“UserPort” for RaspBerry Pi v0.10

March 14, 2012

** UPDATE: You can get the next generation board at tindie.com in the DTronixs store

Now, I’ve got a few simple boards under my belt and built a useful component library in DesignSpark PCB, my next board is a little more complicated. For this I go back in time to the original BBC Micro for inspiration.

I remember using the BBC Micro back in the day while at college. The BBC was the first computer I used for “physical computing”, that is interacting with the real world through external sensors and outputs. Sure you can do that today, with any number of embedded boards such as the Arduino or PICAXE but this was 1983.

The BBC Micro made it easy, it had a digital 8-channel general purpose I/O User Port and a 4-channel 8/12-bit Analogue input Port. BBC BASIC had commands to talk to those ports to make the real world interaction come to life. For me, the BBC micro through its user and analogue ports brought physical computing into the classroom.

RPi UserPort interface board duplicates the User Port and Analogue Port of the BBC Micro for the RasPi but uses more modern components such as the MCP23S17 and MCP3204 from Microchip.

First draft of RPi_UserPort schematic is here