Author Topic: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone  (Read 15484 times)

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Offline dr_derivative

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Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« on: Tue, 16 January 2018, 19:14:00 »
Introduction
During my free time over the past couple of months I've been playing around with KiCad designing this. I have no idea if anyone will be interested, but whatever.  :))
For now I've named it 'Goldfish', mainly because I drew a cartoony goldfish when I was bored and have used that as artwork on the PCB. Also, like a goldfish, it's small.
It is pin compatible with a regular Pro Micro, uses the same ATMega32u4. It uses a mid-mounted USB-C connector to make the board thinner while making the connector more durable than the usual SMD connector.

Pics
I only have renders for now, I will order prototypes soon. Soldermask will probably be yellow to fit in with the goldfish theme.
The USB-C connector isn't shown since KiCad doesn't have a model for it, but it will look something like the picture below.





Advantages (over a Pro Micro)
  • The through-hole USB connector is much less likely to break off compared to surface mount connectors.
  • USB-C is reversible, more durable and just plain cool.
  • Pin-compatible with the original Pro Micro and Pro Micro clones.
  • Goldfish has five extra pins available along its bottom edge if more pins are required.
  • USB data lines are easily accessible through two internal pins.
  • A mid-mounted USB-C connector allows goldfish to be much thinner than a Pro Micro.
Disadvantages (over a Pro Micro)
  • Fewer custom cable options for USB-C when compared to Mini-B/Micro-B.
  • More expensive (depends on MOQ of course).
  • No onboard voltage regulator (this makes no difference for keyboards; an external regulator is only required when power supplies of over 5.5V are used).
  • No onboard RX, TX or Power indicator LEDs.
CAD Files
CAD file are on GitHub at https://github.com/Dr-Derivative/Goldfish.

Disclaimer
I haven't tested this board yet. If you decide to have a few of these produced do so at your own risk!
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 February 2018, 13:43:16 by dr_derivative »
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Offline synonzelra

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 16 January 2018, 21:23:35 »
I would still say some regulator is required since there might be spikes when pluging or unpluging.

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 17 January 2018, 04:48:42 »
This looks great - compatible yet better as it has more pins :thumb:

I don't think the missing LEDs are a disadvantage either, if you can see the power one under your keyboard you can see the cable is plugged in and TX/RX just complicate things when choosing pins for the matrix.
                               
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Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 17 January 2018, 04:54:26 »
I would still say some regulator is required since there might be spikes when pluging or unpluging.

I don't think this will be much of an issue; there are plenty of PCBs based on the ATMega32u4 without any form of voltage regulator. I can add some TVS diodes if transients do end up being a problem, but I doubt it's needed.

This looks great - compatible yet better as it has more pins :thumb:

Thank you :thumb:
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Offline steinerlein

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 17 January 2018, 05:03:41 »
I think this is a great idea! Would be interested in a couple of these, depending of the price of course..

Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 17 January 2018, 05:55:44 »
I think this is a great idea! Would be interested in a couple of these, depending of the price of course..

Price will be a bit more than the average Pro Micro clone on Ebay, but probably still under $10.
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Offline ZayaCaps

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 17 January 2018, 20:13:36 »
This is great! I would definitely buy these if the price is under $10.

Offline synonzelra

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 08:15:28 »
Here's something up to me about type-c. How do you connect a usb2.0 interface into type-c module?

I mean, 32u4 has only a group of D+ and D- while type-c has two.

To make it reversible you need to connect to both groups in type-c.

But this won't work on a real type-c port from host.

Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 09:19:41 »
USB-C can be very complicated but for a USB 2.0 or 1.1 device (like a keyboard) it's actually not that much more complicated than Mini-B or Micro-B. You connect both D+ and D- pins together and just connect them like you would normally. All the VBUS pins are connected together as are all GND pins. Both CC pins are connected through 5.1k resistors to ground. All other pins aren't used and can be left open. Have a look at my github if you want to see schematics.
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Offline MatchstickMan

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 09:43:43 »
This is excellent! I'm definitely interested in a buy for these.

It might be equally interesting to match the pro-micro layout of pins, USB connector, and such for direct retrofitability with the Pro Micro.
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Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 09:47:04 »
This is excellent! I'm definitely interested in a buy for these.

It might be equally interesting to match the pro-micro layout of pins, USB connector, and such for direct retrofitability with the Pro Micro.

Pin layout is identical, it can be used as a direct replacement for a Pro Micro. It just has a couple extra pins along the bottom for hand wired builds  :D .
 
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Offline MatchstickMan

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 13:32:36 »
Pin layout is identical, it can be used as a direct replacement for a Pro Micro. It just has a couple extra pins along the bottom for hand wired builds  :D .

Awesome, but if the USB location is different (top mounted vs center mounted), it could be an issue for existing cases. For instance, there are a number of Lets Split cases that may not be compatible with this configuration.

Of course, center-mount should be the default because the space savings is fantastic, but it may be worth having a second configuration that has the USB-C port top mounted just for retrofitability purposes.

Alternatively, the cases may have holes large enough that it doesn't matter. In which case IGNORE ME.
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Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 14:08:22 »
Pin layout is identical, it can be used as a direct replacement for a Pro Micro. It just has a couple extra pins along the bottom for hand wired builds  :D .

Awesome, but if the USB location is different (top mounted vs center mounted), it could be an issue for existing cases. For instance, there are a number of Lets Split cases that may not be compatible with this configuration.

Of course, center-mount should be the default because the space savings is fantastic, but it may be worth having a second configuration that has the USB-C port top mounted just for retrofitability purposes.

Alternatively, the cases may have holes large enough that it doesn't matter. In which case IGNORE ME.

I think most let's split cases have a fairly loose fit around the connector since the Pro Micro attaches upside down on one half. Also, one of the main advantages of the slimmer controller is that the whole keyboard can be made slimmer, so a different, thinner case could be used anyway. That being said, it's not too difficult to adapt the design with a top mounted connector if there's demand. I guess we'll find out if this gets to IC phase  ;D .
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Offline monkeyplusplus

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 15:48:01 »
These look super fun! Will these be flashable with dfu?

Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 16:36:49 »
These look super fun! Will these be flashable with dfu?

I'm not sure what I'll do about the bootloader since the QFN version of the ATMega32u4 comes without one pre-installed. I could flash the Pro Micro's default bootloader which uses AVRDude or LUFA DFU which uses DFU-programmer.
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Offline monkeyplusplus

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 17:20:19 »
Personally, I would prefer dfu, since it's a little easier to flash. That's my vote. Curious to hear what others would think :)

Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 09 February 2018, 13:50:32 »
I've updated the CAD files on Github to fix the split keyboard issue. I don't have any time at the moment to do any prototyping or testing, I'm far too busy with other things. But if anyone wants to order a few of these things to test themselves feel free.

Cartel have just started an IC for Pro Micros with various connectors including USB-C, so if you want a type-C Pro Micro you can have a look here. I'll probably still run a groupbuy for the Goldfish at some stage, but as I said I'm far too busy with other things at the moment  :)) .
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Offline concinnus

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 09 February 2018, 23:08:23 »
Thanks for the update, mang.  It's far more than I expect from someone who's gotten too busy.

Offline Lbibass

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 22 February 2018, 08:11:55 »
I really, really like this! Super excited for this. Do you know if it works?

edit: I am a fool, you haven't tested it yet.
« Last Edit: Thu, 22 February 2018, 09:45:49 by Lbibass »

Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 22 February 2018, 12:02:14 »
I really, really like this! Super excited for this. Do you know if it works?

edit: I am a fool, you haven't tested it yet.

Indeed, I haven't tested it yet. I have ordered prototype boards for rev 0 (not the latest rev B; I accidentally sent the wrong gerbers to the manufacturer :))). There are only small differences between revisions, so if rev 0 works I'm 90% sure rev B will too.

After that I'll need to order components and assemble it and upload a bootloader and stuff before I can do any thorough testing.

But as I said earlier I'm very busy at the moment with work and getting XDA Oblique ready for GB. I'll get around to it eventually though ;D
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Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #20 on: Sun, 25 February 2018, 06:25:42 »
very cool - love it's open source.

Offline Lbibass

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #21 on: Sun, 25 February 2018, 13:23:32 »
I really, really like this! Super excited for this. Do you know if it works?

edit: I am a fool, you haven't tested it yet.

Indeed, I haven't tested it yet. I have ordered prototype boards for rev 0 (not the latest rev B; I accidentally sent the wrong gerbers to the manufacturer :))). There are only small differences between revisions, so if rev 0 works I'm 90% sure rev B will too.

After that I'll need to order components and assemble it and upload a bootloader and stuff before I can do any thorough testing.

But as I said earlier I'm very busy at the moment with work and getting XDA Oblique ready for GB. I'll get around to it eventually though ;D

Man, that XDA Oblique looks really awesome! I'm actually typing this on a 60% aek right now! I really like that set, can't wait!

Offline meanagray

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 28 February 2018, 10:43:01 »
Yes please. ALso are you considering support for all variants of type-c because Macbooks have certain issues with resistance on data lines.

Offline AuthenticDanger

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 28 February 2018, 11:51:12 »
Any room for a reset button?
F Keys belong on the left.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #24 on: Mon, 05 March 2018, 00:27:24 »
Any room for a reset button?
second this! it will be very useful

Offline clee

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 12 March 2018, 01:32:13 »
I would buy the **** out of this. I'd order at least a dozen.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 12 March 2018, 04:17:48 »
Is there a Gerber file that includes max number of goldfishes  in 100 x 100mm?

Offline donut_sauce

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 12 March 2018, 07:15:27 »
this looks awesome!

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #28 on: Tue, 13 March 2018, 20:15:10 »
which version of ATMEGA32U4 should I get? Is it ATMEGA32U4-MU?
And what other components?
« Last Edit: Tue, 13 March 2018, 23:33:33 by ju6ju8Oo »

Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #29 on: Wed, 14 March 2018, 11:12:12 »
Yes please. ALso are you considering support for all variants of type-c because Macbooks have certain issues with resistance on data lines.

I'm following the standard way of wiring up a USB-C port for a USB-2.0 upstream facing port. This is the first I've heard of MacBooks having issues with USB-C, do you have a source? I'd assume any issues have to do with USB 3.0 or 3.1 or another protocol over USB-C, or potentially even USB-C cables? USB 2.0 is such a simple protocol in comparison, so I think it should work on a MacBook if it also works on other devices ;D

Any room for a reset button?

I don't think so, the board is pretty much full with the larger USB-C connector and the extra pins. A button is a pretty big component too when compared with the size of the board and goes against the whole 'super thin' selling point. Many keyboard PCBs that use Pro Micros have a reset button on the PCB anyway.

Is there a Gerber file that includes max number of goldfishes  in 100 x 100mm?

I don't have one since PCBWay doesn't require one, so you'll have to make your own if you need it.

which version of ATMEGA32U4 should I get? Is it ATMEGA32U4-MU?
And what other components?

Yep, it's an ATMEGA32U4-MU, just make sure not to get the RC version since they are configured to use an internal RC oscillator rather than the crystal on the board.

Here's a quick BOM:
DesignatorPackageValue
C1-C5,C1004020u1
C606034u7
C7,C8040222p
C904021u
J1Hirose CX70M-24P1
R1,R204025k1
R3040210k
R4,R5040222R
U1QFN-44-EPATmega32U4-MU
X1Epson_FA23816MHz 18pF
D1PowerDI-123Schottky
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Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #30 on: Thu, 15 March 2018, 03:28:33 »

Here's a quick BOM:
DesignatorPackageValue
C1-C5,C1004020u1
C606034u7
C7,C8040222p
C904021u
J1Hirose CX70M-24P1
R1,R204025k1
R3040210k
R4,R5040222R
U1QFN-44-EPATmega32U4-MU
X1Epson_FA23816MHz 18pF
D1PowerDI-123Schottky

is this for rev B? Any plans for extra components in future ver? I want to grab those components in 1 shipment :P

Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #31 on: Thu, 15 March 2018, 08:08:29 »

Here's a quick BOM:
DesignatorPackageValue
C1-C5,C1004020u1
C606034u7
C7,C8040222p
C904021u
J1Hirose CX70M-24P1
R1,R204025k1
R3040210k
R4,R5040222R
U1QFN-44-EPATmega32U4-MU
X1Epson_FA23816MHz 18pF
D1PowerDI-123Schottky

is this for rev B? Any plans for extra components in future ver? I want to grab those components in 1 shipment :p

Yep, that's rev B. I have no planned future revisions at the moment, unless rev B doesn't work :)).
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Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #32 on: Fri, 06 April 2018, 23:25:40 »
Are there any alternatives usb type-c connector?

Offline concinnus

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #33 on: Thu, 12 April 2018, 19:58:53 »
Are there any alternatives usb type-c connector?
The type-C connector is this project's whole raison d'tre.  There's plenty of pro-micro/clones with micro-B connectors.  If you need more pins, get a Teensy.

But anyway, USB-C is the future, maaan, and all you need for compatibility is an A-to-C cable.  The actual protocol is still USB 2.0, I think.

Offline iaso

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #34 on: Fri, 13 April 2018, 02:22:02 »
I made this BOM at Mouser. Could somebody be so kind to verify?

« Last Edit: Fri, 13 April 2018, 02:40:58 by iaso »

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #35 on: Sat, 14 April 2018, 06:59:50 »
Are there any alternatives usb type-c connector?
The type-C connector is this project's whole raison d'tre.  There's plenty of pro-micro/clones with micro-B connectors.  If you need more pins, get a Teensy.

But anyway, USB-C is the future, maaan, and all you need for compatibility is an A-to-C cable.  The actual protocol is still USB 2.0, I think.
sorry i wasn't clear. I mean if there're other type-c connectors that are recommended :) because the default one is hard to source for me
« Last Edit: Sat, 14 April 2018, 07:06:04 by ju6ju8Oo »

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #36 on: Sat, 05 May 2018, 15:35:26 »
Will c-c cables work?

Offline concinnus

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #37 on: Fri, 11 May 2018, 17:53:23 »
It should be equivalent to connecting a micro/mini-B keyboard to a USB-C platform (for which cables exist), so I see no reason it shouldn't.

Offline voight-kampff

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #38 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 13:54:24 »
Great, cant wait for this

Please add a third eye for the goldfish, also because it is usb 3

:)

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Offline concinnus

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #39 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 21:33:06 »
Except it's USB 2.0

Offline FSund

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #40 on: Tue, 22 May 2018, 04:38:05 »
Just found this thread via a Google search, and found it very interesting. Any progress?

Is it feasible to order a fully assembled Goldfish in low volumes for a reasonable price, or will that end up crazy expensive?
I do not have the equipment to solder all those tiny components, so a fully assembled one would be best.
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Offline mrbishop

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #41 on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 13:26:48 »
when's the prototypes coming in? ;)

this needs to be a thing! i know of several stores that would carry this.
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Offline xack

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #42 on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 14:50:57 »
yep i would totally use that over anything other  :thumb:
Is this still under development?

Offline bakageta

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #43 on: Sun, 23 September 2018, 19:27:44 »
Any updates on testing, or has this been back-burnered? I may get a batch of these produced myself to test, they'd go great with a project I'm working on.

Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #44 on: Sat, 20 October 2018, 18:48:26 »
Sorry about the lack of updates on this project in the last half year, it's sort of fallen by the wayside for me. I always intended to work on this some more, but as time went on I just kinda lost interest in this project :(

I know a lot of people have been asking about a groupbuy for this board, but since way cooler projects like the QMK Proton C are just around the corner I don't see much of a place for this in the market any more. On top of that, to be able achieve a reasonable price/unit in a GB, we'd need to sell a lot of these. This means I'd have to QC and flash bootloaders for all those boards or find a factory to do that for me on top of all the usual organisation that goes into a groupbuy, and at the moment that's not something I see myself doing.

That being said, the design is open source for a reason. If anyone else wants to put in the work to develop it further or run a groupbuy or whatever, feel free.
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Online Findecanor

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #45 on: Sat, 30 March 2019, 05:30:03 »
Since this project is apparently shut down, I hope you don't mind me posting this other board that does the same thing (for those who had this thread on their watch-list): Elite-C.

It is not as low-profile as the Goldfish (different USB-C connector) but it also exposes more ATmega32U4 pins on the short edge (two of which are mapped the same as Goldfish) and D+/D- (for USB breakout board), and it has a reset switch.
It has the RAW pin remapped as B0 however, so it would be incompatible with any mother-PCB which relies on it for power (but there shouldn't be any...).
« Last Edit: Sat, 30 March 2019, 05:51:35 by Findecanor »
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Offline equalunique

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #46 on: Wed, 03 April 2019, 13:42:32 »
Nice to know there is an open source alternative to the Elite-C

Offline piit79

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #47 on: Wed, 03 April 2019, 16:03:21 »


Since this project is apparently shut down, I hope you don't mind me posting this other board that does the same thing (for those who had this thread on their watch-list): Elite-C.

The Elite-C is nice, I got a couple for my Quefrency. I just wish it was cheaper - $18 _on sale_ seems overpriced. It's even more expensive than the QMK Proton C which has STM32... (Although not available nearly anywhere atm.)

I might look into having a few of these made,get them priced and perhaps try an IC.

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Offline dr_derivative

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Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #48 on: Wed, 03 April 2019, 16:39:45 »


Since this project is apparently shut down, I hope you don't mind me posting this other board that does the same thing (for those who had this thread on their watch-list): Elite-C.

The Elite-C is nice, I got a couple for my Quefrency. I just wish it was cheaper - $18 _on sale_ seems overpriced. It's even more expensive than the QMK Proton C which has STM32... (Although not available nearly anywhere atm.)

I might look into having a few of these made,get them priced and perhaps try an IC.

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IIRC I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations back when I was working on this and if you hit high enough MOQs the manufacturing cost should be around $8-$10 (don't quote me on that though). If you're serious about running a GB I can have a look at changing the pinout at the bottom to match the Elite-C if I have time.

Just bear in mind that I haven't done any prototyping or testing on this board; I didn't want to spend money on a project I wasn't really interested in any more. So test it first before running a big GB ;D
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Offline piit79

  • Posts: 76
Re: Goldfish - A super thin USB-C Pro Micro clone
« Reply #49 on: Wed, 03 April 2019, 17:15:46 »


IIRC I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations back when I was working on this and if you hit high enough MOQs the manufacturing cost should be around $8-$10 (don't quote me on that though). If you're serious about running a GB I can have a look at changing the pinout at the bottom to match the Elite-C if I have time.

Just bear in mind that I haven't done any prototyping or testing on this board; I didn't want to spend money on a project I wasn't really interested in any more. So test it first before running a big GB ;D

Thanks for the reply! That would be great. I'm generally profficient in electronics but I haven't done any PCB prototyping yet so would appreciate any help you could provide.

I'd love to run the GB - if there's still interest of course. Trouble is I'm in EU and the vast majority of the mk scene seems to be in the US, so not sure how many orders I could get. Plus PCB manufacturing is probably more expensive here. Will see about that.

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