First PCB boards arrived

Well, I just got my first PCBs back from DorkbotPDX on 3/4/11.  Visit to get started.

Lean (owner of DorkbotPDX) collects files from multiple people and puts together a larger board for a production run at a US board maker.  He makes it simple.  $5 per square inch for 2 layer board – period.  This includes: S&H, 3 copies of each board ordered, and no setup fees.  You can find cheaper per sq., but after you add setup fees, S&H, and multiple copies of your board, you are probably over this price.  Lean is also great to work with and the finished boards are artwork. The quality seems top notch and are made in the good old USA!  The custom purple color (my favorite color) is very rich looking and the gold pads set it off.  Another bonus is you can just send Lean an email with your Eagle single *.brd file and he does the rest.  You then just send him some Paypal money.  You don’t even have to convert to gerber files if you just want the tNames.  If you want tPlace and bPlace and not tNames, then send gerbers.  I sent .brd file and got both tNames and tPlace which messed up my silk, but I know what to do next time.

Here are some pictures of my first board order. From left to right.

1) Proto board. Dork has Eagle files on web site.

2) Dual Stepper motor controller. Still need to work on the PIC programming.

3) FT232RL breakout.  Plug into PC via USB and you get a virtual Comm port on the PC to talk TTL logic level on the other side.  You can buy these at Sparkfun for $10 bucks, but I am learning and wanted to do my own.  Had one error on mine, but after a quick solder bridge to short out a Cap and it was up and running.  Happy days.

4) Simple Screw Terminal breakout.  You sometimes want to use screw terminals on a breadboard.  However there legs don’t stay in a breadboard.  So I did a quick PCB when learning Eagle.  For your first PCB, something like this is probably a good choice.

I other posts, I hope to show completed projects.  Here is the FT232RL finished and working:

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