Section introduction

In this first project for this course, we’ll build a simple breakout PCB for the nRF24 board.

If you have worked with the common nRF24 board, you know that its two rows of pins are not compatible with a breadboard.


The pins of the common nRF24 breakout are not compatible with a breadboard.

As a result, you have to use ribbon cable and stick jumper wires in its connector, and then stick these wires in the breadboard. I have wasted so much time dealing with a mess of wires, debugging with my multimeter that I decided it is time to deal with this problem once and for all.


We will create a PCB that will make it easy to use the nRF24 breakout with a breadboard.

The breakout we will create in this project will allow us to escape the two rows by four pins that the nRF24 comes with into a single row of 8 pins. We will design the connector on the PCB so that it is compatible with a breadboard. This first PCB will be single-sided. In the next two projects, we will work on 2-sided PCBs.

In this project, you will learn about:

* How to create a new Kicad project and set up it’s parameters

* How to create a simple schematic using Eeschema

* How to find schematic components in the library

* How to create a custom schematic component

* How to annotate parts in a schematic

* How to make sure that your design is ok by doing an electrical rules check

* How to associate schematic components with footprints

* How to create custom footprints

* Footprint features, like pins, pads, silkscreen borders, and labels.

* How to design a PCB using the Pcbnew tool.

* Creating and importing a netlist

* Several of the Pcbnew features, like edge cuts, 3D views, making wirings, copper fils, tracks, thermal reliefs, adding labels and versioning.

* How to modifying the schematic and update the PCB design based on the updated schematic.

* How to create the Gerber files

* How to upload your Gerbers to a fabricator and order your PCB.

There’s so much to do, so let’s get into it!   

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