KiCad prototype design

A project log for 555 MPP solar charger

A very simple, low cost MPP solar charger built around the venerable 555 timer

patrick-van-oosterwijckPatrick Van Oosterwijck 01/07/2022 at 19:460 Comments

Well, I couldn't help myself I guess. 🙂

KiCad 6 had just been released, I was on vacation and sometimes needed to fill some idle time, so I decided this was a nice small project to get some more KiCad experience.  Who knows, maybe if it works well, it might become a product too.

To make the LTSpice concept more practically useful, a couple of things needed to be added:

These needed to be added with minimal circuitry and cost to stay true to the concept that this is a 555 based circuit first and foremost.

A couple of limitations remain:

I implemented it with these features:

I'm quite happy with how such a basic and cheap circuit can do all this.

Here's the beautiful 3D view generated by KiCad:

The pretty logos were probably not necessary for a prototype that may never make it to production, but I felt it was an important part of the learning experience to see how well KiCad handles these things.  And to be honest, I was a bit disappointed.  There is a function to import SVGs but when I tried it, I would just get white boxes.  I had to resort to using this Inkscape plugin to make it work.

Next, I think I'm going to try JLCPCB's assembly service to get some prototypes and see how that works.  This should be a good test since all the parts are on LCSC anyway.