I have been working on a couple of prototyping boards for general “hey I need a PCB for this oh I have one here” type of projects. Since I’m working more with Surface Mount Technology (SMT) these days and have more of those part in my “stock”, I designed some prototyping boards with this in mind:
I have sent a few of these to some people that I chat with on the #eevblog IRC channel, and one of them was kind enough to send me an “action shot” of a little LED-based project he used my PCB for!
And another one from c4757p:
Not satisfied with the “typical” USB to serial cables that one can readily buy, I decided to design my own. The basic reason was just another excuse to practice designing a circuit and laying out a printed circuit board (PCB), but to also create a very small unit that can be easily transported. I additionally wanted to have some sort of visual feedback of data transfer over the adapter, so two LED’s (receive and transmit) will address that.
The circuit design came from the application notes on the FTDI chip that I am using, the FT230X:
I did a few tests with a bread-boarded version of this circuit. You will notice that there are 2 bread boards; the bottom one has the USB to serial circuit, the top one has an Atmega8 micro-controller with a some program that echoes back characters it receives on its serial interface (used for testing):
A close-up of the USB to serial circuit:
And the two circuits/bread-boards separated:
The other requirement was size: that whole circuit will need to fit within this little box:
I have actually laid out the board, and so will be finalizing it in the coming days. I will write up another post with the board layout, 3D shots and a bill of materials. In terms of price, this will not be saving me any money over buying a pre-built adapter.
Just as a quick followup, I have received my first circuit board in the mail today, and I must say, I am kinda impressed at the quality of the work done in producing the boards. I give much thanks and props to the people at iTead Studio:
And a little comparison with our long friend (this will date this post if anything will):
There are couple of little issues with the board, but none of them are due to the manufacturer, just due to my in-experience 🙂 So ~20 boards for $63 shipped and delivered in about 2 weeks. Pretty good 🙂
This past week has seen a first for me: I created a prototype for a simple controller board for a motor, created a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design from this schematic and then sent it off to be manufactured by iTeadStudio. Here are a couple of top/bottom shots of the 3D view of the board from Kicad:
I will post an update after I receive the boards back from the manufacturer, along with pictures. I can hardly wait! 😀