🎉We can now proudly present the winners of the TAPAS Community Challenge 2018! 🎉
Congratulations to Team "Wireless Charging" (idea 56). We are really excited for all finalists and a really big thank you to all participants for your interest in this challenge!

We got over 200 submissions! 65 ideas got one or more TAPAS boards, 10 submissions were presentation-ready.
And now we have 5 finalists! YEAH 😃 The finalist's idea numbers were 40, 56, 68, 212 and 213.
What's next?
We are now preparing the next steps for you, the community. Please stay tuned!
We are working on a forum and a separate webpage. If you have any question please don't hesitate to contact us via email!

Design and Build a Digital PCB Inspection Automated Microscope

Motivation for the Idea

As an electronics engineer working in pcb design and production for the last five years, I have worked with pcb inspection microscopes largely at work place. As a hobbyist and electronics blogger I always wanted to own one of these personally. Anyone who has experience in pcb testing & repairing, or salvaging electronics from old pcbs or motherboards knows the importance of a good microscope. But sadly they were always a bit too much for my pocket(specially the good ones).

The system will in the end be mounted on my personal electronics workbench for usage. 

Aim of the Project

The aim is to build a digital PCB inspection automated microscope with an adjustable USB camera mount, a precision xy table and a movable light source to focus on the pcbs. And to control the complete motor system with TAPAS board together with Raspberry Pi device. Such a setup is particularly useful when finding short circuits in pcbs or doing precision soldering (qfn, soic package  ICs) 

Technical System Setup

  1. Design a mini xy-plate (mountable on a table) to clamp and move the pcbs. 
  2. A light source such as an led strip based custom light source with movable mount. 
  3. Mount a usb camera with external lens and control the z-motion focus. 
  4. Control the camera via raspberry pi and visualize the video in real time on pc. Also make screen-shots via the camera setup.  

Plan and Implementation of the Project

A movable xy table will be designed and controlled with precision stepper motor. The stepper motor will position the xy-plate under the lens. The control of the stepper motor will be done using the tapas board. The pcbs under test can be clamped to this xy-plate and viewed with accuracy. 

In the nearby a movable stand with led light strips focusing on the xy-plate area will be designed. Also dimmer control for the light will be done using PWM for having a good output. This motor control will be implemented using the tapas board software defined inverters (SDIs).

One of the most challenging part of this project to control the camera mount and lens mount for focusing and de-focusing control. A usb camera or a raspberry pie camera is a good candidate for the project. The video quality of both the device will be tested and one with higher clarity will be selected and used. The image/ video will be fed into a laptop via Ethernet or HDMI for visualization. 

The software part of the project involves automating the control using the Tapas board and Raspberry Pi. 

Another good addition could be implementing a basic joystick control for fast control of the motors and allow a seamless experience. 

Block Diagram

As shown Below. 


In conclusion, the project aims to develop a low cost microscope setup for hobbyist electronics engineers like myself. We will require one TAPAS board and one Raspberry Pi to build it. Currently we are a team of 2 people who will work in the project. 





  • Sneha Nidhi
  • May 29 2018
  • Admin
    Nora Schille (TAPAS team) commented
    May 30, 2018 12:33

    Hi Sneha,

    thanks for your submission. As we went through your pitch we are not sure if your idea fits the criteria of the TAPAS challenge. Can you come up with another pitch?

    Nora @ TAPAS team

  • Sneha Nidhi commented
    June 03, 2018 11:03

    Dear Nora,

    Currently I have no other ideas. I went through the schematic in the github. It has been difficult for me to think as there is no concrete datasheet available for the new power devices or any strong information about the board itself and its features. Some proper documentation of the actual capabilities of the board is needed.

    Use of the word inverter is also misleading as it is power converter not an inverter. Inverter reverses the signal so I am very confused regarding this challenge.



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