I started a new project. My own extension board. I call it the “Pi All-Out“.
The board will give access to all 12 GPIO-IO-pins, supply both RS232 and I2C for 5 Volt and 3.3 Volt devices and has an RTC on board. All IOs will be buffered and are configurable to be Input or Output via jumpers. LEDs on the IO channels will light up when there is a signal.
I designed the board with the free edition of Eagle and then was about to discard the whole project because I needed a two-sided PCB layout which I can’t manufacture at home. At some point I came to the conclusion that I was not willing to let the time spent be wasted. So I looked around for PCB services and found many. The board could have been manufactured as a prototype (exactly one board) with green silk mask for about 60 EUR and it would have taken 3 weeks to make.
But I wanted a blue board with a white position mask. This would have raised the cost to several 100 Euros! Fortunately I found a manufacturer in China (yes, China) who does have unbeatable prices. 10 boards, blue, all electrical checked for significantly less money. I decided to take the chance, followed their instructions to send them Gerber files and also spent another 25 USD on express shipping via DHL.
I placed the order and immediately received a confirmation mail and yet another mail when they began checking my files at the factory. Then silence. 7 days later (that is today) the DHL person rang and delivered my boards. Seven days. From China. I still can’t believe it.
They even sent me 11 boards instead of the ordered 10, all look pretty good and are good build quality. Take a look at the picture below.
I did not expect getting the boards so fast and therefore did not order all the needed parts yet. As soon as they arrive and I have the board assembled, there will be another post (or two).
Oh, forgot to mention: I ordered the boards at iteadstudio.