Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Three little PCBs

I finished routing three boards tonight. As I'm moving from bityExpress to the new ECP5 design, I've identified some changes to the module form factor:

  • The edge connector has been been moved from the base card to the module. This lets the modules be cheaper and simpler. This should make it easier for others to jump in and make new modules.
  • I've moved from the Samtec MEC6 (0.635mm pitch) to the MEC8 (0.8mm pitch) connector. The larger pitch of the MEC8 makes the routing easier using larger geometries (cheaper PCBs!).
  • The voltage rails are all on a single side of the connector to simplify routing.
Kevin and I are still debating the form factor, but I feel confident enough to order a few PCBs and test out this idea. The cards routed include:

A 0.1" header breakout board

An LED board (I *love* LED boards)

A CPLD (Lattice MACH 4000ZE) base card
The CPLD card will be useful to verify the connector pinout and it might be useful as a tester down the road. I'm going to try to panelize these boards myself. This will be my first order from PCB-Pool.

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