PROTOTYPE PREVIEW: PIC24FJ64GB/A002 breakout board

Earlier this week we prototyped a transistor tester circuit on a breadboard. We wanted a start with a full microcontroller and power circuit, ready to go, Arduino-style. All the breakouts we had on hand were a pain to use. Most obscure the prototo area and many were just too big.

Inspired by Shaos’ nedoCPU-32, we made a few ‘blade’ or ‘knife’ breakout boards for chips we commonly use in a new design. All the pins on these breakout boards are on one side, so they can plug straight into one side of a breadboard. Here’s the first, a breakout for the PIC24FJ64GA002 (Bus Pirate) and PIC24FJ64GB002 (USB version) microcontrollers in SOIC-28 packages. Next we’ll do one for the 18F2550 (IR Toy).

There are two power supply options. USB or an external DC source are selectable through a jumper. We like to populate the USB even for the non-USB GA version because it’s such a convenient source of power.

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  1. I tried to sell the idea of this exact board to Ian back in January. But that was Ian Harris @ embeddedinc. He should have listened. There is nothing like this out there and I reckon it will also take the new PIC32 28-pin babies too.

    Ian, I want one! Make that Two. Remember, I first got the open source USB stack to work on a PIC24FJ64GB002 and I would love to be able to pull down the mock-up so I can use my breadboard for something else. :) (Unless dangerous prototypes has a museum.)

    Glad you use the mini-B usb connector! Good “robust” design! Bad luck about it being on the wrong side of the PCB. I’m left-handed and the discrimination us lefties suffer. Cry…

  2. I have a similar experience too. I want to ask a question. Will these boards have any bootloaders preloaded so that firmware would be easy? Specially the PIC18F2550 one which I am more interested on.

  3. Bootloading is _the_ way,for easy programming,so I guess thats the unspoken obvious choice with this one too,esp. with all the work being put into it.

    if it takes the PIC32 too,that’d be a great thing.

      1. Actually, not my typo. These parts only existing the data sheet, they are not listed otherwise as either available or future product. Guess we will have to wait a bit for these baddies.

  4. Hey DP,

    I just finished drawing up my own dev board for a 2550/2580 last weekend and I made a post with the layout on my (just started..) blog. But that layout could also be used as or changed into a knife-style board. However, current design was aimed at the iTead 50x70mm devboards (which are apparently no longer sold as I found out after finishing the design). I haven’t ordered a prototype yet as I’m still gatherings thoughts on possible changes.

    Anyway, maybe it helps you in anyway, maybe it’s crap. But if you want to, I can make the eagle files available. It would be fun to have had any influence in your design ;)

    Keep up the good work!

  5. I looked at your board, it’s nice, But we already developed a pic18F2550 board…Well post about it next Thursday..

  6. Its basically the same, only ours has a an added DCbarrel jack, and two LEDS insted of 3, it should be fully compatible with microe’s

  7. I’m glad that my design inspired somebody – thanks ;)
    IMHO: I think that ‘blade’ or ‘knife’ breakout boards should not have one SIP header, but a few visually distinguished “channels” in one row (as ports A,B,C in my nedoCPU family) – it’s much easier to make breadboard connections without mistakes and also it’s much more understandable by newiebes

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