Designing a USB breakout board

USB 2.0 Breakout PCB layout (1)

Alexander Lang has been working on a USB breakout board, he writes:

I often need to intercept USB signals for decoding and measurement purposes. I cut a cable apart last time I needed one but to be honest I much prefer doing things properly. I also noticed that nobody seems to sell a similar product on Ebay, Aliexpress or Amazon! I did find a vendor in the USA on tindie. I also found this product on tindie which is similar but has a current monitoring circuit built in.
Either of these products would work for my purposes but the first product’s shipping costs from the USA seem a little extravagant and I only wanted one or two.
The second product uses pin headers to allow connection which are a bit close together for my liking. It’s often the way of things. When I cannot obtain what I want I make my own!

More details on his blog.

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  1. On the other hand, there are about a zillion ultra-cheap Chinese modules that break out pins from USB male or female connectors – one could just connect two of those back to back and get on with it (bonus: the second connector can also be mini/micro USB etc. as needed). Sure, signal integrity would not be exactly stellar, but if we’re talking in-line dongles you’re obviously not all that interested in that, and frankly it would still be quite good enough for snooping on the data itself or watching line voltage levels

  2. Here is my take on the same subject:
    I intended this for current monitoring, USB signal breakout, connecting USB chargers to my Re:LoadPro,
    and just about qanything USB-related you need (as long as its not USB 3).
    The board is only 5×5 so you can get 40 of those for $10 (I think even $5 recently).
    In some cases (USBA male and female) you may need 2 boards but these are so cheap it doesn’t matter.

    1. Exactly. He said he wants things done properly but all I see is a gigantic board, without controlled impedance traces or anything. Chances are the cable was a better option…

  3. There’s a different picture on his website. It’s a bit better, but I don’t remember anyone ever using 1.5mm wide tracks, ha ha. Almost anything will work for 12Mbps and high-speed USB will still work a lot of stuff that do not follow ideal design rules, but I’d like to see the oscilloscope tracing for that board at 480Mbps…

  4. Hi people – agree with all the comments made. I did update the picture on the blog post and I have attempted to match track lengths and perform impedance matching so hopefully things will work out. I wasn’t aware my post was going to be shared on dangerous prototypes – Appreciate the critique

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