This post announces starting of development of new Arduino USB Host Shield variant. There are several projects in the works (thanks, guys for letting me know!), where standard size Arduino board is too big. Since electronics of USB Host Shield is pretty simple, it was decided to shrink the board as much as possible. Here is the first iteration.
The initial revision of USB Host Shield in Mini form factor is shown on title picture, It is intended to be used with Sparkfun’s 3.3V Arduino Pro Mini. Intended applications include digital camera control devices, robots, as well as any other projects where size and weight has to be minimized. The Gerbers was sent to BatchPCB; I’m expecting boards back in couple of weeks. The main goals of this first prototype are manufacturability check as well as checking claims made below.
The Mini Host is simplified version of full-sized shield; only USB and GPIO are available. By default, VBUS is routed to VCC, therefore only self-powered USB devices are expected to function (even though I have at least one USB flash drive which works fine powered from 3.3V VBUS). I also provided extra pads to simplify signal re-routing, however, since there was no place left for jumpers a trace has to be cut instead. The same has been arranged for VBUS – if 5V power is necessary, Arduino Pro Mini/Shield combination can be powered with 5V on RAW pin, the VCC trace cut off VBUS and RAW and VBUS connected.
As soon as first prototype is tested, I will post CAD files and also make boards available at BatchPCB. Stay tuned!
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