Author Topic: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB  (Read 633 times)

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Offline Gondolindrim

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[IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 17:02:22 »
Introduction

Hey guys!

I'm kinda new to GH so please bear with me. I'm a Brazilian mech enthusiast and would like to contribute with the community.

So me and Steve from Wood Cables saw an opening in the availability of 40% keyboards, specially the ortho layout.

While there are some kits available, say, the Daisy, the Planck and the AMJ40, every one of them has its own problems. For example, the Contra did not have RGB underglow, the AMJ40 is a pain to flash, and so on.

Second, the 40% layouts do not offer the same experience as the 60%s. All the kits mentioned are sold as kits, meaning one cannot buy this or that case and use with this and that PCB.

With this in mind, and some other things, me and Steve decided to design a 40% ortho PCB, which I called the Shark. It was named after a dear friend of mine aliased Undecided Shark, whose nickname I suggested and he said the very words "I like the nick Shark, but I'm so undecided". Go figure.

Project description

This project is open-source, and always had the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle in mind, while also having the capability of being customizable and a fully-fledged functional board.

Since the project is open-source, anyone can download it, make his own fork and contribute as long as he maintained the design principles, and licensed the project under the same license. If you wish you can even order the PCBs yourself.

This IC thread is to search for interest in the US and Brazilian community. If the UE guys show interest I also have a possible proxy there.

The project can be checked at http://github.com/Gondolindrim/SharkPCB. I'm streaming myself designing it at tuesdays and thursdays at 3PM PST at my Twitch channel (http://twitch.tv/gondolindrim_) so you guys can see me using KiCad, answering general electronics questions and chattering. Past streams can be seen in my YT channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/BelialKnight/videos). In fact, I streamed right as I was writing this thread and presented the project a little bit:

The project as of now

The PCB design is finished, but it is not prototyped. In the coming weeks I'll order them and update you guys. A render of the PCB can be seen below.



The design has some nice features, like ESD and surge protection, a hard reset push button, and in-switch LEDs. The LED control is done through a MOSFET with PWM modulation, just like the majority of the PCBs out there.

The PCB uses an Atmega32U4 and is QMK programmable. The connector used is an USB micro, but our objective is to go USBC. (Thanks, Walkerstop!)

About this IC thread

This IC is for the "semi-built" PCB, with all the SMD components soldered. All that you would have to do is solder the switch diodes, LEDs and LED resistors. As said before, we are aiming at the US and BR communities, but UE is not out of the question.

Since the boards were not prototyped, I did not quote them, but from past experience the final version will cost something around 30 US dollars plus shipping.

This IC thread is not just about the IC itself, but also so that you guys can give us feedback, advice and requests on the design

Next steps

Two more versions are to come. First, the SharkPCB will also have a full-THT version, which we are envisioning to be like the Gherkin (http://www.40percent.club/2016/12/pcb-plates.html) and the Nori (http://www.40percent.club/2018/10/nori.html). This is supposed to be a more acessible, EOTW version so that people can test the 40% ortho layout without buying a fully-fledged kit with plate and case. This version will use a pro-micro and no SMD components (only the MOSFET LED Driver, for which I haven't found a THT alternative).

There is also a staggered version coming, which we are calling the Hammerhead. It should support many layouts like the AMJ40 does.

The workflow can be seen below.

(x) Started the IC thread - done 11/01/18
( ) Finish the THT design
( ) (Maybe) Added RGB underglow support
( ) Prototyped both designs
( ) Quoted boards

Changelog

12/01/18: started the port to STM32F303CCT6 processor, added RGB underglow and USBC connector
15/01/18: changed the grid used from the traditional 19.05mm to the 19mm one that the Planck uses





« Last Edit: Mon, 14 January 2019, 08:56:51 by Gondolindrim »

Offline Walkerstop

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 17:59:01 »
I am interested, but can you add some nice pictures to the post, even if they are just renders?  I think it would help attract interest.  To click the video and see that it's an hour long of mostly talking may be a little off-putting to some.

I would also suggest including some very basic info such as:
- What MCU or breakout board are you using?
- What are your plans for the firmware?
- What kind of USB connector will be supported?

Someone may not want to go read through the design documents without knowing some of the basics first to see if they are even interested.

« Last Edit: Fri, 11 January 2019, 18:02:57 by Walkerstop »

Offline Gondolindrim

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 18:07:57 »
Hey!

Thanks for the feedback. I'll be using an Atmega32U4, QMK. As of now the board uses an USB mini, but the idea is to go to USBC.

Offline Walkerstop

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 18:12:03 »
Great, that's mostly what I wanted to hear!  This might sound strange, but have you considered a more modern MCU such as something STM32-based?  The Planck rev6 and some other recent keyboards are going in that direction with QMK and frankly it's pretty cool.  It really leaves a lot more room for innovation with the elecronics I think.  You've got a lot more GPIO pins available, a lot more memory and space for the firmware, lots of potentially fun stuff to play with.  I've been playing with newer ARM-based MCUs running QMK such as STM32 and Kinesis (what Teensy uses) and it's really cool some of the stuff they can do.  Just a thought.  STM32 looks to have a bright future ahead on QMK since guys like Jack Humbert and Skully are using it now so you have that momentum.  Atmega32u4 on the other hand is kind of like the old tried and true but doesn't leave much room for expansion over what keyboards are currently capable of.
« Last Edit: Fri, 11 January 2019, 18:14:00 by Walkerstop »

Offline Gondolindrim

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 18:15:30 »
You are absolutely right. The the idea is to go ARM, but IIRC the QMK documentation for ARM is not complete. I mean, it simply is not there, so that's why I went "safe" with the AVR. There is also the KISS.
« Last Edit: Fri, 11 January 2019, 19:19:27 by Gondolindrim »

Offline garbo

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 18:48:11 »
The awkward thing about producing an ortho 40% PCB is that the available cases are split between supporting 19.00 mm and 19.05 mm switch spacing. Which is this designed with?

Offline Gondolindrim

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 18:51:42 »
Quote
The awkward thing about producing an ortho 40% PCB is that the available cases are split between supporting 19.00 mm and 19.05 mm switch spacing. Which is this designed with?

I used 0.75in, 19.05 mm, which is what the Planck does I think

Offline garbo

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 18:54:59 »
Quote
The awkward thing about producing an ortho 40% PCB is that the available cases are split between supporting 19.00 mm and 19.05 mm switch spacing. Which is this designed with?

I used 0.75in, 19.05 mm, which is what the Planck does I think

No, the olkb PCBs and cases that use them have the non-standard 19.00 mm spacing.

Offline Gondolindrim

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 19:18:48 »
Quote
The awkward thing about producing an ortho 40% PCB is that the available cases are split between supporting 19.00 mm and 19.05 mm switch spacing. Which is this designed with?

I used 0.75in, 19.05 mm, which is what the Planck does I think

No, the olkb PCBs and cases that use them have the non-standard 19.00 mm spacing.

Hmm, that's a predicament. From what I know the standard measurement is 19.05mm, which is what I used. I did not know the Planck used 19 flat. Since I took the Planck as a model, maybe it would be true to the purpose to use the 19mm it uses. I'll change that. Thank you.

Offline garbo

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 20:00:07 »
Hmm, that's a predicament. From what I know the standard measurement is 19.05mm, which is what I used. I did not know the Planck used 19 flat. Since I took the Planck as a model, maybe it would be true to the purpose to use the 19mm it uses. I'll change that. Thank you.

I do think that this would be the better option.

There's definitely space for an alternative to the v6 Planck PCB, either in terms of pricing, depending where that ends up, or just as an option for people that don't want north facing LEDs or hotswap sockets.

Plus, now that I think about it, the PCB options with normal switch spacing (NIU mini, YDP40/YDP40v2, AMJ40, XT40, etc) all have different USB port positions anyway - you would never have good case compatibility across the different standards.

Offline Gondolindrim

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 11 January 2019, 20:15:53 »
Hmm, that's a predicament. From what I know the standard measurement is 19.05mm, which is what I used. I did not know the Planck used 19 flat. Since I took the Planck as a model, maybe it would be true to the purpose to use the 19mm it uses. I'll change that. Thank you.

I do think that this would be the better option.

There's definitely space for an alternative to the v6 Planck PCB, either in terms of pricing, depending where that ends up, or just as an option for people that don't want north facing LEDs or hotswap sockets.

Plus, now that I think about it, the PCB options with normal switch spacing (NIU mini, YDP40/YDP40v2, AMJ40, XT40, etc) all have different USB port positions anyway - you would never have good case compatibility across the different standards.

Exactly. I set myself to use the Planck standard because it is simply the standard for ortho, the way I see it. I don't mean to be a competition on the Planck, I just think that, well... There should be options.

The Hammerhead will use centralized connector and 19.05mm spacing, exactly because that is the standard.

Offline Gondolindrim

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 14 January 2019, 09:07:17 »
Hmm, that's a predicament. From what I know the standard measurement is 19.05mm, which is what I used. I did not know the Planck used 19 flat. Since I took the Planck as a model, maybe it would be true to the purpose to use the 19mm it uses. I'll change that. Thank you.

I do think that this would be the better option.

There's definitely space for an alternative to the v6 Planck PCB, either in terms of pricing, depending where that ends up, or just as an option for people that don't want north facing LEDs or hotswap sockets.

Plus, now that I think about it, the PCB options with normal switch spacing (NIU mini, YDP40/YDP40v2, AMJ40, XT40, etc) all have different USB port positions anyway - you would never have good case compatibility across the different standards.

The grid was changed, please see in the changelog. Thanks for the heads up!

Offline Gondolindrim

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Re: [IC] SharkPCB, an open-source 40% ortho PCB
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 14 January 2019, 09:07:55 »
Great, that's mostly what I wanted to hear!  This might sound strange, but have you considered a more modern MCU such as something STM32-based?  The Planck rev6 and some other recent keyboards are going in that direction with QMK and frankly it's pretty cool.  It really leaves a lot more room for innovation with the elecronics I think.  You've got a lot more GPIO pins available, a lot more memory and space for the firmware, lots of potentially fun stuff to play with.  I've been playing with newer ARM-based MCUs running QMK such as STM32 and Kinesis (what Teensy uses) and it's really cool some of the stuff they can do.  Just a thought.  STM32 looks to have a bright future ahead on QMK since guys like Jack Humbert and Skully are using it now so you have that momentum.  Atmega32u4 on the other hand is kind of like the old tried and true but doesn't leave much room for expansion over what keyboards are currently capable of.

I started the porting to an STM32 and USBC connector. Thanks for the suggestion mate