Make sure you have created an account and downloaded the free inspectAR application onto your mobile device. If you haven't done so already, head here first: inspectar.com/start-free-trial
Once you have created an account and downloaded inspectAR onto your mobile device, you are ready to start exploring!
Log in using the account credentials you made upon signing up. If you forgot your password, check your inbox for a welcome email from us with a link to reset your password. After filling in your login credentials, you will enter into the main project navigation page, where all downloaded projects live. When you first sign into inspectAR, you'll notice that this page is empty. You need to download some projects!
To find a list of available projects to download, open the projects menu in the top-left corner of the screen and then select the "Sponsored" tab. You will be presented with a list of projects that you can download. Select whichever projects you'd like to get started with, then click "download". Downloading projects takes a few moments. Once you have downloaded your first project(s), you are ready to explore the magic of inspectAR!
Click on a project. You will notice a menu expand below with three options: configure, calibrate, and launch.
All sponsored projects come pre-calibrated and ready to launch. If you would like to create your own calibration set, you can do so by clicking the "calibrate" button. You can then select from any number of calibrations you have made for a project. Upon first getting started, it's best to launch the project right away and first see the overlay quality to determine if you even need to perform your own calibration. You can get more information on calibration you can watch a video here, or read up on it here.
After clicking "launch", you are brought into the AR scene - you made it!
Start by positioning your camera directly over the board.
*pro tip: if you don't have the physical board for a project, you can even use a high-res picture of the board and aim your mobile device at your computer!
*If you don't immediately see anything appear, try moving your phone closer to the board, and then taking it farther away to ensure the board is in view and the software is able to recognize it.
Select a few nets and components to get started and assess the overlay quality. You should now see your selected nets, components, and layers overlaid onto the board! Search for and select any component in the design to instantly locate its position, orientation, and attributes. Highlight nets and see which pads and exposed copper areas they run through for simple debugging and reworking without having to refer your schematics or EDA tool.
Now select a net. In this example, we're going to overlay the ground net, labeled GND in this design.
You'll notice that nearly the entire board is covered by this overlay, as it includes large fills, vias, traces, and pads. To simplify our view into something more manageable and useful, let's click on the info pane toggle in the taskbar, You'll see a menu appear with some options. Selecting the "edit" option will allow you to filter your overlays.
Now let's click on a component and demonstrate some valuable debugging features. Let's click on the main microcontroller IC. You will see the component and all of its pads highlighted by its layer color, and the info pane on the right now filled in with all of this parts attributes (reference designator, descriptions from the BOM if available, and the ability to request more part information if you have your Digi-Key account linked https://app.inspectar.com/profile
If you scroll down in the info pane, you'll see each of the component’s pads numbered and named. Clicking on any gives you the option to highlight the associated net, and now you can backtrack through any circuit with ease. Try it out with other components and pads! You should now be familiar with the basic functionality of inspectAR! Download some more sponsored projects and get a feel for the inner workings of the app.
If you like what you see, please take 3 minutes to fill out this feedback form and post any cool screenshots or recordings to twitter and tag us @inspectARteam! If you'd like to use inspectAR with your own custom PCBs, please inquire about our Professional tier. We are currently running our pilot program for hardware teams to save a lot of time and make fewer mistakes - more information can be found here.