I’ve been working on a quick prototyping board using the PIC18F4550. It’s crammed on a 5cm square board to take advantage of the Seeed Studio PCB service of 10, 5cm square PCBs shipped for $14. All of the PIC IO is brought out to headers on the sides of the board. Ideally I’ll make 5x5cm boards to attach to the top or bottom similar to Arduino shields.
The board is almost all surface mount components.
While I wait the 30 days or so for the PCBs to arrive, I’ve been playing around with EagleUp which exports boards from Eagle to SketchUp. It has a very small parts library, but I’ve been learning SketchUp to add some more parts.
The PCBs have arrived!
I much prefer soldering SMD to PTH. Assuming it’s a reasonable size like 1206, it’s much faster.
I assembled a few boards and they seem to be working. Only problem with the boards I have seen so far is RX and TX are reversed on the serial header. I remember reading a sparkfun eagle tutorial a while back and they made the same mistake. I thought it would never happen to me. ha!
Looks pretty similar to the SketchUp render!
So far I have used a 5×5 board with some RGB light strips, a Speak & Spell hack i’m working on, and given one to Boris to play with. The PIC18F4550 has USB support built-in which will be my next experiment with this board.
If you’d like to play along here are the relevant files for this project. Includes Eagle board and schematic, Handy pinout cheat sheet, and example Hi-Tech PICC source code.