Sam Hocevar's KiCad Projects Imagine a World Where All Arduino Boards Use USB Type-C

Manually-recreated designs move from Autodesk Eagle to the open source KiCad, and bring universal USB Type-C connectivity for good measure.

Gareth Halfacree
1 month agoHW101

Maker and tinkerer Sam Hocevar is on a mission to rid the world of outdated USB connectors. His latest target: as many open-hardware Arduino board designs as he can get his hands on, now available in KiCad format and with USB Type-C connectivity.

"The project came about when I was given an Arduino UNO R3 for use in a class project," Hocevar explains. "Despite being in my final year of undergraduate electrical engineering, I had never worked with an Arduino before, and I found the board to be quite useful. However, I didn't enjoy needing to use a USB [Type]-B printer cable to connect the board to my computer, and because I knew that the hardware was open source, I took it upon myself to recreate the board and add a USB-C connector to it."

That sparked a mission that resulted in Hocevar taking eight Arduino board designs, released under open hardware licenses, and recreating them in KiCad — meaning others looking to experiment don't need a copy of Autodesk Eagle or to contend with the issues that can come from programmatically converting Eagle designs to KiCad. To start: the Arduino UNO R3, which was recreated as the UNO RC.

"After finishing this board," Hocevar writes, "I figured I would do the [Arduino UNO] R3 SMD [Surface-Mount Device] as well since it is essentially the same board. I then become pretty well-versed with designing around the UNO in KiCad, so I figured I would do both revisions of the R4 as well. This kept up until I had recreated other boards I found on their website that did not use USB-C and also seemed to be pretty popular with the community."

The final list of recreated designs comprises the Arduino UNO in DIP- and SMD-packaged microcontroller variants, the Arduino UNO R4 Minima and WiFi, the Arduino Nano, Arduino Micro, Arduino Leonardo, and Arduino Mega 2560. "I was expecting this to be the most difficult board to make," Hocevar notes of this latter, larger board, "but it really wasn't all that bad. It did take the longest, but I broke up the design into small sessions across multiple days."

Hocevar has released his design files on GitHub under a public-domain license, though each design will also need to adhere to the license under which it was originally released by Arduino. Additional information is available in the maker's Reddit post.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles