OLIMEX KiCAD components libraries are uploaded on GitHub

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We uploaded all our KiCAD libraries on GitHub and going to maintain them there.

Why we do this?  Because many beginners who download our OSHW boards are confused by the messages from KiCAD for missing libraries 🙂 this is easy to solve by adding RELATIVE paths to search the libraries as  we always provide the library cache with the boards, i.e. all components used in the board are cached locally in the project directory, but again many beginners are confused.

Now they have all components we use in our daily work, uploaded and updated daily.

NOTE: These components are specific to OUR production, technology, limitations, way of work etc. They work optimally for us allowing us to achieve maximum yield during production. There is no guarantee of any kind that these same settings will be best for your own production, SO USE THEM ON YOUR OWN RISK!

There are tons of duplicated components which also are defined in original KiCAD libraries, again we did these as the KiCAD default libraries are made up to vendor datasheets and may not work well in our own production process.

To give you example: TQFP 0.5 mm step ICs per datasheet must have 0.3 mm width pads with 0.2 mm spaces between the pads, but using our process this yields in lot of shorts, so we made them with 0.25 mm pads width and 0.25 mm space, the 120 um thick stencils we use give best yield with 0.23 mm pad opening for solder paste – this may be not optimal for other manufacturer process who use other thickness stencils etc. BUT it works best for our technology and process based on our experience and tests.

Almost every components in our libraries have such considerations when it’s created. I hope you got the idea.

Note that almost none of our components have 3D draiwng, because our people still didn’t learn any 3D CAD tool well enough to make these, neither we use this KiCAD 3D drawing feature in our work. It may be improved in future, but for the moment if you need 3D drawing to some component you can do it by yourself and contribute back 🙂

 

 

Friday Free Board Quiz – the prize is ICE40HX1K-EVB Question: How preciese is KiCAD and what is the smallest unit in pcbnew?

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iCE40HX1K-EVB is Open Source Hardware FPGA board made with KiCAD which is now at assembly line and will be for sale next week on our web. This board can be programmed with the first Free and Open Source FPGA toolchain – ICESTORM.

iCE40HX1K-EVB is designed with KiCAD and we continue our series of questions regarding this amazing tool.

You have chance to be among the first to have iCE40HZ1K-EVB!

To participate in the Quiz is enough to re-tweet the Twitter Quiz announcement message.

To double your chances  answer the quiz question.

You have time to re-tweet and/or answer until Monday 27th of June.

In Monday we will post the correct answer and ask random.org to generate random number in range then announce the winner and ship the board by post/airmail.

Good Luck!

A64-OLinuXino OSHW Linux board created with KiCAD is mentioned in CERN Knowledge Transfer 2015

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Olimex and A64-OLinuXino OSHW Linux board are in Cern Knowledge Transfer 2015 paperwork 🙂

A64-OLinuXino 64-bit ARM OSHW designed completely with KiCAD is live!

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This is the first prototype of A64-OLinuXino. The first complex board we made completely with KiCAD.

You can see on the picture above the full configuration with 1GB RAM (2GB is possible) and 4GB fast SLC eMMC Flash, with WiFi+BLE4.0 module.

It was a while until we found free window to run it on the assembly line, but this week we succeed.

Android is build and run from the Allwinner SDK, Dimitar Gamishev managed to make some quick and dirty Linux image, based on Allwinner uboot and kernel, but things are far from complete.

The good news is that A64-OLinuXino boots fine, here is meminfo and cpuinfo.

The bottom line – KiCAD is tested and can produce working complex boards with controlled impedance.

 

FOSDEM 2016 was last weekend with lot of interesting meetings and talks!

FSDM

FOSDEM 2016 was last weekend in Bruxelles! Biggest event in EU this year had a bit less visitors, probably feared by the terrorist news which all TVs are exposing us.

Belgians seems to take this threat seriously as we have seen lot of peoples with automatic guns in military uniforms walking around the city center, but fortunately at FOSDEM we didn’t saw any, neither someone has stop us to check or whatsoever while we have been waling in the city.

Some 8000 different MACs were logged on WiFi infrastructure, so I guess at least 5000 visitors were there.

The picture above shows my captures from the event, buying t-shirt was my way to say thanks to these projects which we use daily both at home and office!

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You know you have been at FOSDEM Friday beer party when you wake up next morning and you see (hopefully not permanent) “IloveFS” tattoo on your arm. Here is how the Delirium beer hub was looking like at Friday:

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I had lecture about our experience designing A64 board with KiCAD, Riku Voipio took picture of the tail to enter the room and posted on G+

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The slides are posted at Slideshare. TL-DR; KiCAD now is solid enough to build complex designs, what we need is little bit of twist to make it even more easy to use and few minor bugs are to be wiped, but overal there is significant progress for one year!

To my surprise KiCAD team emailed me next day and we had a quick meeting with notes they took on all issues I mention on the talk! It’s nice to see such commitement to make the product better!

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Another interesting talk in same EDA room was from Clifford who reverse engineered the iCE40 bitstream and made completely FOSS FPGA toolset, which can be used to generate iCE40 based FPGA projects.

I had eye on iCE40 since Antti Lukats posted on Hackaday about his project, but we were quite busy with many other things to may play with it, now we start working on our own ICE40HX1K development board with UEXT for programming by OLinuXino and different extension connectors. The idea is to make entry level board for people who want to make their first steps in FPGA, running Clifford’s toolchain on OLinuXino with this FPGA board connected to it and with different front-end modules like high speed ADCs to make DSO or programmable level shifter 1.2-5.5V which to allow logic analyzer working on different voltage levels, LEDs, buzzers, counters, buttons with tons of examples. I already shoot Clifford e-mail about our plans and looking forward to hear his suggestions as he already have lot of experience with these FPGAs.

Clifford’s work sparkled such interest for iCE40 that now the Lattice demo boards are with 21 weeks delivery time, plenty of time for us to release our own board :))))

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Another interesting lecture was about the Rad1o badge for CCC. It was fun to learn for all the difficulties which the development team had to make these happen (including mistakes in the documentation which made them to drill back side of BGA PCB to disconnect solder ball) – they said they would never go through the manufacturing hell again as this production caused them gray hairs although the interest about this badge continues.

Being busy all day long with both design and manufacturing, once I made analogy about the path to design board and then to run this board in production -> it’s like the process to make kid and then to rise it, teach it, make it human being. First job (design) brings just fun, joy and satisfaction, the second is not less interesting but dealing with all manufacturing bugs and troubleshooting the processes is kinda routeen and sometimes even boring :))) but neverthless must be done! Sure we enjoy more designing than manufacturing, but can’t run sustainable business without latter.

A64-OLinuXino OSHW Linux computer is close to complete routing – GitHub update of KiCAD files

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Our first complex Linux board done completely in KiCAD is near the finish.

As you can see from the picture above all the complex high speed signals routing is already done.

What left is GPIO, audio etc low speed signals which are easy to complete.  CAD files are updated to GitHub

Our Help Day for September is this Saturday 26th of September in our training building

Help Support Advice Assistance and Guidance on a signpost

Our next Help Day is this Saturday 26/09 at 11.00 o’clock in our training building.

If you need help with your project, or you don’t know how to use some of our boards you can come this Saturday at our Help day.

We got a number of requests to make KiCAD workshop in Plovdiv like the one we did in Sofia at Hack Conf this weekend, so if you want to get familiar with KiCAD you can come on the Help day with your laptop with KiCad pre-installed and to learn how to use it 🙂

We use KiCAD extensively this year and already got more than 20 boards designed with it, so we got some experience we can share.

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