notification that the shipment is on and also get the tracking number of the courier, in my case DHL.

Figure 12: Tracking order

Figure 13: Tracking order

  • After about four days (amazing !!) comes PCBWay package and I must say that the quality of construction is totally fine !!

Figure 14: Arrival of courier pacchettocon

Figure 15: PacchettoPCBWay courier

Figure 16: 11 Prototypes

Figure 17: Top view

Figure 18: 11 Bottom view