After a week of intense PCB design work, the AIS-ILIS1 V4 board is complete and off to OSHPark for manufacture! The ILIS1 electronics has gone through a major redesign and upgrade with the V4 board from the very first V1 system. Managing to cram the new switching and readout electronics all onto 1 board, including spacing management for high voltage clearances, the ILIS1 is ~0.25P in size (electronics, thruster, and fuel)! This design is a particularly large milestone, as I have been struggling with the HV switching for the emitter for months, exploring every switching option possible that meets my specs for extremely small size, low power draw, and high voltage isolation. However, I finally found specialized performance high voltage micro-reed relays that meet all my requirements.
Besides the new HV relays for switching and isolation, the second addition to the PCB is the new micro-power single-ended absolute-value readout circuitry for reading both +/- HV output voltages on a single-supply microcontroller, which is crucial for monitoring the thruster during operation.
All of the remaining electronics have been ordered and are on their way. Relays arrive today, and if all goes well I can proceed to soldering and confirming the new design by the end of next weekend. If it passes qualification, I’ll have overcome the first major hurdle of scaling this tech down to PQ level. The electronics have plagued me since I started this endeavor, but now I think I am finally close to cracking this challenge! Ultra-low cost advanced ion electrospray thrusters for Cubesats and PocketQubes are finally close to being a reality!