Thomas Flummer Releases SAM D21-Based Badge for the KiCon 2020 Virtual Conference

Just because the events are virtual this year doesn't mean the badges have to be!

Gareth Halfacree
a month agoBadges

While events may be switching to a virtual format, there has been no slowdown in the spread of badge life — and Thomas Flummer has just released a do-it-yourself design for the KiCad KiCon 2020 conference, along with a template for those who would prefer to design their own.

"Since this years KiCon will be a virtual event, there won't be a traditional badge to go hack on, but instead, I have made this simple template for a KiCon 2020 badge, that we all can use as a starting point to create our own badges with exactly the stuff we would like to hack on," Flummer explains. "There isn't really any rules, but I think it would be cool if the badge you make can be recognized as being part of this, so maybe keeping the overall shape and logo, but if you want to scale it down and make PCB earrings that light up or try out a new color combination from your favorite PCB manufacturer, by all means go for it!"

Taking his own template as a base, Flummer has gone on to make a badge powered by a Microchip SAM D21 microcontroller — using a design borrowed from the BornHack 2020 badge. "The electronics on this badge is mainly a few experiments with stuff that I would like to test and experiment a little with," he notes, "and then a bit of control parts to keep everything on a single board."

"The two primary things I'm testing is: 1S LiPo charge and protection circuit; Soldering and controlling very small (1x1mm) RGB LEDs. Another experiment is reusing nested sheets for the schematic, and updating them to work with the nightly builds of KiCad, which actually went fairly smooth, though a bit of relinking symbols was needed."

The badge includes the microcontroller, LiPo control circuit, LEDs and drivers, buttons, and a prototyping area which provides access to all the otherwise-unused pins of the SAM D21. "This makes the badge useable as a test platform for other things," Flummer adds, "and the combination of SMD and PTH proto pads allows for a bit of tinkering with various other parts or breakout boards, eg. sensors, screens or maybe more LEDs."

The badge design, including Gerbers for production, can be found on Flummer's GitLab repository; anyone looking to make their own badge instead can find the original template in its own repository.

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