HackSpace magazine

Crowdfunding now: CircuitBrains Deluxe

By Ben Everard. Posted

So, you’ve created a great device using an off-the-shelf microcontroller and want to build it into a circuit board, either for yourself or a product. What do you do? You could design the PCB from scratch, manufacture it, and solder it all up, but this is quite an involved process, both in terms of design and manufacturing (as many modern microcontrollers have teeny-tiny pins that are a challenge to solder). It can be done, but if you want to spend your time on your product, rather than your PCB, it may not be the best use of your time.

The solution to this is to use a module that wraps everything you need into a PCB that can itself be soldered straight onto your larger PCB. This only works if the module has no components on the bottom, and pads for soldering. Fortunately, the CircuitBrains Deluxe has just this. It’s also got a SAMD51 microcontroller, 8MB of flash, and comes preloaded with CircuitPython, so it’s ready to help you turn your CircuitPython project into a product. There’s even on-board power circuitry, so you can supply it with 5 V (such as via a USB connection), and it will handle the rest, just as you would expect a development board to. There are Eagle and KiCad libraries, so if you’re using one of these PCB design tools, you can just bring the CircuitBrains Deluxe in, and it will create a part with the correct pins and footprint on the PCB.

Modules like the CircuitBrains aren’t for everyone. If you’re doing large production runs, or are used to working with the chips needed, they may not be cost-effective. However, they massively lower the barriers of entry to creating custom boards for your project. If you’re coding with CircuitPython, and are looking to build your project into a board, then this is something you should take a good look at. 

From $29    crowdsupply.com    Delivery: July 2020