Open Hardware Trailblazer Fellowship

The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) has just announced our Open Hardware Trailblazers Fellowship. The one year fellowship provides $50,000 or $100,000 grants to individuals who are leading the way as open source hardware expands into academia. The fellows will document their experience of making open source hardware in academia to create a library of resources for others to follow. The RFP is here, and the application form for fellows is here. It is due April 7th.

To support the Open Hardware Trailblazers Fellowship, OSHWA is recruiting open source hardware professionals and practitioners from both inside and outside of academia with diverse backgrounds to serve on the mentor committee. The committee will review applications, make recommendations on fellowship awards, and advise fellows through their year-long Open Hardware Trailblazers Fellowship. For more details you can see this postThe mentor application is due March 30th.

Open Hardware Trailblazer Fellowship

An “unbusy” USB-C port doubles-up for JTAG Programming

Joshua Vasquez writes:

Board space is a premium on small circuit board designs, and [Alvaro] knows it. So instead of adding a separate programming port, he’s found a niche USB-C feature that lets him use the port that he’s already added both for its primary application and for programming the target microcontroller over JTAG. The result is that he no longer needs to worry about spending precious board space for a tiny programming port; the USB-C port timeshares for both!

In a Twitter thread (Unrolled Link), [Alvaro] walks us through his discovery and progress towards an encapsulated solution. It turns out that the USB-C spec supports a “Debug-Accessory Mode” specification, where some pins are allowed to be repurposed if pins CC1 and CC2 are pulled up to Logic-1. Under these circumstances, the pin functions are released, and a JTAG programmer can step in to borrow them. To expose the port to a programmer, [Alvaro] cooked up a small breakout board with a USB-C plug and separate microcontroller populated on it.

This board also handles a small quirk. Since [Alvaro’s] choice of programming pins aren’t reversible, the USB-C plug will only work one of the two ways it can be plugged in. To keep the user informed, this breakout board sports a red LED for incorrect orientation and a green LED for correct orientation–nifty. While this design quirk sacrifices reversibility, it preserves the USB 2.0 D+ and D- pins while also handling some edge cases with regard to the negotiating for access to the port.

Read more…

An “unbusy” USB-C port doubles-up for JTAG Programming

Hackable IR remote for home automation

Aeroh One is a hackable IR remote board that can turn any remote-controlled device into an internet-connected one. It will support Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, iOS/Android App, and IFTTT integration. Aeroh One is compatible with the majority of remote controls that operate over infrared.

Aeroh One has a small footprint, making it easy to mount on top of the infra-red remote receiver of your equipment. In addition, we will have a wide range of mounting options that you can either order or 3D models you can freely download and print yourself.

You can continue to use your old OEM remote while Aeroh One is mounted on the equipment. This is because Aeroh One has an infra-red remote receiver in the front, and can proxy the signals that it receives. It is programmed to emit the remote signals based on what your equipment can understand. With this infra-red remote receiver you can also record custom infra-red signals and program the Aeroh One to work with new equipment.

With Aeroh One, make your smart home smarter, without breaking the bank!

Read more…

Hackable IR remote for home automation

Remake of the Hewlett Packard 11456A Read Out Test Card

The HP 11456A Read Out Test Card is a nifty little test board that plugs into the HP 3470 series display modules. I really wish that I had had one of these, before I started working on my faulty HP 34740A display module.

The HP 11456A Read Out Test Card is a nifty little test board that plugs into the HP 3470 series display modules. I really wish that I had had one of these, before I started working on my faulty HP 34740A display module.

Read more…

Remake of the Hewlett Packard 11456A Read Out Test Card

Backpack Board for OLEDs Boasts Fancy Features

From Donald Papp on Hackaday:

Back when LCD character displays based on the HD44780 controller were the bee’s knees, a way to make them easier to work with came in the form of “backpack” PCBs, which provided an accessible serial interface and superior display handling at the same time. [Barbouri] has updated that idea with a backpack board that mounts to OLED displays using the US2066 display driver, and provides an I2C interface with powerful and convenient high-level functions that make the display simple to use.

On the software side, the backpack uses this I2cCharDisplay driver project which provides functions like cursor control, fading, display shifting, and of course writing characters or strings. While [Barbouri] designed the board specifically to accommodate Newhaven Slim Character OLED displays, it should in theory work with any US2066-based OLED character display. [Barbouri]’s design files for the Slim-OLED Display backpack board are available for download directly from the project page (link is near the bottom), or boards can be purchased directly from OSH Park.

Read more…

Backpack Board for OLEDs Boasts Fancy Features

DIY “Solid State Drive” Puts Four Bytes in Your Pocket

Tom Nardi writes:

this USB-C tetrabyte drive created by [Glen Akins] might be slightly too small for our tastes. No, that’s not a typo. As in the Greek tetra, this drive can hold a massive four bytes at a time. Even better, you don’t need a computer to write to it: the 32 DIP switches let you key in the content on the fly, bit-by-bit.

As explained in a Twitter thread, [Glen] was inspired to create this gadget after another user posted a picture of a 32 position DIP switch with a caption that said it was a “One Tetrabyte SSD” back in December. He apparently couldn’t track down the same switch, but the four red Grayhill 76 Series switches arguably make it a bit clearer when entering in your bytes.

Read more…

DIY “Solid State Drive” Puts Four Bytes in Your Pocket

OSHWA is hiring a Program Coordinator

The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) is looking for a Program Coordinator to assist with a new program designed to engage open hardware in academia. The new program will give grants to academics to document the process of creating successful open hardware projects in academia. The Program Coordinator will be responsible for assisting in building out the program, managing the day-to-day deadlines of grantees, answering questions, scheduling meetings, and generally facilitating the development of the network. Ideal candidates will have an understanding of academic operations, typical academic outputs, budgets, and open source hardware.  However, candidates do not need to be situated in academia.

OSHWA is a steward to the community of people who create, study, and use open source hardware. Open source hardware is hardware whose intellectual property is open rather than closed, i.e. patented. OSHWA is a US based 501(c)3 non-profit. OSHWA aims to foster technological knowledge and encourage research that is accessible, collaborative and respects user freedom. 

OSHWA believes that the open source hardware community is strengthened by its diversity and, as such, encourages people of color, women, the LGBTQIA+ community, persons with disabilities, and people at intersections of these identities, from across the spectrum of disciplines and methods, to apply for this position.

Read more…

OSHWA is hiring a Program Coordinator

KiCAD 6.0: What Made It and What Didn’t

Dave Rowntree writes:

I’ve been following the development of KiCAD for a number of years now, and using it as my main electronics CAD package daily for a the last six years or thereabouts, so the release of KiCAD 6.0 is quite exciting to an electronics nerd like me. The release date had been pushed out a bit, as this is such a huge update, and has taken a little longer than anticipated. But, it was finally tagged and pushed out to distribution on Christmas day, with some much deserved fanfare in the usual places.

So now is a good time to look at which features are new in KiCAD 6.0 — actually 6.0.1 is the current release at time of writing due to some bugfixes — and which features originally planned for 6.0 are now being postponed to the 7.0 roadmap and beyond.

Read more…

KiCAD 6.0: What Made It and What Didn’t

This USB-C Connector Is Flexible

From Hackaday:

The USB-C standard with its smaller connector has so far mostly escaped this trend, though this might be about to change thanks to the work of [Sam Ettinger]. His own description of his USB-C connector using a flexible PCB and a BGA-packaged ATTiny84A microcontroller is “cursed”, but we can’t decide whether or not it should also be called “genius”.

Key to this inspired piece of connector fabrication is the realization that the thickness of BGA and flex PCB together comes to the required 0.7 mm. The BGA provides the necessary stiffness, and though it’s a one-sided connector it fits the space perfectly. There are several demo boards as proofs-of-concept, and the whole lot can be found in a GitHub repository.

Read more…

This USB-C Connector Is Flexible

KiCad 6.0 released!

Congratulations to the KiCad development team on the release of KiCad 6.0.0 and a big thanks to everyone that contributed! 🎉

The KiCad project is proud to announce the release of version 6.0.0. This is the first major version release of KiCad since 5.0.0 was released in July of 2018.

KiCad binaries are available for download for Windows, MacOS, and Linux or will be in the very near future. See the KiCad download page for guidance.

There have been many important changes that make this release a substantial improvement over the 5.x series and a worthwhile upgrade for users on all platforms. There are hundreds of new features and improvements, as well as hundreds of bugs that have been fixed. Below are some of the highlights of the new release.

Thank you to all the developers, packagers, librarians, document writers, translators, and everyone else who helped make this release possible. We hope you enjoy the latest release of KiCad.

Until January 15th, every donation to KiCad will be matched!

KiCad 6.0 released!