Morten's IoT Thing Is a Smart General-Purpose Project Board — and a Detailed KiCad 7 Tutorial

Available under a permissive open source license and with supporting videos, the IoT Thing walks you through getting to grips with KiCad 7.

Gareth Halfacree
5 months agoInternet of Things / HW101

Monomymous electronic systems engineer Morten has designed a board that aims to deliver a flexible platform for experimenting with the Internet of Things — and an exemplar project for working with KiCad 7 too: the IoT Thing, powered by an Espressif ESP32 microcontroller module.

"The board is a general IoT device based on an ESP32-WROOM module," Morten explains of his creation. "[with] the following features: a [Silicon Labs] SI7021 I2C temperature and humidity sensor, a quick connector for other I2C devices, a CP2104 USB to serial UART [bridge] and on-board programmer for the ESP32, an RGB LED, and a button interface for LED strips, four level-converted outputs, and [a] fused power supply available on screw terminals [with] a power relay."

If you're wondering how to go about designing a PCB in KiCad 7, Morten's guide is a great place to start. (📹: Made by Morten)

In short, it's a well-featured board suitable for a range of common Internet of Things tasks from environmental monitoring and appliance control to smart lighting systems, thanks to its support for external LED strips and compatibility with the popular WLED project firmware — to say nothing of its easy extensibility with the I2C connector for external hardware add-ons.

The board is more than the sum of its parts, though: the IoT Thing was designed late last year as part of a step-by-step tutorial Morten published on YouTube, walking users through how it was designed using the free and open source KiCad 7 software. Once designed, the board was ordered in assembled form and delivered — and Morten's latest video walks through the software side of the project.

The detailed KiCad tutorial video is supported by another guide to getting the board up and running once built. (📹: Made by Morten)

"[I wanted to] show you what you can do," Morten says in the video, "and how fast it is actually getting this board up and running with some functionality. In the next [video] I will have more projects with this board and other things."

Both videos are embedded above and available on Morten's YouTube channel; the hardware design files and firmware source code have been published to GitHub under the permissive MIT license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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