First five KBox ready to leave!

A project log for KBox

An open-source gateway to boat networks

Thomas SarlandieThomas Sarlandie 06/03/2016 at 07:050 Comments


A big thanks to everyone who reached out to ask questions,

share their boat problems or just show interest. I believe I have

reached back to everyone now, if not, please ping me again.

Here is a picture of the first 5 complete KBox. The boards are the one I received from a few weeks back.

Those five boards will go to people who contacted me and first expressed interest. I do ask that you make sure that you are able to recompile the firmware before I send you a board. If you cannot update KBox, it will be very quickly obsolete ;) I have created a [Developer Setup page on the wiki]( with instructions for Linux, Mac OS and Windows.

As promised KBox will ship in a waterproof enclosure (or at least water resistant, I do not recommend installing it outside!). This is what it looks on my boat with the NMEA2000 connected and my two batteries:

So what happened since last month??

It took a while to transform the pcbng boards into fully working KBox and I am very sorry about that. Here are some of the issues I ran into:

- The "Running Light" led on the bottom left corner was flipped on all the boards and I had to rework it. It's a very small (0603) SMD and for 50% of the boards, I destroyed it in the process and had to get a new one.

- The ESP8266 modules (the one that provide WiFi) had to be hand-soldered on all the boards

- The colorful leds had to be hand-soldered on all the boards, they are a pain to solder because they are very fragile and can stop working if heated too much...

- Some of the SDCard connectors had to be reworked

- Hand soldered two capacitors, the 32khz crystal, the big screw terminal and a few other things

Last but not least, I had to test each board to make sure everything worked on it. To do this, I wrote a new firmware image called "manufacturing firmware" which runs through some automated tests. This is what it looks like when I am testing a board:

In testing mode, there is one NMEA2000 connection to a real NMEA2000 device to make sure receiving and sending packets work, the first nmea output is connected to the second input and the second output to the first input. The test then runs automatically and I just have to confirm that the LEDs turn on, that the button works, etc. I also apply voltages to the analog converters to confirm they work and also test the accelerometer. The code for this special firmware is [on GitHub of course](

Next steps

Once I have shipped these first 5 boards, I will order another round of board. If you are interested, [use the form]( or email me.

Finally as a little bonus, here are three boards (that was my USB cables limit) showing the two most recent KBox screens: voltage monitoring and general stats:

That's it for today! Thanks for your interest in the project.