Relay2 – new Raspberry Pi Zero add-on board

September 29, 2016

Relay2 is my latest RPi Zero add-on board. It’s designed to control low voltage and small-ish current devices such as DC motors, servos etc.


Relay2 is a 2-ch Relay board with two Change-Over (CO) relays. Each relay is good for 30V AC/DC at 1A. The relays can handle a greater voltage than 30V but given the close proximity of the actually RPi Zero board I would not recommend going above 30V. The relays are easy to select via GPIO headers and they use 3-way Screw Terminals.

You’ll find them on our Tindie store real soon.

Two new Raspberry Pi Zero add-on boards

August 30, 2016

I’m very pleased to show off our latest Raspberry Pi Zero add-on boards.


The board in the top of the picture is PIOO UserP0rt which features a 16-ch port expander and 8-ch ADC using the MCP23S17 and MCP3008 ic’s.

While the board in the bottom of the picture is PIIO ADC16 which is a 16-ch ADC board and features 2x MCP3008 ADC’s (each 8-ch, 10-bit).

You’ll find them on our Tindie store real soon.

WIP – new RPi Zero add-ons

June 29, 2016

This last month I’ve been working on some new add-on boards for the Raspberry Pi Zero.

In no particular order:

  • ADC16 – 16-ch ADC board (2x MCP3008 8-ch, 10-bit)
  • UserP0rt – 16-ch port expander and 8-ch ADC (MCP23S17 and MCP3008)
  • Relay2 – 2-ch Relay board (2x Relays 30V, 1A)
  • I’ve just sent these off to be manufactured, so I’ll post an update when I’ve got them back.

    Four new Raspberry Pi Zero add-on boards

    January 18, 2016

    Another bunch of new PCB’s. This time for the Raspberry Pi Zero.


    In no particular order, there’s a serial RS232 board, a GVS I/O board with ULN2803 for servo’s etc., a Breakout board (I2C, SPI, UART and GPIO) and another MIDI interface ;-).

    More details/info shortly.

    As usually you’ll find them on our Tindie store.

    DIY micro USB Hub for Raspberry Pi Zero

    December 4, 2015

    After ordering the new Raspberry Pi Zero I suddenly realised I didn’t have a suitable micro USB cable adapter to connect either a keyboard or mouse to it. Now common sense would have been to go back on-line and order either suitable cables or a suitable micro USB hub but as the maker saying goes “necessity being the mother of invention” so I decide to make my own. In this case a non-powered micro USB hub.USB_Bits

    Getting the base components was easy. A quick call into a “pound” (or the equivalent dollar, euro etc.) shop got me a micro USB data/charging cable and a USB hub as shown for the princely sum of £2.


    The basic tools are:

    Screwdriver (flat and/or Philips)
    Wire Strippers
    Scalpel/Small knife
    Soldering Iron


    Open USB Hub case

    USBHub OpenUSBHub_PCB

    Depending on the screws used in the USB Hub case you may need a Philips screwdriver to open the plastic USB Hub enclosure. In my case, the Hub’s plastic enclosure was clipped together and a bit of squeezing and gentle persuading with a flat bladed screw driver saw it come apart.


    De-solder USB Cable


    Once the USB hub is apart you should see a small PCB with a number of USB connectors and a cable. Make a note of the wire colour and positions. De-solder the existing USB wires from the PCB. Carefully apply heat from the soldering iron to the soldered wire and when the solder melts, gently lift the wire away from the PCB pad.


    Prepare micro USB cable




    With the wire cutters, cut the USB A connector (the bigger of the two USB connectors) off the cable. With the wire cutters or a small knife/scalpel cut back and remove about 2cm of the external cable insulation. Using the wire strippers, strip about 5mm of insulation from each of the individual wires. Finally, for each wire twist the copper strands and using the soldering iron, “tin” them and repeat for all wires.


    Soldering the new cable


    Remembering to use the info from the note you made earlier ;-), match the wire colour’s to the PCB pad and solder the first of the new wires from the micro USB cable back on to the USB Hub PCB. Repeat this for each of the wires in the micro USB cable. Once finished, check your work for any solder bridges and/or dry joins.


    Putting it back together

    Once you’re soldered all the wires back on the USB Hub PCB, reassemble it back into its plastic enclosure. You may want to add a tye-wrap to act as a strain relief for the micro USB cable.



    Raspberry Pi Zero != Zero but only £4 !!

    November 29, 2015

    Waking up on Thursday morning I didn’t expect to find a new version of the Raspberry Pi in the wild, let alone a new version which only cost £4 (~$6). The Raspberry Pi foundation are almost as tight lipped as Apple when it comes to new product announcements 😉

    There were reportedly 10,000 units made but at £4 it sold out quickly on all the online sites. It you were lucky to find a copy, it was free with this months edition of the MagPi magazine. It must be the first time you bought a computer magazine and actually got a free computer !!

    R-Kade Proto5_4buttons

    Spec wise, it’s basically a slightly faster version of the rev2 Raspberry Pi A & B but in a much smaller outline (65 x 30mm). It uses a 1GHz BCM2835, with 512MB of RAM, micro HDMI for video, micro USB for data and micro USB for power. All great except I think the choice of a micro USB for data is a mistake. You lose the advantage of the new smaller size and price point by needing a USB A to micro USB adapter or cable to connect keyboards, mice and WIFI dongles.

    At 65 x 30mm makes it an great choice for many a small projects. At this size, it has allowed me to dust off a couple of retro gaming projects I’ve had sitting on the shelve.

    I’ve ordered a couple so just waiting now for new stock at Farnell then I can add it to my every growing pile of Pi’s.

    In the mean time you can check out the announcement here: