A First Printed Circuit Board

For a few months I’ve been working on a projects for which I have been working on a rather ‘fancy’ circuit board. But three weeks ago I had the desire to build another circuit board, a much simpler one – which would be my first to actually get into production. And it turned out to actually be quite simple and I designed the entire thing in part of an afternoon.

There is definitely a learning curve to electronics and to the open-source software for this called KiCad, but there are lots of online tutorials (mostly on YouTube) which are quite good. Simple also comes from using large, throughhole components and sticking to a simple circuit. For the complicated tasks, using a prebuilt IC for the task is easier, even using a carrier board for another board – like a Pico for an microcontroller, or a SilentStepStick for stepper motor drivers (like here). Add capacitors liberally to power supply circuits. Read the datasheets well, and choose only products that have good datasheets. I have also found a book Practical Electronics for Inventors, useful for going through the basics of electronics as a reference.

There you have it, my beginner’s tips and tricks.

This particular board is just an interface to multiple silentstepsticks, terminal blocks, a single power input, and room for extra capacitors. There are a bunch of different manufacturers, but the most common is JCLPCB in China. They do a cheap and good job. They also offer asssembly, although I don’t need that for a board like this with simple components. I can solder it at home.

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