• V2

    Thomas Bladykas07/23/2019 at 15:38 0 comments

    [Come back later for the write-up.]

  • USB Research

    Thomas Bladykas07/23/2019 at 15:37 0 comments

    It's no secret that most USB hubs have 4-layer PCBs. However, making 4-layer PCBs would have easily quadrupled the cost per PCB and increased development time over a 2-layer design. So what would happen if someone tried to make a 2-layer hub?


    So..... here's my research (and writeup) for how I overcame this issue:

    With that, on to version 2!

  • V1

    Thomas Bladykas07/23/2019 at 14:38 0 comments

    This is a little journey back into the prototyping for this project.

    It all started with a dream...

    The original idea:

    1. Create a board that would simply convert the Mini-B connector on the REV Expansion Hub to a Type-C port.
    2. Include ESD protection on the USB lines for extra disconnect resistance.
    3. Make sure it's sturdy and can last for much longer than a Mini-B cable.

    And thus, the mini V1 prototype was born:

    However, after I did some polling of interested customers, about 2/3 of teams responded that they would also like to use a webcam on their robot. That would mean introducing a USB hub into the wiring of the robot, which can lead to disconnects from the sheer number of connections.

    So what's the solution? Slapping a USB hub controller on the board, obviously.

    The IC used was a USB2422 from SMSC (Microchip). This is the absolute smallest 2-port USB hub chip available. The LDO was an NCP170 LDO. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that you can't just willy-nilly route the USB lines on a 2-layer board, because no matter what I tried, I was always greeted with USB errors.

    It was time for some research...