Home

PCB-Based Break-Out Box

Break-out boxes (BOBs) are necessary for all electrical inte- gration/cable checkouts and troubleshooting. Because the price of a BOB is high, and no work can be done without one, often the procedure stops, simply waiting for a BOB. A less expensive BOB would take less time in the integration, testing, and troubleshooting process.

The PCB-based BOB works and looks the same as a standard JPL BOB, called “Gold Boxes.” The only differences between the old BOB and the new PCB-based BOB is that the new one has 80 percent of its circuitry in a printed circuit board. This process reduces the time for fabrication, thus making the BOBs less expensive. Moreover, because of its unique design, the new BOBs can be easily assembled and fixed. About 80 percent of the new PCB-based BOB is in a $22 (at the time of this reporting) custom- designed, yet commercially available PCB.

This device has been used successfully to verify that BOB cables were properly made. Also, upon completion, the BOB was beeped out via a multimeter to ensure that all sockets on the connectors were properly connected to the respective banana jack.

When compared to the Gold Box BOBs, the new BOB has many advantages. It is much more cost efficient, it delivers equal usability at substantially lower cost of the BOB, and the Gold Box is much heavier when compared to the new BOB. The new BOB is also a bit longer and much more versatile in that connectors are easily changeable and if a banana jack is broken, it can be replaced instead of throwing away an entire BOB.

This work was done by Jason H. Lee of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-46799